Muscular Degeneration

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Muscular Degeneration

Postby Chloe6894 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:15 pm

General description:
My bearded dragon has no control over his back legs, yet they spasm along with his tail. He has enough control of his front legs to drag himself but in his resting position he sits on the wrong side of his wrists. In March 2017 I came home and my sister thought he was dead. He was not. I force fed him pedialyte and a few days later he regained his energy. We made 2 major changes just before he got sick, began using calci sand and quit using a night heat bulb. I immediately switched him back to a reptile carpet and have used one since. When Muchu (the bearded dragon in discussion) regained his energy, he was left with no apparent control of his hind legs and would not poop unless he was taking a bath. After a couple of weeks he began defecating on his own.

Muchu shows no signs of emotional distress. He is always his bright and happy citrus color, eats regularly, and comes to the front of his cage when he wants out.

Age: 1 year old
Symptoms began: March, 2017
Symptoms;
swollen joints
spasming limbs and tail
Does not respond to stimulus from any limbs
no control over hind legs

Habitat;
20 gallon terrarium
10.0 UVB (less than 1 year old)
100 watt basking lamp

Diet;
calcium (without d3) dusted crickets
dubia roaches
meal worms
Petsmart's adult bearded dragon pellets as a staple (though he does not eat it very often)

What I suspected;
adenovirus... but he should be dead by now, right?
Metabollic bone disease... but he has had a constant supply of UVB and calcium and he got worse with the calci sand
Impaction... the paralysis spread to his arms after any potential impaction was cleared

Has anyone seen this set of symptoms in their dragons?
Any information would be appreciated!
Muchu's Mom
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Drache613 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:31 pm

Hello,

I am sorry Muchu is having so many issues!
Can you post a picture or two of him, as well as his tank setup so we can see the light
placement, etc in his tank.
The Reptisun 10, is it a long, fluorescent tube bulb or a compact/coil type of light?
Is the light on top of, or underneath of the screen top on his tank?
I am glad to see you did change out the sand, to a reptile carpet instead.
Adenovirus doesn't always kill quickly, no. They can show signs & symptoms from it but
live for years, or, some do pass quickly. Were you planning on testing him for it?
Since he has spasms or seizures, it's important to keep his basking spot low, so that he
doesn't have to climb much to where he can hurt himself. You may need to lower the
basking light accordingly so that he can still have optimal basking temperatures.
He probably has an advanced calcium deficiency. Can you get him to a reptile vet for
x-rays & maybe blood work?
I would also consider getting him started on a liquid calcium too, instead of a powdered
calcium. They tend to absorb that more readily.

Tracie
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Chloe6894 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:47 am

[Click image to enlarge]
Thank you for your response!
I attached pictures of Muchu, his UVB light, and his cage set up. The cage is mostly open and clear so that he can get around it. I have kept a heating pad on the side of his cage which he sleeps next to. [Click image to enlarge]

I am working on getting him into a vet.
His right arm is swollen (also pictured). I think it is grayish because he is about to start shedding.
I can order him a liquid calcium today.

Thanks for all the help!
[Click image to enlarge]

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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby EllenD » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:28 am

I'm so sorry, but this is severe Calcium deficiency and MBD due to a total lack of UVB light. Your 10.0 UVB light is a compact version that is only 13 watts, and is totally inadequate for a bearded dragon. In addition, to make it worse, it's being blocked by a mesh lid which takes away 40% of the already too weak UVB light, and after 6 months they emit no UVB light at all and must be replaced, but the way it's set up and the type of compact UVB bulb she had to begin with prevented her from ever getting any UVB light.

You need to get a long, strong T5 strength UVB tube, at least 22" or 34", and a matching length flourescent tube fixture that is rated for a T5 UVB tube, at least 24 watts and also has a metal reflector behind the UVB tube. The 22" Reptisun 10.0 T5HO UVB tube costs $23 on Amazon.com, and you can buy a T5-rated 24" Sunblaster brand tube fixture that has a metal reflector built in for another $28, so around $50 shipped on Amazon.com is about the cheapest it gets for both. Do not buy a much weaker T8 strength UVB tube that you can buy in a pet shop, it will not only be more expensive for a T8 UVB tube and fixture in a store, but they are not strong enough for her, they cannot be blocked by a mesh lid either, and they must be within at least 6" of her at all times to get any adequate UVB light to her. She needs the much stronger, 24 watt T5 UVB tube, at least 22" long, and fixture. It must be at least within 11" of her, and must be replaced once ever 10-12 months. It also must be on every single day for at least 14 hours, along with her bright white basking bulb.

As long as you get a T5 UVB tube on her ASAP and are giving her a calcium powder 5 times a week and a Multivitamin powder 3 times a week, the Calcium deficiency can be reversed, along with her very, very weak bone density. However, not all of the damage from the MBD will be reversed, she may never regain the use of her back legs, front legs, or the ability to have a bowel movement without being in a warm bath. The tremors/twitching should eventually stop, but it's pretty severe since she's had zero UVB light...

I'm so sorry, it's not your fault, you thought you had her under a UVB bulb that was good for dragons, but there are basically zero compact or coil UVB bulbs that are good for a Dragon or any other desert reptiles. They max out at 13 watts (except one that is 26 watts but requires a special nano-hood set-up with reflector placed inside the tank to get adequate UVB light to her, so most people use long tubes in long tube fixtures with metal reflectors that are at least 24 watts, it's much easier, and the mesh lid won't block too much of the light, as the T5 tubes are very strong). This unfortunately happens a lot, bad advice from pet shops, "exotics" vets who know nothing, and manufacturers of lights that put a picture of a dragon on a 13 watt compact UVB bulb that is no where near sufficient for a bearded dragon...
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Chloe6894 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:04 pm

I am ordering what you recommended today. My sister just got a pet Bearded Dragon. He is only 5 inches and is temporarily in a 10 gallon tank. He has a lamp fixture with a coiled 10.0 UVB light. What do you recommend for the 10 gallon tank?
Thank you so much for everything.
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Chloe6894 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:16 pm

I attached a link to the lighting that the baby has right now.

https://zoomed.com/desert-uvb-heat-lighting-kit/
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Drache613 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:21 pm

Hello,

Oh I am sorry that you have been using a compact/coil light! As suggested, the T5 would be
so much better. Did you get that ordered today also?
When are you planning on upgrading him to a larger tank, too so he has more room later on?
A 10 gallon, you can get the shortest one, the 14 inch light fixture which a 12 inch would fit
in. I am glad it will just be temporary housing for your sister's dragon.
What kind of basking light are you using, is it a bright white basking light?
I would also recommend getting her started on liquid calcium also as soon as you can.
How is he doing today? I hope he starts feeling better, it will be a little bit of a slow recovery
but he can do it!
Let us know how things are going.

Tracie
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Chloe6894 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:56 pm

I suppose I am planning to relocate Muchu to a larger tank as soon as he is well enough to move around. As of now, he stays in one spot in his cage and only moves from food to water bowl (struggling to do that).
I got liquid calcium and pedialyte which I soaked him in today.
I have the Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Bulb, 100 watt, E27 basking bulb.

The 12 inch t5 will at my house by early next week. We have been dusting my sister's dragon's crickets with powder calcium without D3, but I will have her add liquid calcium to the water.

I am afraid Muchu didn't have the best day. He had less energy than normal but his appetite has not faltered. He had a couple dubias and a prepared food.

Do you think I should give him a calcium with D3 to make up for the lack of UVB?

Thanks again!
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Gormagon » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:35 pm

Without the proper uvb, your dragon cannot absorb or process any calcium or produce the vitamin d3 he needs. If that bulb is a year old, it hasn't produced uvb for about 4 to 6 months. Those need to be changed bi-anually.
We have seen this problem many times and, it is all due to bad advice given at pet stores.... These people are clueless when it comes to dragon care and, have no business giving advice.
This is not your fault!!! Now that you have found us we will help you and, your dragon get through this. Just hang in there, get your lighting right and, things will get better.
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Drache613 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:08 pm

Hello,

Sorry he wasn't as active today, but at least he has a good appetite still!
I hope you get the UVB light soon, he definitely needs it. I think as soon as your lighting is
improved, he will start to get well.
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Chloe6894 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:48 am

I got the new light on him today. I will keep you posted. Thanks for your help!
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Gormagon » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:20 pm

Chloe6894 wrote:I got the new light on him today. I will keep you posted. Thanks for your help!

Please do! We are very interested in his recovery.
SLAVE TO A KIND BUT, DEMANDING MASTER "PEACHES"
The wonderful world of bearded dragons is a magical land of mystery, enchantment, cuddles, love and, worry! A mysterious realm where things always seem to change in an instant and, the moment you think you have it all figured out, the rules change!
Ignorance is doing something and, not knowing better!
Stupidity is knowing better and, doing it anyway!
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Drache613 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:31 pm

Hello,

That is excellent the new lights came & you were able to get them setup for him. I am sure
that he loves them. Give them time to work, but they will greatly help him out.
Definitely keep us posted on him.

Tracie
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby EllenD » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:19 am

I'm very glad you got the 12" Reptisun 10.0 T5HO UVB tube and fixture on him. It can sit on top of the mesh lid inside the fixture (make sure that the tube fixture you bought has no covers at all that are obstructing the UVB tube, some of them come with safety covers that block 100% of the UVB light, as no strength of UVB light can penetrate glass or plastic at all), however, it still must be within at least 11" of him, and since the 10 gallon tank is a bit taller than it is longer, be sure that his basking platform gets him close to the UVB tube.

As already mentioned, it unfortunately doesn't matter how much calcium or whether the calcium is liquid or not if he has no adequate UVB light, as with the UVB light he'll not absorb anything he's eating. That's the problem, and most people don't understand that concept so they try to make up for the total lack of UVB light by giving them excess calcium and multivitamins, which without proper UVB light are all just excreted out. Now that he has an adequate UVB light he can absorb and process all the nutrition he takes in.

Hopefully some of the physical damage done by the MBD will be reversed, though I don't want you to think that it all will be reversed and give you false hope. How old is he now? Depending on his age (they continue to grow up until around 2 years old) he may be able to recover quite a bit. What you should see happen pretty directly is his appetite increase and his energy levels increase dramatically. Please feed him as many live, gut-loaded insects as he wants to in a 10-15 minute feeding session, and do at least 2 of these unlimited, live insect feeding sessions each and every day, he needs a ton of live insect protein to be able to grow and develop as much as he possibly can. You should also see the tremors/shaking subside, and hopefully he'll regain some use of his back legs and be able to walk. I have a rescue boy that I got at 8 months old, he had never had any UVB light at all, and he couldn't even walk on flat ground without flipping onto his back. He's now a year and 4 months old and he's been under a 22" Reptisun 10.0 T5HO, totally unobstructed, with liquid calcium and multivitamins by mouth every day. He now never flips onto his back, he can walk and even chase live insects, but he still keeps his front legs folded underneath him, he still walks like he's drunk sometimes, and his depth perception isn't the best. But he's 500% better than he was when I took him in.

By the way, do not try to give him any nutrition, calcium or multivitamin supplements, or hydration/electrolytes by soaking him in them, this does absolutely nothing and is only wasting your Pedialyte, liquid calcium, etc. Bearded Dragons can only absorb hydration/electrolytes and any type of nutrition the same way that we do, they have to actively drink or eat it through their mouths. They absorb absolutely no hydration through their vents or skin/scales, this is a terrible myth that spread around the internet years ago and for whatever reason people hear it and immediately believe it. Bearded Dragons do not need baths unless they are dirty or smell, that's it. Most of them don't actually like baths, they stress them out, and again they absorb absolutely no liquids at all by sitting in water. If your dragon actively drinks the bath water while he's sitting in it then that's good, you can then give him a soak in water once or twice a week, but if he doesn't actively drink the bath water through his mouth, then there is no reason to soak him or bath him at all unless he is dirty. It usually only serves to stress them out.

The same goes for water bowls, most dragons won't drink from them at all. They are from the Australian Desert where there is little to no standing water, so they have no concept of it, and they get most all of their hydration from the live insects and vegetation that they eat. That's it. So if your want to get extra hydration into your dragon but he won't actively drink water through his mouth from a bowl or a bath, the best way to do it is to drip either water or Pedialyte onto his snout from an eyedropper or oral syringe, and let him lick them off, then drip some more, let him lick them off, etc. As far as his liquid Calcium goes, he absolutely must be given this through his mouth by oral syringe, you're wasting it by making him soak in it, he's not getting any of it in him at all. So you'll need to start giving him that and everything else that he won't eat/drink on his own by using an oral syringe. I felt badly when you wrote that you were "soaking him in Pedialyte and liquid Calcium" because you're only wasting it, and it's not cheap.
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Re: Muscular Degeneration

Postby Chloe6894 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:21 am

Thank you for your response! It’s a shame that all that soaking time was a waste so I appreciate you clearing that up!
I ordered a the Fluker’s vitamin...https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006HX00X6/_e ... OSFC&psc=0

I will begin giving him that along with the calcium, orally.

Muchu made 1 year in November. He doesn’t roll on his back but he struggles to drag himself and lays on his arms.

I also ordered him Phoenix worms to begin feeding him. I have read that these are a good staple, any thoughts?

Thank you all for the support!
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