Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

This forum is for urgent health concerns, where your beardie seems very ill and you need immediate help!

Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby MBrown » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:26 am

I know this is long so... TL;DR: Suspected MBD, found impaction; light sedation and enema, passed most of impaction; been lethargic with strange behavior since vet two days ago.
——————
Hi, I’ve looked for other discussions on this topic but I can’t find any. Joanna had some impaction due to loose substrate. (PLEASE REMOVE LOOSE SUBSTRATE FROM YOUR ENCLOSURES!!) I brought him into the vet because I suspected MBD due to a crawling behavior he had taken on. But when the vet did an exam, she found impaction and that his bone density was good. We ran bloodwork and a fecal sample and all else is normal, healthy and good according to those tests. So supposedly no MBD, just major discomfort from impaction.

We did a saline injection on Monday and a second one on Wednesday. I’ve been soaking him twice daily in warm water to help him pass this impaction but he hadn’t gone for me. On Wednesday, she recommended an enema to remove them. She also suggested sedation to make him more comfortable. I agreed and came back 6 hours later to pick Jo back up. She was excited and said the procedure went better than expected and that he had passed most of them. He was pretty drowsy on the car ride home, keeping his eyes closed and not lifting his head up, but had just come out of the procedure, so I wasn’t concerned.

It’s been a day and a half now (Friday morning) and Joanna is still pretty lethargic. I was giving him a bath yesterday in shallow water and he kept dropping his head. He let his nose go underwater. I waited just a moment and he never picked it up out of the water, so I gently shook him awake and pulled his head up. He let it slip under again after that. I figured that he was tired from all the chaos of the vet and the sedation, but now I’m worried, as he’s still showing these signs. He’s been inactive for a while, but wouldn’t even hold his head up yesterday or this morning.

I’ve had Joanna ever since he was a baby. He’s going to be 7 years old in August. His basking temp is about 105° and his cold side is 85°. We live in an attic of an old home, so it stays warm up here (80-90°s lately). I’m using a 160W UVB bulb (new in February) and a 125W ceramic heating coil. He has a slate tile and reptile carpet in his tank. His humidity over the past few days has ranged from 50-70%, the vet requested I purchase an automatic mister and keep the humidity around 70% until he passes what’s left of this impaction. I’m still adjusting the settings to maintain the right humidity.

Lately, he’s been refusing more and more food. He’s always had a slight distain for greens unless I take half a blackberry and crush it over them (his favorite), but he’s been rejecting food even more so lately. When I suspected MBD, I began feeding natural sweet potato baby food with calcium mixed in. It was always hit or miss if he’d be interested, but generally would eat some off a spoon. Until he passes these, the vet recommends leaving the calcium out. He likes these Fluker’s brand “adult reptile diet” meal that I call Cheetos; I’ve tossed them on his salad to trick him into eating some collard greens. But he refused them today, even after I soaked them in water. He’ll eat lazy feeders like meal worms but doesn’t want to run to catch the faster ones. All the local pet stores have been out of hornworms, but I’m going to call around again today to see if they have them, since meal worms are harder and not very nutritional. He ate a couple dubias Wednesday morning, but I really had to help. I don’t want an accidental cockroach infestation in my apartment.

Has anyone ever had their beardie sedated before? What is the recovery time? Can he still be resting from all the chaos of the vets? In addition to not holding his head up and keeping his eyes closed, he’s had his mouth open most of the time that he’s awake, but it’s not too hot. He’s laying on my chest right now with his mouth open and it’s maybe only 75° in my room. He’s also begun doing a slight “gulping,” he’ll barely puff his beard out and then quickly pull it back in. It sounds like some sort of breathing, but no harsh sounds.

Any advice? I’m nervous he’s going downhill.

- Mama Mic

EDIT: 160W UVB bulb, not 125W
Last edited by MBrown on Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
MBrown
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:38 am
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:37 am

I am sorry to hear about Jo--- enemas I have heard are very hard on them --- but the UVB I am wondering about I’m using a 125W UVB bulb ??????????? What brand? Where is it in the tank ?
Karrie
KarrieRee
Extreme Poster
 
Posts: 3908
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:24 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby MBrown » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:56 am

Thanks for the reply Karrie!

I was incorrect, it’s not 125W, it’s a 160W ExoTerra Solar Glo bulb. It’s about 2 feet from the floor of the tank inside a dome fixture. Jo also gets to sit in the sunny window most days, or we go out in the yard if it’s nice. We live in Michigan, so it’s not always sunny.

His tank is usually in my living room on an interior wall away from windows (I’ve lived here for a year and a half). My apartment is in the attic of an old home. This morning, I moved him into my bedroom since I’m planning to paint a wall in the living room. He’s on an inside wall in here too.
MBrown
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:38 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:37 am

Here some info on the UVB-
Which UVB light should I use?
The best UVB light is a ReptiSun 10.0 fluorescent tube HO (Or Arcardia 12% in the UK). Compact or coil bulbs do not emit the proper amount of UVB light for a bearded dragon, and should not be used. Other brands, such as the Zilla Desert Series and ReptiGlo have been known to cause eye problems and other health issues with bearded dragons, and should be avoided. The reason that some UVB lights (Zilla, ReptiGlo, coils/compacts, ect.) are considered dangerous is because the wavelength of UVB that they emit is shorter and more intense than the wavelength of the "safe" lights (ReptiSun, Arcadia). UVB lights should be replaced every 6 months. The T5’s are a strong bulb and only need to be replaced once a year – the T 8 every 6 months--- where as the T 8 are not as strong—they need to be placed inside the tank the T 5 10.0 bulb approx 10-11 inches from basking spot – the T 8 approx 8-10 inches from basking spot—the cover needs to be off the bulb for full effect of the UVB rays--
I just sent that for you --- I am not sure about those Solor Glo bulbs --- it may be ok-- I am gonna let some others weigh in on that bulb---- but the sun shes getting thru the window is also filtered -- they really need direct sunlight but its good for scenery--- so w/ that said I am gonna let some others on here give some advice on whats going on w/ her
Karrie
KarrieRee
Extreme Poster
 
Posts: 3908
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:24 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby MBrown » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:07 am

Thanks for the info - I just went to a pet store for some worms and took a peek at all the bulbs they offer, but none of them are like you’ve described. I’ll look some up online when I get home this evening.
MBrown
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:38 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby Drache613 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:50 pm

Hello,

Sorry your boy isn't doing well.
The Solar Glo MVB 160 watt is an ok bulb, very nice & bright & it does provide good heating
as well. At 2 feet from him however, it wont give a lot of UVB exposure though. I would
consider using a tube bulb in combination with the MVB for a more balanced UVB exposure.
What type of supplementation are you using for him, a calcium powder, vitamin powder, etc?
Can you post some pictures of him, along with the tank setup too.
Also, please do not let the vet do anymore enemas to him. She could have hurt him. Did he
start gulping or holding his mouth open after the vet visit then or had he been doing that before
you took him to the vet?
Did they do a blood test on him or x-rays?
For impaction, a softer food diet should help a lot. We usually recommend sugar free apple
sauce mixed with canned pumpkin or squash baby food, with a drop or two of coconut or olive
oil, daily to help out.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
User avatar
Drache613
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 38692
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:33 pm
Location: May, Texas

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby MBrown » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:58 am

Hi Tracie, thanks for getting back to me!

I have been using a calcium + D3 powder on his food regularly (daily for a while, scared of MBD) and a multivitamin less frequently. We did do an x-ray and ran bloodwork and a fecal sample. I could see the impaction on the x-rays; she said his bone density is good, but he still doesn’t want to hold himself up. All his levels came back normal except for a muscle enzyme, she said that was likely due to his inactivity. He was holding his mouth open a lot prior to the vet visit; I previously assumed he was hot since my apt gets so warm (90°s) plus the heat from his tank. The gulping is new since the visits.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been hand feeling him a diet of natural sweet potato or butternut squash baby food with calcium mixed in and the occasional roach. I’ve switched to hornworms to up his water intake and only recently found out about the olive oil, so started doing that too. I’ve been giving him warm baths daily at the request of the vet, but he hasn’t pooped for me yet.

I used to have a nice driftwood piece in there for him to get within a foot or so of the bulb, but since he’s lost mobility, I’ve removed it to let more light into the tank. I’ll post photos of his current setup later. I can lower the bulb into the tank. What distance would you recommend?

Thanks for your help!
- Mic
MBrown
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:38 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby AHBD » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:54 am

Hi there, how long had he not made a poo before you had the enema ? Putting him under sedation was a drastic step. Can you post a few pictures of Johanna ? Here's how :

https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ Then use the XIMG to upload them
AHBD
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 23052
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:20 am
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby MBrown » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:28 am

Here are some photos of Joanna (link below). I’ve lowered the UV light to be about a foot from the floor. On the left side, there is slate below the carpet to help hold the heat; in the evening, I replace the UV bulb with the ceramic heating coil to maintain temperature. This is the new tank setup as of a week ago. I previously had calcium sand in there but removed it all as soon as we found the impaction. The mister is new as well. The tank dimensions are roughly 5’x2’x3’

Link to photos:
https://www.dropbox.com/sc/ge39p1e5jg5o5f7/AABZj9GUd-MkNNUQ4imOSplRa
MBrown
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:38 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby AHBD » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:40 am

Poor Jo, you can tell he's not well but his actual body condition looks great. How is he today ? And again, how long had he not made a poo before the enema was done ? BTW, a 160 watt bulb will be too hot that close, back it up to about 16 -18 " away. Otherwise he will almost certainly get burned.
AHBD
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 23052
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:20 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby MBrown » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:05 am

Thanks for letting me know, I’ll move the bulb back up after work and find a better middle ground. If you can see in the photo, there is a second hook that the cord is fed through. I usually have the lamp hanging from there, but the hook is bendable, so I can adjust it.

Poor baby hasn’t been moving, he refuses to use his legs (why I originally suspected MBD - and still do). I think it had been about two weeks or so since he had last pooped for me, I had been giving him warm baths (still am daily). When I brought him into the vet last Monday, he pooped after she had palpated his belly, but it was quite hard because of the substrate. It was two days later, on Wednesday that she urgently suggested and performed the enema.

He’s more alert and awake than previously and he’s eaten a bit as well. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he ate two hornworms, this morning he only ate one. He’s refusing anything else I offer him. He’s not moving, just lying there, apathetically. Sometimes he’ll rub his chin back and forth on the carpet or almost shove his nose down into it, it looks like he’s doing it to scoot himself. :(

I wanted to see whether he was refusing to use his legs or if he just couldn’t use them; so this weekend, I momentarily flipped him to his back. He moved his back leg (I was glad he had the ability to) but he didn’t even attempt to flip back over, he just laid there. It made me so sad, I felt like he had resigned. He hasn’t held himself up or moved on his own in a while, maybe a week and a half. Sometimes he’ll lay there with his front arm down by his side, palm face up. He tends to favor one side, I can’t quite figure out his behavior. The x-ray showed that bone density is good and bloodwork showed that calcium levels are as well, so I’m just confused. And sad.

I’m questioning what his quality of life must be like... I don’t know what to do for him.

Thank you all for your replies and advice - I appreciate your help and support. It’s been a tough journey for both of us.
MBrown
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:38 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby AHBD » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:21 am

It all must be so difficult for you, esp. now . :( Would you be able to take him out in the sun, sitting him in the grass ? The extra uvb plus stimulation of being outside might help. I wish you would have posted here before the enema, since you said he WAS able to poo before that he would have passed the rest just with extra hydration and natural laxatives like baby food squash, sweet potato, green bean , raw honey, olive oil. An enema is harsh and the sedation on top has him in this condition.

On the positive side, it's great that he ate a hornworm, that's progress. ! Hopefully he will regain some strength again.
AHBD
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 23052
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:20 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby MBrown » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:52 am

I definitely can do that. I’ve been letting him sit in the sun through an open window (with just a screen) every day as well.

I felt so pressured at the vet when she suggested the enema; I was pretty hesitant because it seemed very drastic. I was only bringing him in for a fluid injection to help rehydrate him, she asked if he had gone since he had last been in, two days before. When I told her no, she gave me no more than 5 minutes to decide whether or not to do the enema that day or wait a week and a half to even see her again. She really pushed that I have it done AND that I sedate him, because it would be more comfortable for him. She hadn’t even mentioned it before then; she said if I didn’t do it, he would likely need surgery. (To be honest, I don’t think surgery for him is an option because of his state; I feel that chance of recovery is low and I’ve already spent over $1000 on vet bills in the last week.) I felt so pressured and unsure. The enema removed the impaction for the most part, but now I’m worried about what damage may have been done. I’m not so sure I trust her anymore, she’s the second vet I’ve seen for him and the first one was no better.
MBrown
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:38 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby AHBD » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:31 am

Yea, the vet should have waited because you said your beardie poo'd during the stomach palpating, that shows it would have come out naturally. But again, he may pick up some strength now hopefully since the ordeal is over.
AHBD
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 23052
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:20 am

Re: Lethargic, Not Holding Head Up After Sedation

Postby Drache613 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:41 pm

Hello,

How is your boy doing this evening?
I am so sorry he is having such a hard time! I agree, the vets can definitely pressure you which
I completely disagree with. Reptiles recover very slowly so you have to give them time to get
better. The sedation + enema was not the correct procedure I don't think. It seems like it's done
more harm than good.
Try to keep him comfy & maintain his tank at night, around 80, to help boost his immune system.
I hope he starts to feel better soon. Keep us posted on him.

Tracie
User avatar
Drache613
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 38692
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:33 pm
Location: May, Texas
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Next

Return to Beardie ER

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jenniw13