Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time momma

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Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time momma

Postby SeddieCanuck » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:23 pm

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Hi y’all. I’m sure you get sick of so many new beardie owners asking the same questions, I have poured over the forum for help, but I’m still desperate for some advice. Here goes:

My husband and I just acquired our first beardie this past Saturday from a pet store in Ontario,Canada. (Pet Paradise) They were recommended to us by a beardie enthusiast because they tend to do in-house breeding and have super knowledgeable staff. It indeed blew the socks off any pet store I’d ever seen. Anyhow, I digress. We pick a beautiful little red hepo “guy” and are told he’s eating well and is about 10 weeks old. He looks alert and active and I am able to coax him on to my finger and interact. Not skittish in the least. Bright and clear eyes, no crusty nose, nice scales. Sold!
Set up:
We purchased a kit from Petsmart by their brand “thrive”. We started with the 20 gallon because we figured we didn’t want the stress of a larger tank right off the hop. We figure this will get us through at least 6 or 7 months. (I have a zen habitat on back order which will be 4 x 2 x 2f for when he grown!) I recognized the lighting would need to be swapped out so now I have the basking light by thrive 75 watt and the reptisun T5 uvb hood with a 5.0 uv bulb 12”. I kick my own ***** for this because I recognize too late that it is the wrong strength. I need the 10.0. I was so excited to find a “kit” that I grabbed and ran. These have become hard to find in Canada right now. Even amazon is sold out! Anyhow. I again digress. The lights are all atop the screen. His basking hut and branch are quite high. He’s On Thrive brand carpet substrate. Has a lovely rock/hidey on which he basks and climbs, and a nice grapevine branch. He’s about 6-7“ from basking light. 6-10” from uvb. Temp in basking side is 107F-110F and 80F on cool side. Humidity is around 30% on hot side, 50ish% on cool side. We set this up about two weeks before we actually got him as we wanted to ensure everything was ready. I don’t have overnight heating for him as I tend to keep the house quite warm. His thermostat shows 80f.

His first night with us, he was curious and alert. He ate about 5 small crickets and had a little munch of kale. He splashed in his water bowl and really impressed us with his hunting skills. We stroked him gently in his cage and he would close his eyes and lean into the touch, which we took as a good sign. I will say that I noticed him doing an odd side flip move and he seemed to fall off his branch quite a bit. But all in all, he seemed like he was doing quite well. Second night, he was a little more ambient. I found him munching his salad - shaved carrots, romaine, bell pepper diced fine with mealies on top. It wasn’t a ton, but it was something! He only ate 3 crickets for his protein meal. He seemed a bit hesitant to explore. Still bright and alert but now I see him kinda looking at me from the side a lot with a head tilt. He does poop though and it looks like other pics of healthy poo I’ve seen. I also note that he seems to be arm waving at his crickies. (He IS Canadian!)
Third day rolls around and it’s like he’s hot glued to his basking spot. His head is down. Eyes closed more than open. My perky little turkey literally looks down in the dumps. He won’t hunt his crickets. He watches them but Is not at all interested. I get him to have three small mealies and a bit of kale. He licked a pear but wouldn’t try it. My husband got him to eat two crickets. He had his after breakfast poop. Seems normal. But he’s...paler than usual. He’s a very lovely red brick colour generally but today he looks almost pink. Head tilt is far more exaggerated and I actually take him out and sit with him to watch him run around a bit. His tail is extremely arched and his head is high when he walks. He seems a bit wobbly. I’ve done a lot of research before we committed to this wee life and immediately I start to think “neurological”. I have MS and so this kinda looked like me before I was diagnosed. Haha. But not. Anyway, I decide a good soak might perk him up. He lays flat in my hand and closes his eyes while I spoon the warm water on him. No poop. Head tilt is off the chart now. He almost kinda goes limp in my hand and rolls to the right. I bring him back to normal with a little belly/back rub. I quickly dry him off in A dryer warmed fleece and put him directly under his basker. He goes to sleep and stays that way until I turn on his lights at 9am.
day 4 and he is significantly worse.
He is laying on his log with his head down all the time. He opens his eyes if we approach the tank but goes back to sleep. Zero interest in any food. I haven’t seen Him drink at all during this time we’ve had him. I do the water drip. I Mist him. I unsuccessfully attempt a syringe. So I do another 10 minute soak, hoping he’s absorbing some liquids. I send the husband out for every kind of treat worm you can think of. I suspect he had a couple of butter worms and maybe a silk. But absolute refuses greens, the gourmet soft beardie pellets (the only source of BSFL I seem to be able to get where I live) crickets, or meal worms. We decide to just let him be for the day thinking relocation stress has finally kicked in. He is falling off his branch pretty regularly. I’ve put a fleece lined hot water bottle under the branch to cushion his falls now. He seems to be hanging off it sideways and staring up at the lights a fair bit.
Now today. Still refusing food. He is absolutely not moving at all without prompting. He is kind of rolling into his side while on the branch and falls off. He seems unsure of footing. Head tilt still present. I call the pet store and the manager tells me he might be from a clutch they ordered from Hong Kong where there were definite neurological issues with some of the babies. She’d like us to bring him back.
I know logically this sounds like the right thing to do...but is there hope? Did I do something wrong with his habitat that brought this on? Does any of this sound like something I can fix?! I’m desperate. We love him so much already. I would be devastated if it’s my poor husbandry that’s lead him to this state. I fear that if I take him back he will be euthanized and not given a chance.
Edit: I am off to get better thermo/humidity things tomorrow. The digital kind. And hopefully I can exchange the 5.0 reptisun for the 10.0 if they actually have it in stock. I do have another Thrive uvb bulb and dome I could add to the set up if you thought that might help until I get the proper one?.
I have noticed him kinda rubbing his face on his branch. It’s the same side that he tends to tilt on. He also keeps this eye closed quite a bit. Could it be all this disastrous activity is as simple as a shed????
Lordy! I am so very sorry for the length and rambling. I’m just trying to be thorough. Thank you in advance.
Last edited by SeddieCanuck on Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:33 pm

Go to the banner find user image uploader download the pics click on XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the picture and it should post
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby Drache613 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:30 am

Hello,

He is very pretty indeed! Since he is a hypo they can sometimes have issues, it just depends
on whether or not he comes from a highly inbred line.
I hope that it is not adeno virus, which is common due to inbreeding as well. I am not sure
how common it is in Hong Kong though, we would have to get him tested for it.
I didn't see where you mentioned the type of thermometer that you are using? I see a stick on
round analogue type there but do you also use a digital probe or temp gun?
The Thrive, it is a MVB/basking bulb, correct? What is the wattage of the Thrive basking light?
I am not real familiar with that brand, but, it is a possibility that it is bothering him. Most of the
MVB bulbs are made in China, with the incorrect phosphorus coating on the bulb which lets too
much low wavelength or UVC lighting through. While I can't say for sure, it is possible. Do you
have a regular halogen flood or spot light you could use for his basking right now? Try that to
see if that helps out initially. Just replace the Thrive & then use the T,5 for him. You are upgrading
to the 10% T5 from the 5%?
What supplementation are you planning on giving him, calcium, vitamins, etc?
Overall, the tank looks very nice. I don't really think it is anything you have done. There are a lot
of issues with them, especially the higher end morphs, due to the inbreeding, etc. The shedding
can definitely contribute to some of his decreased activity, head rubbing, as well as relocation type
of stress, too.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby SeddieCanuck » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:56 am

Thanks so much for your reply Tracie!
The thrive basking bulb is just a standard coil white light. It’s a 75 watt. It came with the kit they offered. I do have a 100w as well but it sent the temp up to Well over 120f and he was staying down on the floor when I had that one in, so I switched back to the 75w. I assumed for a 20 gallon tank, the mercury bulbs were too much!! We had a temp gun but it quite working on us the day we actually brought him home (of course!) Finding one now that isn’t ridiculously priced has proved challenging, but I think I’ve got a lead on a reptitemp.
I’m also going out to get the digital therm/humidity with the probes tomorrow as I know the stick on’s are terrible. If the aforementioned temp gun could be believed, they weren’t terribly off; maybe 5 degrees. But I do know that can make all the difference to babies at this stage. The temps I quoted earlier included that 5 degree change.
As for his supplements, we have a thrive calcium supplement without d3. I just read the label however and see it is geared towards hermit crabs??? (30% calcium carbonate) I’ll switch that out tomorrow. His calcium with d3 is by zoo med. I have the multi vitamin by zoo med as well. Should I try the reptiboost? He has to be starving by now. Will they eventually eat if it is relocation stress?
If you were me, would you give him a few more days to see if he perks up? He is so tiny and we are so committed to giving him the very best we can...I feel like I’ve failed him somehow. Thanks again for any suggestions
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:36 am

I would replace the Thrive coil basking bulb w/ a plain bright white basking bulb that looks like this
https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/enviro ... gid=500202 stay w/ the 75 watt but you must have a digital probe thermometer looks like this https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/enviro ... gid=500202 to get a actual basking temp
You can find IR guns at Home Depot or your local home improvement store for around $20 they do not haft to be fancy
Just use the Calcium supplement w/ D3 for now - and your vitamins - once per feeding 5 x a week and vitamins once per feeding 2 x a week -
Hes going thru relocation stress so his eating is going to be off but he needs to be eating something - keep him hydrated either by dropping water on his nose or misting him - no bathing yet its too stressful for him -
The UVB use the 5.0 bulb for him have it placed over your top w/ NO screen here is a pic of my 20 gallon it will give you an idea of how I had it set up the fixture was a 18" placed width wide across the top the distance was around 8" or so you want a piece of decor directly under it approx 6-8 inches
[Click image to enlarge]

Once you get the basking temps straightened out of 105-110 for basking and the UVB he should start eating
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby Drache613 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:22 pm

Hello,


How is your little one doing today?
It is hard to watch them when they are not feeling well & they don't seem to be getting
any better. Did he bask today?
Has he had his eye closed much today or is he opening it more? So the Thrive is not a
UVB but a basking light then, that should be alright to use.
I agree, the relocation stress can be very taxing on them so he could also be dehydrated
too but as Karrie suggested, I would wait for a few more days before bathing him due to
stress.
Maybe give him a little more time before taking him back to the store. How long do they
give you for a purchase guarantee?

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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby SeddieCanuck » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:33 am

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Hi Tracie
Thanks for checking in on us. Yesterday had been quite a day. I spent most of it trying to get him to hand feed. He took a few bites of greens but wouldn’t take any of the worms. As the day progressed, I decided I was gonna try syringe feeding as I couldn’t take it; it seemed like he wanted to eat but maybe was too weak to do so. So I blended critical care with a pinch of calcium d3, blueberries and the crickets that were too big to feed him with water and blended it. This is when I learned lizards have lips and if I didn’t already love him, it quadrupled in the instant he tried to keep those lizard lips zip locked but finally gave in and let me feed him. Granted, it wasn’t a lot. But he eventually began eating it on his own without the slip in the side trick. We had so many special moments...he was holding my finger with one little hand and those little eyes looking up at me told me he was grateful. Perhaps I’m humanizing. But it made me decide to hold off on taking him back. Hubby and I then spent the rest of the time trying to get the stronger reptisun without success. But I did get the digital thermometers and the previous readings from the heat gun remained true. I also added a second uvb pot light to the set up to try and compensate for 5.0 and believe it or not, his activity levels seem better. He has started to really explore. And!! No more laying with his head down!! He had His morning poop. It was a bit lighter but the urine part was nice and white and it wasn’t runny.
When we got home, my husband noticed him eyeballing his cricket tank and smacking his lips so he decided to try hand feeding. He ate 8 crickets in succession. He also had a few bites of collard greens. And he took more of the “slurry” from the syringe. He then decided he wanted to come out I guess because he climbed on to his fingers and wouldn’t let go, so he brought him out to the couch and the little guy began zooming around in the blankets. (Our skinny pigs do this when they’re happy. I’m not sure if this is the same thing in beardies?) but seeing his energy levels greatly improve has solidified our decision to hold off on taking him back. We have 14 days so we’ve decided to just take it day by day. There is some head tilting going on but I see his also beginning a little shed on his head and on the Side of his belly. He is rubbing his head on his branch quite a bit so maybe the head tilting was the skin being tight???
I do have one thing I was hoping you could clarify? He’s in a 20 gallon right now and in the last message from Kerrie, I note she said she has her baby in a 20 gallon with the reptisun T5 5.0 too? Will he be okay with what I’ve got until I can find the 10.0?
Again, thank you so much for walking us through this. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.(I included a pic of him hand perching tonight after his reptile slurpee feeding aka his “slurry” haha)
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:07 am

No the UVB was a T 8 which is what the 5.0 bulb is equivalent to -- you want the 10.0 bulb when you move to the bigger tank - the 5.0 bulb for the 20 gallon tank is perfect - just make sure you have the bulb exposed w/ nothing obstructing it - NO screen and you want the basking distance 6-8 inches from it -- if you look at the way I had my tank set up the basking lamp is at the end of tank clamped and the UVB is sitting width wise across -- that is a 18" fixture w/ a Reptisun 10.0 T 8 bulb -- what did you add for an extra UVB you dont need it w/ the 5.0 bulb -- just make sure you have it set up like I posted
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby SeddieCanuck » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:03 pm

Just a quick update for today. He ate 6 crickets and slurped back 0.6 ml of his slurry. Had a very stinky poop that looked pretty good. Maybe a bit wetter than I’d like, but I’m hoping it’s because I’ve actually managed to get fluids into him over the last 24 hours. His activity level isn’t off the charts as it seemed last night but he was able to vertically climb to sit up on my shoulder today. He couldn’t do that two days ago without rolling, so that is also an improvement. I will note that now, as opposed to laying his head flat while basking, he is constantly looking straight up And I fear it might be stargazing. [Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby AHBD » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:15 pm

Hi there, it was really touching to read how much you care for this little dude and the great lengths you're taking to help him. It sounds like he's doing much, much better so I'm glad to hear that, keep up the good work ! If you're asking whether this pic shows star gazing the answer is no, not even close. Star gazing is when they are arching their head up so high that they look as if their spine will snap.

A few suggestions, no more mealworms, they can cause impaction and your baby can't afford that. There's a slight chance that the mealies may actually have affected him to a degree. No hard veggies at all like carrot or apple. Crickets must be smaller than the space between his eyes, very important. And if you attach the uvb under the screen he'll get better uvb. Hopefully he'll make a full recovery and that ADV is not in the picture. Even if it there have been owners here who's dragons lived a normal life for years even though they were ADV positive.
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby SeddieCanuck » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:33 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words, AHBD. I’m so glad he’s not exhibiting the stargazing!! As for the mealies - totally get it. I pretty much only gave him the mealies the one time. I remembered the impaction thing from my hedgehog days. I was just desperate to get anything I could in him. I’ve Since pitched them and won’t get them again!
Karrie and Tracie - thank you so much for your advice and support. You are all lizard angels!! I’m sure this must feel redundant and frustrating at times, but your devotion to these critters is clear. It means a lot to both my husband and me. I’ll keep you updated on Seddie’s progress, if that’s okay. I’m sure this won’t be the last question I have! Please keep him in your Lizard prayers for continued progress!
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby AHBD » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:49 pm

You're more than welcome ! And it's never redundant or annoying, baby reptiles need specialized care and it's not east to navigate without help. I'm happy to help and I know the others are as well. :)
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby Drache613 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:03 am

Hello,

Wow, a positive update indeed, I was afraid to check back in because so often the updates
are not good. It sounds like he is definitely trying & is bonding with you & your hubby also.
He will be ok for a bit without the other light. Which new UVB are you trying to purchase?
For the moment, a smaller tank is perfect for him since he is so critical!
At least he did eat & is showing signs of more energy & curiosity, too. You are doing a fantastic
job with him & trying to get him going in a better direction is an emotional roller coaster.
It is never redundant, but quite the opposite when helping out little ones. They are all precious
& so sweet.
That is definitely not stargazing though, most will look up at the light like that.
Keep us posted on him. I will be thinking about you both. :)

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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby SeddieCanuck » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:16 am

Well, 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. He’s back to refusing food. I can’t even get him to do the slurry today. He’s only interested in basking. He’s rubbing his face quite a bit but can’t quite grasp how to rub said face AND stay on the branch. We’re back to head down basking and wobbly walking as well. He had a very nice poop however.
Is it too early still for the bath?
I’m back to feeling disheartened. Is it always this hard with babies in general??? I’m torn between trying to give him all I’ve got and wondering if I’m just prolonging the inevitable. What is “normal” baby behaviour???
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Re: Baby dragon not eating, head tilt, wobbly. First time mo

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:43 am

It sounds like he might be going into shed - but the head down and wobbling has me concerned -- can you take some pics of him w/ his head down - the shed will throw his appetite off so that could be the reason for not eating - bathing tends to stress them out and if he is indeed not feeling good then I would advise not to - you can spray him or drop water on his nose if you are thinking of hydrating him
Normal behavior for a baby is active eating pooping basking and sleeping
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