Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

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Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

Postby Tyrannus » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:04 pm

I am a looking to be a first time owner soon so I have done a lot of research on care for dragons. As of right now, the only thing I need to figure out of exactly where to get my bearded dragon from... I live in an area where there are not a lot of available bearded dragons (Southern Illinois) and the closest options I have found are Petco which is 15 minutes away and Petsmart which is an hour and a half away. I don't really intend to buy from these stores because I am really fearful of buying one infected with parasites or ADV, something I do not want to handle as a first time owner. Of course, if I did buy one with a health problem I would give the beardie the best care I possibly could, but I would mainly want to avoid that. So, after pretty much knocking out Petco/Petsmart, I looked into buying online from a breeder. Problem is, I have yet to find any I can put my trust in/afford. I am not looking to put $200 into a bearded dragon as I am not interested in colors that much, all I really want is a little companion regardless of how he/she looks. After searching around a lot I can tell most breeders do not test for ADV... So I want to ask you guys, is this something I should worry about? It really scares me to think of buying a dragon for the first time and have it die very young. Should I really be worried about even buying from pet stores like Petco? From what I have heard they are pretty terrible a lot of the time but there are also examples of people buying a bearded dragon from Petco or Petsmart and it living a natural lifespan with no problems at all, so I am really conflicted. It would also be great to know where you guys got your dragons from. Any help is appreciated.
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Re: Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:09 pm

I wouldn't worry about it too much. I don't think a lot of breeders test for ADV unfortunately so even spending more isn't a guarantee. If you aren't set on a baby, perhaps you can find an adult in the area who needs a new home. You'd have to be careful to find one who has been kept healthy and not neglected, as neglect can lead to plenty of issues as well. I would imagine most stores/breeders would have a guarantee so if you bought a baby dragon and ran an ADV test that came out positive you could get a refund. With treatment and good care though, they can live happy lives with atadenovirus.
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Re: Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

Postby AHBD » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:00 pm

There will be some reptile shoes coming up in your area soon. Here are 2 of them if they would be close enough for you to check out. You could look at the vendor list ahead of time + contact beardie breeders to ask what they'll have at the show. The Tinley Park show should be huge.

http://www.narbc.com/index.html

The second show is the Cjicago show, August 27...

http://coldbloodedexpos.com/chi-reptile-show/
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Re: Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

Postby Raym6492 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:14 am

Check out daves dragons at carolina classic dragons. Or if you want to make a trip to Chicago this weekend there is a show. There will also be another scott smiths all animal expo in Wheaton up by Chicago in three weeks I believe. I bought a dragon from a lady named Debby up there last week. She has all different morphs and very good prices. I have $80 for a citrus trans from her. I think she is also at the cold blooded reptile show up there this weekend. I also have a leather back I have bought from Dave as well.
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Re: Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

Postby EllenD » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:46 am

The bottom line to your question is basically it doesn't really matter where you buy a bearded dragon from, it may have Adenovirus, it very likely may have parasites or a bacterial infection, or it might not. And don't think for a second that spending more money from a private, online breeder will ensure a healthy dragon, as I've actually been helping several members here through private messages who spent big bucks at very well known, big name private breeders that you would recognize if you've been looking for one online. There are 4 different people like this I've been helping who bought either a baby or juvenile beardie from one of these big online breeders, they all paid between $100-$300 for their beardies, and they all had parasites and/or worms, and one had gout right from the start, along with one who had a known tail nip but when it arrived she actually had tail rot and had to have an amputation. So there are no guarantees.

I had a male beardie that I purchased from a private breeder almost 15 years ago, who had parasites when I brought him home as a month and a half old baby. We treated the parasites at my Certified Herp Vet (still use the same vet today), and after the initial parasites he never had another illness and lived to almost 13. Currently I have a now 10 month old female that I bought at my local Petco when she was barely a month old, and she's not been sick with anything at all, not once. She's now 10 months old, is 19" long, and just passed 500 grams two weeks ago. I also have a now 4 month old leatherback male that I got from a private egg rescuer at 4 weeks old, and he's never had an illness of any kind and is at a perfect length and weight as well.
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Re: Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

Postby EllenD » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:14 am

I would think of it this way: both Petco and PetSmart are franchised stores, each completely different than the next due to different owners, different managers, different employees, and different husbandry rules. So just like private breeders, some Petco and PetSmart stores are responsible, take great care of their animals, are extremely clean, feed healthy diets, use great lighting, etc. and then some don't. They all get their live animals from different regional vendors, with more and more big-box pet shops buying their live animals from local, private breeders in bulk anyway, as the "pet mills" they all used to buy from being shut down and no longer used due to horrible publicity. So if you have a Petco or PetSmart local to you that you see as taking good care of their live animals, they always have clean tanks, their beardies are a good size, bright, active, and happy, and they have a health guarantee (I know Petco does), then there's no reason to not buy a beardie from them.

You should take your new beardie to an experienced reptile vet right after getting him anyway for a complete exam and a fecal test for parasites, so you set that appointment up for the day after you go buy your beardie, take it to the experienced reptile vet the next day and have the fecal done, and if he does happen to have parasites or worms (which is common regardless of where you get them and easily treatable) Petco will pay for the treatment. Always buy the larger or largest beardies instead of the smaller or smallest, and the most active. *****Most health issues people have with their pet beardies are not due to the pet store or breeder, but rather to improper lighting, temperatures, substrates, and diet!!!***** And another fact to consider is that the majority of bearded dragon owners buy their beardies from a pet shop like Petco or PetSmart, by far, rather than a private breeder, just don't due to availability and cost. Therefore, are the majority of beardies with health issues going to be ones that came from a pet store? OF COURSE, IT'S JUST NUMBERS...
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Re: Worried about buying a dragon with ADV

Postby Varalidaine » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:48 am

EllenD wrote:I would think of it this way: both Petco and PetSmart are franchised stores, each completely different than the next due to different owners, different managers, different employees, and different husbandry rules. So just like private breeders, some Petco and PetSmart stores are responsible, take great care of their animals, are extremely clean, feed healthy diets, use great lighting, etc. and then some don't. They all get their live animals from different regional vendors, with more and more big-box pet shops buying their live animals from local, private breeders in bulk anyway, as the "pet mills" they all used to buy from being shut down and no longer used due to horrible publicity. So if you have a Petco or PetSmart local to you that you see as taking good care of their live animals, they always have clean tanks, their beardies are a good size, bright, active, and happy, and they have a health guarantee (I know Petco does), then there's no reason to not buy a beardie from them.


Neither PetSmart nor Petco are franchised. They are company owned and have the same policies in every store. In both stores, there are care guides and strict rules as to what is allowed to be in the tanks. Is each store a little different depending on how knowledgeable and passionate employees are? Yes. But every store must follow the same rules. Petco has a little packet of paper in each animal section that defines what the tanks should look like: Small Animal enclosures must only have 1/2" of bedding, no higher. Bearded Dragons may be kept on sand or eco carpet. Leopard Geckos may be kept on sand or eco carpet. Water dishes should be a corner dish. One hide per hamster habitat. Two hides per guinea pig habitat. These are company wide policies. One store can not choose to take care of it's animals a certain way or not. Every reptile enclosure has a long UVB light that spans each enclosure in a row. Each tank also has one mini day heat lamp and one mini red heat lamp or heat mat (this depends on the actual system in the store and how old it is). Even feeding schedules (crickets vs mealworms) is determined for each animal. Husbandry rules are the same for each store.

The idea that Petco and PetSmart has stopped using mills because people don't like them is ludicrous. PetSmart can't take abandoned animals, let alone buy from a local private breeder. Petco will take abandoned animals but in no way buys from private breeders. Both stores get their reptiles shipped in the mail. Small animals are delivered from local mills whereas reptiles are shipped from large scale mills. PetSmarts source there reptiles from Reptiles by Mack (PETA did an exposed video on them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsR-pvUFT3Y
(The expose is a little dramatic sounding, but footage is footage and regardless of how you feel about PETA, it shows the condition the animals are in. PetSmart has NOT ended their contract with Reptiles by Mack).

Petco mostly uses Sandfire Dragon Ranch (NOT Sandfire Dragons!) and California Zoological.

Off course they have to order animals from mills. Both companies systems are online and every week the animal managers place an order to restock tanks. So they have to source from someone who can ship out thousands of animals a week. It would be chaos trying to see which local breeder has 3 dragons available for one store in California and 12 leopard geckos for another store in Ohio.

I worked at both stores and unpacked the animals myself. Animals often arrived dead (3/6 leopard geckos would typically arrive dead) and we constantly dealt with deaths from ADV. 5 of our baby bearded dragons died one after another, all from ADV.

"Petco Animal Supplies, Inc., or simply Petco, is an American privately held pet retailer in the United States."
"The two largest pet supply chains, Petsmart and Petco (over 1800 company owned stores; they do not offer franchises)..."
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