Possible Parasite / Impaction. (I'm Scared)

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Possible Parasite / Impaction. (I'm Scared)

Postby JuliaTheDragon » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:46 am

My baby is 7/8 months old, and I've had her for 6 months now. I've been worrying about her health. She used to poop every 4 days. She no longer does that. She sometimes goes a week, and I heard that 10 days is a good benchmark to be considered "bad". All her parameters are great, but she just doesn't poop like she used to. She also has a scab or what looks like a vaccine site. I'm worried. If it grows or seems like a parasite, I'll go to the vet. She seems to be alright, looking around, cuddly, eating, never angry. I feed her and she eats fine. Please reply, I am scared. I will be posting pictures at 4:00 Mountain Standard.
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Re: Possible Parasite / Impaction. (I'm Scared)

Postby EllenD » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:26 am

Welcome to the forum, I'm sorry your dragon is having some issues. Yes, please post photos of both her and her entire set-up, lighting, etc.

It's true that as they get older they tend to poop less and less often, much less often than when they were babies, and yes, 10 days is about the time that I get suspicious, but honestly my male, who lived to be almost 13, would sometimes go almost 2 weeks between poops, on the same diet, lighting, etc. So I wouldn't be worried about 4 days or even 10, unless she has other issues going on. Your dragon is right in the age range when they start to change their habits, they all seem to slow down a bit and become a bit more lazy, start eating less bugs and more greens/veggies, and start pooping less, and it's not uncommon for owners to worry when their dragons hit the 6 month to 12 month old period.

What is her daily diet? Remember that dragons get most, if not all of their hydration from their live insects and their fresh greens/veggies, so it's always possible that she needs to get a bit more hydration into her. Does she eat any commercial foods, like pellets or freeze-dried or already dead insects? That can certainly and will cause impaction, especially the freeze-dried crickets that come in the pellet mixes. It's best to stick to live, gut-loaded insects and fresh greens/veggies only.

Gut-loading all of her live insects with the same healthy, fresh greens/veggies that you feed her, right before she eats the bugs, is a great way to get some extra hydration in her.

Do you feed her any hard-shelled bugs, like mealworms or superworms? In my opinion mealworms are worthless as far as a source of nutrition for bearded dragons, they are mostly fat, contain little protein or other nutritional value to them, and have a very hard, chitlin shell that dragons always have trouble digesting. So if she's eating any mealworms I'd stop them and go to a better choice of live insect. Some people feed their dragons mealworms as an occasional treat, but there are much better choices that contain much more hydration (remember, they get most if not all of their hydration from food and not standing water), like wax worms, butterworms, and hornworms, all of which are great live treat insects and contain ample hydration, as long as they are only fed occasionally in small quantities they are a much better choice for a treat insect. Just my opinion. And Superworms are a good "supplement" insect, meaning a good insect to feed in small quantities along with her main staple insect, to add some variety and give a little bit of a protein and fat bump to a thin dragon, as long as you only feed 1-2 a day at most they can be a good additional feeder. In large quantities they contain a lot of fat and again, a very hard shell that can cause impaction. Not nearly as bad as the mealworms are though...

Also, what substrate do you have in the bottom of her tank? If it's a loose substrate, whether it's a type of sand, crushed walnut shells, wood chips, bark, rodent bedding, seed, etc. this always seems to be a factor in impactions as well, and is just risky and unnecessary, so if you're using any type of loose substrate I suggest dumping it all out, completely disinfecting her tank and everything in it (loose substrates also harbor bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc. and become a constant breeding ground for constant infections, specifically upper respiratory and skin infections, another reason not to use them), and then going to a solid substrate, you can use just paper towels or newspaper until you choose a permanent substrate like tile or non-adhesive shelf liner.

I'd also check all 3 of the temperature zones inside her tank using either a Digital Probe Thermometer or an Infrared Temperature Gun only (no stick-on thermometers, you can't check a Basking Spot Temp with a stick-on thermometer at all, and they are also extremely inaccurate, often off by 10-20 degrees to the low side). Temps that are too low, specifically the Basking Spot Surface Temp (should be between 105-110 degrees F max) will cause problems with proper digestion of their food, thus causing impactions. So double check all 3 temp zones properly.

Also, what UVB light do you have for her, how old is it, and is it obstructed by a mesh lid? Improper UVB light for less than at least 13-14 hours every day can also cause problems with the digestion of food and proper breakdown, metabolism, and excretion of waste.
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Re: Possible Parasite / Impaction. (I'm Scared)

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:34 am

Some have faster metabolisms than others .

I did a study on my Peppa and Toothless earlier this year , which I attach ,
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=232446

I tend not to take any steps unless my beardies have gone 7 days between poos, they get a dose of about 0.4ml olive oil which is something they seem not like the taste of, and I repeat at 9 - 10 days if still no poo, then another 2 or 3 day and I give a bath and tummy rub.
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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Re: Possible Parasite / Impaction. (I'm Scared)

Postby JuliaTheDragon » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:51 pm

[Click image to enlarge]
She has a surface temp on basking spot of like 95° F
Cold side 70-80 F, Warm side about 85 F. She is on reptile carpet, in a 30,18,18 tank (inches) and I am moving her over the summer. I feed her live crickets, and occasionally waxworms. Fresh veggies every few days, 13 hours of UVB a day. She seems healthy apart from the issues listed above. I love her with all my heart and would be very sad if something happened.
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Re: Possible Parasite / Impaction. (I'm Scared)

Postby AHBD » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:36 am

Hi there, she's a sweet looking girl, I see she's sticking her tongue out for her photo shoot. :) Her temps. are a bit cool for basking, get them up to 100-105, this helps with digestion. She may also benefit from oral hydration, water dripped on her snout to give her a chance to drink. Hydration also helps with digestion, esp. in beardies that aren't eating many veggies.

As for her lighting, what exact type of uvb do you have ? Long tube, coil, compact + brand ? And if you're using a red light be sure to switch to a bright white light, red is unnatural + mimics a early evening type of light rather than replicating what it's like during a sunny day
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Re: Possible Parasite / Impaction. (I'm Scared)

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:46 am

JuliaTheDragon wrote:[Click image to enlarge]
She has a surface temp on basking spot of like 95° F
Cold side 70-80 F, Warm side about 85 F. She is on reptile carpet, in a 30,18,18 tank (inches) and I am moving her over the summer. I feed her live crickets, and occasionally waxworms. Fresh veggies every few days, 13 hours of UVB a day. She seems healthy apart from the issues listed above. I love her with all my heart and would be very sad if something happened.


What AHBD said.
And 13 hrs of "daylight" is too short, see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=236209&p=1815777#p1815777
I have my gang skinks and beardies on a photoperiod of 16hr. Yes they do take siestas, but return to basking afterwards.
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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