No BMs for Neglected Dragon

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No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby dhammer911 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:21 am

Hey all:
This post is about a neglected dragon who is recovering but not having any BMs. First of all, let me thank all the users on this site. I had planned to get a dragon, and after doing my research, I started looking. To my surprise, I found Burt - a poor guy who as lived (previous owners unsure, but about 4-5 years) in terrible conditions. No lights (heat or UVB), no food, no cleaning, no space, no attention. He was horribly stunted and frankly appeared close to death. It was not what I originally expected, but I couldn't leave him.
Through research on this site, I think I have the right rehab set up: a 40g tank (he's a foot with tail, so I figure this is okay for the time being), a 10.0 tube UVB rigged inside the top screen, 90-100 basking spot (depending on elevation since there's a rock platform), 12/12 light cycle (I go total darkness at night as my home office, where he's kept, stays about 75 at night), tile floor.
Again, based on forum users' advice, I started with 4-6 gut loaded, dusted, large crickets a day to start. Now, about four weeks in, he is on large helpings of greens (collard and mustard) daily, supplemented by 6-8 of the crickets. About once a week, I'll do a protein day where he gets as many as 18 crickets. I supplement Fluker's liquid drops in the greens 3x per week.
His turnaround is amazing. Surprisingly, he has a great disposition, is very active, a great hunter, and has quite the appetite. He really enjoys interaction, particularly his weekly baths.
But my concern is that he has had only 2 BMs since I got him! They looked good, maybe a little runny, but it's the lack of them that has me worried.
I have identified a vet - I'm having to travel fairly far. But I wanted to get a fecal, visual inspection for signs illness or bigger issue (in light of the stunting and years of neglect), as well as potentially calcium testing for MBD. I've been waiting to get the fecal sample. We've been doing daily baths on the warm side to try to ease it out. Nothing.
To be clear, he can easily get himself to 95 and higher, and he never eats later than 2 hours before bedtime. I know some normal adults go a week, and I can't really apply "normal" here. But I'm getting pretty worried. Suggestions? Do I need to get to the vet now?
Thanks everyone!
Dallas and Burt
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby dhammer911 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:26 am

One thing to add: he was in (filthy) sand before. My guess is Reptisand based on the color. Could it be impaction? Like I said, he had no food, so it wouldn't have been incidental to hunting. But could he have been eating the sand for calcium? He's def a licker.
The thing about the impaction is that he has had two BMs since he's been on tile. Could impaction be delayed like that? Anyway, thought it was worth noting the sand.
Thanks,
Dallas
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby AHBD » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:37 am

Hi Dallas, it's wonderful that you've taken him in ! :) Sounds like you have greatly improved his quality of life. How long have you had him ? [ Sorry if I missed it ]

My advice would be to just offer natural laxatives like applesauce, baby food sweet potato + squash or canned pumpkin [ without spices ] Any or all of these, with a few drops of veg. oil + warmer than usual baths will do the trick. His body is still getting used to large quantities of food. Rather than 15 or more large crix at a time, just go for 8-10 ATM.

I'd skip the vet.....you are taking proper care of him, he's active and so even IF he has MBD you are stopping it already from progressing, so no need for tests + Xrays. Same with constipation....a vet can only offer man made harsh laxatives [ enulose + other products ] that are no better than the natural ones that you can do at t home.

Maybe once you've had him for 6 months or so you might have a fecal test done, but I see no need to bother with it now since he's doing well. Keep up the good work ! Post pics when you can.
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby AHBD » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:02 am

Oh, I forgot....you should have 14 hours lights on for him. You can also get a better grade calcium powder like Repcal or a liquid calcium from Tracie at www.bugdelite.com
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby dhammer911 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:14 am

AHBD:
Thanks so much. I've had Burt just more than 4 weeks now. Sounds like maybe I increased the food intake too quickly. I will go the puree route and cut down on the "protein days." Based on my interpretation of similar posts on the site, I'm going to stop greens (but not crickets) while on the puree until I see some poop. Let me know if you think that's a mistake.
I will also up the light cycle to 14/10 and get a better calcium supplement. As an aside, I am using "Fluker's Liquid Vitamin" for the vitamin supplement. I just wanted to get him on something, but certainly let me know if there's a better route.
I will check back soon with an update and pics. Thanks again!
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby AHBD » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:20 am

You're welcome. :) As far as his diet, you can keep it pretty much the same but just the one day of 18 crickets can be reduced to a lesser amount. The greens can still be fed, just add the pureed foods along with the rest of his diet. The baby food or pureed food is in addition to what you're giving him, so it's all good. BTW, is the Fluker's calcium or vitamin ?

Looking forward to seeing pics of him.
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby EllenD » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:20 pm

First of all, thank you for helping him out, it takes a lot to help these guys and we appreciate you doing this. That being said, I've been a beardie owner for 15 years, and my own beardies have been very healthy, large, and happy...I adopted my first rescue boy about 5 months ago, his name is Nix, and he was about 7 months old when I got him 5 months ago. He's now a little over a year old and doing awesome, but I literally spent the first 2 weeks I had him passing the largest impaction I've ever seen, and from what information I could get from his first owner, he actually had been having very small bowel movements but no "regular" sized bowel movements for about 3 months. He had a very loving family that got horrible advice from the Petco they bought him from as a baby, so he had no UVB light ever, only a red basking bulb, and he never had Calcium or a multivitamin, only large mealworms as his diet his entire life. They didn't ever measure his temperatures, not once, and he lived on wood chips. The impaction had been pressing on his spinal column for months, so he was partially paralyzed when I got him, which he still is. He has severe MBD. He was stunted and severely underweight. He hadn't shed since he was a baby, so he was this monotone greyish brown from head to tail. He flipped onto his back while taking a step on flat ground.

Now Nix is 500% better, he has gained over 200 grams in 5 months, he has had 2 full body sheds and is beautiful, he can now walk and climb, even run now! The main problem I noticed which effected everything wrong with him was that his muscles were very weak. And the one issue that he has had the most trouble with is having bowel movements, because even though he passed his huge impaction 5 months ago, his back end is still very weak due to not only the partial paralysis and the MBD, but also because of his general lack of strength. So I've gotten him to poop every day like clockwork now, but I have to be consistent with his supplements and his daily "bath".

If your boy has MBD, which I'm sure he does, this can be effecting his ability to push out a bowel movement. If he does have something impacting him, which he may, you need to start an impaction protocol. Once you're sure that he has passed whatever impaction he might have (and yes, Calcium sand turns into cement like rocks when it gets wet, and it's very likely he has some throughout his gastrointestinal tract), you'll most likely need to keep him on a simple probiotic supplement daily, along with giving him a warmer than average bath daily, and that will most likely be the place he poops every day.

The first thing you need to do is hand-feed him a natural laxative slurry twice a day, combined with a warmer than average bath at the end of the day. Once he passed whatever is left inside him, you can stop the laxative slurries, but you'll need to give him a daily probiotic and keep him well hydrated by dripping water or Pedialyte on his snout, or whatever way he likes to drink. For the initial laxative slurry, I can tell you what I did, knowing I had to clear 3 months of mealworm shells and wood chips. Calcium sand is awful stuff that turns literally into cement rocks when wet, and it's made to encourage them to eat it by the smell and taste, and can be hard to pass. So here's what I did:

I bought jars of prune baby food, a large can of plain, raw pumpkin (not pie mix or spiced, but rather a can of raw pumpkin found in the canned veggie aisle at your local grocery store or Walmart), a bottle of unflavored Pedialyte, and a bottle of Psyllium Husk capsules (in the laxative aisle at Walmart, they are just Psyllium Husk, nothing else). I emptied a jar of prune baby food into a microwave-safe container and added 2 to 3 tablespoons of the raw, canned pumpkin. Mix it up very well, then add a pinch of the Psyllium Husk powder that you'll get by opening up one of the capsules. You only need a pinch of the Psyllium Husk. I also added a pinch of the same Calcium w/D3 and the multivitamin powders I dusted his insects in to the slurries, you don't necessarily need to add those, but the Psyllium Husk is a must, it's a natural laxative that really works well, and is gentle. I then added enough of the unflavored Pedialyte to thin it out enough that it could be drawn up into an oral feeding syringe. The Pedialyte will give him extra hydration to not only help him pass the impaction, but it will also replace the hydration and electrolytes he'll lose by having a large bowel movement. Mix it up very well, then microwave it for a minute. Mix it up very, very well again, you want it warm but not hot. Fill an oral syringe with the warm slurry and test it on your wrist like you would a baby bottle. Then try dripping the slurry on his snout so it drips down over his lips and he licks it off, then drip again, lick, drip, etc. Give him as much as he'll eat, you want to get at least 1-2ml of it in him. I would drip it until he'd stop licking it off, and if he hadn't eaten enough I would use the tip of the oral syringe to lift his lip on the side of his mouth, then once under his lip slide the tip of the syringe up his lip towards his snout. Once you get to the front of his snout he'll open his mouth, then I very slowly pushed a tiny bit in his mouth, let him swallow it, and repeated until I got at least a full 1-2ml in him. Then I'd let him bask for about 2 hours, then I'd offer him his live insects, salads, etc. I'd do a second slurry in the late afternoon, let him bask, then early evening he'd get a warmer than normal bath (not hot!) lasting 5-10 minutes.

I gave Nix 2 slurries the first day then a bath that night, where he attempted to poop but couldn't. The next morning I gave him another slurry in the morning, then another that afternoon, and during his bath the second night he started straining, got a really black beard, and passed a huge amount of loose mealworm shells and wood chips. But I could tell he still hadn't passed it all because he was still straining, do I continued the slurries for a week and a half, and at the end it took 3 massive piles of shells and wood chips to pass it all. And he had been passing small urates and small amounts of poop with this inside him!

After the impaction passed I put Nix on a probiotic (acidophilus) that also contains a mix of naturally occurring digestive enzymes. I crush a tablet and mix it with the Calcium and multivitamin powders I dust his insects in, and he gets his live insects dusted in it every day, and at the end of the day he gets a 5 minute bath where he has a normal bowel movement.
"Dance like nobody's watching..."
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby Drache613 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:58 pm

Hello,

Poor Burt! It sounds like he is a lucky guy having you rescue him from such horrible conditions.
Impactions can take time to fully pass. They still can pass things through sometimes, even if
they are partially impacted. It sounds like he is just having some trouble due to the substrate
previously that hasn't passed through, in combination with food intake.
Definitely go with a soft diet for awhile to help increase the water & fiber content in his GI
tract. That along with baths should hopefully help him out.
Your setup sounds fine, the mounting of the Reptisun 10 tube is best like you have it, right
under the screen.
Pictures would be great when you get a chance.

Tracie
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby dhammer911 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:37 pm

Thanks everyone for the wonderful responses! I am glad to report that we've had TWO poos since last posting. Both were good (I posted a pic of the second below; the first had similar size/consistency but two logs).
Nonetheless, I started the impaction protocol with 1/3 pumpkin, 1/3 applesauce, 1/3 cleaned and chopped cactus leaf, and few drops of vegetable oil. I also added a few wax worms because it's the weekend. Warmer bath.
I've posted pics of Burt from different angles. You can see he's a juxtaposition. Malnourished but alert, active, and voracious.
Also, since you were interested, I've posted pics of my lighting/supplements and pics showing the setup (the brown strip in the background is reptile carpet that lines the underneath of the tiles, and don't worry, the lcd strip thermo came with the tank). BTW, I am aware of vitamin toxicity issues, but Fluker's was the best they had locally, as it is pretty close to beautiful dragon's recommended A:D ratio (no E). Given the lack of nourishment, I figured an A deficiency was likely, so I reasoned that careful administration of a supplement was better than not.
Be kind on the setup, it's my first lizard since I was a kid and like I said, I had prepared for a baby and had to throw this stuff together over the past few weeks. That said, I welcome any and all feedback.
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby dhammer911 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:49 pm

I just want to add that while the rock platform may not be pretty, it cost me less than a bag of Vitasand at Lowe's, and Burt loves to climb. (All rocks have been sanitized per the cage cleaning bleach/bake protocol available at beautiful dragons.
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby AHBD » Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:02 pm

Burt looks very good considering his previous neglect. :) No signs of MBD like lumps, swollen joints + crooked limbs, underbite, etc. BTW, is he actually 12" long measured or were you guessing ?

It sounds like his diet is just right, crickets, veggies + greens are perfect for him and he is back on track with normal poos. He is NOT impacted, many dragons that live on sand never ingest any and/or they pass the small amounts right through. I'd only do the impaction protocol once a week at most, he's showing that he doesn't need it so once a week will be plenty.

Be careful of waxworms....once he's feeling well fed he may actually snub the better foods in favor of those, so stick with the crix + veggies. But great job, he looks fairly healthy for what he's been through. :)
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby Drache613 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:51 pm

Hello,

Burt does look pretty good! He looks happy also.
The only thing I can think of in the tank is to try & get the tube bulb mounted directly overhead
so that the UVB is directly pointed downward instead of outward. It's mounted on the back wall,
right?
I'm happy he finally did go to the bathroom, I am sure he is starting to feel better also!
He's probably thrilled to have some food & heat. Keep us posted on him.

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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby dhammer911 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:28 am

In light of the responses, I'm going back to a regular diet today. I kind of feel like I overreacted now, but being inexperienced and with a dragon in Burt's condition, it's hard to know when to go on high alert. Anyway, it's great to hear that you all think he looks good; he's really come a long way in a short time. At first, I was worried he wouldn't make it a few days. My daughter's friend had seen Burt when I first got him; she came over again yesterday and asked if I had got a new dragon!
12" is just a guess; I can't find my measure. I'll get a true measurement when I can. I will also fix the UVB and drop the wax worms. I knew they're a treat as they have bad nutritional value, but didn't realize they could be a problem.
This site is an important resource and public service, thank you all again for doing it. I will post an update in a month or two to let you know how Burt's doing.
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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby Drache613 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:11 pm

Hello,

No issue is too light to overreact. It's always a good idea when you aren't sure, to double check
everything, especially when it's a new dragon.
It sounds like Burt is really doing well! I think the few changes will improve him even more.
Feel free to update anytime, we are all anxious to see his progress.
A few waxies wont hurt though, they are ok as a treat.

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Re: No BMs for Neglected Dragon

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:23 am

dhammer911 wrote:Be kind on the setup, ,,,,,
[Click image to enlarge]

<<<<< lights and fittings look OK , only issue I can see is
<<<<< no reflector in the domestic luminaire. I highly recommend buying a slip on Arcadia reflector to suit the UVB tube, this will effective double the UVA & UVB @ the basking spot .
<<<<< recommend configuring the luminaire so the UVB tube is directing the light down rather than out.

<<<<< also is the 10%UVB tube a T8 or a T5HO ?
..... if the later, I believe there are issues with these T5HO tubes (the gold caps are dodgey , and I recommend returning it to exchange for a new one which is not in the dodgey production run.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=236122&p=1815225#p1815225
... bulb doesn't produce adequate UVB, which they do... just not as strongly as they did before and they possibly burn out quicker

so even if they claim they are producing marginally adequate UVA & UVB as new tubes, the fact that they decay faster is far from good enough ==> you'll never be certain of it's output after a month or two or when to replace it , I'd take up the company's offer and return it to the seller for another , make sure to mark the tube with a permanent marker so if they send straight back to you to you (you can be they will try and wont bother testing it) you will be able to see if they've tried a swifty on you, or better still simply return and exchange it for an Arcadia 12%UVB tube of same size..
CBDs: Puff (RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born 9/2010).
EWSs : Lucky (wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old .
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