URI Infection? Useless vet!

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URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby sukichey7 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:35 am

Okay I am going to try to describe exactly whats been happening over the course of two years with my bearded dragon. Please help.

whats happening, in short: BUBBLES FROM HER RIGHT NOSTRIL, OCCASIONAL CRUST AND ISSUES WITH RIGHT EYE THAT HAVE BEEN PROBLEMS SINCE Jan of 2017.

I took her in January because her eye was crusted and she also had a problem with her nose on the same side, they gave me Ofloxin?? and told me how to give it to her over the course of two weeks. Since that first vet visit her eye and nose problems have been on and off for months. I read all about the nostril and last time it turned out she had a stuck shed in her nose that was causing discharge and damage, I took her to the vet in August, 2017 and that is when they told me that she was fine and to go home.

DISCLOSURE: yes I have taken her to the vet, the last time we went in August she made a sound (which beardies do not make) it was terrifying so i rushed her to the emergency vet and they charged me $80 to tell me to go home and that she's fine...

About Suki: approx 2 and a half years old, just got out of brumation a few days ago, prior to going into brumation she hadn't pooped and i read that they need to poo before going into brumation bc it is likely to rot in their stomachs... as far as I know she has not passed ANYTHING since before Thanksgiving.

She recently has developed an appetite and I have been responding to her by giving her her usual diet, greens daily, superworms as her staple bug a couple days a week, etc. I have bee pollen, probiotic powder, stuff to take the chlorine out of our tap water for her, and almost everything under the sun. She is very loved by me, I have had her for two years, she just had her 2nd birthday (get-me-day) in September...

Yesterday, I was hand feeding her some butternut squash and it was going all good and well, and then her nose (right nostril) started to bubble again. I hadn't noticed this happening in a few months since she had been brumating every day and was sleeping and not interested in food. My heart sank when I saw the bubbles come from her nose again, no she is not shedding anywhere on her body, so its not about to shed. I do not let her drink out of the tub as I'm afraid she will go under as I've seen other beardies do, so I give her water from a small drip bottle by hand once or twice a week until she doesn't want anymore.

HER TANK: her tank is a 40 gal, her hot side is high 95F during the winter but in the summer it can kick up to 104F range. I had issues with it being too hot during summer last year and made some adjustments, she does have a UVB bulb (I just bought a 24"UVB bulb and fixture to upgrade her a few days ago) she sleeps in her tank if im not home to take her out to sleep in her bed next to mine, our house does tend to cool down at night and maybe gets to the low 60s but it's not freezing. She is not on substrate, is on the REPTICARPET.

medicating: Given by the vet in January of 2017, we recieved "Ofloxacin" which I was told pretty much was a rinse for her nose, it didn't seem very effective. I believe it was after the August visit when my vet did nothing for me, I turned to the internet bearded dragon communities, and someone suggested to try "Terramycin" for her eye problems (completely different subject and story than her nose) and that actually was a blessing because it cleared up her eye in no time, thank God for that person.

I recently (today) looked up how and what medications are for beardies when this happens, and im 90% sure its an URI infection, and I found that "Baytril" was a common remedy for these sorts of things.

Last time I got her approx weight was in August and she was 480 some grams (excluding her tail bc their weigher was too small for her) its January now and I'm sure shes gained weight, I am considering to go buy some Baytril but I'm really terrifyed to self-dose her... I don't want to kill her and if this goes on untreated I'm not certain she will make it.
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby AHBD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:48 am

Hi there, does she have bubbles from her nose pretty often now or just once in a while ? Is she gasping, coughing or wheezing ? Was the med, from your vet oral enrofloxacin ? If so, that's the same as Baytril, a broad spectrum antibiotic. It can be useful to clear up a slight URI. I don't think your girl has a serious URI or that she's anywhere near dying.

If your temps. are in the low 60's at night, buy a CHE [ ceramic heat emitter ] that produces heat without light. Keep her in her tank with the CHE on at night ....raising the temps, at night might ward off any R.I that might be developing. If it gets worse see if you can find a more qualified reptile vet. She'll probably be fine. :)
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby sukichey7 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:24 am

AHBD wrote:Hi there, does she have bubbles from her nose pretty often now or just once in a while ? Is she gasping, coughing or wheezing ? Was the med, from your vet oral enrofloxacin ? If so, that's the same as Baytril, a broad spectrum antibiotic. It can be useful to clear up a slight URI. I don't think your girl has a serious URI or that she's anywhere near dying.

If your temps. are in the low 60's at night, buy a CHE [ ceramic heat emitter ] that produces heat without light. Keep her in her tank with the CHE on at night ....raising the temps, at night might ward off any R.I that might be developing. If it gets worse see if you can find a more qualified reptile vet. She'll probably be fine. :)


she is not coughing, gasping, wheezing but has wheezed before in August so I panicked and rushed her to the vet... it was not oral, it was instructed for me to drop one drop of "Ofloxacin Ophthalmic Solution, USP 0.3%" twice a day for two weeks back in January. Do you think the baytril will help her or just the CHE at night?? thank you so much for responding I really do appreciate it
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby AHBD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:35 am

O.K, I thought you made a typo...Ofloxacin is ear drops. They had you give her ear drops ?
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby EllenD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:50 am

Hello, welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry this is continuing to happen, but I think we can help you figure out how to figure this out, lol.

I'm assuming that what the vet gave you as a "nostril rinse" was actually Ofloxacin, as you stated (not enrofloxcin, or Baytril, as AHBD suggested, though had you not verified this in the lower paragraph I would have assumed the same thing that AHBD did, as Baytril is such a commonly and overly prescribed antibiotic in beardies and birds)...Ofloxacin isn't just a "rinse", it's actually a pretty strong antibiotic (prescription) that is commonly put into either a solution for eye drops, ear drops, an oral med, or an injection. It's used to treat common bacterial infections of the eyes, ears, and sinuses in people and animals. So it wasn't just a "rinse", like something like NasalCort would be, like just a saline rinse with maybe a steroid in it, it was actually a prescription antibiotic. However, it obviously wasn't the correct one for the bug he had or has.

I agree with AHBD that it doesn't sound like a respiratory infection at all, since he's not coughing, wheezing, and you didn't mention a lot of excess mucous in his mouth. However, it does sound like it may potentially be sinusitis, or a chronic sinus infection that is effecting his sinus passages. And the fact that the Terramycin ointment cleared up the eye infection (conjunctivitis) he had, this means that the bug effecting his eyes responded to the Terramycin (totally different family of antibiotics than Baytril, which is actually related closely to the Ofloxacin, which didn't work). However, you did mention that you changed out his UVb light to a long tube...what type of UVb light were you using prior, and how long was he under it? The reason that I'm asking is because it's very common for some coil/compact UVB bulbs, as well as certain brands of UVB tubes to cause photo-conjunctivitis in Beardies. So it's very likely that the 2 problems actually were not related at all, and removing the bad UVB light causing the eye infection eliminated the source of that particular problem (and yes, Terramycin ointment is known to clear up bouts of photo-conjuctivitis in Beardies due to bad UVB lights, so good call by the person who gave your that information, and good call to replace the prior UVB light to a good quality, strong UVB tube). I'm going to assume that this was the cause of the eye problems, we'll see once you tell us what the prior UVB light was, but that's my guess because it's such a common occurrence. The sinus issue is most likely a totally separate issue.

Since sinus problems can linger for months and months to years, even bacterial infections can linger and linger, or seemingly "go away" and then come back months later, that's what I think is going on here, I think he's got a nasty bacterial infection in his sinuses that the Ofloxacin did not treat, and this is a pretty good sign that Baytril (Enrofloxacin) is not the correct antibiotic either, since they are in the same group of antibiotic families. Baytril is a very broad-spectrum antibiotic, and because of this it's prescribed more than any other antibiotic by vets in reptiles, birds, rodents, dogs, cats, you name it. And why do they prescribe it so often? Because it's their "Go-To" broad-spectrum that they can prescribe WITHOUT DOING A CULTURE FIRST and it has a good chance of working. And when it doesn't work, some of them still insist on prescribing a second round of it, lol, and when that doesn't work THEN they will finally do a culture/sensitivity to diagnose the specific bacteria/fungi causing the infection, as well as the medication that the bug will be sensitive to.

Please don't just order Bayril and give it to him. There are a bunch of reasons why you shouldn't just put him on Baytril at this point, #1) He's had this problem for over a year now and it needs to be taken care of properly, #2) Based on the fact that you already flushed his sinuses with an antibiotic closely related to Baytril, it's likely that the Baytril isn't going to totally eliminate the bug either, and #3) Baytril usually causes Beardies to lose their appetites and become lethargic, and it also often causes a secondary fungal/yeast infection, especially if it's given orally ("Thrush") in their GI tracts, even if it's given with Probiotics. And if you give him a round of Baytril and it doesn't clear it up then he's going to have to be put on yet ANOTHER round of the correct medication to treat whatever bug is causing the infection. This could lead to the common downward spiral of no appetite, lethargy, force-feeding Critical Care, etc.

If he were my dragon, at this point I would make an appointment with either the closest Certified Reptile Vet or at least an experienced Reptile Specialist Vet, and would insist upon them doing a culture and sensitivity (usually this will have to be sent out for lab testing), and I would hold off on giving him any meds until the results of the culture come back, which should only take a couple of days, and shouldn't be too expensive either. They can culture the inside of his nostrils/sinus passages, and they will also sometimes do the back of their throats, and will be able to identify any bacteria/fungi that shows up that isn't common to those areas, and that commonly causes sinusitis. He may need only a steroid to clear it up if the culture comes back clean, as sometime the lining of the sinuses does get chronically inflamed. As long as his eyes are still okay and the conjunctivitis hasn't come back, then I think this is what you've got going on. And I'd definitely insist upon the culture if the vet just tries to prescribe a med (probably Baytril, lol) instead of actually trying to diagnose the actual problem. They often do this, and you have to hold your ground and put your foot down, especially with a problem that has been going on for over a year and that has already been treated with an antibiotic in the same family as Baytril...

I don't think it's at all a respiratory issue, as AHBD has already stated, and I also don't think that he's "near death" or critically ill, but it's also something that I'd want to get diagnostics done on ASAP simply because of the length of time he's been dealing with it. As AHBD also already mentioned, typically as long as their nighttime tank temp is at least 65 degrees then they need no nighttime heat source at all, but if you think he's more comfortable in the 70"s or even up to 80 degrees (that's the max I would go) you could always buy a very low wattage CHE to put over him at night (you don't want to buy any type of "night bulb" that emits any light, as that will disrupt his sleep). But again, I don't think this is at all respiratory in nature, so bumping his temps up isn't necessarily indicated either. In fact, with sinusitis, sometimes if the temp is too hot or the air is too dry, this can actually make the problem worse, so that's your call...
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby EllenD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:51 am

AHBD wrote:O.K, I thought you made a typo...Ofloxacin is ear drops. They had you give her ear drops ?


It is an ear drop, but it's also an eye drop, an oral med, and an IV med.

EDIT: I should say rather that it is made into those different solutions for different routes of administration, meaning no, they don't typically just prescribe an Otic Solution and tell you to put it into their eyes (they do this with lots of other drugs though). It actually comes in an ear drop, an eye drop, an oral antibiotic liquid and pill, and as an IV antibiotic...
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby EllenD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 am

Something I forgot to add, you said that in August he made a "horrible wheezing sound" that scared you, and since this was a one-time or one-day thing, my guess is that he probably just got a lot of drainage from his sinuses down his throat, possibly into his bronchial passages. Just like a "post-nasal drip" kind of thing. If it was a chronic wheezing then I'd assume it to be a respiratory issue, but I don't think it is or ever was. But to ease your mind, the culture that they take from him will also confirm or rule-out an Upper Respiratory Infection as well. And again, the Bayril probably isn't the correct antibiotic for the bug he has had, based on the results of the related antibiotic he was already given...
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby AHBD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:06 pm

Thanks, I should have figured that.
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby sukichey7 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:11 pm

EllenD wrote:or has.
However, you did mention that you changed out his UVb light to a long tube...what type of UVb light were you using prior, and how long was he under it? The reason that I'm asking is because it's very common for some coil/compact UVB bulbs, as well as certain brands of UVB tubes to cause photo-conjunctivitis in Beardies.


When I first got her in 2016, I bought one of those repti-kits for beardies, she had the coil UVB bulb, the red heat light, etc (September is when I bought her) Until December of that year when I upgraded her to a 40 gal fitted with an 18 inch UVB Reptisun Bulb and fixture. the bulb itself was a t5 I believe? I could be wrong, but since December I've replaced that bulb twice, and moved up to a 24' T8 10watt reptisun bulb with fixture, and even mounted it inside so she has been receiving proper doses of UVB (or she should be)... She did have the coil bulb for a couple months in her early life (6 months max)...
The vet that I've been going to see's exotics and they have the best rating on google for vets who do see reptiles in my area, but if you insist, I will go to the second best and see how they treat us or what they do. I wrote down "culture & sensitivity" just in case they don't do it already
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby Drache613 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:11 pm

Hello,

That's great you changed out the UVB, he definitely needed it.
I am wondering if he has an infected sinus duct that just hasn't cleared up.
I agree, a culture would help out greatly just to see if there is anything else that can
be given, to treat a specific bacteria.
She is on repticarpet, correct? Is there anything in her tank that could cause a type of
allergic reaction?

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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby EllenD » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:45 am

So yeah, I'm assuming that the coil UVb bulb caused the photoconjunctivitis in her eyes, and the combination of using the Terramycin and removing the coil bulb took care of that issue, and I don't think it was at all related to the sinus issue. I'm glad Tracie chimed in and mentioned the sinus-duct infection as well, because that's exactly what I immediately thought of after reading your post, and I'm 99% sure that's what is going on.

I know that you wanted to just order the Baytril online and save yourself a vet trip, I understand totally why, but here's the problem with doing that: First of all, like I already mentioned, the Baytril (Enrofloxacin) is very closely related to the antibiotic nasal rinse he already used, which didn't work, and it was even a nasal spray that was applied directly into the source of the infection. So I'm pretty much 100% that the Baytril won't work since not only is it pretty much the same antibiotic you've already tried, but it would also be the oral form of the drug, and that isn't going to get him anywhere but sick and off food completely. Then on top of that, let's say you order the oral Baytril for him, you give him the entire round of it, and the sinus issue still persists, which I'm pretty sure that it would, then you'll have to also pay for the vet visit anyway, and he'll be put on yet another antibiotic, and usually after they take a round of oral Baytril, even if given with Probiotics, they typically lose some of their appetite and feel crappy for quite a while. Plus he'll be risking a secondary fungal/yeast infection in his GI Tract.

Taking him to a vet and insisting upon them doing cultures and sending them off for testing, and waiting until the test results come back BEFORE putting him on anything else (except maybe a nasal wash/spray that is not an antibiotic, but just a Saline nasal wash with maybe a steroid in it to help with the sinus swelling) will not only save you money, but it will also save your dragon from taking another round of unnecessary antibiotics that will most likely make him sick. That's where I'm coming from. You don't necessarily have to switch your vet, if you like your "exotics" vet then that's fine, some of them are quite experienced with reptiles and good, but at this point, after a year or more of your dragon suffering with this problem and already taking one antibiotic that didn't work, your vet needs to listen to your concerns and understand that it's far past the time that a diagnostic culture be done to determine if their is a sinus or upper respiratory infection going on, and if so, exactly what microbe is causing it, and what medication with the bug be sensitive to.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Dragons often get URI's and sinus infections that aren't even caused by a bacteria, but rather a fungi, so if that's the case then giving him another antibiotic will not only be pointless and not get rid of the fungal infection, but the antibiotic can and usually will make the fungal infection much worse, because the antibiotic is killing off the healthy bacteria that normally keeps any type of fungi in-check. So often when antibiotics are just prescribed on a "guess" and the microbe isn't actually confirmed, if it's a fungal infection they end-up spreading and making the Dragon much, much worse.

So if you like your current exotics vet that's great, no problem using him at all, but you need to be firm with him and tell him that it's been over a year now and we've already tried once antibiotic that didn't work, it's been too long, and that you want him to take cultures to confirm what's going on now BEFORE you give your Dragon any more medications. If he's a good vet he'll not only listen to you, but this should make perfect sense to him and he should have no problem taking cultures, in fact, if he's a good vet he should be the first one to insist upon cultures at this point.

Think of it this way: If you child has a sore throat and you take them to their pediatrician, and they look at the back of your child's throat and say :"I don't see any white patches, and he has no fever, so it's just a virus. Here's a prescription for some throat spray to make him feel better. Give him fluids and rest, he'll be fine." So you do this, and after a month your child is getting worse and worse, he still has a sore throat that has gotten worse, now he's also coughing, so you take him back to the pediatrician, who this time says "Well he must have an upper respiratory infection, probably bronchitis, and his throat is sore from him coughing. Here's a prescription for Zithromax (Z-Pack). Have him finish the medication, and give it a week after he finishes the Z-Pack, he'll feel much better by then". So you give your child the Z-pack, he finishes it in the 5 days, and he still feels just as badly. But after a week longer he still has a very sore throat and a fever, is coughing, etc. So you call your pediatrician back and tell them that your child isn't any better, he's getting worse. So your pediatrician then tells you "Well, the Zithromax must not have been strong enough to handle the respiratory bug he has, so I'm going to call-in a prescription for Biaxin for him"...At this point someone, whether it be you, his father, a friend or teacher, a nurse, someone is most likely going to be saying "Didn't this start with a sore throat? Has the doctor even taken a culture to run a Strep-Test?" So you take your child back to the pediatrician and request that he do a Strep-Test, and you'd think that the doctor would agree with you, or at the very least just do the Strep culture to make you happy. And when it comes back positive for Strep Throat, then you child would be put on the correct antibiotic based on the results of the Throat Culture, albeit at that point he'd probably have to be put on a much stronger antibiotic than just the Amoxicillin or Augmentin that would have taken care of it had the doctor done a Strep culture on the first appointment when he was complaining about a sore throat. It's the same situation with your Dragon.

I apologize, I get worked-up about this particular topic because it seems like vets in-general (not just exotics vets or general vets, this goes for the specialist vets too), for whatever reason I don't know, but they just don't like running simple diagnostic tests. The advantage to taking your dragon to a Certified or Experienced Reptile Vet is that they ONLY see reptiles, and a good number of the reptiles they see are Bearded Dragons because they are so popular as pets now, so they are going to see something that they know is common to Dragons and know what tests need to be run to confirm or rule-out the common causes for what's going on. A vet that doesn't see reptiles every day, let alone Bearded Dragons, isn't going to see something and be able to say "This is Yellow Fungus" or "This is most likely reabsorbed follicles". That's the difference. But if you like your exotics vet, all that matters is that he will listen to you and respect your wishes.
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby sukichey7 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:39 pm

I will be making an appointment with the same vet we've been seeing, I'll try to get her in tomorrow or Thursday... if you would like to keep up on her, she does have an instagram that I keep updated (@suki_a_herp)... ill have to demand a culture when I do take her in and I will let my vet know I don't want her on any meds until the culture is done and come back. I just really want this to be over with a happy and healthy beardie.
I can't thank you enough for all the time youve spent helping me I really do appreciate it, I do help she gets better. I did not order the medicine online and I will just go to my vet :)) Thank you so much
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby Drache613 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:09 pm

Hello,

How is your girl doing this evening?
I hope you are able to get her into the vets soon, for a culture so you can get this all
figured out.
Let us know how things are going. I really hope she starts feeling better. We are all
pulling for her.

Tracie
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby sukichey7 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:56 am

Drache613 wrote:Hello,

How is your girl doing this evening?
I hope you are able to get her into the vets soon, for a culture so you can get this all
figured out.
Let us know how things are going. I really hope she starts feeling better. We are all
pulling for her.

Tracie


shes okay im mostly worried that they wont see anything from her nose (discharge thats been happening) and will say she is fine, i do have pictures ready in case they dont believe me. im going to bring a family member with me just in case i cant be yelling at the vet by myself (i hope i dont have to yell but i am very frustrated) she has an appointment for today at 3:40pm
ill be taking her in and im not too sure how they take cultures but last time they looked in her mouth i cried lol, they just opened it and i was in there crying bc my baby
anyways i will let you know what happens after the vet, thank you very much
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Re: URI Infection? Useless vet!

Postby EllenD » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:34 am

Awe, she'll be fine, they usually just use a swab to take the cultures, it's not painful or invasive at all. I can't imagine that the vet is going to have a problem running cultures since this has been going on for over a year and you've already tried one antibiotic that didn't work. It's the logical next step. Like I said, if you vet doesn't respect your wishes as her owner and doesn't listen to you after all this time of her being ill, THEN I'd say it's time to find a new Reptile Vet, only because that's the very least that any doctor can do, listen to their patients...and any vet should know better than to just keep throwing different prescription meds at the same patient for a year, hoping one will work, without running diagnostics. That's just common sense 101.

Keep us posted and let us know how she does...And if your vet seems to not want to do the cultures for some reason and just wants to "Try another medication", then emphasize the "Wheezing" noise too, sometimes that's enough for them to suspect a URI and decide a culture is a good idea.
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