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I'm brand new to this beardie adventure, and so far I am loving it! My only concern is, I have read up and researched this pet almost too much, but I am not sure what I should be looking for in terms of normal behavior and healthy activity.
Mustachio (Tashi for short) is approx 2-3 months old, about 6in long and we have had him in a 30x12x12 tank with an Exo-Terra Solar Glo 125w Mercury vapor light. Temps on warm side are at a steady 100-105 degrees, and my husband took a laser thermometer and the wood on his basking spot gets to around 120 degrees, though he usually likes to bask under a branch. Cool side is steady at 80degrees and have an underpad heater on the cool side under his hide (where he rarely ever goes). Substrate is reptile carpet.
We have had him for about 2 weeks at home now, and he seems to differ from day to day. He will voraciously eat 5-8 small crickets (dusted of course) about 2x a day, although I have been bad about trying to get it to a schedule. On occasion though he will turn up his nose at even crickets--one day he let them walk right in front of him and over his back and he didn't even flinch! Then next day, back to normal. He will also eat mealworms, about 4-5 every other day or so. He's not particularly fond of them as much as he is the crickets though. I have also heard conflicting things about feeding mealworms to babies. I make sure they are not too big for him (space between his eyes in length only). His back shed about 1 week ago, and he is clearly working on his head shed but it is slow going. He loves it when I put a drop of water on my finger and rub it into his head. Almost puts him to sleep! But the VEGI's! He is not having any of them! I know they don't eat much vegi's this young, but he doesn't eat any of them! Fresh or freeze dried, doesn't matter! Poops about once a day and still has cricket appetite, but I'm just worried he'll start to get picky! We try to handle him for short periods of time, like just a few minutes, every day.
Then over the last few days he has been walking really funny. Almost like he is drunk. Banging into things, bending backwards to look at something and then will fall over completely. Occasionally he slides off his branch/climb although that area is not far from the ground. He is very wobbly on his feet, and that is completely new. (At least I can say he wasn't doing that when we brought him home 2 weeks ago.) I know he is still a baby, and maybe I'm being too paranoid, but I'd rather know for sure. I did take some video of him wobbling about, but I don't know how to get it onto this forum since this is my first time posting.
So I guess my questions are these...
1. Should I worry about the anti-vegi issues?
2. Are meal worms a no-no?
3. Could the head shed have anything to do with his inconsistent appetite?
4. Is the wobble walking and falling over normal for a baby or am I just being paranoid since all the eating/pooping habits appear to be normal?
Sorry this is so long, but I would rather be over paranoid, than miss something important about Mustashio's health. Thanks in advance!
Add the video to a site like youtube and then post a link on here to it. Wobbling and falling over is not a normal behaviour.
As for your other questions:
1. Beardies don't require a constant diet of veggies till their older. Most babies don't eat their veggies (just like human children) and will start when their older. Keep offering them to your beardie daily and one day you'll notice they disappear.
2. Meal worms are a big no-no!! They contain what's called Chiten in their skin which is very hard for a beardie to digest and can impact (block) them so they can't go to the bathroom. At your beardies age Repti Worms are good and once older Super Worms.
3. Yes shedding will effect appetite, energy and mood in beardies.
Thanks for responding. I cross posted this thread on the Beardie ER board as well, because after searching and reading some of the discussion boards, I freaked out because a lot of the dragons with the same problems have died!
I took the video to both the local pet store (Ugh, I know) and also to a very reputable Reptile shop in town, and they both looked at the video and thought it was something neurological. One other person from this site said they thought it was middle stage metabolic bone disease, but I wondered if that would show up so quickly, since it has only been going on for 24-48 hours. Tashi is also still young, 2-3 months from what I can tell. His color is great and he is alert and always looks and interacts with me. The Reptile shop said that he looks like something neurological like a head injury or something because he walks around kinda wobbly and spins his head like he's dizzy. They also said sometimes if there is a spike in incubation temperature when the eggs are incubated that that can cause neurological issues and that they might not show up right away, which would explain the sudden onset. I just don't know.
I will try and upload videos to get more help on the matter. I am a nervous Momma right now though! This is my kids' first pet since they are deathly allergic to anything with fur, and I don't want to fail them or Tashi! I feel like I've researched bearded dragons almost too much and feel like I've been doing everything right so far! Although there is a lot of conflicting information about what to feed, which lighting to use etc. And by the way, I stopped feeding him mealworms a couple days ago...that was probably the only consistant thing was no meal worms. Stupid PetSmart was giving him those every other day and crickets every other day before we brought him home! For all I know that could be the culprit!
Thanks for replying! I'm so worried about my scaley baby!
Are you dusting his food with Calcium and Vitamins?
If you dusting and he has a UVB source then I highly doubt it's MBD. I had a beardie that died of MBD and your beardie isn't showing those signs.
It could be neurological though. Their right in saying if there was weird temps during the incubation it can effect them later.
As long as he's still using the bathroom and eating it won't be from the meal worms because he's not impacted if he's going to the bathroom.
The video will help.
Here are 3 videos of Tashi and his "funny walk". Possibly neurological? Metabolic bone disease this young? With symptoms only showing up in 24-48 hours? Help!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAWIsEBH ... re=channel
Thanks in advance!
It doesn't seem like MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease) Tash doesn't have any crooked bends in his tail, he's using all 4 legs and his mouth isn't deformed. Those are the first 3 signs of MBD.
Are you dusting his food with calcium?
It looks neurological to me. A good reptile vet will be able to help your little one with this. Some times it's something the beardie will have all it's life but be quite happy and healthy for the most part and then at other times if left too long it can be fatal. I would suggest finding a good reptile vet in your area and taking him in.
Yes, Luthien mentioned that right now we can't be sure what it is, but if you take him to a vet, be sure that they are experienced with reptiles. As for MBD, the first signs of calcium deficiency to look for, and that can lead to MBD are often trembling limbs and lethargy, sometimes small seizures. It can then progress to MBD, but sometimes MBD comes on with the start of an underbite , it can be a crooked spine and/ or bent tail, some have deformed legs and look as if they are walking on their wrists or the back of their hands. But low blood calcium can cause the neurological symptoms.
Agreed, although some times you don't notice MBD as much. My very first beardie that I rescued had MBD and all he has was the under bite.
Returned from the vet and the verdict is a very large parasite count in the stool. Herp vet doesn't think it has anything to do with what he has been eating, but can't rule out some kind of genetic neurological thing either. She did say that I was doing everything right (phew!) and that sometimes they can get parasites from where they were before (Damn PetSmart!) or from his cagemate when he was there. Got some meds to give him for the next week and I'm hoping that will help. She also said that high parasite can cause brain issues and that he looks like he is dizzy cuz he doesn't always walk that way. Ironically he also shed his head (literally right before we left for the vet) today too. Now his full colors are really popping! And $100 later, I at least feel better about not being the cause of this! Thanks for all of your help! I will post updates as he gets better ( I hope!) Glad I didn't give up!
Nasty things those parasites!! I'm sure your baby will get better now with the meds. Yes please keep us posted on how he is doing!!
Tashi is so much more himself today! Running around no problem! Such a relief!
The vet said that the light I have should be fine for him, but I think next week I will think about getting the Repti-Sun 10 tube. Vet also said I could just use a heat emitter and then a regular UVB bulb on a timer. I don't know what to get really, because everything seems to contradict each other. That, and I just dropped $100 on my sick little guy, so I will at least have to wait til next payday before I completely change the set up I already have!
I bought some Repta-Boost (formerly Repta-Aid) and have been giving him that liquid in a syringe by just dropping a bit on his nose and he just licks it right up! Adorable! His meds he takes pretty well too once I get his little mouth open. He doesn't seem to mind it though and will often just pow-wow in my hands for awhile after. There might be a bit of shed left cuz I saw him nose rubbing again tonight and then he used his back legs to scratch at his head like a dog would scratch behind his ears! It was hilarious! I didn't think they did that! He didn't have a tremendous appetite for crickets tonight, but I was giving his vitamins right before, so he may have just been "fed up" with me and crickets were too much work! (He ate 5-7 dusted ones this morning so I'm not worried)
Anyway, he seems to be much better and was "glass walking" and playing in his water dish tonight too. Pretty active and walking on all fours with his little tail curled upward! His climbing is much better too. Not as jerky as it was before. He is also spending a lot more time up to the front of his cage, looking for his Momma! (At least that is what my husband says!)
Thanks for thinking of us and thanks for all your help! It was a life (and sanity) saver! We'll keep you posted on him!
I'm so glad that the little one is doing better!! Once he's all better you'll have to take more pictures and video's for us to see.
Spoke too soon! Tashi stopped eating Friday night, so we took him back to the vet on Saturday and are now syringe feeding him 2-3 times a day. I did get the ReptiSun 10.0 UVB light in addition to the Mercury vapor bulb, in hopes that a little extra UVB would help him out.
He did munch a bit on mealworms, about 3-4 today, since that is all he seems to want. He doesn't seem to have the energy to chase the crickets. Vet said that if that was all he wanted to eat then let him eat them, so I've been cautiously giving him the smallest ones I can find, in addition to syringe feeding him the Critical Care "soup" 3x a day.
I tried talking to PetSmart about this sick lizard since I now have $150 in vet bills alone and they have assured me that it is nothing I did in the short 3wks we have had him. My suspicion is that they never had any UVB light on him the entire time he was in the pet store, and so now on top of all the parasites, he is developing MBD and calcium deficiency. Vet said we are walking a fine gray line and that he has seen reptiles come back from this, but Tashi is so little and so young (he was 11.0grams) that he might not survive. I prepared my boys, age 5 and 10, for the possibility, but we will be devastated if he does die. I'm hoping the fact that he is at least eating mealworms right now is a good sign and hope things will go uphill from here!
Thanks for thinking of us! Will update soon!
Oh my goodness I'm so sorry to hear this! You are a good mommy in looking after this little one.
Another thing you can try is syringing liquid calcium into him and trying freeze dried crickets so he doesn't have to chase anything.
Keep us updated!!
One other question...
Should I take out his wood climb and clean/sanitize it? I don't want any possibility of him getting parasites back. He has a multi-tiered driftwood climb which he has pooped on in the past but we spot clean immediately after finding the poop. It has some porous knotty areas where I have seen crickets hide in. How should I clean it? I've heard some people bake it in the oven, is this a decent method? He also has a hide which he rarely goes in or on, and reptile carpet as substrate which I have two of so I could just switch it out while I wash the other one.
I'm still paranoid to take Tashi out of his cage for too long, so have been spot cleaning the sides and such. Just going to the vet in a cooler with a warm pack was stressful enough for him--and me!! What do you suggest?
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