Stopped Eating - Worried

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Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby ChiRider » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:00 pm

Hi all...First, I want to say THANK YOU to all of the regulars that answer all of the newbie questions here. My daughter (11) and I have learned so much over the last month and a half since we discovered this site. You're all the best!

So a little less than 4 weeks ago, we added Falcor to our family. We think he's about 4 months, maybe 5.
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He's never been the voracious eater that we expected based on all the advice given here, but he eats about 15+ good sized crickets a day (dusted) and some salad (escarole, collard, dandelion). The crickets may be a little on the big side, but don't seem too big for him - its what he was eating when we got him and he hasn't had any issues. In fact, up until 2 days ago, he's been pretty fat and happy :D

About 2 days ago, he just stopped eating anything. He's a fairly regular pooper, but he had a rather large one that day and I thought maybe he was impacted, maybe a little constipated...not really sure. I also thought that this might bring his appetite back, but no.

So today, I gave him a bath and he drank a bunch of water in there...and then just a short time ago, he made a pretty gelatinous poop that looked like this.
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I tried feeding him again, but he didn't want any crickets...although he did eat a couple of blueberries that I gave him by hand.

Other than the not eating, he seems to have his usual energy, had him out with me today, he really enjoyed his bath....I'm not sure what to ask other than HELP? He's definitely starting to look smaller, not his usual plump self.

Here are the stats I know someone will ask for...pictures

Tank: 20gal long 30x12x16
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Lights:
Basking - 75w ZooMed Repti Basking Spot Lamp
UVB - (2x)Two 26w ExoTerra UVB 150

One of the UVBs is with he basking light in the double dome, and the other is solo on the other side. I know they're not perfect, but I read somewhere on here that the exoterra 25w UVBs were "ok".
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Temps: Measured with infrared temp gun...Basking 100-108 (various parts of the hammock and top of driftwood. Rock below hammock - about 90. Cool Side 75

Food: Prior to him losing appetite, crickets were dusted with Rep-Cal calcium weekday mornings, and Herptivite on the weekends. Crickets are fed Fluker's Cricket Quencher and a ZooMed Cricket Block

He's about 9 inches from tip of nose to tip of tail...he was maybe about 5 inches when we got him 3 1/2 weeks ago. We don't have a digital scale so I haven't weighed him....but like I said, until the last few days he was fat and happy (like his Grandpa, my daughter is his mom :D )

Any help or advice would be a gift...we're getting nervous.


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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby Drache613 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:31 pm

Hello,

Falcor looks very good & healthy. It's hard not to worry I know. The tank décor & setup look
very nice & bright.
The compact/coil Exoterra 150's are ok. I don't think that they are the problem, but when you
need to replace them, I would recommend going with a tube bulb instead. The UVB emissions
are just higher quality.
I am thinking he may have eaten too large of prey & is somewhat impacted. For now, I would
not give any solid foods until he passes a couple of good stools through. Try giving some canned,
unsweetened pumpkin along with unsweetened applesauce mixed up. Then add a drop or two of
olive or coconut oil. Give that to him a couple of times per day & that should help him pass things
through better. Some extra oral fluids would be helpful also, maybe some diluted flavored pedia
lite.
What is actually in the cricket block that you give the crickets?
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby ChiRider » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:08 am

Hi Tracie...thanks for the response. And yes, it's VERY easy to worry. We know about the lights, but we had already spent a fortune on the setup and thought if the lights were ok for the short term, we could get a better fixture when it's time to upgrade.

2 things....
First, he did have a pretty big poop the day he stopped eating (2 days ago), that gelatinous one was yesterday after drinking in the bath. I should also mention that he just finished shedding most of his body, but it looks like his head is going to shed now.

As for the cricket block, there's a lot in there but to be honest, not really thrilled with it. I think we're moving to the Flukers orange cubes. Here's a link to the block with ingredient list.
https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/vitami ... 11442.html

Thank you SO very much for the advice!

ChiRider (Russ)
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby Drache613 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:25 pm

Hello,

How is he doing today? I hope his shed goes well! Shedding the head area is rough on them,
it's usually kind of thick.
Sure, I know it's hard when you have to change the setup because all of the lights are so
expensive.
The main problem I have with so many of these commercialized feeds is that they have a
base that contains soybeans. Over 90% of the soybeans produced in the US are genetically
modified which really isn't good for humans or animals. It's hard to digest & causes organ
problems. I have been using organic chicken laying mash for feeding our crickets, supers,
etc for years & it is excellent. For water, I simply use a chicken watering system with a
sponge donut in it, or you can just use a wet sponge in the bin & refresh it daily. If you do
use a wet sponge make sure that you have paper towels under it so that it doesn't get the
bin wet with pools of water. Crickets will drown in water like that.

Tracie
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby ChiRider » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:00 pm

An update on Falcor...he's getting better.

I tried the pumpkin and applesauce but really wasn't interested. He took just a few licks and then shied away from it.

So this afternoon, I hand fed him two blueberries, and then my daughter and I gave him a bath hoping that he would drink a little to at least stay hydrated, and he did. BUT...he also used the edge of the "tub" to rub the now wet skin and it started to come off. It's only about halfway there, but it apparently made him feel better enough that he ate a few crickets. {whew}

I can't tell you how relieved I am knowing that this was most likely just extreme discomfort from the head-shed. Before we put him back in his viv, he was rubbing on me, my daughter, pretty much anything to help get it off.

And yes, we're getting rid of the block and looking for some better options for gut loading the crickets. ...will be checking out your site

Thanks so much!!!
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby EllenD » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:03 am

I think he's fine, it very well could have been the shedding, they often stop eating when they are shedding, especially as babies, as they are uncomfortable. As long as he's not lethargic then I wouldn't worry about this at all, it should normalize...

That being said, I would think very hard about making 2 changes to his husbandry immediately, one of which you can do for free and save money, the other you'll need to spend about $60 but you'll save a fortune over time, and you'll prevent him from developing serious eye issues, neurological issues, and blindness.

The first thing i would definitely, without a doubt do is stop spending any money at all on any type of food or hydration for your crickets. They are all total garbage, totally unnecessary, and I'm sure that you are unaware that most all of the cricket and roach hydration cubes and gels are made of the same stuff they make those little gel beads you put into your potted plants in the winter to keep them watered...It's poisonous, and it's unnecessary...And here's the other issue with feeding them ANY type or brand of "Cricket Food", we think that one of the main reasons that so many young Bearded Dragons are developing Gout is because the live feeder insect breeders/vendors, specifically the cricket and roach breeder/vendors, are feeding this kind of stuff to their insects before they ship them to the pet shops or to people. All of the commercially sold "Cricket Food" contains extremely high amounts of PURINE-BASED PROTEIN, and most people see the high protein content of these Cricket and Roach Feeds and think that it's a good thing. It's not. It is what causes extremely high Uric Acid levels, Gout, and Kidney Failure in young Dragons.

Instead of totally wasting your money on ANY types of commercial food or hydration products for your Dragons live insects, no matter what live insects you feed him, what you should rather be doing is "Gut-Loading" all of his live insects with the SAME FRESH GREENS/VEGGIES AND FRUITS THAT YOU FEED YOUR DRAGON! That's it, that's all you need to do to make his live insects extremely healthy for him, and you won't be pumping his live insects full of Purine-based Protein that can potentially cause him to develop Gout, go into Renal Failure, etc. And you also won't be filling him full of harmful, chemical gel.

All you have to do is throw in a good handful of the same fresh greens and veggies that you give to your dragon into your cricket bin, or whatever insect bin, along with keeping a few chunks or slices of fresh, completely peeled apples or potatoes to give the crickets, roaches, etc. hydration. That's it. Not only will this make his live feeder insects much, much, much healthier and SAFER for him to eat, but you'll be getting a lot of the fresh, healthy greens/veggies into your Dragon right along with the live crickets or insects that he eats. Be sure to change out the fresh, peeled apple or potato slices once or twice a week, and as I said, just throw in a handful of the fresh greens and veggies once a day, and you're good to go. Your Dragon will get more than enough protein from eating the live insects themselves, and this way it will be healthy protein, instead of a ton of Purine that can cause him to suffer from Gout for the rest of his life. And you'll save a fortune not buying useless, unnecessary garbage to feed your live bugs.

The second thing I would absolutely do is get rid of both of those coil UVB bulbs and get him a nice long, strong, T5 strength UVB tube that is at least a 10% UVB tube and then a fixture with a reflector inside it. That's it. This is so important for Bearded Dragons, as being desert reptiles every single bodily function is dependent on them getting strong, adequate UVB and UVA light, and those compact UVB bulbs just don't get it done, for 2 reasons. The first is that the only place inside his tank that he's getting any UVB light at all is directly underneath one of the bulbs, that's it, they are focused bulbs that emit UVB light only on the spot directly underneath themselves, and for Dragons this just doesn't do it...On top of that, you have them sitting on top of a mesh lid to the tank, which is blocking just about 40% of the already pretty weak UVB light, so this makes it much, much worse. That reason #1, he's not getting nearly the amount of UVB light daily that he needs.

Reason #2 is that they are COIL bulbs. Regardless of what wattage they are, whether they are UVB bulbs or just basking bulbs, what brand they are, etc., makes no difference, COIL/SPIRAL bulbs in-general always seem to eventually cause a host of serious eye and vision issues, neurological issues, and even blindness. It has to do with their manufacturing process and some of the light rays they emit, and the way that they emit them. So they just are not healthy for them to be under for any number of reasons, but these are the 2 main reasons, and I don't think a lot of people understand that they've got a reptile that naturally comes from the Australian Desert, where they spend all day long, every single day, sitting on rocks under very strong, direct, natural sunlight. Thus, their bodies and their physiology is designed to function as a result of absorbing strong, intense UVB/UVA light every single day, all day long, and when they don't get this, they fail to thrive.

Please think about getting him a long, T5-strength UVB tube and a fixture for it that has a metal reflector inside it. You can use the money you save not buying the useless, harmful Cricket food and hydration products to buy the T5 UVB tube and fixture. Amazon.com is by far the cheapest place, you can buy a 22" Reptisun 10.0 T5HO UVB tube for $25 shipped, and they also sell a 24" T5-rated tube fixture that includes a metal reflector inside it for about $28 shipped. So for under $60 you can buy him one of the best UVB tubes available, and ensure his health and his growth. And you only need to replace the T5 UVB tubes once every 12 months, where you need to replace those 26 watt Coil UVB bulbs once every 6-8 months. So you'll save money that way. And the long T5 UVB tubes can safely sit on top of the mesh lid and STIll emit adequate UVB and UVA light to your dragon on the other side of the mesh, just as long as his basking spot/platform is within about 10" of the tube. As his UVB bulbs are now he's getting very, very little UVB light at all on the other side of the mesh lid, and I fear for his eyes...

As a serious aside, if you notice him having any type of vision issues, trouble judging depth perception, like when he is trying to catch a cricket, or you see any tremors/twitching or shaking of his head, then this is most likely due to the Coil bulbs, just as an FYI...
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby ChiRider » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:45 pm

Hi EllenD...

I completely understand what you're staying about the lights, and my daughter and I already talked about it and found a link to the hood you're referring to in a post you made back in January...they're on the way!

As for the food...I'm not questioning what you're saying, but I do have a question...
I know that "block" I've been using is pretty much crap and it's already out of the cricket tank. But why does it seem that so many on this forum are using the orange cubes from Flukers? I looked at the ingredients for them and they list;
Image

And the only reason I'm asking is that I've seen quite a few people on this forum use them, we're still learning...and we want to do what's best for Falcor.

And by the way...now that he's done with the shed, his appetite is back and he's back to his normal self.
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby EllenD » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:08 am

Honestly I've not seen a single person on this forum using any of the feeder insect hydration products at all, at least not the long-time, senior members that are extremely experienced...And the hydration products are the ones that are the most useless, lol, because again, throwing in a couple of sliced apples or potatoes once a week is more than enough for hydration, actually just the fresh greens and veggies every morning is enough for their hydration...

So I can't answer your question directly as I know of not one single experienced, senior member that uses either the food or hydration products to feed their feeder insects, for no other reason that the Gold-Standard is to "Gut-Load" your live feeder insects with the same fresh, healthy greens and veggies that you feed your dragon...So that's what we do.

The other thing you need to think about is that whatever you feed the insects, you are feeding to your Dragon. So would you rather they ate fresh, healthy greens, veggies, and natural hydration from the greens, veggies, and fruits, or would you rather they ate gel cubes that contain all kinds of chemicals and stuff that is used to hydrate potted plants? That does it for me.

There was a Dragon on here last year who died from eating an entire gel cube, as the owner figured it was fine since the crickets ate them, and his Dragon liked them, so he started giving bits of them to him as a treat, and he finally gave him a whole one, he ate it, and he died the next day. So that's enough for me to say "Nope"...But again, I know of not one experienced Beardie owner/breeder, either on this forum or in person, who buys ANY of these food or hydration products.
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:19 pm

When I kept crickets I started by using the orange cubes and found that the crickets had a hard time molting and would die. Possibly due to increased calcium but I'm not really sure. I switched to the plain water crystals but then decided I really didn't want the chemicals in those crystals passed on to my dragon through the bugs. I switched to offering fresh veges like squash pieces and other scraps and they went for that just fine and so I also had peace of mind knowing that only healthy food is being passed up the food chain. I haven't kept crickets in a while but I do the same thing with my roach colony and that works really well. They are great at composting kitchen scraps and leftover salads from my dragon and they seem to be thriving.

I also noticed that the crickets seemed healthier and happier (but louder) when they were kept a bit warmer than room temperature. Having a low wattage ceramic heat emitter sitting over their housing seemed to keep them more active and alive for longer periods.
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby EllenD » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:03 am

Thanks Cooper for an experienced opinion, as I've never used any of those insect-feeder products, just know what I've read, what I've heard, and i know what they're made of, so that's why I've never wanted to feed that stuff to any of my dragons. It's good to have the details of the experience of an experienced Dragon owner.

It could be the Calcium content killing the crickets off, but honestly, once I read that the main ingredient in all of those hydration gels is the same main ingredient in those gel beads that you put into potted plants to keep them watered, that sounds like a possible culprit too.
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby ChiRider » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:19 am

Sorry it took so long to reply...was travelling for work.

Thank you Cooper & Ellen! We have heard you both loud and clear!

The new lights should be here by tomorrow, and the crickets are eating greens! When I look back at this whole thread, the only thing that keeps popping into my mind is..."well that's just common sense!" Feeding the crickets what I would feed Falcor...who woulda thunk it?

And as an update...Falcor is doing just fine! Thank you all!
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Re: Stopped Eating - Worried

Postby CooperDragon » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:36 am

I'm glad to hear he is doing well! It seems like common sense in hindsight but all of the information can be overwhelming at first and there isn't always just one right answer so it's not really as straightforward as it seems. Hopefully the new lights will help out even further.
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