Need help, newbie with a beardie terrified of his feeders

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Need help, newbie with a beardie terrified of his feeders

Postby OlliesMomma » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:34 pm

I placed this in the feeders section too but I see this as emergency content as well will all the issues going on

Run down, sorry this is long, I want to give a detailed history incase you pick up on something that I am not and am missing.
I have a 20 gal tank
Felt rug substrate
Heat lamp (75 watt)
UV B coil bulb (florescent, repti-sun brand)
Heat and bulb on lamp stand over basking spot which is open ( was on metal grate lid prior, now open to not restrict any UV)
Temps vary 95-105°F using three different thermostats, two wall mount and one directly on basking spot next to Ollie's basking spot for best accuracy.
Red night heat lamp used during the colder months in opposite side of tank by sleeping rock area
Has a basking/hiding rock on one side, a hiding/sleeping rock on the other side next to a fake Vine for hiding in corner, used to climb to sleep on them, no longer does. Stays on the substrate and will vary under sleep rock it next to it under red heat bulb.
Fecal exam is parasite negative which was done two days ago
Would spray mist daily (well water)
Get baths a few times a week or as needed
My vet has given the okay to my lay out as well my gut loaded feeders ((including feeding them powdered calcium, vitamins, veggies he refuses at this point, and juvenile BD pellets (Dubias, super worms, crickets)). Every bug offered at every feeding is calcium dusted because I suspected low blood calcium levels back in mid-october when I saw tetany (I'm a nurse by profession) and took action to what I thought was accordingly which did help. I made super fortified bugs and changed out the UV bulb and was at this point now hand feeding moistened pellets with extra powdered calcium mixed in. I took him out of my daughter's dark cave of a room and placed him in my corner room that gets both southern and Western windows so it's always bright. I would also take him outside for an hour a day to get natural UV since it was still hot enough for him (live in a southern US state). Tetany disappeared and he completely perked up within a few days. I need to mention Ollie has been a Poor eater from when I originally adopted him, Sept. 8, 2018. Would eat only a few feeders at a time and then turn his nose up so I switched bugs up for him to keep him interested. When I adopted Ollie he was approximately 4 1/2 inches long. Ollie is now 10 1/4" as of Friday when I had to make an emergency vet visit. I forgot what the weight was. Sorry.
Refuses fruits and veggies ((squash (summer, acorn), red, yellow, green bell peppers, dandelion greens, kale, sweet potatoes, carrot, basil, cilantro, rosemary, to name a few)) no matter how enticing I tried to make them. (Strawberry, blue berry, black&red berries)
Now, here comes my issue other than being a poor eater that refuses veggies and only will lap at some fruit and lose interest.
Almost two weeks ago Ollie went into shed and barely ate for two to three days prior. He was picky and figured he'd go back to normal self as soon as he was done. Wasn't the case. At this point no tetany noted. I thought he was being picky because he was out of his absolute favorite, Dubias, and I was waiting for them to come in via mail. We are offering bugs and everyday eating less. I noticed that within the two weeks prior he started opening his mouth every now and again, like basking, even at room temps. I thought it was a new thing of his since he didn't seem to be in any distress and was actually eating like a madman on dusted, loaded Dubias, he would even lap calcium powder up that I'd put on his rock for him. I admit it was a sign of low calcium and I completely missed it. I didn't have a clue, even with using Dr. Google. I let it go when I should have taken him to the vet.
On Sunday night, My daughters went to check on him and noticed that it looked like he feel off his basking rock and was stuck in this area sorta wedged on his side (daughters are 13 & 21, not small kids that would be rough). They picked him up and placed him on his rock and just observed him and reported to me. My husband then noticed that he slithered down his rock and was very weak, lost footing and got stuck on his back and couldn't right himself the next morning. At this point I thought he was getting weaker so I tried offering bugs more frequently, trying to hand feed him his moistened doctored pellets and yet he was eating less and less. In under four days he was still lively but acting normal for a shedding beardie with a beautiful straight back and then everyday his appetite was weakening, and I noticed this slight, ever so slightly curved. I thought it was part of his pattern I never noticed before and showed my daughter to ask her what she thought since she too spends a lot of time around him. She thought it had be his pattern too so I would just continue to monitor. I started syringe feeding babyfood mixing in calcium and vitamin to get something into him and his spine started to curve more and more and he was turning only into the side that was on the inside of the C He was turning into. I mean this happened so unbelievably fast within no more than two days after. I couldn't bring him out of it like I did last time and he was so much worse than the previous incident. Tetany was back and with a vengeance. That fourth day morning I brought him in to the vet, he was in respiratory distress. His calcium plummeted so badly that he couldn't breath without using accessory muscles and his neck was black. I propped him up to extend his lungs on a slight incline using a washcloth under him and this helped to keep the back in a straight position, which helped to get the breathing back to a less labored state and dropped him off at his vet so they could squeeze him in. That day he came home with critter care by oxbow (1ml 2x a day and calcium gluconate 0.3ml 2x a day). He has been on it since this past Friday and is almost back to baseline with an ever so slightly tremor and with no paralysis in the back legs which we were concerned about, not a perfect gait but can walk on all fours and climb back up and down on his basking rock with no issues which I have just put back into his tank since he seemed strong enough and not a danger any more. Biggest issue if he gets scared he jumps off of that rock to hide in a corner.

With the basking Rock back in his tank I find him hiding more in the back corner behind it so I had to adjust it so he can manuver. The Rock went back in this Wednesday night. He was happy to get his old poop rock back, that's for sure.

Now that he is stable again and has gotten away from the drain that he was swirling & almost went down he has become absolutely terrified of his feeders in just the past few days. Even after going to the vet he would eat 1-3 Dubias or 1 superworm on his own if placed in front of him. (I have even chilled them to slow them down so they aren't as intimidating and easier to catch). It progressed to me using tongs and he would eat them off the tongs (3 Dubias) and for the past 2-3 days refuses and now black necks if placed in tank, closes his eyes, turns his head and today went as far as even runs to the corner of the tank and scratch his way out. I think he is in a lot of pain and might feel that he's just vulnerable. On top of this since Friday his beautiful tail has gotten injured and will eventually lose the last 1 1/2 inches. The vet said it will fall off naturally and after I will begin with the betadine/water mix 3x a day and some TAO on the tip to protect from infection until healed. I think I it cinched when he was wrapped up on the way home when my daughter was holding him in the car. He started to squirm and I immediately told her to check to make sure everything was straight including the tail since I knew how brittle those bones were. She reported it all straight but that's the only time any damage could have happened. He may have adjusted the tail to a straighter position in my daughter's eyes by the time she saw it. It was a desperate looking wiggle in my eyes, it wasn't a normal adjustment to me. When we got home i had already made his tank more handicapped accessible while he was still at the vet. I removed his bask rock as well repositioned his sleep rock slightly so he can move better so I doubt it was in his tank in which he hardly moved anyhow. I just noticed that tail was black at the end come Saturday. Sunday it was no longer black but looked and felt like a little twig. It was a normal color with a greyish hue but shriveled like jerky. Vet saw pics of it when I dropped off the poop on Tuesday and no black tail rot noted. Underneath as well. I mentioned that I thought he was in pain by what I thought of the behavior I've been observing. They are aware that I think there is pain involved. No orders for any pain meds. I do know that some vets will sometimes give orders for tramadol or Meloxicam when they are in house. Anyone know anything about pain control for beardies that's safe?

Now, I really need to find out how do I get him to be less scared and eat on his own again. Today I purchased some moist pellets from PetSmart to try and get him adjusted to the mere thought of it. He smelled it and was fine when it was in my hand. He then closed his eyes to block it out shortly after. I placed it in front of him and broke the tip off so it appeared smaller and less scary. He flipped out, jumped off the basking rock and ran to the glass to surf and scratch. I had to take him out of his tank and hold him until he calmed down and removed the food. I'm at a point that I'm out of ideas. Do I just hold off on offering bugs and different types of food pellets for a week while he's healing and hopefully gets used to his pain or it subsides?

Vet wasn't any help when I asked about the lower protein content in the prescribed critter care, they then recommended dogfood or cat food as the answer and find a flavor that might be appealing. I ended up buying some flukers repti boost since it has 28% protein compared to 16% in critter care.
Can anyone recommend a good flavor that their beardie enjoyed when it came dog/catfood that is high in protein? I just want to entice self eating at this point.

The vet figured he had MBD when I adopted him already and it just progressed on me. I really am trying and feel like I was thrown into advanced BD husbandry with a special needs kinda beardie. I am trying and at the same time beating my self up for not taking him in originally in October. I really need help by someone who had delt with a situation like this before and has been successful in going back to feeders or anyone who has any tricks or suggestions to help this little guy along to get an appetite back. Very said it should as the calcium gets to normal levels in both bone and blood but I can't help but think he's hurt and terrified. He wants to feel safe in his sanctuary. I did try a bowel outside his tank, ended up with a terrified lizard who ran to my finger to climb up and get away from the evil extra small to small Dubias. All four of them. Help, I'm just out of ideas and feel out of my league.
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Re: Need help, newbie with a beardie terrified of his feede

Postby Scion19801 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:42 am

You mention using a coil uvb bulb. If you can you need to switch it out for a reptisun t5 high output 10.0 tube uvb setup. Also get rid of the red light/heat. Beardies need darkness to sleep and the red light will mess with them. Use a ceramic heat emitter. The tube uvb will put out way more than a coil bulb, and as I'm sure you know, they need uvb to process the calcium properly.

Surprised that the get said your setup was ok. How big is the enclosure he's in. Can you post pics. Also do you use an infrared heat gun to check temps?
Hope you little or gets better.
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