Need perspective / Having a melt down over beardie health

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Need perspective / Having a melt down over beardie health

Postby ibeebonesy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:37 pm

tl;dr - Has anyone else had a rescue case that went horribly after many years of ups and downs and how the hell
do you deal with the guilt?

**

I do not know what to do. I have a rescue beardie named Luna I’ve had for about two years and she is currently in ICU at the veterinary teaching hospital because we are dealing with a respiratory infection that hit fast and hard. I am feeling like an epic failure and I just need...opinions? Perspective?

She was in such ***** condition when we got her - full blown MBD, no use of one leg, emaciated, missing a few inches of tail. They had her on sand and we’re feeding her yard crickets and pellets, years of poop in the cage, etc. we did not expect her to live past a few months, let alone two years.

She’s done okay - she’s never been *healthy* though. She’s always had a weak immune system and issues that we suspect are kidney related (possible gout, etc)...horribly picky eater, hard to keep weight on and keep hydrated, and she’s always at the reptile vet within 24 hours of showing symptoms of anything. I’ve had all her husbandry set up checked out with the vet, checked against recommendations from other specialists...I have a freaking decade of reptile research and experience under my belt with iguanas and turtles and chameleons, but I can’t fix one little beardie and it is *breaking* me. UV output is monitored with a solarmeter, humidity controlled, temps are carefully controlled, minimum of 80F at all times, good range of basking spots from 95 and 105 and 110. Out of drafts and never out long without a heat source. It just never seems to be enough - 1-2 respiratory infections per year and cannot get a solid answer as to why other than “weak immune system”.

She got a lump in her throat last Friday night, went to the vet Saturday. No one could figure it out, so we sent x rays to the ZEW Wing of the vet school for a second opinion and did an anti-inflammatory shot. She was bright, alert, active, good appetite. She hacked up a wad of shredded squash and green Sunday night.

Normal Monday, normal Tuesday, then started getting lethargic Tuesday night. Back at the vet Wednesday, go home with antibiotics, and she just crashed Wednesday night. Rushed to the emergency hospital and they called in the reptile specialist (I haven’t worked with this guy, specifically, but I’ve worked with the two other reptile vets for years - they are some of the best). She’s on IV fluids now, staying over night, and they are running a blood panel.

I feel like this is it. She’s been this sick before, but something just feels different this time, and I’m so tired of chasing myself in circles trying to figure out *WHY* she keeps backsliding. They want to do a CT scan, and all these other tests, and I feel like I’m just making her suffer for more time. I know she’s had a good two years, I know she’s been spoiled and happy, but if we can’t stall these constant infections all together is it cruel to keep going for the months in between antibiotic rounds that she’s “healthy”?

What else can I have done? Could I have demanded blood work sooner when the vet said it wasn’t worth stressing her since she responded to treatment and had clean fecals? Should I have skipped our regular reptile vet (who is an actual reptile person, not just an “exotics” vet) and gone straight to the big boys at the hospital despite the exorbitant price?
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Re: Need perspective / Having a melt down over beardie healt

Postby AHBD » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:14 am

Hi there, I'm terribly sorry that you are going through this obvious stressful time. I don't know that anyone can offer advice, maybe just support. I know that some reptile vets will do a throat culture , and that usually helps to identify what type of bacteria they are dealing with . That way the best possible med. for the R.I is prescribed ASAP. I also believe the recurring illnesses is from having a weak immune system.


I think it's better for her to be at home ASAP as well, [ once the meds. needed are determined ] in a quiet,stress-free place with familiar sounds + smells. If she can live somewhat trouble free between episides I think that's fine. If she begins to just linger listlessly with no interest in life at all then it may be time to see if she is actually suffering and then decide to end it. But if she can be medicated + bounce back then there's nothing wrong with that. Ask about taking a throat culture though, treat the right bacteria + symptoms and see if she might come home ASAP.
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Re: Need perspective / Having a melt down over beardie healt

Postby Aaradimian » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:21 am

Hi Ibeebonsey,

It sounds like you're really hurting, and for that I'm sorry. When you pour your heart & soul into something and it still fails, it does all kinds of nasty things to the psyche. You asked for perspective, and while I have never had a rescue beardie unless you consider buying one from Petco a mercy, I did have a failed marriage. My ex- came from a broken home and could probably be the poster child for the horrors that come with it. I knew that going in and thought that maybe the good person I saw behind all the damage could be nurtured outside of the wreckage the was the leavings of her younger life. I did everything I could: I loved her, treated her like someone who was valued (and she was), got her away from the dysfunctional people in her life, even helped her confront the man who did so much damage to her as a child. It wasn't enough. *I* wasn't enough. I failed, despite hanging in the marriage for probably 4 more years than I should have for my own sake/sanity.

The lesson? Sometimes situations are beyond our ability to fix. It is a bitter pill learning that you can do everything perfectly and still get sh-- results. For a long time, I carried what sounds like the same kind of guilt you're feeling, and it's corrosive to say the least. In time, I married again and let it go, though I still wonder sometimes if I missed something or could have done more. It's a sad thing to have to forgive one's self for caring, but this is a human condition some of us have to deal with. My advice-- love Luna for whatever time she has left, mourn her when she's gone, and somehow find your way to "I did everything I knew to do and at least I cared enough to try. Maybe I couldn't save them, but for the time I tried, their life was better for it". Know this, and maybe you'll know a little peace. Good luck to her, and you!
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Re: Need perspective / Having a melt down over beardie healt

Postby ibeebonesy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:41 am

I really, greatly appreciate the replies and the kind words. I needed them.

Luna passed away this morning.

The CT results aren’t fully back yet, but it is likely she was terminal from the time we got her two years ago. They said the physiological changes in her organs and her lungs were not recent, and could’ve had a genetic component. Liver cancer or disease from years of bad husbandry from bad people or uneducated people is also a factor. It just finally caught up to her.

I am thankful that she got to be happy and loved the last two years, even with the intermittent sick episodes. Still struggling with guilt that I didn’t do *more* and didn’t do it faster or whatever...as irrational as those thoughts are.
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Re: Need perspective / Having a melt down over beardie healt

Postby AHBD » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:24 am

Aw, I'm so sorry to hear this. :( Although it seemed inevitable I know you're feeling terrible , it's such a difficult thing to go through. Others are thinking of you in your loss at this time and my heart goes out to you.
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Re: Need perspective / Having a melt down over beardie healt

Postby Aaradimian » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:31 pm

Very sorry to hear that. I could tell how much she meant to you. The thoughts you're having aren't irrational. We humans always need a "why" when bad things happen, and sometimes we latch onto the process as the probable cause. There's absolutely nothing in what you wrote to suggest that you didn't do your best for Luna, and in fact you probably did a lot more than most of us could have given your training and access to resources. You've just lost a beardie, which is trauma enough, so please don't make it worse by beating yourself up over it. One thing is for sure, she's not suffering now, and your efforts gave her the best life she could have given the circumstances...

Besides, she probably now has her fire & wings in beardie heaven and is happily terrorizing dubia villages as we speak. Hang in there! :)
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