Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, or..?

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Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, or..?

Postby Aebrius » Wed May 01, 2019 6:55 am

Setup: Arcadia T5HO 12% @ approximately 16 inches above basking spot w/ reflector.
50w Floodlight for basking spot @ 98-106f, depending on time of day.
Small computer fan intake on upper right cold side, lots of ongoing circulation
-Above three are set to a 12/12 timer, which was adjusted for daylights savings approx 3-4 weeks ago.

Ceramic bulb w/ a temp controller set at 26.5c/79f, probe 2/3 of the way to cold side.
Four by two sized enclosure with closed off sides, ceramic tile base.

[Click image to enlarge]


He's around a year and a half. Diet generally consists of rotating vegetables with mainstays being squash, kale. Bell peppers, turnip greens, spinach, cabbage, carrot, and a few other occasionally. Very rarely some banana. Anything hard served thin peeled.

Used to eat crickets like a mad man, but got picky against them months ago. Salad daily with hornworms every couple days, usually 2-3 medium one at a time. He had some small superworms about a month ago, also one at a time. Unfortunately dubia and roaches are illegal here and I'm unable to source any at the moment. He generally goes nuts over hornworms, but ate one about four days ago and before that a single one three days prior. I've been feeding him squash baby food mixed with calcium and vitamins by having him lick it off his nose. All insects get the calcium and vitamins alternating too.

About a week or two ago I noticed that he seemed to be straining when he was pooping, and it would last sometimes up to twenty or thirty seconds. He gets a bath every two-three days and usually poops in it, and still has been going even while straining and seeming lethargic. He's been getting daily baths since his behavior change, which he always and still loves, but hasn't gone in two days now. He was black bearding while pooping from this at first, but hasn't in the past week.

He's more responsive when in the bathtub and warmed up, and occasionally moves around his tank from one resting spot to the next. He's usually got his eyes closed, and even when they're opened it almost looks like he's squinting. His actual eyes still look bright and glossy though, and there is no discharge from any holes that there shouldn't be. No discoloration on the skin anywhere, or in the mouth. Vent is clean.


I brought him into the vet two days ago after coming home and seeing him lying on his stick in the middle of the day looking very unwell. She gave him a physical and said that he's a little smaller than she might expect overall (Not weight wise, overall size), that she can feel his clavicle more than typically, and that it felt like he has a moderate distention in his lower bowel which she suggested could be an impaction. She didn't do blood work, didn't do a fecal (something about cryo being too common now and her not knowing how to look for that?), said that the $600 x-ray would be done with a broken machine that usually comes out as a blur, and that he seemed fine other than his eyes being so tired looking and closed. Was basically a waste of money telling me nothing and making me more worried.

My girlfriend has been in hospital for the past three weeks, so most of my time has been spent there. I'm coming home whenever I can to take care of my little guy, but I don't really have an idea what I should be doing. I don't know if he's lethargic from a passed impaction, an ongoing one, if he's sick or sleeping, and the vet that I went to is the best one here for reptiles- So there isn't another option there either.

I'm hoping it's brumation related with it being so cold here still and having recently changed his light timing, but if that's the case I should be leaving him alone and not feeding/bathing him as the vet recommended. He's not looking for darkness or hiding away though, so I'm thinking that might get rid of that option? He still spends most of his time around his basking spot or on the upper middle where he gets UV/heat still. I only saw him change spots 5-6 times total yesterday, outside of when I moved him. Otherwise he's in one spot with his eyes closed.

[Click image to enlarge]
Image
[Click image to enlarge]
Image


Any advice that could be given would be a miracle right now, I don't know what to do. Thank you!
Last edited by Aebrius on Wed May 01, 2019 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby claudiusx » Wed May 01, 2019 7:22 am

Hi there,

Sorry you are both going through this.

I do think bloodwork would be a good idea. And it might be a good idea to test for adv too if your vet can.

With the straining to poo and the black beard, it does lead you to assume there is something going on gastrointestinaly.

A couple things I want to point out with your setup, and a few questions:

How much time per day does he spend basking?
The spot he chooses the most often, what is the temp there?

Your uvb bulb is a good one. You said it goes diagonally across the tank. So does it basically cover 100% of the length of the tank?

I noticed in your picture your heat bulb is angled. This can lead to eye issues as the bulb will be shinning directly in their eyes. This is why it is recommended to have the basking bulb mounted overhead so that it is shinning directly downwards. His eye issues could be related to that.

It is unlikely to be brumation. Most dragons woke up from brumation a month ago. It would be very unnatural for him to be brumating right now.

-Brandon
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby KarrieRee » Wed May 01, 2019 7:39 am

And I was wondering if the UVB should be closer - its a T5 and 16 inches from basking - I would try lowering it to around 8-10 inches and see if they doesnt make a difference---
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby Aebrius » Wed May 01, 2019 7:46 am

claudiusx wrote:How much time per day does he spend basking?
The spot he chooses the most often, what is the temp there?


The spot is measured with a laser thermometer, 103f there right now.
He usually spend 20-30% of the day there, 50% on top of the log in the back towards the hotter end of it, and the rest either out front on the stick, over cooling off where the fan blows in, or rarely the rock in the closest right corner to the front.


claudiusx wrote:Your uvb bulb is a good one. You said it goes diagonally across the tank. So does it basically cover 100% of the length of the tank?


Since it's a T5HO I have it only covering 25-30%, it's placed above his hot spot and furthest it can go to the left.

claudiusx wrote:I noticed in your picture your heat bulb is angled. This can lead to eye issues as the bulb will be shinning directly in their eyes. This is why it is recommended to have the basking bulb mounted overhead so that it is shinning directly downwards. His eye issues could be related to that.


His actual bulb is only at a ~80 degree angle down on his hot spot and behind the one you can see, the front is the ceramic that keeps his overall temps regulated. I live in Newfoundland, it's currently snowing outside.


He's in the bath now and his eyes are squinting but opened, and he's actually moving around a little and very white. He's pretty white normally when he's with me, but since I've been back home today he's hardly opened his eyes at all.

:(
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby Aebrius » Wed May 01, 2019 7:48 am

KarrieRee wrote:And I was wondering if the UVB should be closer - its a T5 and 16 inches from basking - I would try lowering it to around 8-10 inches and see if they doesnt make a difference---
Karrie


Sorry, I forgot to say it's a T5HO with a medium end reflector on it. I'll update that in the top post.

That should make a difference though, correct?
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby KarrieRee » Wed May 01, 2019 8:01 am

I would try lowering the UVB and get the basking bulb pointing downward
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby Aebrius » Wed May 01, 2019 9:47 am

KarrieRee wrote:I would try lowering the UVB and get the basking bulb pointing downward
Karrie


I've got his UV lowered down, but that still doesn't explain anything happening with him. Particularly if brumation is unlikely, as someone said above.
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby KarrieRee » Wed May 01, 2019 10:03 am

Get your lighting straightened out and see what his behavior does -- does he have any signs of drainage coming out of his eyes like maybe showing signs of eye infection? are they swollen?
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby claudiusx » Wed May 01, 2019 10:19 am

Hi there,

A t5 in a reflector doesnt need to be that close. Where you had it was ok. I personally would've put it a bit further away but I dont think that's an issue here. I was going down the track of you providing potentially too much uvb, which is why I asked to make sure it didnt span your whole length.

Sorry, based on the picture and the beam of light it really looks like the fixture at that angle is the basking bulb lol.

Like mentioned, bloodwork would be a help at this point. I dont believe an xray would provide much use in this case, especially with a broken one, but bloodwork and a fecal should be done imo. Any vet worth the clothes they wear should be able to look at a fecal test and determine if, what, and how many parasites are present.

How often is he pooping? And how does it look when he does?

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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby Aebrius » Wed May 01, 2019 11:11 am

KarrieRee wrote:Get your lighting straightened out and see what his behavior does -- does he have any signs of drainage coming out of his eyes like maybe showing signs of eye infection? are they swollen?
Karrie


No swelling or discharge. It's not like he's closing his eyes because the lids are hurt, which I've seen before, it's more so that he's just sleeping or is very lethargic and sleepy otherwise. He was at least awake in the tub, but once he was back in his house he moved a little up his basking spot onto the log and went to sleep again.

These two pictures are close up of his eyes from when he was in the bath earlier so I could get a better view.
[Click image to enlarge]


He's in the bath again now and hardly opening them at all, though.


claudiusx wrote:I was going down the track of you providing potentially too much uvb, which is why I asked to make sure it didnt span your whole length.

Sorry, based on the picture and the beam of light it really looks like the fixture at that angle is the basking bulb lol.

Like mentioned, bloodwork would be a help at this point. I dont believe an xray would provide much use in this case, especially with a broken one, but bloodwork and a fecal should be done imo.

How often is he pooping? And how does it look when he does?

-Brandon


Totally understandable, it's better to assume it's wrong and fix it than to assume it's right and leave it improper.

He hasn't pooped now in a few days, and all of them over the past couple of weeks have been fairly small. He's also only really been eating a little baby food. It's formed well and tight, and has a clear and visible urate. Not mucusy or slimy or broken up, and I've been feeling them for any kind of impaction evidence; they've all been digested and soft.

He was straining for a while, and a couple times only a small urate came out. Twice in the bath today and hasn't gone still. I've got to head back to the hospital, so I'll give him another tomorrow. I'll still be checking here later though, thank you for all the help so far!
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby KarrieRee » Wed May 01, 2019 11:17 am

Ok so maybe the UVB isnt the culprit here -- the Arcadia is a great bulb- just keep an eye on that now since you moved it closer to him -- I dont want you to over UVB him--- usually the lighting has a big role in their behavior and their digestive so maybe its time for a vet visit-- but I am hoping you got the basking bulb so that its downward now-- let us know how hes doing please
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby Aebrius » Thu May 02, 2019 5:25 am

Update:

I got home today about a half hour ago, he was in the front of his tank with his eyes closed and splayed out. He reacted a little when I opened the door and took him out, but didn't open his eyes. Once in the warm water he reacted weird and moved very twitchily for a minute all over, then went back to not really moving. He was a little more reactive towards the end, barely, and did a poop which I have in a bag now. It was a little brighter than usual, but I figure that's the light orange baby food maybe?

I overwarmed the water just a little at the end (He's very picky with water temp) and he splashed and jumped around like he normally would for a minute. This was just before his poop.

I got him to eat a little more of the baby food with calcium supplement mixed into it, but it's almost like halfway through licking it off he'll forget I'm doing it and I'll have to poke at his mouth to get him to start again. Very little still, though.

I picked up a few small hornworms yesterday to see if he reacted. At first he saw it and moved like he might eat it; Instead he just closed his eyes and went back to sleep :/

He's still trying to head bob every so often though, bless his little heart.
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby KarrieRee » Thu May 02, 2019 5:35 am

I would get him into the vet-- a good reptile vet if you have one
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby Aebrius » Thu May 02, 2019 5:57 am

KarrieRee wrote:I would get him into the vet-- a good reptile vet if you have one
Karrie


Up in my original post:

I brought him into the vet two days ago after coming home and seeing him lying on his stick in the middle of the day looking very unwell. She gave him a physical and said that he's a little smaller than she might expect overall (Not weight wise, overall size), that she can feel his clavicle more than typically, and that it felt like he has a moderate distention in his lower bowel which she suggested could be an impaction. She didn't do blood work, didn't do a fecal (something about cryo being too common now and her not knowing how to look for that?), said that the $600 x-ray would be done with a broken machine that usually comes out as a blur, and that he seemed fine other than his eyes being so tired looking and closed. Was basically a waste of money telling me nothing and making me more worried.
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Re: Lethargic Beardie: Vet suggested impaction, brumation, o

Postby KarrieRee » Thu May 02, 2019 6:31 am

Sorry I must of missed that one-- can you get a second opinion from another vet--- ? I ended up taking mine to a different vet who was more thorough --- and I mean thorough---
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