Geriatric Beardie Care

Discuss health questions, issues, problems, etc! For urgent issues please use the Beardie ER forum.

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:19 am

PodunkKhaleesi wrote:My last two beardies, both from different clutches, lived to be 16 and 17. Losing them after that many years was particularly hardhitting. I believe there were several important factors that went beyond standard recommended husbandry that contributed to their longevity. One: they didn’t gorge on protein as adults. Too much protein can contribute to gout and a shorter lifespan, so I was very selective with their insect meals. Waxworms, Mealworms, and superworms were rarely (if ever) on the menu, and while I can’t definitively say this was a big contributor to their longevity, it does seem noteworthy in hindsight. My current generation of beardies now get superworms as a rare treat, but for the most part when they do get insects these tend to be dubias, BSFL, hornworms, and silkworms.
<<< I'm doing the same for guys .... in my case it's crickets & silkworms as staple insect (some every day) for BTs and beardie, and BSFL and only a few mealworms for the current water skink.


I was also vigilent about not feeding these insects high protein diets or foods that I wouldn’t want my beardie to eat. I’m always surprised when someone recommends feeding dubia roaches dog food or even hamburger, the kind of diet that can create high levels of uric acid over time (and cause the reptiles that eat these insects to develop gout). So I’m adamant about being just as vigilent with my feeder insects’ diet as I am with my beardies.
The other factor of note was that my lizards got a lot of exercise, and were still active and adventurous until the day they died (the day before my 17-year-old died I took a video of her charging around my house like a 6-month old. I had no idea that would be our last interaction, and from that video no one would have ever been able to guess that this beardie was seventeen years old, let alone about to pass on the next day). I’d often set up a basking station on my floor in my bedroom so beardies could run around and then get warm/recharge at their leisure. But when allowed to roam they took full advantage and got a lot of consistent exercise. Many people assume beardies are lazy because they spend so much time basking, but when given the opportunity, my experience has been that they love to run around like kids on a playground when the environment is ideal. One other element I also strongly believe contributes to my beardies’ longevity: each of them get an annual vet exam with a fecal test. So many health issues that affect these lizards can be treated if found in the early stages, so I’m a big believer in a yearly physical with a specialized herp vet. It’s great to have someone that knows your animal’s history, that you can review your husbandry with, and that can check for early signs of gout, MBD, etc.
Some of the tips in the first post will be really helpful to people struggling to find info on how to adjust their husbandry as their beardies age (adjusting cage furniture so that an elderly beardie won’t risk injury struggling to climb a high perch is a good one). With my current baby and subadult, I’m very eager to replicate the scenarios that allowed my other two beardies to spend half my life with me. I’m by no means an authority on beardie health and aging, but hopefully some of my personal experiences with raising very old lizards prove helpful and contribute to a thread on a topic that’s underrepresented online. Beardies that live almost two decades do exist—and I’ve owned several. ☺️
CBDs: Puff (M)(RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (F)(RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless (M)(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (F) (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (M)(wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (F)(rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy (F) rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old . .
kingofnobbys
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby PodunkKhaleesi » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:34 am

I think with all the healthy newer feeder insects on the market (I just finished reading a study about how enzymes in silkworms can have a positive effect in beardies with certain illnesses) and the huge advances in reptile husbandry (particularly UV lighting), captive beardies that live to be 14+ years old will become more and more common. I think for the most part I just got lucky with mine (exceptionally strong/hardy genetics), but once you’ve had one that lives to be 17 all you can think of when you get a new baby is “how do I do that again?!” I’d love to get more insight on unusually old captive beardies and see what some of the common factors were. It’s a really interesting topic and there isn’t much information/research available online so threads like these are a great idea.
PodunkKhaleesi
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:39 am

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:31 am

PodunkKhaleesi wrote:I think with all the healthy newer feeder insects on the market (I just finished reading a study about how enzymes in silkworms can have a positive effect in beardies with certain illnesses)
<<< hence why I have gone to the trouble of raising my own silkworms and include at least one large silkworm in Peppa's , Georges' & Mildred's (BTs) daily live insect rations , only wish Fluffy liked silkworms but she wont eat them, but will eat BSFL (if I snip the worms' heads off).

They've been getting their daily silkworms for so long now (a couple of years) that it's no longer a treat for them and I need to coax them to eat their silkworms. But if i put a superworm or few mealworms in front of them and they're disappeared quick as a flash (but I reserve these for occasional treats ( maybe one or two once or twice a week if they are lucky ).



and the huge advances in reptile husbandry (particularly UV lighting), captive beardies that live to be 14+ years old will become more and more common. I think for the most part I just got lucky with mine (exceptionally strong/hardy genetics), but once you’ve had one that lives to be 17 all you can think of when you get a new baby is “how do I do that again?!” I’d love to get more insight on unusually old captive beardies and see what some of the common factors were. It’s a really interesting topic and there isn’t much information/research available online so threads like these are a great idea.


This is why I originally started this thread. ...

Aside : I just bought and received "A Guide to.... Health & Disease in Reptiles & Amphibians by Drs Carmel & Johnson , as a reference book to add to my private library , unfortunately it doesn't even touch on the matter of geriactric reptile husbandry and specific needs.
CBDs: Puff (M)(RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (F)(RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless (M)(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (F) (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (M)(wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (F)(rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy (F) rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old . .
kingofnobbys
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby SHBailey » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:13 am

There's not much you can do about birth defects, except to take the best care of them that you can for as long as possible, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, a lot of breeders go for exotic colors and features at the expense of breeding for good health and temperament.

I suspect that my snake may have been the product of a so-called "double-het cross," which often involves inbreeding. Breeders like to do it because they get a rainbow of colors so that there's something for everyone, but you can also end up with other recessive traits that can be detrimental and even ultimately lethal. When we got him, he was in an enclosure with a bunch of other little snakes all about the same size, probably his siblings, and all different colors, so that's what makes me wonder. Still, he lived for 15 years and that wasn't a bad run for a corn snake, all things considered.

Hopefully we can all find ways to encourage breeders to put first things first. Between that and better husbandry, we may get to see our reptiles live both longer and healthier lives. :)
SHBailey
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:23 pm
Location: Anchorage Alaska

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby alexismersino » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:12 pm

I am very happy that this forum has been created, as I can never seem to find ANY information regarding older beardies. My girl turned 10 this January and I have noticed her age very prominently lately. She went into brumation in the fall of 2017 and after waking back up, she has never wanted to eat again. It got so bad that I took her to the vet who doesn’t think there’s is anything wrong with her, she is just getting old. Prior to the vet, I had been syringe feeding her baby food because I was honestly terrified she was about to starve to death. The vet gave me supplies to syringe feed/force feed, along with a calorie dense cat/dog food to get some weight on her. Months later, I am still syringe feeding her the dog food, blended greens, and the occasional worm that I have to shove in her mouth. The vet told me that she knows a woman who always has to force feed her beardies when they get old up until they die. I’m just wondering if anyone has heard this before? Does it seem normal or right for me to just have to syringe feed her until her death? I don’t understand why she just changed almost over night. She was completely normal, went into brumation and has never been interested in food since... any feedback would be appreciated.
alexismersino
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:44 am

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:52 pm

alexismersino wrote:I am very happy that this forum has been created, as I can never seem to find ANY information regarding older beardies. My girl turned 10 this January and I have noticed her age very prominently lately. She went into brumation in the fall of 2017 and after waking back up, she has never wanted to eat again. It got so bad that I took her to the vet who doesn’t think there’s is anything wrong with her, she is just getting old. Prior to the vet, I had been syringe feeding her baby food because I was honestly terrified she was about to starve to death. The vet gave me supplies to syringe feed/force feed, along with a calorie dense cat/dog food to get some weight on her. Months later, I am still syringe feeding her the dog food, blended greens, and the occasional worm that I have to shove in her mouth. The vet told me that she knows a woman who always has to force feed her beardies when they get old up until they die. I’m just wondering if anyone has heard this before? Does it seem normal or right for me to just have to syringe feed her until her death? I don’t understand why she just changed almost over night. She was completely normal, went into brumation and has never been interested in food since... any feedback would be appreciated.


I'd be very concerned about giving dog/cat food to a dragon (wrong forms of fat and proteins), I'd be more inclined to use VetaFarm HerpaBoost or VetaFarm Reptile Crittacare or even Oxbow Predator and Vegetarian Critical Care.
CBDs: Puff (M)(RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (F)(RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless (M)(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (F) (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (M)(wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (F)(rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy (F) rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old . .
kingofnobbys
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby PodunkKhaleesi » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:36 pm

The dog/cat food really makes me pause. The fact that you’re not supposed to feed a beardie’s feeder insects cat or dog food, let alone feeding it directly to the beardie, make me wonder about this vet’s credentials as a reptile vet (many vets will treat reptiles even though they have no background in herp medicine, and the repercussions of these vets’ actions seem to be a tragically common theme in a lot of the health forums). I don’t know why an experienced reptile vet would ever suggest dog food over Critical Care or making slurries from beardie-safe foods (heck, even some kinds of baby food would be a better option). I’d ask about switching to something that was actually designed to be ingested by a reptile, especially if the syringe feeding will be more than a once in a blue moon occurrence.
PodunkKhaleesi
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:39 am

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:19 am

PodunkKhaleesi wrote:The dog/cat food really makes me pause. The fact that you’re not supposed to feed a beardie’s feeder insects cat or dog food, let alone feeding it directly to the beardie, make me wonder about this vet’s credentials as a reptile vet (many vets will treat reptiles even though they have no background in herp medicine, and the repercussions of these vets’ actions seem to be a tragically common theme in a lot of the health forums). I don’t know why an experienced reptile vet would ever suggest dog food over Critical Care or making slurries from beardie-safe foods (heck, even some kinds of baby food would be a better option). I’d ask about switching to something that was actually designed to be ingested by a reptile, especially if the syringe feeding will be more than a once in a blue moon occurrence.


Yep ... I concur .... I'd be sacking vet (even if he/she claims they are a reptile vet) and taking the sick dragon to another vet.
CBDs: Puff (M)(RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (F)(RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless (M)(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (F) (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (M)(wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (F)(rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy (F) rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old . .
kingofnobbys
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby PodunkKhaleesi » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:14 am

kingofnobbys wrote:
PodunkKhaleesi wrote:The dog/cat food really makes me pause. The fact that you’re not supposed to feed a beardie’s feeder insects cat or dog food, let alone feeding it directly to the beardie, make me wonder about this vet’s credentials as a reptile vet (many vets will treat reptiles even though they have no background in herp medicine, and the repercussions of these vets’ actions seem to be a tragically common theme in a lot of the health forums). I don’t know why an experienced reptile vet would ever suggest dog food over Critical Care or making slurries from beardie-safe foods (heck, even some kinds of baby food would be a better option). I’d ask about switching to something that was actually designed to be ingested by a reptile, especially if the syringe feeding will be more than a once in a blue moon occurrence.


Yep ... I concur .... I'd be sacking vet (even if he/she claims they are a reptile vet) and taking the sick dragon to another vet.


I’m glad I’m not the only one that found that a bit disturbing. People trust that if a vet is willing to see their reptile, there’s an implication that the vet has a background in herps. One day I want to hear a story about a vet responding to a reptile owner with, “I really only have training in dogs and cats. A reptile’s body is an entirely different machine, and I just wouldn’t feel confident making serious health decisions in unfamiliar territory. So I’m going to refer you to a great reptile specialist down the road...”
PodunkKhaleesi
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:39 am

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby alexismersino » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:16 am

Thank you guys for all of you input and taking the time to give me thoughtful replies. I feel like the worst dragon mom ever that I’ve been giving the food to her. I looked on the can and the stuff of actually called a/d urgent care. She’s a very popular vet who is well know and been around for many years. She went away to veterinary school in New Zealand which screams exotic animals to me lol. She also has experience with bearded dragons and iguanas. So I don’t understand why she would recommend something very wrong to me? I have decided that I am going to buy critical care and carnivore care online and use that from now on. Thoughts? I am still concerned about the fact that Lizzy (I know, I named her when I was 10 lmao) just won’t eat. I guess it just had to do with her being an old lady....
alexismersino
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:44 am

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby PodunkKhaleesi » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:14 pm

You’re not a bad dragon mom! We trust vets to know what they’re doing and to refrain from following a course of action if an issue is beyond their depth. There are a lot of vets classified as exotics vets, and because many reptiles fall under the category of exotic pets, it’s logical to assume an exotics vet would have a background in reptiles. But unfortunately many exotics vets are really just avian specialists. And even actual herp vets can make mistakes (just like many people can recall an experience with a bad doctor, there are plenty of members on this forum that have bad reptile vet stories). So you have nothing to feel bad about. Regarding your beardie, I’ve owned some epically old bearded dragons and it was very common for their appetite to slow tremendously, particularly in the winter. Hopefully the Critical Care or homemade slurries will get her system functioning regularly again and she’ll start to eat on her own. Usually if an illness is in play there are symptoms that go beyond loss of appetite (she stops basking, change in bowel habits or extremely foul-smelling stool, etc.), so hopefully this is just a case of age + recent brumation = off kilter appetite. If not, here’s a good place to find herp vets for any future issues: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html
PodunkKhaleesi
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:39 am

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:27 pm

alexismersino wrote:Thank you guys for all of you input and taking the time to give me thoughtful replies. I feel like the worst dragon mom ever that I’ve been giving the food to her. I looked on the can and the stuff of actually called a/d urgent care. She’s a very popular vet who is well know and been around for many years. She went away to veterinary school in New Zealand which screams exotic animals to me lol. She also has experience with bearded dragons and iguanas. So I don’t understand why she would recommend something very wrong to me? I have decided that I am going to buy critical care and carnivore care online and use that from now on. Thoughts? I am still concerned about the fact that Lizzy (I know, I named her when I was 10 lmao) just won’t eat. I guess it just had to do with her being an old lady....


Seems vets are very hit and miss , even the so called expert reptile vets can vary in their knowledge and technical competence.

This may help you .... especially since she's not interested in eating ---- a good vet will show you how to do this , but there is also a video on VetaFarms site too : viewtopic.php?f=45&t=232687
CBDs: Puff (M)(RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (F)(RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless (M)(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (F) (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (M)(wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (F)(rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy (F) rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old . .
kingofnobbys
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby SHBailey » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:42 am

I just read an article in a recent issue of "Reptiles" magazine about what it takes to become a "herp vet" -- not easy, and it may give you some idea of the issues involved. For one, most veterinary schools do 4 basic animals: dogs, cats, cows, and horses. If you want to specialize in reptiles, it's a whole extra program and there still aren't a whole lot of them around, although things are improving as more species of reptiles are becoming more popular as pets (supply and demand...). There is now a special certification that they can get for competency with reptiles (as well as amphibians, if I remember correctly), but there are not many who have done it so far.

We're lucky to have found a very good reptile vet here in Alaska -- my sister (who had a turtle before we got our snake over 15 years ago) recommended her, and we've been seeing her ever since -- even managed to track her down when she moved to a different veterinary practice a few years ago.

Yeah, wouldn't that be nice if more veterinarians would admit that they don't have expertise for the particular kind of animal you have, and refer you to someone who did? In our dreams maybe, in some sort of bearded dragon Utopia... :roll:

As for taking care of aging beardies, that's something that may be in our future if our beardie lives long enough to get old, so it's good to know there are a lot of people with experience in such matters around here. I know it can sometimes involve some hard decisions when it comes to trying to figure out if your little family member is still enjoying life enough for you to keep "spoon feeding" her, or whatever you have to do to keep her alive. I agree that Lizzy may still have some good years left if it's nothing worse than age and brumation, and especially now that you're working on getting her some better nutrition. I hope for the best for both of you.
SHBailey
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:23 pm
Location: Anchorage Alaska

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby alexismersino » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:47 am

I have some bad news regarding Lizzy. About 10 minutes ago she began thrashing in her tank and I think had a seizure. I pulled her out of her cage. Her whole body was contracted, her eyes were blue and cloudy/ rolled back. She couldn’t control her head and feet and was stumbling all over and shaking. Her butt almost turned inside out like she was going to the bathroom. Her beard is extremely black as is the underside of her, and the tip of her tail. She has finally settled down but kept her mouth open for a long time afterwards and hasn’t gone back to her normal coloring. The seizure itself seemed very long but then again I was screaming for my mom and freaking out so it may have seemed longer than it actually was. I don’t know what is going on with her and am wondering if it is time for euthanasia? I have also heard terrible things about how that are put to sleep. Is the “destroy the brain” thing true? I can’t stop crying, any help would be appreciated.
alexismersino
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:44 am

Re: Geriatric Beardie Care

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:53 am

That's scary! I hope she settles down soon and is OK. Did the prolapse (butt sticking out) go back to normal? Seizures can be a pretty serious deal. There are humane ways to put them down but I don't know that it's time for that yet. Try to keep her warm and comfortable for now and keep a close eye on her.
Image
User avatar
CooperDragon
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 22438
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:41 am
Location: Iowa City, IA
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

PreviousNext

Return to Health

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users