New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please help

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New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please help

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:56 am

So this is my first bearded dragon I've ever kept. I am sorry for the long post but I'm desperate to find out exactly what is going on with my new baby so I don't want to leave out any details. I did a ton of research before diving in and finally purchasing one about 2 weeks ago. Here are some of the care/habitat specifications:

40gallon tank
Reptisun T5 UVB 24" hood
150 Watt basking lamp
Basking temps 105°-110°
Cool side around 80°
Humidity has been staying around 30%
Reptichip substrate
Mainly eating greens and dubia roaches
In his tank I keep a water dish in the center
And food dish is on the cooler side of the tank.
Hammock for basking and one stone hide on the cooler end.

I've been giving greens mostly in the morning but they are in the tank throughout the day. Dubias 2-3x per day and I dust some with Fluker's Repta Calcium w/ but D3 & phosphorus Free 3x per week as advised by our vet. *Side note* the pet store told me dragons do not need to see a vet unless there's something wrong however, I always have new pets checked by a vet and provide regularly scheduled visits regardless of species.

The dragon I chose was around 2 months old looked healthy enough when I got him and all has been going relatively well for the first week and a half. He did have a shed a few days after we brought him home but that seemed to go well. I've been bathing him regularly and checking for stuck shed. Everything looks good there. He eats well and has been having regular bowel movements that look perfectly normal.

However Monday evening I noticed that he was closing his right eye very tightly and his bottom eyelid looked a bit swollen but no discharge or discoloration or anything. Then he started trying to scratch at it and rub it on things. I decided to bathe him and try to rinse it. I have a Zero water filter and I only bath him in or give him water from that filter. But it didn't help. I called our vet (the only one in town who sees reptiles) and the scheduled an appointment for 5:30pm the next day. So I reluctantly put him to bed that night fearing a deadly infection and every horror I could read about online. Probably spent 3 hours just googling.

The next day I woke him up at 7 as I do every day. He looked ok so I gave him some time to warm up but after an hour of basking he just seemed like he really didn't feel well. The eye was still closed he was lying his precious little head on his arm and just looked miserable. So I called my vet to see if they could get him in sooner. They allowed me to drop him off there where they observed him from 8:30 AM till they called me in to pick I'm up around 1PM. The vet said that it appears he may have injured the eye but she could not observe anything foreign in the eye so she prescribed Meloxicam (Metacam) 1.5/ml to be taken once a day in the evening for pain and discomfort and Enrofloxacin (Baytril) 0.20 ml to be taken in the mornings for 10 days (antibiotic). She gave him a dose of the Meloxicam in the office to show me how to administer the medication.

I brought him home and as I was taking him out of the car that he was enjoying the sunlight and that he was attempting to open the eye. So I decided to set outside with him for a while and let him enjoy it and he did end up opening the eye a few more times and he did have a good poop that evening.

But as I often do, I got to researching and I read all the horror stories about beardies and antibiotics. I went to the reptile store in town to pick up some fresh veggies and roaches and asked them what they thought. They're all pretty respected reptile experts around here and I wanted to get another perspective and their attitude was that beardies are resilient and that if the eye is the only issue that he'll be fine but that antibiotics could do more damage than good.

So now that brings me to today. I woke him up at 7. The eye is still closed he took about 1 small piece of collard greens and watermelon but is pretty much just wanting to bask in his hammock and nap. He is looking more alert now at 10:30 am. but still just basking not moving around much and the eye is still closed. I am supposed to be giving him his antibiotic this morning but I feel so apprehensive. I don't want to do anything to cause him further harm or pain. I already love him so much.

So my question is has anyone dealt with this in a juvenile beardie before and what did you do? How did it turn out? Does this sound like a life threatening issue? Do I medicate or not medicate? I'm just looking for straight answers and everyone is telling me something different. It's been a long couple weeks just getting used to everything and now this. I'm so confused and I just want him to be ok.
Britty
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:26 am

Please take a pic of the dragon and post --- https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/
Click on the XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the pic --- it should post
the UVB is placed where ? top of screen or inside the tank
I have a guess that its shed causing the eye issue but need to see first --
what is the reptichip substrate?
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:56 am

[Click image to enlarge]


Here is his home. I think I will switch the substrate to tile today. I was kind of pressured into getting it at the reptile store but it just seems too loose to me and I feel weird about it so I'm just gonna get rid of it.

[Click image to enlarge]


I have to crack the top open and prop the UVB lamp like this for now so it can be un-obstructed by the mesh. I am trying to figure out a way to mount it. Any suggestions would be helpful.

[Click image to enlarge]


[Click image to enlarge]


Here's my baby and his poor little eye.

Thank you so much for responding and I'm open to any and all suggestions from more experienced keepers.
Britty
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:04 am

Yes please do get rid of the reptichip--- if he eats one of those several they can cause some serious damage inside or impaction -- if your going w/ tile please get some textured slated ceramic tile something w/ texture but kind smooth NO coarse stuff you dont want him getting abrasions on his feet or stomach ---- as far as the eye goes it looks like shed --- they do swell to help w/ the shedding --- just rinse his eye w/ some saline or you can mist him as well --- I would not be giving any more meds I will have AHBD take a look at the eye as well
here are some things to hang w/ 3 M command Velcro fasteners- picture hanging wire –long plastic zip ties-- fishing line ---- here is some really good stuff that I use its like a Velcro strap cut into strips and wrap around the fixture https://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-15-ft-Ca ... /304220195
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:19 am

Thank you so so much!

I haven't given him any of the antibiotic so all he has had was the Meloxicam that they gave him at the vet yesterday. I hope that's out of his system.

Since this morning I've seen him grazing on his greens and he has eaten 3 dubias. He also, took a nice poop so that makes me feel hopeful.

I think will be going with a textured slate (real stone) tile. I'm currently running them through my dishwasher on sanitize with no soap to disinfect before I place them in the enclosure.

Thank you for the UVB mounting suggestions. I'll hit the store later today and see what I can find.

I wiped over the eye gently with warm water last night but nothing really happened. I'll keep trying, I just don't want to mess with him too much and stress him out but I may be being too gentle? I'm just not super confident in the bathing yet I think. He's just so tiny and seems so fragile to me.
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:32 am

He doesnt really need baths-- it will just stress him out--- the salads your feeding will give him plenty of moisture - just rinse them before serving---
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:48 am

I had read that a couple baths a week we're a necessary part of their care so that's why I appreciate other beardie parents' input. There is sooooo much conflicting info out there. It's kind of frustrating and a little exhausting but I'm doing my best. I think my newborn human children were easier than this. Lol.
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:54 am

Dragons scales will dried out w/ too many baths-- it also stresses them out - we often do not recommend them unless they are actually drinking from the bath- salads will provide ample moisture if he's eating them - watch his poops- if they are formed dark and moist and urate- is white formed and moist he's hydrated- you don't want the urate- dry and chalky looking
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:35 pm

Ok, so I went ahead and tried to rinse the eye a little more with warm. No change. What if I can't get it better? My vet obviously, doesn't know much about them despite being a "reptile" vet. So does anyone have any suggestions? I don't want this issue to get more serious than it already is and I'm willing to try anything.
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:48 pm

I flagged the post to ahbd-- she can advise on his eye issue-
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 3:50 pm

Update:

I switched his substrate to slate tile.

[Click image to enlarge]


I took him to the reptile store near me where the owner offered to look at him. He started opening both eyes while there and they did not see any stock shed or infection but he's still closing the eye off and on this evening. Any other thoughts on why he could be doing this?
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:36 pm

What type of basking bulb are you using? Is it a coil or solid bulb? I see only a stick on thermometer? Are you using any other way to get temps? Also you need to get a piece of decor directly under the UVB approx 12-15 inches -- I want ahbd to look at the eye
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:47 pm

It's a 150 watt. It is a bulb not coil. I have a handheld infrared thermometer that I use to keep track of the temps. That's just the one I had in there to begin with.

I can move the light over the basking spot. I'm just worried about it being too bright over him and irritating his eye more.
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:06 pm

The IR guns cannot read off of hammocks- please get a digital probe thermometer- the Reptisun bulbs are considered safe lights and the light will be shining downward on him-- he needs this -- I still think it's shed and the reptile shop person really isn't a good person to go to- most shop pet people don't know a lot about the care of dragons---
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Re: New beardie is ill and I don't know what to do. Please h

Postby Britty » Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:32 pm

I have a digital probe in there as well but it doesn't read very accurately. I need to find a better one. Also, since I repositioned the hammock you probably can't see it. The analog one you're talking about on the back wall I don't use at all it just came with the enclosure. I mainly use the heat gun on the end of that log right under the hottest part of the light to measure the temp.

It could still be stuck shed. I'm open to any suggestions but he's been opening the eye more off and on tonight. I hope that continues and doesn't get worse again. But as far as the reptile place I really don't have a lot of options and the guy who runs it has raised hundreds of beardies so I was looking for experience. I'm not hanging all my hopes on his opinion but I'm looking into absolutely anything I can to try to get him back to normal.

That being said he's still eating and acting pretty much normal just still favoring the eye. I guess my only option right now is to keep it clean and hope it doesn't get infected.

I do appreciate all your help. At this point I'm just racked with anxiety and have spent 2 days agonizing over something that I hope is not that serious. I just hope he starts feeling better soon.
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