Page 1 of 1

Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degeneration

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:51 pm
by BobBlackbeard
It is NOT MBD, and it is not genetic. I was breeding dragons for years and chose to get out of the business but my last babies are plagued with an issue and I cannot find out what the cause is.

I had multiple clutches from unrelated parents, different ages, kept in different cages. I had some that started having symptoms last year and lasted into this year with every change I could possibly make before I had them put down. I isolated them, but they came from completely separate cages, and their cage mates were not affected. I changed bulbs, gave them supplements, went through vet recommended antibiotics, nothing changed anything. Most would eat enthusiastically, but flopped horribly, if I kept them very warm. They were fat but wouldn't grow very fast. If I picked them up they would either curl up or fling their arms wildly. I had finally put down the last one a month ago, and suddenly another juvenile, not related to any of the others or ever caged with them, has begun to develop symptoms. It progresses similarly in every dragon, but some just curl up and lay there, and others flop and seem to lose all control.

I have wondered about pesticides, viruses, genetics, or illness in my feeders, but everything I buy is organic, I am using the same foods I have been using for years, I have switch feeders. They are coming from unrelated clutches and different cages. Everyone has new bulbs and gets regular calcium. I even went through a deep sanitation of the entire room. NOTHING stops it, slows it down, changes it. I am at a loss.

I would love to know if anyone knows what this is. I am going mad... My vet doesn't have a clue.

Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:47 pm
by Drache613

I am sorry to hear of all of the problems, healthwise, with your dragons. That definitely cannot
be pleasant.
Have you had them tested for adeno virus, those symptoms seem to fit the characteristics, etc.
There really isn't anything else it could be if it isn't due to inbreeding, or chemicals, etc.
Can you review your lighting with us though, as not all UVB lights are created equal. You feed
your insects organic feed, correct?
Do you have any video that you could share, if it isn't too upsetting that you may have?


Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:24 am
by Claudiusx
Hi there,

How frustrating, I agree.

Since it's happening with unrelated genetics, it has to be environmental, or something you are doing/feeding/introducing.

The only real way to potentially get to the bottom of it would be a very long list of questions, if you are willing to answer. I'll ask everything I know of that could relate to neurological issues.
But I agree with Tracie, I would at least get 1 of the ones acting like that tested for ADV. ADV affects all dragons differently, some show no signs, some do horrible, and some don't show any signs until later in life. But I'm sure you know this. Testing for ADV would rule out the biggest possibility.

Remember, when you hear hooftsteps outside your window at night, don't go looking for zebras.
Sometimes the answer is the most probable one. And to me that would be ADV.

But, on with the questions:

What UV light do you use?
How close is it to your dragons?
What does the typical daily diet look like?
Do you gutload your insects? With what?
What does the supplement schedule look like?
What supplements do you use?

Are they housed in your house, or in a detached garage/shed/etc.
Are candles burned in the area? Incense?
What types of tanks are they housed in?
How cold are they allowed to get at night?

In regards to your breeding setup:
What substrate do you use for the eggs?
Temp you incubate at?

I could ask dozens more questions, but really, we just need more info about your setup, your breeding setups, everything.


Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:34 am
by BobBlackbeard
It is not atadenovirus, they were tested and negative. And unlike that virus they were not wasting away and they were not stargazing. They were eating heartily, the worst one was still growing, but it was like a palsy where they tried to move their limbs and they went in every wrong direction, but their control of their head was and spine was fine. It's only their limbs that seemed to be affected.

I've used compact 15.0 UVB for very low ceiling cages replaced regularly, and open cages have long T8 10.0 tubes. They also got regular time in the sunlight over summer. It didn't seem to make a difference. Clutchmates in the same cages would do fine, eating the same, and they would never show any symptoms.

I could try to get a video a little later, but the current juvenile is walking on the back of his wrists and his back legs splay wildly when he tries to chase things. Sometimes when I first put him back he will be flat on his belly throwing his legs like he thinks he's in the air. He's bright eyed, active, eating and fat. They never waste away, but they do get so bad that they are unable to go anywhere on purpose due to the lack of control. The one that I had the longest lived with it for about 8 months before we decided to have him put down because he just couldn't relax and stay still. I've never heard of anything like this, I've never seen anything like it, my vet hasn't seen anything like it.

Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:42 am
by Claudiusx
So are these custom built tanks?
which 15.0 compact are you using?

Could you post a picture of your setups and of your tanks?

Certain materials could be offgassing and affecting certain dragons worse than others.
ADV was tested for in one of the sickly dragons?

However, if they start off as babies like that, it really has to be pinpointed to a few things.

Incubation setup
Genetics ( I know it's happening with multiple lines)
Diet (just because it's organic doesn't mean it's safe)
Or some virus like ADV.

Dragons can eat well and even sometimes act perfectly normal with ADV. Even those showing symptoms can still eat well, amd even act normal besides for their twitches, seizures, and stargazing on occasions.


Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:44 am
by BobBlackbeard
Hey Brandon,

I've been breeding for years, the cages are in the house I used to live in but a bed house has been built on the property (far away from it) but this started last year before that happened. I've been using the same methods as I have been for years. Last year, the year before that, the year before that I barely had an issue. A couple of respiratory infections (Oregon teens to be damp so it's something I keep an eye out for) but the values rarely had any health issues. This has been totally new. I raise dubia and order crickets from California (just don't have a hot enough space to raise them here) I fed only organic veggies, I buy human-served produce from the stores (butternut squash, bitter greens, etc) I use zoomed and other reptile specific vitamins and calcium supplements, all of my babies heartily eat greens and veggies without an issue. I've used vermiculite for dig tub and egg substrate (always have) and none of the babies had it very young. They were all a few months old when they developed it. No adults show any symptoms. I really don't think it's the setup, there's nothing I'm doing different other than things I've tried just for these ones. It affected 10 out of ~80 of babies this year.

It seems to strike randomly, which is why I'm having such a hard time with this.

Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:32 pm
by Drache613

Ok, so they tested negative for adeno, interesting.
Could the mother have been calcium deficient at the time of laying which sometimes only
affects some of them depending on the calcium levels at the time of development.
What dry feed do you feed the insects, organic I presume?
Are you using calcium with or without D3?
I am sorry this is happening, we will try to go through trial & error & get something figured
out I hope.


Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:33 am
Hi there, sorry to read about this tragedy. :( What morph are you breeding, and are these line bred from your own stock or did you introduce new breeders in your colony ? Can you post pics of the parents, sick babies and set ups ? How many were tested for ADV and is your vet a true reptile vet ? Here's how to post pics : Then use the XIMG to upload them

Re: Muscle Ataxia, Loss of Muscle Control, Muscle Degenerati

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:01 pm
by danaemichelle
I unfortunately can't offer any advice, but I believe we are experiencing a similar problem.
We have had a few issues in the past. He had mites when he was real young, we got him from Petsmart (before we knew to look for a credible breeder, he's our first baby)
We had a full recovery from the mites and have gone to the vet two other times for unrelated issues.
We currently struggle with twitching limbs, swollen limbs, wrinkly skin, no parasites show up in fecal exam, no real answer or solution from our vet. The secondary vet we tried made me uncomfortable so we didn't go back.
He's hasn't been real eager to eat, especially not his greens, but he sure does loves water!
He's alert, responds to his name, keeps his eyes open (until he gets sleepy), but it's almost like he's too swollen and in pain to respond correctly. He likes to sit in the same spot ALL day, which was not the case prior to our new issues. His wrists look extra uncomfortable and swollen. He likes to keep his arms back instead of forward, especially his right.
He seems to be putting some effort into breathing sometimes, but our vet reassured us that it seemed normal to him and no reason for concern. I asked about Gout, RI, and MBD but he doesn't think any of those are our case. He has also mentioned our next step may be to draw blood, but he hasn't ever done that on a Bearded Dragon, which is a bit odd I though?
I could be overlooking something, but I just cannot find a solution for our baby.
I've even considered COVID-19? If other animals can be affected by it, he may be able to?
I've been extra careful to wash hands before handling him, however, I do work in the public and didn't know about COVID-19 until things got a bit crazy this year, but we're pretty sure the little one had it sometime in December.
It may be a stretch, but maybe it's relevant?
I'm sorry you've had past issues with those babies! It sure is frustrating to not have a solution.
I just want him to be happy and comfortable again.