How do i get my beardie to eat?

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How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Nessiedrakosmom » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:58 pm

Hello,
My beardie Drako was recently taken to the vet and doc said calcium deficiency is a definite. Hes home after given a "jumpstart" of a calcium injection and oral supplement. After the first day he ate some greens, but still turned his nose at crickets or superworms.

Problem areas: Recently changed him from calcium sand to ecocarpet. Changed a 10.0 uvb compact to a fluorescent Resptisun UVB 10.0 24watt 24"bulb. Recently got better gutloading diet for crickets.

Were going on day 3 after the vet and day 10 since hes stopped eating. Im weighing him daily to see if he loses weight on docs orders and soaking him 5-10 minutes daily, also on docs orders. He is very weak and doesnt use his back legs, they seem swollen and tender if i touch or move them he gets upset with me. I have 4 days until i can get him back to the vet for a fecal and another check up. (Seems like doc is always taking a mini vacation when i need him)

In the meantime I havent seen any improvement and he still wont eat. As hes not necessarily losing weight im not ready to do an emergency appointment yet.

What i would like to know is what can i do to get some calcium in him in the meantime. I have baby food green beans that i can give him. Reptical dust with and without D3 on hand. I also have a syringe i can feed him with. Question is what all can i mix together to number one help his appetite increase and number two give him calcium? Anything and everything at this point would be helpful and much appreciated.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby AHBD » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:50 pm

Try some raw honey mixed with pureed or cooked/mashed squash [ or baby food squash or sweet potato ] Add a bit of water + your calcium . Beardies usually like honey.

Can you get hornworms ? Most beardies love those. Another thing to try is to smash an insect until the guts come out the back and rub it lightly on his snout.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Nessiedrakosmom » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:24 pm

I can get hornworms! I didnt think he would eat them and theyre expensive and get big fast so didnt want them to go to waste but ill try it. Thank you
Maybe something sweet and tastes good like honey will make him a lil happier with me. Thank you so much.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby FrankTheBeardie223 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:35 am

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a professional. Hi. I am so sorry about your beardie :( . I had a bearded dragon named Frank, and sadly he was not taken care of at a certain chain pet store, and he had MBD ( metabolic bone disease ). Although Frank did pass away, I did notice that his bones were getting stronger, so it might have been something else wrong with him too. However, some things that helped were medicine, injections through needles, and just making sure he got a lot of calcium. If your vet didn't assign any medicine to your beardie, what you can do is take some bearded dragon safe veggies and greens, and a good amount of calcium, and put it in a food processor or blender and blend it till it is able to be easily sucked into a medicine syringe.( Make sure you don't add TOO much calcium, as this can lead to problems). Now comes the difficult part. If your beardie wont voluntarily eat the mixture, You might have to carefully open their mouth. I recommend doing this with supervision ( unless you are old enough to do it yourself ). Be VERY careful though because if they have a calcium deficiency, their bones will be brittle and thin so if you aren't cautious you can hurt the bearded dragon. When feeding them the mixture, make sure you only do a little at a time so they can swallow it. Again, please note that I am not a professional or a vet. That is just what I did to help my beardie. Please update us on how he/she is doing. I hope with all my heart that your little dragon gets better.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby EllenD » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:45 pm

You said you did get him the 22"/24' Reptisun 10.0 T5HO UVb tube and fixture? If so then that's great, as it doesn't matter how much calcium you get in him at all if he's not under a strong, adequate UVb tube that is mounted unobstructed and within the correct distance from his Basking Spot/Platform, and without this proper UVB/UVA light all the Calcium that he eats in his food and in the supplements/injections will just be excreted...So I hope that you have the new T5HO UVb tube mounted within at least 11" of his Basking spot/platform, that it's on every day for at least 13-14 hours, and I would also consider mounting it underneath any mesh lid to the tank. Even though it's a T5 strength tube, he is in a situation where he needs as much very strong UVb and UVA light as possible, and the mesh lid is blocking 40% of the UVB light. So you may want to consider poking 4 holes in the mesh over the Hot Side of the tank, and then using long zip ties, wire, twine, shoelaces, etc. to strap the entire new tube fixture to the underside of the mesh lid.

Also, does the new T5 tube fixture you got have a Metal Reflector inside it that is behind the UVb tube, so that the UVB and UVA light is reflected throughout the tank?
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Also, do you have both the new T5 UVB tube AND your bright-white colored Basking Bulb both right alongside each other (not end-to-end, but right next to each other), both over the Hot Side of the tank and basically "sharing" the top of the Hot Side of the tank, with his Basking Spot/Platform positioned directly underneath both of these lights, so that he's getting both lights while basking?

Another good question here is how many days has he been under the new T5 UVB tube? It's going to take a while for his body absorbing the UVB and UVA light every day, all day long, and then taking in adequate calcium daily and now being able to actually absorb it and use it for him to start showing marked improvement...it will not happen overnight, and it would not have started happening after the vet gave him the liquid oral/injection of calcium UNLESS he was put under the new T5 UVB tube immediately after. That's why I'm asking how long you've had the new UVB tube set-up over him, because if it just arrived and he's only been under it for a few days or even a week, then it's not been long enough for him to show a huge improvement. A lot of people (and vets) don't understand the concept of them needing strong, adequate UVB/UVA light IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO ABSORB AND USE THE STRONG CALCIUM THEY ARE GIVING THE DRAGON; It's an ALL-OR-NONE situation, they must have BOTH the strong, adequate UVB tube AND the strong Calcium at the same time in order for it to start helping/working...
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Nessiedrakosmom » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:33 pm

Thank you guys for answering.

I did recently get that fixture and light. I do have all things correct as i triple checked it all very thoroughly. The fixture does have a reflector behind it. But i will be mounting under the mesh today. It is next to the basking lamp so hes getting the rays while basking.

The lights and fixtures only came in two days ago but i have been keeping the lights on longer than normal. I do know its not an overnight thing but i actually havent seen anything improve. In fact hes gotten quite worse. He still wont eat anything. And this morning he was too weak to get himself on his basking perch. He has a very distinct lump on his front right shoulder. And hes starting to not use his front legs as much either.

Ive heard about reptiaid. Would that be something i could use?? Are there good reviews of it? I mostly want him to eat because with the right lights i can only give him supplements and calcium if hes eating.

I do have an appointment set for 3 days out, for another calcium injection most likely. Also a fecal and overall checkup. My biggest worry is making sure hes not too far gone by the time that rolls around.. I am able to get him to eat fairly easily with the syringe. He just looks so miserable and i can stand idly by doing nothing to help him.

Also doc took some xrays and said he didn't see anything that would suggest MBD. He did say calcium though but didn't feel the aggresive approach was necessary.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Nessiedrakosmom » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:59 pm

Drako (my boyfriend insists we spell it that way btw, because it looks like the word drake for type of dragon) finally ate some crickets today!! Yaaay! They were all gut loaded and dusted with calcium!! Im so happy and his color already is coming back!! Hes unhappy that i put that light under the screen but its only temporary until hes looking better. Unfortunately it ended up a lower than i wanted and its a little bit above eye level for him. I turned off his basking light for a sec to see where all the light is going with it like that and it appears to be illuminating his whole perch and beside it as well. Do you think that is okay?

His beard isnt black and hes not showing stress lines. Hes been doing this thing lately since hes been sick that he opens his mouth, and it looks like gaping like the normal beardie behavior but wider. I can see his teeth and what i would compare to tonsils (do they have tonsils?) Im assuming thats a GTFO face because hes done that when i touch his legs which seem to be hurting him a bit.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby EllenD » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:17 pm

How close in inches is the now-unobstructed T5 UVB tube to him on his basking platform? That T5HO tube is quite strong, and if it's right above his head, like within 3-4", then it's too close, you risk eye damage/blindness. Think of it this way: A weaker, T8 UVB tube must be within 6" of their Basking Platform, but the much stronger T5 UVB tube must only be within 11" of their Basking Platform to emit the same amount of UVB/UVA light that the T8 UVB tube does at 6" away. That's how strong they are. Without seeing a photo of the setup I can't really give you any advice, other than using a different Basking Spot/Platform underneath both lights that isn't as tall/high, that way he won't be that close to the light. Realize that the distance of his Basking Bulb from him is also a factor, because the closer his Basking Spot/Platform is to the Basking Bulb, the higher is Basking Spot Surface Temperature is going to be, which should be no higher than 110 degrees F maximum. Any higher than that can be lethal. He's mouth gaping to regulate his body temperature, and this is completely normal, but if you haven't remeasured the Basking Bulb Surface Temperature with a Digital Probe Thermometer since you set up the lights this way, I suggest doing that ASAP before anything else. Be sure to allow the Probe to sit right on his Basking Spot/Platform for at least 20-30 minutes before reading the temperature to ensure that it's accurate and heated all the way up to temperature...

If you can post a photo of the new set-up it would help immensely...
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby AHBD » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:43 pm

Your uvb is too close, needs to be on top of the screen.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Nessiedrakosmom » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:28 pm

Alright, so I moved the bulb back on top of the screen... is 6" away okay on top of a screen?

Here is view of his dome with 100w basking light. The deep dome beside it is currently housing CHE and nothing else.
The UVB fixture is in front, and as you can see sharing the hot side of his tank.

[Click image to enlarge]


Here is a view from the front to gauge how far he is from his lights and overall setup of tank

[Click image to enlarge]


Reading of the thermometer behind his basking spot. Which I dont base my temps solely off of that but it does help in winter to know if its a little low. Which right now it is because the fire went out while i was at work.

Also what is wrong with an IR gun?? I dont really have the money to go out and buy a thermometer like you guys said just to take temps for my beardies...

[Click image to enlarge]


Also i do know what gaping looks like, but he will open his mouth quite wide and show his teeth when i get close sometimes. It will be hes sitting normal and when i go to pet him he opens his mouth like that. Which i don't mistreat him as i hope you guys can tell since I've been all over this forum trying to get him to feel better. So im hoping its just that hes not feeling so good right now that hes doing that.

I also dont have a way of moving that light 11" away and keep it unobstructed... so im really hoping that 6" and on top of mesh is okay. Because thats what I have read.
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Drache613 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:57 pm

Hello,

I think that will be fine, at 6 inches above on top of the screen with the basking light placed
right by it.
What are your temperatures measuring with the IR gun? As long as they are accurate that
type of thermometer should be fine right now. How is he liking his lighting?
He sure looks comfortable there!
Let us know how he is doing.

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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Nessiedrakosmom » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:39 pm

Its been a bit since i posted but i see improvement in drako! His back legs are weak and shaky when he tries to walk/ explore but hes taking steps and trying to move those muscles. The UVB light seems to be helping. And he seems to like it ill usually find him out from his basking spot but still under the UVB. I am using a calcium gluconate from the vet twice daily for him. Which as hes getting better hes fighting me more when hes getting his meds. A calcium glubionate is on its way to help improve faster. Hes eating regularly now as well as pooping. Currently cuddling under warm fuzzy blankets. Thank you all for all your help! ❤
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Drache613 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:55 pm

Hello,

That is great news about Drako! :D
It sounds like he is working hard to get stronger. Remember it does take a little bit of
time for his calcium levels to build back up once they have been depleted. The good
UVB Lighting & supplementation will definitely help him out.
A good way to get him to exercise is to do water therapy on him, to help build up his
muscles. That is if he doesn't mind baths. Just try to get him to move around some &
swim which takes stress off of his joints & bones if they were weakened.
It's a terrific sign that he is fighting you more on taking the meds!
Keep us posted on him!

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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby Nessiedrakosmom » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:20 pm

Hello again all!
Drako is still showing improvement! Doc suggested a calcium glubionate supplement instead of my calcium gluconate. He said it would show better results faster than the supplement he gave me. I ordered some from Austral Gecko as it was really all I could find for reptiles. The only thing that worries me is that the second ingredient on this list is Corn Syrup. Is that okay for beardies to have? I mean it does not say high fructose but corn syrup is still sugar correct? This worries me as a twice daily supplement because too much sugar could bad
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Re: How do i get my beardie to eat?

Postby EllenD » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:44 pm

Is this a Reptile-Grade Calcium supplement? I'm questioning the Corn Syrup, because sugar is not good for them at all...Did you search for "Calcivet"? It's usually the liquid Calcium supplement that Certified Reptile Vets give out, but you can order it online without a prescription, and it's absolutely going to be the best available for him, as it's the standard for a Dragon with MBD.

I'm so glad he's doing better, it will take a long time for him to recover, and remember, not to bring you down or make you pessimistic, but he may not totally recover, he may always have weak legs (especially in his back end), and he may always walk with an unsteady gait. However, usually the issues like tremors, seizures, shaking, twitching, and a loss of depth perception when trying to eat do go away after time, typically it's the weakness in their back legs and the unsteady walking/falling over occasionally that may stay.

Just for your reference, I took in an 8 month old male last year from a very loving family who got him as a month old baby from Petco, and go horrible advice from the employee that sold him to them. He never had any UVB light at all, his temps were about 20-30 degrees too low, and all he was fed were mealworms. I had put an ad on my local Craigslist because I wanted to ad a second dragon, and I was offering an experienced, loving home for one that needed to be "rehomed", because there were literally around 100+ dragons on Craiglist for "rehoming" within 4 hours of me. I got probably 20 responses with people who had adult dragons, everything from totally healthy to almost dead, and no matter the condition or anything else, they all want hundreds of dollars as a "rehoming" fee, because they were including their "equipment" (which was usually junk). I think the cheapest one who contacted me wanted $150, most were around $300, even though they "Had to get rid of them ASAP" and "Only goes to an experienced, loving home", yeah right...Anyway, a lady contacts me finally about 2 weeks after I posted the ad, she lived about 3 and a half hours away from me, she was married with a 10 year old son and a 6 year old daughter, and they had purchased "Nix" for their son as a month old baby. He was now 8 months old and deathly ill, and they couldn't afford a vet bill at all. I actually tried to help her, I figured out right away that they had no UVB light, he was in a 10 gallon tank with a 25 watt red basking bulb, eating nothing but mealworms that he couldn't digest because his basking temp was around 75 degrees. He would flip onto his back when trying to walk on flat ground. I felt so badly for them and him, her son loved Nix so much, and she was constantly crying on the phone to me. Finally she asked me if there was any way I could take him in, and though I wasn't looking for a sick Dragon, I drove the 3 and a half hours that Saturday afternoon, and met her, her son and her daughter. They had gone out and purchased a Zilla Desert 50 UVB tube and fixture for him just the day before, so they loaded him and his 10 gallon tank, the lights, rocks, bowls, etc. into my truck, and the boy was begging me to save him, the mother just kept thanking me, didn't ask for a cent. So I drove the 3 and a half hours home on I-80 with Nix tucked inside my shirt...

Long story short Nix is not a year a 4 months old, and he's over 100 grams heavier, he no longer flips over at all, he can climb like a champ, he eats like a garbage disposal, he shed the drab gray and brown coat and is now a beautiful orange/tan/cream color. He had the worst bowel impaction of mealworm shells I've ever seen that took 2 weeks to pass, and he had MBD so bad that even my Certified Reptile Vet thought I might have to euthanize him. But now he's a new dragon. He still wobbles when he walks and his legs aren't very strong, and he's a bit stunted in overall size, but other than that he's doing great. It took a good 3 months under the same UVb tube you just bought for your guy along with Calcivet and Repashy Calcium Plus Multivitamin, along with lots of large BSFL worms and tons of veggies and greens (he loves peppers), and I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world...
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