Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

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Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:44 pm

Edit - Sorry in advance for the novel but wanted to give all info i had up front.

Hello everyone. I've been doing a lot of looking up different things for bearded dragons and come across this site a lot so figured I'd see if anyone would have any ideas. Our bearded dragon (Aurora) used to come out of her hide spot not too long after waking up and crawl up the rock on her own to bask and spend a good amount of time under there. She would eat her greens regularly and was fairly active. About 3-4 months or so ago, we noticed she progressively started staying in her hide spot more often to the point where we would feel the need to take her out and set her on her rock to bask and then she would for maybe an hour some days, a few hours some days, but then retreat back to her hide spot. We took her to a vet after a couple of weeks of that and they said she might just be going through puberty and give her a bit and if she doesn't get better take her back. Fast forward to last week, we took her back to a different vet to get a 2nd opinion and because her front right limb looks swollen with a noticeable bump near her (hand?) And another bump near her (elbow?). That vet gave us some injections to give her (im not sure exactly for what they are but what I got from it was to try to help the swelling) which we have been. The vet felt the bump and said it felt fluidy. She also took an xray of her and said she doesn't see signs of MBD. The other thing we noticed prior to taking her to the vet last week was she is constantly opening her mouth and closing it. Not opening it in a way of basking, but more in a way of what looks like would be aggression or fear, however, her beard is never black and when we pet her when she does that, she seems relatively relaxed outside of sometimes closing her eyes which i think from what i read typically is their way of saying "leave me alone please". The vet looked in her mouth and said she doesn't seem to have a respiratory infection, but that she has also never seen a bearded dragon do this before (reassuring). I have done everything I can think of. I tried to find anything in the room that could be scaring her, or tried to pinpoint any reason she would feel afraid. I even went as far as to shave my beard thinking that maybe for some reason she took my beard as a bearded dragon puffing its beard at her, no help. She does the opening the mouth thing in all environments, even on the ride to the vet.

Fast forward to today, we took her back to the vet because this past weekend she has been refusing to eat. Greens lately have been a pain to get her to eat but she loved berries and always ate crickets but the past 3 or 4 days we couldn't get her to eat anything at all. We even tried when she had her mouth open slipping a piece of green in, which she stubbornly spit back out. The vet today took blood work (results should be in monday), injected her with fluids to help with dehydration, and looked her over again. She did notice there was a slight crustyness almost like humans would have dried up saliva on the corners of her mouth (a negligible amount). She didn't seem too concerned by it and got it off, but that didn't stop her from opening her mouth (I was hoping maybe that just was uncomfortable to her and she was opening her mouth due to that). She seems to walk with a slight limp favoring her other limbs. She lost weight from last week to this week (I believe she lost about .100 kg if I remember correctly, which was approximately a quarter of her weight I think from last time. I think she was like .42 and was today .31, which I guess could be from her not eating. Over the past couple months she has had stool that was more runny in nature but oddly enough, the past 2 times she went it was more solid, which im not sure what to attribute that to. I have spent countless hours researching and trying to figure out what to do. I've gotten hygrometers one on either side of her vivarium, a dehumidifier to help maintain humidity in the room, and have made other adjustments in the environment to try to help all seemingly to no avail. Does anyone have any idea what any of this could be? I'm not sure if all the symptoms are related but her not eating and constantly opening her mouth is becoming very concerning. Obviously, her leg is concerning too but im hoping that part of it is nothing serious and is something simple. Im hoping the tests show what could be wrong, but we and seemingly the vet at this point are all baffled.. Any input or help is greatly appreciated.

-A worried dad
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:05 pm

How old is the dragon? Did the vet say anything about gout in the legs? Please go over the lighting- uvb brand and bulb tube or coil where in the tank how old is the UVB? Basking temps what are they and how are you taking them? No stick ons! Please post pics of your dragon and the bloodwork and x-rays if done--- go to the user image uploader in the banner then click on the XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the picture it should post
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:15 pm

The dragon is estimated to be about a year old +/- a month or so. The vet didn't mention anything about gout to us. We have a 150 watt basking light, a reptisun 10 uvb that spans from the basking area to a little over halfway. Its a 75 gallon viv. The uvb id estimate is somewhere from 8-10 inches from the basking area. Its about 2 or 3 months old, the previous was an arcadia with a different fixture but still a tube uvb, we just swapped it out early because reptisun is a highly recommended brand. We also have a ceramic heater that stays on that i keep higher up so it doesn't affect the Temps too much but seems to help keep the humidity more under control. With that off the cool side hits near 50-52 and warm side near 45. With it on its about 40 cool and 37 warm. The Temps run about 95-100 at the basking spot and 90s on the warm spot, and 80s on the cool side, but she hasn't been to the cool side in months for whatever reason. At night, the temperatures do stay a little warmer than id like but if i turn that ceramic heater off the humidity goes up a little high for my liking. The temps at night are low 80s warm side and I think mid 70s cool side, but she always sleeps under her basking rock (the hide spot). Im not sure what the Temps are in there unfortunately. We use 2 digital probes one at either end of the tank for temperatures, as well as 2 combo hygrometers that also show temperature but we go by the digital temps as id trust them to be more accurate. We didnt get copies of the xrays and the blood work isn't in yet. Her lights are off for the night but once I turn them on tomorrow I'll snap pictures. As an unrelated side note if anyone has any tips on how to keep the pesky humidity down that would be wonderful. Id love to put a water dish in there but her humidity jumps too high with one in so we have to do without. Thank you for your reply :)
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:28 pm

They should of done uric acid level to see if they were high to rule gout out--- temps in the tank at nite should be 65 or around 70's- 80 is too high for nite time temp-
The UVB I am assuming it's a T 5? Is it on top of screen or inside the tank? And your screen is a wide holed or fine mesh--? Distance and placement plays a role - Arcadia's are great bulbs--- so the Reptisun as well--
Humidity in the tank can be 30-40 % during the day and will go higher at nite--- as long as it's not above 70%--
Does she have a black beard?
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:50 pm

I'm not sure if they did or didn't do that. I know they took a stool sample so im not sure if that was part of that or not.

For the temps and humidity, is it okay that I turn the ceramic heater off? Id honestly would love to because I did read about the lower temps at night but was scared of the humidity getting too high and her getting a respiratory infection. The bulb is a t5 yes. As far as the black beard thats the other thing, not really she doesnt no. In fact, sometimes when she does the mouth open thing, she's almost completely white under her beard which makes it more confusing. However, when I move sometimes or look like I'm approaching her, she may open her mouth, or open it bigger almost like she would be doing it in fear or aggression but her beard is rarely black when she does. There are occasions where it looks darker or even like she's puffing it a bit but never usually full on black or her beard puffed out.
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:02 pm

Your humidity is fine-- nite time temps need to be cool- 70's-65-- shut it off
You need to ask if they checked for gout-
If your T 5 is on top of screen and it's fine mesh-- she's not getting enough uvb-- if it's wide holed the 8-10 is good-- if it's inside the tank the 8-10 is too close- it should be 12-15" inches
The open mouth is she gaping or adjusting her body temp?
It's good she's not black bearding-
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:05 pm

Sorry, I forgot to answer the uvb question. It is above the lid and its a wide holed top, ill also take a picture of that tomorrow. I just turned the ceramic heater off, thanks for that! I dont believe she is gaping because she does it in multiple environments in places her temperature shouldn't be high enough for her to gape, ex. Car ride to the vet today.
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:12 pm

Ok some others in here might have an idea in that
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:19 pm

I appreciate all your help! Yeah the mouth thing seems to be a mystery. Ill be taking the pictures and attaching them tomorrow. I'll also take a pic of the vivarium set up as well because I'm sure there's some improvements that can/should be made even if they arent contributing to the issue. Thank you for everything so far!
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:05 am

Okay so last night I turned off the ceramic heater as suggested. Humidity was roughly around 45-50 on the warm side, and 50-55 cool side, but the temps were hovering around the mid 70s. Right now, basking area is 100.2, warm side is around the 90s for ambient and cool side 80s for ambient. I have attached pics of the bearded dragon and the vivarium both from the side and from the top. I noticed a little lump on her left arm too, it may have been there for a bit but I may have just noticed it now because we are looking for nuances. I also attached a pic of her tail because it seems darker towards the end of it and has been like that for a bit too, which may be nothing but it looks off to me. Her right arm is the one that has the bigger lump that we've initially noticed.
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:22 am

I am thinking the screen looks like its a wide holed -- your decor under it is 8-10 inches? It looks like shes going into shed and the tail looks fine - I am not seeing any injuries or nips it does look a little crooked has it always been like that? I dont know if that is just a fat pad on the arm or something else - Tracie or AHBD will need to look at that --- good that the temps were in the 70's --- we will need to have Tracie or AHBD look at her arm ---
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:47 am

For accuracy's sake, I took a tape measure out. Her basking rock is 10 inches about and her uvb light is just over a foot away from the surface of the basking rock so maybe about 10.5/11 inches to her back. As far as her tail, it has been a little crooked like that for some time. She hasn't shed in a while and I haven't noticed the usual dulling of her skin like when she normally is, it seems she's been this color for a while. A shed would be a relief because thats another thing that worries me slightly is she hasnt shed in a bit, which i guess is probably normal that they shed less as they are older. Im going to get a video of her doing the opening the mouth thing as well in a bit here too.
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Drache613 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:21 pm

Hello,

She is a pretty girl, very sweet.
How long have you been using the Arcadia D3 12% T5 tube? I agree, the screentop holes
are a bit wider than the traditional mesh so technically she should be getting adequate UVB
at 10 inches.
The blood tests should be helpful to see the kidney & liver enzyme levels. If you can, please
post a copy so we can take a look at it.
Can you review your supplementation schedule with us, along with the brands, & frequency
too, that will help. What is her diet like & what type of feed to you give the insects prior to
feeding them to her?
Unfortunately, that does look suspiciously like gout.
You can be proactive & get some black or tart cherry juice extract to help out her kidneys in
the case it is gout.

Let us know how she is doing.
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:45 pm

We offer a fresh salad every day. Usually we provide turnip greens as that seems to be her favorite but sometimes we will try to mix in other things like dandelion greens or collard greens but she usually isn't having it. We feed her crickets now on an every other day schedule and they are gut loaded with flukers cricket quencher and flukes orange cube complete cricket diet (orange cubes). We also dust them with exo terra calcium powder supplement. We have on occasion fed her raspberries and have now tried some blueberries because she loved those but isnt interested much. We also started giving her water via a dropper per the vet which she seems to take to very well. As far as the black cherry juice extract is that from a regular grocery store or is there something more reptile specific? How much of that can we offer her daily?

- I was able to get her to eat half of a dandelion (which is her favorite but I haven't been able to find them outside of when they grow in our yard).

-Also, you guys may be correct with the shedding thing. I haven't seen any loose skin on her, however, I did for the first time ever seen her pop her eyes out for a few seconds, which was definitely a weird thing to see lol. However, it seems to be widely accepted that the belief for that is to help loosen skin prior to or during a shed so ill keep an eye on that (no pun intended).

Something else possibly worth noting though may be nothing is we noticed last night that she randomly did a beardie wave while we had her out of her tank.

Here is the video of the opening the mouth thing (Sorry the site nuked the quality but you can still see)
https://streamable.com/8ph3yp

Also, yes anything I can get from the vet such as blood work results I will be sure to post here. They haven't come in yet though.
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Re: Bearded Dragon acting weird lately

Postby Codered333 » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:44 pm

[Click image to enlarge]


Here is the blood work. Uric acid levels are double which from what I read would indicate gout. However, the vet took a sample looked at it and didn't see acid crystals but said she did see something weird with the cell like her cell is bigger and has 3 something in it where usually it's 1 (I forget what she said that was though). They are sending it off to a lab to look at, but sounds like they still aren't sure.
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