This forum is for urgent health concerns, where your beardie seems very ill and you need immediate help!
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I have the sweetest beardie boy named Khuda. He has always loved taking jaunts to the river, and taking the occasional swim, and though I know they are not near water in their natural habitat, he sure behaves as though he couldn't live without it.
On Sunday, March 4th, I was giving him a bath in the sink, as per usual, and he began drinking as though he was dehydrated. I was unaware that bearded dragons could drown from drinking too much, and after he black bearded, and stopped breathing, I quickly administered mouth to mouth. He choked up quite a lot of water, as well as some jelly like saliva. I was terrified! I googled drowning dragons, and came upon this sight....which was very helpful! I kept him tilted downward, and choked up a lap full of water, as well as some food particles.
He quickly regained his strength, color returned to normal, and he seemed to recover. I increased the heat in his house, and checked on him every 1/2 hour during the night. The next morning I offered him some meal worms, which he ate eagerly, as well as a homeopathic Kali Phos to help prevent infection in the lungs, and promote cellular function after trauma. He ate that right up, which really surprised me. Later that evening I brought him out for another dose, and some fresh greens...this time, he wanted to to eat, but began open mouth breathing with a bit of wheezing, it was as though he was trying to eat, but couldn't catch his breath. He turned VERY pale around his head, and beard, and his teeth were a tainted yellow as opposed to their usual vibrant white.....I was WORRIED!
We took a trip to an ER vet where he was given an x-ray revealing fluid in the lungs. She confirmed that he had pneumonia, and gave me a 7 day antibiotic regimen. It is a liquid that can be given directly, or injected into their food. He took it with some reluctance, and then curled up for night in his favorite spot.
This morning he was still cozy and deep in sleep, I decided not to disturb him, and that the best thing is to let him rest. The vet said that the fluid was only in a corner of the lung, which was good, but that the prognosis was not good, and she didn't sound confident that the medicine would work.
I am hopeful!!! In reading other peoples experiences with water aspiration, antibiotics have done the trick, and I hope Khuda can bounce back as well.
If you happen to have any input, additional suggestions, or have a beardie that has recovered or not from a similar situation, I would love to hear about it! Signs, symptoms, cues I should be looking for in regards to improvement or regression would be most appreciated. Also, please send your warmth, and healing prayers to my beardie boy Khuda....THANK YOU!
I'm so sorry your Khuda aspirated water and has been diagnoses with pneumonia!
Here are some thing you can do to help:
When 3 of my 4 rescues were diagnoses with respiratory infections my vet advised to elevate day basking temps from the 100*F that I usually kept them at to about 103*F, also elevate and keep the night temp to around 80*F. The extra heat day and night helps boost the immune system. Be aware the extra heat can dehydrate him so provide extra hydration.
Remove the water dish and leave it out. Water in the enclosure with the hot lights will evaporate it and raise the humidity. You want the humidity as low as it can be right now. If you are one who mists, don't mist in the enclosure as it can also raise the humidity.
All 3 of mine lost their appetites while sick and on the antibiotic and had to be syringe fed 3 times a day, with baby food and supplements, for weeks.
You can sleep him with his head at an elevated angle to help him breath more comfortably or with his head angled downward if he has a lot of mucus and is very congested, it will help to drain his lungs.
It's been my experience that respiratory infections are extremely difficult to get rid of and you have to stay right on top of the symptoms when the antibiotic finishes.
I have 4 rescue beardies. 2 of my rescue beardies were diagnosed with severe, persistent, recurring resp. infections from being kept in a damp basement for months by their previous owner. They had multiple vet visits and multiple courses of antibiotics over the first 4 month I had them before they finally cleared of it. My 3rd one had 3 vet visits and 3 courses of antibiotic over a 2 month period before she was cleared. For my 2 severe ones it would only be from a few days to a week after finishing the antibiotic before he and she would start to show symptoms again and were returned for another vet visit and another round of antibiotics. For the severity that my beardies had it, the several 7 day regimes weren't working. Although antibiotics can be so very harsh on their system, my vet advised since they were not recovering well to try an extended 10 day course of the antibiotics and that finally cleared it. It will take a lot of support care during the healing and recovery process.
I'm sending all good healing thoughts to Khuda and hope he will recover well.
Thank you so much Amanda, for the response. It is encouraging to know that your little ones are still hanging in there. Khuda seems to be doing O.K this evening. No open mouth breathing that I have seen so far, and he ate a piece of greens. His eyes are kind of bulging when closed...which is new and unusual....could this be a symptom of something more severe?
Thanks for the good healing thoughts, and I will keep you updated on his progress.
Stefani and Khuda
oh...ps: he hates sleeping with his head facing down....it seems like a really uncomfortable position for him.....he will stay in any place I put him, unless is is facing down...should I push it, or let him choose what is most comfortable?
Wow what a comeback for him, that is great to hear. I am sure that it was stressful for you & for him.
Which antibiotic is he on now? You might want to consider doing some nebulization treatments which help penetrate the lungs better than traditional oral or intramuscular medications. The respiratory problems, especially pneumonia are difficult to fully recover from.
As suggested, don't do any tank misting or even bathing right now. Try to keep the tank humidity to a minimum as much as you can.
His eyes are bulging, how badly? It could be from having him sleep in the downward position. Sometimes that is an indicator of heart issues or renal issues but I don't think that is the case here.
If Khuda doesn't seem comfortable with sleeping downward you can go ahead & lie him flat for his comfort. He doesn't need any extra stress right now. Hopefully the antibiotic will dry the fluids out & help with the pneumonia. During the day, you could hold him downward for a bit, while having him out of his tank, to help with any fluids draining from his lungs.
I hope he is doing better now. Keep us posted on him.
We miss you, Crocodile Hunter!
I'd let him choose his comfortable position. Only if he has mucus pooling at the sides of his mouth or pouring out of his mouth would I place him with his head down, to drain out the mucus.
He will get sicker before it's better.
The combination of the pneumonia and the harsh antibiotic will cause him GI upset, to be lethargic, to darken in color, loose his appetite and dehydrate.
It would be a good idea to give him a probiotic while he's on the antibiotic. Did your vet mention this. It will help restore some of the good intestinal bacteria that the antibiotic will kill off. Just as in humans, a probiotic can help decrease loose stools and tummy upset as well as help keep yeast in check. Don't give fruit, avoid sugar. You don't want to feed any yeast.
Hydration and nutrition will be very important.
I'd get a coated infant spoon, some needeless syringes, Pedialyte, and some baby food. Squash, plain chicken and plain turkey baby foods are good staples to use. Some amazing members even make their own slurry in a blender. They use greens, bugs and water.
You dilute the Pedialye 2 parts water to 1 part Pedialyte. He can drink this and you can thin his baby food a bit with it.
You will need to feed and hydrate him when he can't/won't eat. You can try a drop on his snout to see if he will lick it off, you can also try offering it on your finger for him to lick off or on the coated infant spoon. You want the coated spoon to protect his mouth if he should bite down. If he won't lick, you need to use a syringe to feed him to provide nutrition or he will quickly loose weight and deteriorate.
Keep him warm. Wrap him in soft cloth or fleece to preserve his body heat from basking when you take him out to feed. Don't let him cool down. You can use a heating pad, laid across your chest, set on warm for him to lay on. You can monitor the heating pad temp if it's on you and keep him warm for a snuggle. Yup, you'll get warm!
There are more things you can do to help and support him. Others will pop in with help, advice and support for you. This forum helped me so much when my Beardies were so sick. There is a moderator Drache613.....her name is Tracie and she is knowledgable and experienced in all thing beardie, especially health. When she pops in she will have some great advice. She has helped me so much!
Sorry this is long!
Thank you so much for the input, and abundance of information ladies!!!
Khuda seems to be "eye bulging" quite a lot this evening...mostly when laying flat, in his favorite place. I had noticed it was when his eyes were closed, but he is SO alert, when I would come by to gaze longingly at him, he would try to open his eyes, and it looked very uncomfortable. Very big eyes, and very yellow (which is normal). When I would touch him, or hold him however it they would go back to their regular size. It seems to happen when he is VERY comfortable and laying flat.
I gave his 2nd dose of antibiotics this evening, this time I injected them into a meal worm (creepy)...it is BAYTRIL 22.7 MG. 1 dose/day for 7 days. He is eating very well today. He even jumped off of his perch to chase a cricket, though it got away I fed him 3 meal worms at 5pm, and another 3 with his antibiotics not too long ago about 11:30PM....AND he waits anxiously for more....he is still disinterested in greens or veggies though, which isn't totally abnormal.
No more open mouth breathing, and his color is MUCH better....today. I am mostly concerned now about the bulging eyes. I read that it could be caused by shedding (which he is) or stress (which he has experienced A LOT of), or a VIRUS! Your mention of the heart Tracie, concerns me because the vet mentioned that the fluid was in a particular part of his lung, near his heart. She did not mention anything about antibiotics (it was an ER clinic).....what is a good brand, and do they have to be prescribed? I am not familiar with the other suggestions, but am willing to try anything to help my guy return to a quality life. My last dragon Kyros passed at 11 years old last summer. Khuda is 9, and before this incident, he was as spunky and full of life as he was when I adopted him 5 years ago.
We will get through this.....much thanks to you both! Will let you know what tomorrow brings......hopefully only good things!
I am going to assume you are referring to probiotics and no a prescription isn't needed. BeneBac is a probiotic and can be purchased at some pet shops or online. Acidophuliz is another probiotic you can use and can be purchase most anywhere. I got it at Walmart in the pharmacy section. 100 tabs for $5.00. I crushed the tab and would put just a pinch in a tiny bit of baby food and fed it to my sick beardies daily. 1 crushed tab would last for days at a pinch a dose. There are other probiotics but can't think of them. Soy yogurt is another option, but make sure it's soy, not dairy.
That is just wonderful and amazing your beardies are so long-lived. Kyros lived to be 11, I'm sorry he has passed, and Khuda is 9. You obviously take great care of them!
I hope Khuda stays on the good side of this pneumonia and continues to improve.
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