Not an RI, Abscess & Jaw Fracture.

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Not an RI, Abscess & Jaw Fracture.

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:52 pm

Okay so, in August Pancake went through a really big shed. I was giving him a bath around mid to late august to help with his itchiness, and he ended up dunking his nose in the water (to itch his nose on the bottom of the tub) and Im fairly certain he aspirated some water when that happened. A few days later he started making popping noises when he was breathing, and had some bubbles coming out of his mouth. I took him to the vet last week, and the vet said he has a respiratory infection. He didn't run a blood test to determine the bacteria because he said Pancake's breathing rate was too high, plus his mouth is pale/seems on the dehydrated side. He wont eat on his own, I gave been syringe feeding him critical care as per the vet's suggestion, and using a syringe to give him water and exo terra electrolytes.

The vet gave him an injection for a "broad spectrum antibiotic," which is supposed to stay in his system for 12 days. On Saturday and Sunday" there was a noticeable improvement, no heavy or noisy breathing, even interested in his food. Monday afternoon and today he's back to square one. Monday morning the vet said for me to report his progress by the end of the week. I really dont know what to do because his mouth still looks pale, which means they still cant do a blood test Im assuming? Ive read these horror stories about RIs and I'm really freaking out about it. He is still alert, no black beards. I will definitely be bringing him back to the vet once the 12 days are up for the antibiotic, I guess I'm just hoping it isn't too late to treat it 😥

Based on other beardie owners who have dealt with respiratory infections, how do you make sure the treatment helps? Or prevent the symptoms from returning, like they did with Pancake? I have warmer temperatures for him at night, and I havent given him any baths since the nose under water incident.
Last edited by Blackenedsabbath on Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby CooperDragon » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:56 am

Can you post some current photos of him? I'm not sure why a pale mouth would prevent a blood draw (which happens from the base of the tail). A mouth swab and culture of the mucous may have been enough to determine if there is an RI. I'd be cautious about offering antibiotics without knowing what you are targeting, especially for an extended period of time. It's good that he isn't showing a black beard. Is he acting lethargic or losing weight?
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:51 pm

CooperDragon wrote:Can you post some current photos of him? I'm not sure why a pale mouth would prevent a blood draw (which happens from the base of the tail). A mouth swab and culture of the mucous may have been enough to determine if there is an RI. I'd be cautious about offering antibiotics without knowing what you are targeting, especially for an extended period of time. It's good that he isn't showing a black beard. Is he acting lethargic or losing weight?


They were saying his mouth being pale means dehydration, and I'm assuming it would be dangerous to do the blood draw if he's dehydrated (I have been giving him water with a syringe and horn worms for extra hydration).

It was a single injection, he wasn't prescribed any oral antibiotics or anything beyond that; I spoke to the owner of a nearby reptile store as he takes his personal reptiles along the in-store ones to the same vet (this vet is the only available reptile vet for a very wide area), and said that when they brought a beardie in for an RI they received the same injection and it took the full 12 days for it clear up.

I was curious about whether or not a culture would have been possible as well, if he needs to go back after the 12 days I will definitely inquire about it. He hasn't eaten on his own (apart from certain bugs) for three weeks, he lost 40g (300g down to 260g), mainly due to not eating on his own and I had tried to see if it was just stubbornness/grumpiness due to shedding for the first two weeks before I intervened. I haven't had him outside of his tank as often as usual because my house is 22C and I didn't want it to make the RI worse. He is alert, he was trying to chase my highlighter while I was doing homework next to his tank, went crazy when he saw his feeding tongs, but if nobody is near his tank he just kind of hangs out on his cave or on his log (which is pretty normal for him).

He is asleep right now so I can't get a picture (I will take and upload some actually helpful pictures tomorrow), but this is one from this afternoon, he was hopping around in his tank.
[Click image to enlarge]


The humidity on the warm side of his tank is 43%, on the cool side it's 55%. His basking temperature is at 105F.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:42 am

He looks pretty healthy in that photo. I would be cautious about administering further meds. A better indicator of hydration is to look at the water content of their poop. If it doesn't look dried out then they are probably getting enough hydration. If it comes out with a small bit of excess water, even better.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:53 pm

I just want to add an update, I've been busy with school so I havent been able to upload pictures yet. He is still making popping and whistling noises, although less frequent (they seem to be the worst during the morning and at night). He still won't eat veggies. Wednesday is the 12th day after the injection, then the vet wants to see him shortly after that. I dont want him to get more meds, especially when I'm not home often enough to monitor him as much as I'd like due to classes. :/ I'm not sure if it will be cleared up by Wednesday, if it is Im not sure about taking him out to the vet either as they have very cold a/c in their office plus the temperature here is dropping.

His poo has been wellformed and doesnt look dry, but there isnt any excess water.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:44 am

I contacted the vet, he mentioned that in order to get a culture swab, he would have to put Pancake under. Is this normal?! I am very concerned about how he could react to anesthetic since he isn't 100%, not to mention the cost. He was making popping noises while breathing this morning. He wants me to bring him in tomorrow morning, does anybody have any advice? I don't feel comfortable with putting him under at all. :(

Here are more pictures of how he looks. Still no signs of a black beard.

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


He has at times been keeping his beard puffed out like this when he's trying to breathe.
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby claudiusx » Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:10 am

Darn, I'm sorry pancake has been having to fight this.

I'm not sure about if it's normal to have to go under to get a culture swab. Tracie would know better. I do know that if the Anti's don't seem to be working, you might want to ask the vet about nebulizer treatments.
There is a thread here: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=249975
that should help you understand the nebulizing process a bit more and how it can be effective. It's another member here who has been fighting through a RI also.

If you don't feel comfortable putting him under, I wouldn't. But do bring up the nebulizer treatments and see what your vet says.
Pan doesn't look bad in the pictures. And it's great that he isn't black bearding.

Have you been keeping the tank warmer at night?

-Brandon
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:15 am

Putting him under anesthetics for a mouth/throat swab doesn't sound right to me. That's usually a quick procedure followed by several days of waiting. A lung lavage would require anesthetics but that can be tricky and dangerous with such small animals so I would reserve that for pretty critical situations.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:33 am

claudiusx wrote:Darn, I'm sorry pancake has been having to fight this.

I'm not sure about if it's normal to have to go under to get a culture swab. Tracie would know better. I do know that if the Anti's don't seem to be working, you might want to ask the vet about nebulizer treatments.
There is a thread here: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=249975
that should help you understand the nebulizing process a bit more and how it can be effective. It's another member here who has been fighting through a RI also.

If you don't feel comfortable putting him under, I wouldn't. But do bring up the nebulizer treatments and see what your vet says.
Pan doesn't look bad in the pictures. And it's great that he isn't black bearding.

Have you been keeping the tank warmer at night?

-Brandon


I tried a ceramic heater, but a 100w one didnt do anything. He has been on his heating pad, which has a thermostat now, and tht has been keeping his body temps around 80F. I will definitely look into the nebulizing thread, thanks for the link!

CooperDragon wrote:Putting him under anesthetics for a mouth/throat swab doesn't sound right to me. That's usually a quick procedure followed by several days of waiting. A lung lavage would require anesthetics but that can be tricky and dangerous with such small animals so I would reserve that for pretty critical situations.


Okay Im glad Im not alone in thinking it would be dangerous. Im at school right now and unfortunately all my classes are back to back but I will try to get ahold of the vet before my next class to discuss an alternative. Or at least get him to explain why he would need anesthetics and tell him I'd really rather not go through with it. He said it would be a swab of his windpipe. I will ask if a swab of just his mouth is possible instead.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:08 pm

Class ended early so I called the vet, he said he would put him under because he doesnt think Pancake will keep his mouth open long enough to let him get a swab of his windpipe. Pan is very fussy, but I dont think thats a good enough reason. He said we will see what happens tomorrow, but I reallyreallyreally do not want him on the anesthetic.

He also mentioned doing the lung lavage that Cooperdragon just talked about, which doesnt seem necessary since he is still alert and not black bearding. I asked about nebulizers, the vet kind of paused and said there could be other antibiotics or injections to use instead, but once the bacteria is determined we will discuss treatments from there I guess.

I would 1000% go to another vet to get a second opinion or at least one who isnt so hell bent on sedating him if it was an option but unfortunately it isnt. Are there at home remedies for an RI if he doesnt open his mouth??? Would it be wrong of me to take Pancake home if the vet cant get the swab to think about other options? :(
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:24 pm

I think I understand his perspective. He is trying to get a sample from pretty far down the throat (which sounds like a reasonable move). It's good that he wants to wait on further antibiotics until a cause of infection is determined. That's the best way to attack a bacterial infection (compared to lots of broad spectrum antibiotics). I don't think your vet sounds out of line with these recommendations, I just worry (perhaps too much) about sedating a dragon unless it is quite necessary. I've had this done for one of my dragons (for a lung lavage and for dental work) and he did come out of it without ill effects. I'd just advise caution and try to gauge your vet's confidence in administering the anesthetic. Keep in mind I am not a vet and I'm just sharing my limited personal experience and my opinion for you to consider.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:41 pm

If your dragon didn’t experience any issues after that does make me feel a little bit better. I’m just concerned because Pancake isn’t very big (he currently weighs 269g) and if there are side effects I can’t be home all the time to tend to him as I am a student and my midterm exams start next week (my university doesn’t consider pet illnesses or deaths as a legitimate reason to miss a test or exam, which is stupid). Do you happen to know or remember the name of the anesthetic? The vet mentioned he had a few different methods or types of anaesthetics so I will at least have some choice if it comes down to it.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:25 pm

I'm sorry I don't recall what was used. I just handed him over and let the vet do their thing. It was a trusted vet at a teaching hospital and I didn't know enough details to make a question matter much. He was kept in an incubator for a while after the procedure and then returned once he woke back up.
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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby claudiusx » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:21 pm

Blackenedsabbath wrote:Are there at home remedies for an RI if he doesnt open his mouth???

Check out the thread I linked you. It's all being done at home.

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Re: Respiratory Infection- Help!

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:26 pm

CooperDragon wrote:I'm sorry I don't recall what was used. I just handed him over and let the vet do their thing. It was a trusted vet at a teaching hospital and I didn't know enough details to make a question matter much. He was kept in an incubator for a while after the procedure and then returned once he woke back up.


That's alright, I appreciate your input. I guess if he needs the anesthetics I will go over the options with the vet tomorrow.


claudiusx wrote:Check out the thread I linked you. It's all being done at home.

-Brandon


I took a look at the thread, I see that one of the posts mentioned that if it is a viral RI the Tylosin won't treat it. The vet hasn't determined what caused the RI yet, I still think it's from when he dunked his nose in the water during that bath as I haven't handled any other reptiles, nor does anyone I know personally own any reptiles. I did a quick google search and some results showed that in Canada Tyloosin can only be bought with a vet prescription; I'll bring it up with the vet to find out of it would be a possible treatment option.
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