Dragon on back

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Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:21 pm

I'm freaking out just a little bit and sure could use some help, advice or words of comfort! My dragon Aztec had a fall last week, as far as we can guess. He has a new, larger enclosure with a small panel of mesh on the sides, and it appears that he got a toenail stuck and twisted funny to get loose. This is all conjecture on the part of us and the vet. When I found him, he was dragging his back legs and had a strange curvature to his tail. On the way to the vet, we noticed a missing toenail. The x-ray showed no broken bones, and no signs of MBD. Weight and all other indicators all looked good, even appetite. So vet assumed "soft tissue injury" and possible impaction. We've been giving a small dose of painkiller on his worms, and keeping him warm. No improvement in the function of legs from time of noticing issue Thurs until now on Sunday. TONIGHT I found him on his back. No idea how long he was in that position, but it appears that he had been kicking and struggling to roll back over because his little sleep rug was all bunched up. He felt cool and limp when we picked him up, but he slowly revived. I totally freaked! So, I am calmed down now but wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom about how he got on his back and what I should do from here? There are NO high places in his enclosure right now, was we removed them while he healed after the original fall (or whatever happened). Should I put him in a small, plastic tub with a warming lamp until I can get him back to the vet? Something where he cannot move around too much. And remove his water dish so he doesn't faceplant into it? Please let me know if you know any causes for a dragon ending up on their back????

Aztec is about 2.5yo, male, about 22" long. His tank temps are currently 95 hot side - 79 cold side.
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:27 pm

Tracie needs to look at your post shes the vet tech mod
please tell us what you are using for a UVB and where in the tank it is-- basking temps are being taken by a digital probe thermometer- these questions are normal for us to ask --
its good you have removed the things he can climb on - can you post a pic of what the tank looks like now so we can maybe see how he got on his back please
https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ click on the XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the pic it should post
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:37 pm

He has been in new enclosure for about 2 weeks. Previous enclosure was starter tank, 20 gallon I guess. Too small for his size, but he is my adult daughter’s pet and she was handling the care. Previous setup included ReptiSun Desert UVB mini compact fluorescent above the mesh lid. Domed heat lamp, but I don’t know what brand. Temp range was about 80-95 throughout tank. We live in FL so it is generally warm in the house, and he does go outside (out of tank) on most days to sit in the sunshine.

New enclosure is a ReptiZoo – 36” x 18” x 18” with new décor. We added items one at a time to allow him to get used to them – first the new flooring, then the hammock, then the climb. We used the old light setup for a day or two and then realized it was too cold because of the bigger tank. We added a ceramic heat emitter in a domed fixture on the “hot” side of the tank.
We are still moving things around and measuring temps and making adjustments. We swapped out the smaller UVB light for one that covers more distance across the top of the tank, but that has only been in there for 3 days and we’ve realized we need to get a different one. The temperature gradient is good, but we’ve read that the light itself is bad – it is a Thrive 20” terrarium strip light fixture with a Thrive 18” bulb. We have a probe thermometer that we use to check the temps in the basking spot, but also mounted a digital thermometer on each end for a quick read.

I don’t really have any good pictures of the full setup, since we’ve been moving everything around. And now I’ve removed almost everything from the enclosure while his back legs aren’t working. I will upload current pics – right now he has is favorite rock, his favorite rug, and a little fake plant stuck in a corner to block that mesh. One of the pictures shows where his brown rug was sitting when we put him back in the tank from being outside. And another shows a re-creation of how we found the rug bunched up when we found him lying on his back. No idea how he ended up on his back, but we hypothesize that he may have wiggled and flailed to try to turn back over – but couldn’t because of his damaged back end – and that is how the rug got bunched up?

Sorry this is so lengthy …
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:13 pm

[Click image to enlarge]

Setup before we adjusted lights

[Click image to enlarge]

Current tank -- lights are UVB, heat and ceramic heat emitter to keep Aztec warm while not feeling well
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:19 pm

[Click image to enlarge]

You can see placement of brown rug in previous picture. That is where we set dragon when putting back in tank. Later found rug like this, dragon on back to the right of it.
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby Drache613 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:19 am

Hello,

Poor girl, I am sorry he is having trouble after his fall.
Please post some pictures of the hump on his back. How far of a fall did he take?
The Desert mini compact UVB light will need to be changed out for a higher quality
UVB light. Try getting a high output T5 tube bulb, either the Reptisun 10 or the Arcadia
D3 12% or 14%. Which tube bulb did you recently change to, the Thrive tube bulb?
He probably is having some calcium issues due to not enough UVB but hopefully that
will turn around for him.
Since you are in Florida, you can definitely continue taking him outside for some sun, that
helps a lot!
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:29 am

I agree ditch the thrive bulb for the T 5 Reptisun 12% or the Arcadia 12% Desert bulb -- please look at the thrive fixture and see if there is a reflector in it -- I have seen many being sold w/ NO reflectors in them and you want one - they are a shiny strip behind the bulb -- if there isnt one please get a new fixture -- either a Zoo Med or Sunblaster or Arcadia--- you can look at www.pangeareptiles.com or Amazon-- but I would get this ASAP-- I would recommend a 24" fixture for your 40 gallon tank -- make sure your basking temps are 95-100 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer -- at this point w/ the way the UVB is set up hes getting slim to no UVB -- T 8's are not strong enough to go thru the screen - you want a bright white basking bulb --the CHE is good for nite time heat -- keeping the temp around 80 at nite should be good as long as hes not feeling well -- but I would work on getting the basking temps and UVB up to par -- this is critical for his health if you need more help please ask
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:44 pm

Thank you everyone! I will work on ordering the new lighting tomorrow. Without sounding heartless, I wanted to make sure that he would make it through the night before I ordered new equipment. Vet visit today was good. No parasites. Vet said just keep him low -- no climbing -- and warm. Keep giving painkiller for next few days. I will keep you updated. Thanks again!
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:47 pm

Drache613 wrote:
Poor girl, I am sorry he is having trouble after his fall.
Please post some pictures of the hump on his back. How far of a fall did he take?

Tracie


Hello Tracie ~ I probably rambled on so much that it got confusing. We are not 100% sure that he fell, but think that instead he twisted funny trying to get his toenail unstuck. He's missing a toenail and the bottom of his foot is bruised. There is no hump on his back, but his spine looks twisted. The vet said his bone density looks good, so we are hoping he will straighten out once the muscles relax. We are giving him painkiller and supplemental calcium, changing his UVB to what people here recommended, and keeping him low to the ground until things improve. We did take him outside to play today and he was moving a little bit better.

I have a new, 24" long terrarium hood on order, plus ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO bulb.
Can you recommend a preferred heat lamp?

Thanks so much!
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:49 pm

[Click image to enlarge]

Aztec outside in the FL sunshine today!
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:55 pm

KarrieRee wrote:I agree ditch the thrive bulb for the T 5 Reptisun 12% or the Arcadia 12% Desert bulb -- please look at the thrive fixture and see if there is a reflector in it -- I have seen many being sold w/ NO reflectors in them and you want one - they are a shiny strip behind the bulb -- if there isnt one please get a new fixture -- either a Zoo Med or Sunblaster or Arcadia--- you can look at http://www.pangeareptiles.com or Amazon-- but I would get this ASAP-- I would recommend a 24" fixture for your 40 gallon tank -- make sure your basking temps are 95-100 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer ...


Thank you for the recommendations. I have a new 24" hood and bulb on order. Plus another digital therm with probe. Do you have a recommendation for a heat lamp as well?
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby Drache613 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:41 am

Hello,

A lot of us here use the Halogen Flood light PAR38's for basking that you can easily find at
Home Depot or Lowe's. They are nice & bright & reach the optimal basking temperatures for
them, also.
So how is his back looking today? They can sure get themselves in crazy positions when they
get stuck sometimes. I hope that he is doing better!

Tracie
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:59 am

Make sure you watch your temps w/ the flood lights I tried them and it got my temps way too hot - I did have it sitting on top of the screen and the only way to get it to where it needed to be was to get a stand and have it hanging over the tank and I did not and do not have one so I ditched the PAR 38 and went w/ a normal bright white basking bulb -- trial and error
When you get your UVB please post back on here so we can help you get it placed correctly - they require certain distance and placement -- Aztec looks good in the pic
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Re: Dragon on back

Postby Drache613 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:25 am

Hello,

How is your dragon doing today, any improvements thus far? I hope you were able to get
a new UVB light ordered.
I hope he is starting to feel better soon, please keep us posted on him!

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Re: Dragon on back

Postby newbeardiegma » Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:41 pm

Drache613 wrote:Hello,

How is your dragon doing today, any improvements thus far? I hope you were able to get
a new UVB light ordered.
I hope he is starting to feel better soon, please keep us posted on him!

Tracie


Hello! He is doing slightly better, less twisted in spine and tail, but it still seems to be painful to move. He did move both back legs today while soaking in the bath, so that is good news. And he's been able to pull himself up on his rock (that I added back into his tank yesterday). I'm still giving pain meds on his worms, and will schedule a vet re-check for next week.

[Click image to enlarge]

Twisted -- earlier this week and today.

His new terrarium hood and light arrived today, but unfortunately the new 10 UVB T5 HO bulb won't fit into the new fixture! I'm sure that I ordered the right thing, but the bulb is about 1/16th of an inch too long! Has anyone else had this problem? I called Chewy.com (where I purchased) and they are sending out a new bulb for free. Should arrive in 3-5 days. In the meantime, I have the 5 UVB bulb (that came with the hood) in there.

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

Bulb is too long!

[Click image to enlarge]

This is what I currently have for basking.

[Click image to enlarge]

Setup today, new ZooMed hood, Basking & Che

Any suggestions on what else I can do? I don't know if it would make sense to double up on the UVB lights that I do have working? I'm currently using the new 24" ZooMed hood and 5 UVB T5 HO bulb.
But I could add 18" Thrive hood (no silver reflector!) and Thrive bulb also for a few days, if that would be useful?

His temps today were 95 basking, 80 cool side. It's currently 80 in tank now with lights off but CHE on for night. I'm trying to keep him warm at night while healing.

Thanks for all your help and compassion! This is so nerve wracking!
Deb
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