Constantly gaping and gulping

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Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby Vilderup » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:54 am

DISCLAIMER:
My bearded dragon, Chili, has had a rough ½ year. First, she had a severe case of parasites(July, August 2019), with no open vets, and we were forced to drive over 150 km(93 miles) to the nearest open vet to get her treatment. She made it, and recovered over a course of a month. She had lost a lot of weight and was still fighting herself to make it. November 2019 to December 2019, she was still weak and became weaker, I decided to take her to the vet, since she also had swelling on hands and feet. She had gotten a bacterial infection, but was caught in the early stages(December 23), she got antibiotics for 10 days, later continued for another 10 days since no improvement found place. The vet and I decided to stop the antibiotic cure and see where it could bring her. After a couple of hours/days she had developed tail rot, probably from the infection in her body, which got to her tail. Within 12 hours, overnight, the tail rot had continued up her tail(about 6-7 cm) and I got an emergency vet appointment, but she luckily began to have an appetite again, a very big one. She ate and ate, both dubias and zophobas. After going to the vet, she got 40% of her tail amputated and stitched(Friday, 17th January). In this meantime, she has not been getting better. She is still very weak, still losing weight, despite her big appetite for meat, no greens though yet... And that brings us to this day.

She has begun (1 day ago) gaping a lot, almost constantly, but she can never have her mouth open for very long, since she is also gulping/swallowing often. She is gaping when just a little bit warm under her basking spot, she is only not gaping when she is sleeping or pretty cold. Still gaping when semi warm/cold in the cold end of the terrarium, or just outside her basking spot. She still eats, almost everyday, her stool looks good, no runny stool nor blood or similar. She has a hard time moving around, her muscles are almost non existent and her body fat percentage is low. However, she is alert, awake most of the time and can lift her head up. She could not do this a few weeks ago. So all in all its better, however this gaping and gulping concerns me, that she has something else unexpected. I can not hear any crackling or wheezing when breathing, nor see any mucus around her nose and mouth(pictures at the end).

Could this be a respiratory infection, maybe from the bacterial infection in her hands and feet or signs of MBD? She has had signs of MBD before, and I am getting an UVB tube in the start of February. The vet said that she does not have MBD, however she could be in the beginning stages of it. She sometimes get calcium supplements in terms of calcium and vitamin water, aswell as well-dipped insects in calcium powder and plenty of basking time, since she has to be warm(vet tip). She often has baths, but has been taking a break cause of the amputation. Terrarium gets cleaned thoroughly every 14 days.

P.S, her tail(before and after amputation) is hurting her alot, I can barely touch it. :(

I have another bearded dragon in the same enclosure, which has been healthy the past ½ year. It's only Chili who is getting sick. Sandy(the other dragon) is healthy and well fed. (THEY GET ALONG! They are not fighting, they are sisters, born together and respects each other.)

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I am not an expert, but I can't seem to see any mucus.

Any help, advice, recommendations, etc would be appreciated..!
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:24 am

She needs to be separated and put into a hospital tank - she looks and sounds to be in bad shape- I am not a expert on medical issues so I cant give advice on what to do w/ her as far as treatment but she defiantly needs to be in her own tank - dragons should never be kept together as they are a territorial animal - you can set up a tote w/ lights for her --- she needs care - can you take pics of her tail please and post them --- either AHBD or Drache613 can help w/ the medial advice
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby AHBD » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:44 pm

Aw, poor girl has been through so much and still fighting hard ! Her body condition is not as bad as I thought it would be. It would be best to set her up alone if you can. I'm not sure why her mouth is open, she may be feeling drained from so many antibiotics and it may have affected her kidneys. And yes she may be in some pain. Can you show before + after pictures of her tail ? She may need extra hydration so try dripping water on her snout to give her a drink. Do it slowly until she begins to drink. You've been taking good care of her , I hope she can rally + get through this !
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby DorgEndo » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:44 pm

What have you been using for UVB so far? What tube light are your getting? The brand, length, and what fixture. There should be no cover between the UVB and your dragon. UVB tube should be inside the enclosure. Different brands have different recommend distance so it would be helpful to know exactly what you have now and what are getting. Proper UVB is a top priority
Devlyn my beautiful bearded dragon, approx hatch 8/18, mine since 2/19. Kitty Greysie born 3/06. Lttle rescue Charlie the American grey tree frog, found 11/18. Lots of house plants, I like cacti and succulents.
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby Drache613 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:05 pm

Hello,

Your poor girl has been through a lot. When are you expecting your new UVB tube bulb?
Did the vet draw any bloodwork on her & if so, do you happen to have a copy you could post
perhaps? I would love to see the levels.
It sounds a bit like there could be some gout going on if there is that much swelling on the
hands & feet. Did the vet mention any kidney or liver issues at all?
I do agree, since at the moment, she is not doing well I would highly recommend getting her
into a little hospital type of tank environment for her so she will have as little stress on her as
possible. Also, try to keep her tank around 80 overnight especially, to help boost her immune
system right now.
Can you post more pictures of her body so we can see her limbs more clearly as well?

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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby Vilderup » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:15 am

Hello, I will be going to the vet in around 20 minutes, to make sure she does not have any respiratory infections or similar. I will try and get some more pictures of her tail after the amputation, I don't think I have a close up of the tail before the amputation. I will have some more answers later today, hopefully. I think I will get an x-ray to see after signs of MBD and some blood work, since I didn't get one taken last time. No mention of kidney nor lever diseases, but the blood work today will hopefully reveal it, if any.

I am using a 125w SolarGlo All In One by ExoTerra(2x 160w died instantly when plugging them in the 160w fixtue :(), and its around 25-50 centimeters away, depending on where they are in the terrarium. I am not sure which brand it is I am getting. Where I am, the selection is very limited. Only a single pet store with reptile equipment close to me. I think it is another Exoterra. Is it 10.0 I have to get?

I have been giving her some water, to make sure she is hydrated during this time, with some calcium supplements in the water. I have also, a month ago or so, raised the time of the bulb being on. It is currently on from 07:00 all the way to 23:00, to make it a "hot Australian summer" as my vet put it, to yes, improve her immune system.
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby DorgEndo » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:18 am

How have you been measuring the temperature? That all in one bulb you were should have been adequate UVB based on the website facts, but it is not rated to get the temperature a bearded dragon needs. The 125 watt is rated to 35°C at 10cm distance, even if the 160 watt [had it worked] would have reached 39°C at 10cm distance.

That is going off their website for what the company says their bulb is capable of.

That is why I'm asking how you measure the temperature. Different enclosures in different places require being set up and double checked so that you have enough heat and UVB. Even the house where you are, the 160 watt bulbs burning out immediately could be a problem with the wall outlet or power strip. No one wants there to be a problem, but something is not adding up with heat or UVB or both for your dragon so the issue needs to be identified and then work on a solution
Devlyn my beautiful bearded dragon, approx hatch 8/18, mine since 2/19. Kitty Greysie born 3/06. Lttle rescue Charlie the American grey tree frog, found 11/18. Lots of house plants, I like cacti and succulents.
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby Vilderup » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:32 am

*UPDATE AFTER VET VISIT*

Chili is not doing well. The vet is concerned for her. She might not make it, but with the right decisions and treatment, she will definitely make it. The vet has seen worse before :D
We didn't get any blood work done, since the vet is almost certain it is something with her kidney. We think that Chili was born weak, maybe with a weaker kidney or immune system, since she is getting all kinds of sicknesses and diseases.

A poop test was taken, it was actually very good and looked good aswell, no signs of parasites or similar.

An x-ray was also taken and no signs of MBD. The "crooked" fingers and toes are because of a lot of water from the swelling, and not actually a bacterial infection as we thought it was before. He said that this welling was a sign of a bad kidney. No gout or similar either.

She did not have any signs of respiratory infections either, so that's good.

I am going to take intensive care of her the next couple of weeks, with 2-3 daily baths of 15-20 minutes, plenty of heat and water. I will be giving her a blended mix of greens and fruit for vitamins, minerals and other nutritional values, such as kale, carrots, blueberries, squash, apples, broccoli and maybe some mustard greens if I can get my hands on them. A few drops of calcium supplement will also be added to the mix.

I really hope she will overcome her sickness and be a normal and healthy dragon again :cry:
I will try to keep her as warm as possible the next couple of weeks.
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:57 am

I would omit the blueberries broccoli and apple- everything else sounds good-- I hope she gets better
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Re: Constantly gaping and gulping

Postby AHBD » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:27 pm

Hmmmm, please don't take offense with what I have to say but the vet should have done the blood test over the xrays so I'm convinced that they don't really know a lot about treating reptiles properly. They would have found out long ago that there's something wrong with the kidneys and not given all those antibiotics for what turned out to not be a bacterial infection. Also, 2-3 baths a day will not help her. She needs oral hydration so keep on using a syringe, eyedropper or spry bottle to get water in her mouth gently from the side or dripped on her nose. A bath every 2-3 days is plenty if she drinks while being soaked. We see situations here quite often where the vet misses a lot that they could have done in the beginning and even at times make things worse. Hopefully your girl will get through this, best wishes to you both !
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