Comfort care for senior beardie?

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Comfort care for senior beardie?

Postby lauranthalas » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:20 pm

Hey everyone,

It quite literally breaks my heart to even have to be asking this question but I need some advice. I have a 10-year-old beardie named Dracul. He was my first beardie and I honestly didn't realize how much you could love a lizard until I set eyes on him. We have had him since he was about 3-6 months old and he has been an incredibly healthy, happy beardie. The biggest issue he has is that he has been a constant shedder his entire life. He never got to the once-a-year adult phase, he has just always gone through multiple sheds every year. More of a nuisance than an actual health issue and probably irrelevant to this post.

He usually brumates in the winter and it has been a long, cold one here. His brumation isn't full-on sleeping, just laying around and being a bit less active. I thought that was initially what was going on a month or two ago but he started dropping weight which he hasn't really ever done before during winter. He wouldn't eat on his own so we took him to the vet to ensure there wasn't some other issue. The vet couldn't find anything wrong, other than pointing out that he was a senior beardie and that it could just be his time. Nothing abnormal test/parasite wise.

I wasn't willing to just accept that so I had been and continue to try more aggressive action to help bring him around. His tank conditions/lighting are the same as they have been his entire life so I know that is not the issue. He gets regular baths anyway, but now they are in pedialyte. I have been syringe feeding him a variety of Repta-Boost, Oxbow Carnivore Care/Critical care, baby food, and Zilla appetite jump-start. None of it seems to be helping and I just get the sense that I am sort of forcing him to stick around. I desperately want him to turn-around but I don't think a life of me force-feeding him is very fair to him. He just looks miserable.

My question is what can I do to try and keep him as comfortable as possible(if anything)? I don't want to give up on him but I also don't want to make him miserable for my benefit. I lost a rescue beardie a couple years ago but it was a totally different situation. I knew it was an uphill battle but one day he was just gone. Dracul hasn't been like that. He is still moving around his tank a little but he is clearly not himself. Any advice on how to keep him comfortable would be greatly appreciated. I don't know if I should keep up the force feeding and whatnot, so anyone who has any input on what to do would be super helpful. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Comfort care for senior beardie?

Postby Drache613 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:07 pm

Hello,

OH that is a hard situation to be in, I'm sorry you are going through that. At age 10, he has had
a great life! He could possibly live longer though, but let's see if we can pinpoint anything that
could be going wrong.
Did the vet not do a fecal on him to see if he has parasites or worms which could be upsetting
his system causing the weight loss? Assisted feeding is no fun for either one of you I know. It
can be stressful. Is his beard dark at all, or not?
Just so we know, can you review your tank setup with us, such as the UVB lighting, supplementation,
temperatures & other foods.
If you can post some pictures of his tank setup as well as your Dracul, so we can see him.

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Re: Comfort care for senior beardie?

Postby lauranthalas » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:25 am

I really appreciate the response. I was too broken up to post this earlier, but Dracul passed away yesterday morning. For anyone else who might have been or will be in a similar situation, his fecal was fine. Nothing alarming in any of his lab work. Clearly, there are times when there just isn't much you can do anymore.
While I strongly suggest taking any sick beardie(or pet) to the vet, I wonder if the stress of the 2 hour drive was worth it for him. You'd think living in the Pittsburgh suburbs there would be an exotic closer........
Anyway, thank you again for the response and I hope for many years of health and happiness for everyone and their reptile friends.
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Re: Comfort care for senior beardie?

Postby clayandgizmo » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:27 am

lauranthalas wrote:I really appreciate the response. I was too broken up to post this earlier, but Dracul passed away yesterday morning. For anyone else who might have been or will be in a similar situation, his fecal was fine. Nothing alarming in any of his lab work. Clearly, there are times when there just isn't much you can do anymore.
While I strongly suggest taking any sick beardie(or pet) to the vet, I wonder if the stress of the 2 hour drive was worth it for him. You'd think living in the Pittsburgh suburbs there would be an exotic closer........
Anyway, thank you again for the response and I hope for many years of health and happiness for everyone and their reptile friends.


I'm so sorry. :( Dracul sounded like a wonderful beardie, and you took care of him wonderfully. He lived a good, long 10 years and I'm sure he enjoyed every day with you! Stay strong, Dracul is at peace now.
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