Hydration & Weight (And Parasites?)

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Hydration & Weight (And Parasites?)

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:27 am

Hi everyone,

My beardie went for his first check up today (slightly delayed, I know, but I finally found a trustworthy reptile vet). It was mainly to deal with an on and off eye watering problem he has been having for a few months. The vet believes it is due to stuck shed, and suggested I try to up his hydration levels and said it should clear up on its own. (He checked for an infection and said there is no inflammation or other signs of infection).

When he checked Pancake's heart rate, he said it sounds irregular which could either be due to heart parasites or low hydration levels. If he had heart parasites would he be as hyper as he typically is? I feel horrible. Since I first adopted Pancake he has been *SO PICKY* with drinking water. He used to have a bathing bowl in his tank, but he would do absolutely nothing except sit in his bowl all day (even when moved to the cooler side of his tank). So, I changed to dripping water on his nose, but unless I give him water immediately after he eats or while he is basking, he will refuse to drink (i.e. swatting me away with his feet or shaking the droplets off his head). Nor will he drink in the bath. The vet suggested putting a smaller sized water bowl in his tank, and soaking him twice a day to make sure he's hydrated. The vet placed him in a tub of water to see if he would drink any, but to no avail. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep his hydration levels up? I looked at the Exo Terra Big Dripper system, has anyone used it before? If I put some fruit juice into his water bowl will that entice him??

Secondly, although Pancake has gained a decent amount of weight from when I first adopted him, he seems to have trouble gaining additional weight. He currently weighs 277g, and is 16" long. The vet suggested upping his feedings to 3 times a day, and gave me herbivore critical care (10mL/day) to see if he is able to gain weight and keep it on. Ideally he said Pancake should weigh an additional 100g. They also said to start feeding him lettuce and dandelions from outside, which I'm now totally confused about since on here (and in the nutrition chart I use) lettuce is typically viewed as having no nutritional value, and the farm field behind my house is sprayed with pesticides so I don't feel comfortable with picking dandelions to feed him at all. :/

In 2 weeks the vet said he will check his stool for parasites, but he first wants to see if his hydration levels and potential weight gain will resolve anything.

I'm sorry if this post is kind of all over the place, I just feel like a terrible owner right now. Pancake is also not happy at all about his vet visit :( Overall, how can I get him to drink more water? Would the lettuce maybe assist with hydration?

P.S. His vet assistant was also pushing that I replace the tile substrate with reptile carpet or outdoor carpetting, as she said having tile is unsanitary and too cold. I thought tile was one of the best substrates due to how simple it is to clean? The tiles are spot cleaned daily, and I pull the tiles out of his tank and wash them thoroughly and underneath them every week. During the day the tiles on the warm side of his tank measure 84F - 90F. During the night he has a heating pad under his favourite sleeping spot. I'm questioning all of Pancake's care and I'm worried I'm doing it wrong.
Last edited by Blackenedsabbath on Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:27 pm

I suggest focusing on dietary hydration if he doesn't drink on his own. Offer things like squash and hornworms which are both very hydrating.

I haven't had any issues with tile aside from how hard it is (helped by putting fleece down over part of it to allow for burrowing). It warms up well and it is very easy to clean and sanitize.
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:47 pm

CooperDragon wrote:I suggest focusing on dietary hydration if he doesn't drink on his own. Offer things like squash and hornworms which are both very hydrating.

I haven't had any issues with tile aside from how hard it is (helped by putting fleece down over part of it to allow for burrowing). It warms up well and it is very easy to clean and sanitize.


Okay, that sounds like a good idea. He loves his squash :) Hornworms have never seemed to agree with his system for some strange reason. Even if I give him a super small one he has issues digesting and passing it. I mentioned this to the vet and he didn't seem concerned about it and said avoiding them for that reason was fair. Would you say silkworms provide a similar level of hydration? He doesn't have any trouble digesting them.

I find the tile in my terrarium warms up nicely too, and when the heating pad is on the heat does spread from tile to tile to some degree. Should I just disregard the comment about the reptile carpet then?
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:53 pm

Silks aren't as hydrating but are a very good option. If they're eating fresh mulberry leaves or chow then they should be providing plenty of hydration, especially when combined with squash.

I would disregard the substrate comment as long as you're able to keep the tile clean and it's not causing a problem for you.
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:56 pm

Yes disregard that statements about the tile --- you can always wash the greens that your feeding and feed them moist - I wash mine put them on a paper towel and then cut them up on a cutting board and feed moist -- if he eats them right away hes gonna be getting water off those greens-- sometimes you haft to not listen to everything a vet says--- mine wanted me to put in a humidity chamber in the tank --- I have never heard of those and am not going to do that --- my humidity levels are pretty good -- so feeding lettuce ----- ? I would stick w/ leafy greens you can wash for moisture- the dandelions seems you can find a place where they are not sprayed -- -- we will be harvesting our back yard soon w/ them :D ----
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:22 pm

CooperDragon wrote:Silks aren't as hydrating but are a very good option. If they're eating fresh mulberry leaves or chow then they should be providing plenty of hydration, especially when combined with squash.

I would disregard the substrate comment as long as you're able to keep the tile clean and it's not causing a problem for you.


Okay, thank you!

KarrieRee wrote:Yes disregard that statements about the tile --- you can always wash the greens that your feeding and feed them moist - I wash mine put them on a paper towel and then cut them up on a cutting board and feed moist -- if he eats them right away hes gonna be getting water off those greens-- sometimes you haft to not listen to everything a vet says--- mine wanted me to put in a humidity chamber in the tank --- I have never heard of those and am not going to do that --- my humidity levels are pretty good -- so feeding lettuce ----- ? I would stick w/ leafy greens you can wash for moisture- the dandelions seems you can find a place where they are not sprayed -- -- we will be harvesting our back yard soon w/ them :D ----
Karrie


I usually wash his greens, cut them up and them put them in a container in the fridge so I have pre-ready veggies in for the mornings. But putting water on them before I feed them to him is a great idea! Why I didn't think of that I have no idea :lol:
Do you live in a rural area? (I hope you don't mind me asking). We don't spray our yard at all and have probably thousands of dandelions that grow, but the farm field is essentially connected to our backyard so it seems a bit risky.

Also, a question I just thought of for increased feedings; I currently give him one large meal in the morning, should I gradually increase it up to three (e.g., one and a half for a few days, then two, two and a half, etc.)? I'm not sure how often he ate before I got him, but I remember when he first started eating daily it seemed like a chore for him :s
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:25 pm

At that age I'd provide a salad every morning. I'd say two bug meals is probably enough, morning and evening perhaps. If he has appetite for more then maybe a third feeding can be added but that seems like a bit much to me.
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:33 pm

All you can do is offer -- if he eats it thats good but he is gonna eat when hes hungry-- and yes I live in a rural area and have a farm field behind me as well -- they dont spray but use manure -- :shock: so it stinks here in the spring-- I dont have a issue w/ the spraying thing and we do get the dandelions-- we dont spray our yard either -- can you pick those dandelions that are closer to your house --- and when they spray is it coming up towards your house ?
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:08 pm

CooperDragon wrote:At that age I'd provide a salad every morning. I'd say two bug meals is probably enough, morning and evening perhaps. If he has appetite for more then maybe a third feeding can be added but that seems like a bit much to me.


Right now he gets a salad along with a bug meal in the morning. The vet is concerned that he's eating too many bugs for his age so he wants me to decrease the amount of bugs being fed and increase his veggies (He gets around 40 BSFL a week plus a few butterworms or silkworms here and there as treats, so I think I will just increase the amount of veggies and maybe decrease how often he has treats?). This is assuming that Pancake's around 2 years old.

KarrieRee wrote:All you can do is offer -- if he eats it thats good but he is gonna eat when hes hungry-- and yes I live in a rural area and have a farm field behind me as well -- they dont spray but use manure -- :shock: so it stinks here in the spring-- I dont have a issue w/ the spraying thing and we do get the dandelions-- we dont spray our yard either -- can you pick those dandelions that are closer to your house --- and when they spray is it coming up towards your house ?
Karrie


Some of the farms north of where I live use manure so I totally know your pain :lol: When they spray the pesticides the farm equipment does come right up to the edge of our property, my dogs tend to sneeze a lot during the spraying season and our dog run goes from the back of the house to approximately halfway to the field. I think the wind carries the chemicals over somewhat? Dandelion leaves are really hard to find in my area, but the vet did recommend a grocery store so if all else fails I can always check there.
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:15 pm

Oh yes if you can get them from the store excellent- they don't sell them here that I know of-- so I pick mine from the back yard
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:47 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Oh yes if you can get them from the store excellent- they don't sell them here that I know of-- so I pick mine from the back yard
Karrie


Ah okay, being able to pick them does sound conveinent though lol.

At the vet they force fed Pancake some of the critical care and he virtually passed out on the way home and while at home somewhat (is that normal? He was very distressed by it, did it just zap him of energy?) He ate 5 or 6 pieces of squash, that's all he wanted. He seems to be happy snoozing right now. I bought an exo terra waterfall for him, hopefully that will spark his interest tomorrow.
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:04 pm

Your not going to put that in his tank are you? That would not be good-- it will cause too much humidity not to mention RI
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby Ellentomologist » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:35 pm

For hydration - if they are already recommending critical care you could water it down a little more than recommended. That's what I do with my half-blind leopard gecko rescue who won't drink - though she's on the carnivore version obviously.

Can't speak on substrate personally, since I actually use polar fleece (great because the poop rarely "soaks" into it like it does reptile carpet) I hem myself and rewash. It's similar to reptile carpet, but you do need to make sure you're getting the right thing so that it's not shedding any fibers. I also use some tiles/cleaned rocks so Guac can climb a bit and keep his nails ground down...

Honestly though I feel a touch suspicious of the vet advice here? I only just moved to an area that is anywhere near a good reptile vet, and just scheduled my scale-babies to go in for their first check-ups next month... Obviously I don't want to doubt a professional, but the lettuce comment paired with the reptile carpet makes me wonder. What do I know, though?

Love to see some picks of Pancake, though, if you have any. Get a feel for what the vet says looks underweight and dehydrated... My boy tries to dehydrate himself and is just barely what I consider a healthy weight, we can compare problem children.
About Guac: Full name is Guacamole Kangarilla. 3 year old normal. Picky eater who is often slightly thin as a result. Would eat superworms and blueberries all day, but mom says that is NOT a balanced diet.
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:01 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Your not going to put that in his tank are you? That would not be good-- it will cause too much humidity not to mention RI
Karrie


I bought the one that's the "pebble waterfall" it doesn't have the fogger with it, it just trickles down.The humidity in his tank is 44%, but I will be sure to test the humidity levels tomorrow (without Pancake present) just to make sure they don't get too high. I am just curious to see if the moving water will tempt him to drink. I tried splashing water in his bowl, using a dropper to drip water into it, an infrared temperature gun to make it look like there's a bug in the bowl, and nothing. He used to drink from the bowl his previous owner left with him, but it was stained and generally nasty so I replaced it. Since then I haven't seen him drink from a bowl. But I will definitely start putting water on his greens and focusing on hydrating him through food as you and CooperDragon suggested.

Ellentomologist wrote:For hydration - if they are already recommending critical care you could water it down a little more than recommended. That's what I do with my half-blind leopard gecko rescue who won't drink - though she's on the carnivore version obviously.

Can't speak on substrate personally, since I actually use polar fleece (great because the poop rarely "soaks" into it like it does reptile carpet) I hem myself and rewash. It's similar to reptile carpet, but you do need to make sure you're getting the right thing so that it's not shedding any fibers. I also use some tiles/cleaned rocks so Guac can climb a bit and keep his nails ground down...

Honestly though I feel a touch suspicious of the vet advice here? I only just moved to an area that is anywhere near a good reptile vet, and just scheduled my scale-babies to go in for their first check-ups next month... Obviously I don't want to doubt a professional, but the lettuce comment paired with the reptile carpet makes me wonder. What do I know, though?

Love to see some picks of Pancake, though, if you have any. Get a feel for what the vet says looks underweight and dehydrated... My boy tries to dehydrate himself and is just barely what I consider a healthy weight, we can compare problem children.


That's what they were suggesting, but I'd rather make it into a dressing for his salad as he's fully capable of eating on his own.

Tiles are such a blessing for grinding down claws!! Polar fleece sounds like it would be good for burrowing. Is it available at most craft/fabric stores?

I was slightly too in all honesty. I was asked to write a list of everything I feed him, and in my list I labelled which were his staple foods, and was asked what I meant by "staple feeder." But out of all the exotic vets in my area, he has by far the best reviews. The owner of a well run reptile store here takes the instore reptiles along with his personal pets there too and hasn't had any problems, which is where I learned about this vet. A girl in one of my classes takes her tegu and skink to him ss well. Maybe they just think reptile carpet looks nicer? :lol:

I have about 500 pictures of Pancake lol, I will upload some to this thread tomorrow morning. Just so you have some reference for underweight until then, the vet said he is missing fat pads on his underside, and he was feeling close to where their spikes are on their side.
What do you mean by "tries" to dehydrate himself? Do we both have anti-water lizards?
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Re: Hydration & Weight

Postby Blackenedsabbath » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:01 am

This morning Pancake still seemed kind of uninterested in food, I think he may be stressed about yesterday still. He refused water, even in the bath, but he did go to the toilet in the bathtub and perked up a bit after that. I gave him some watermelon and put extra water on his escarole, both of which he ate happily. I tested the pebble waterfall in his tank, it only increases the humidity up to 48%, so it will be okay. He's interested in it (currently sitting and tilting his head from side to side) but hasn't drank yet.

Here are photos of him from this morning after his bath:

[Click image to enlarge]


His sides were less wrinkly but you can see the fat pads on his head are down a bit from not drinking :(

[Click image to enlarge]
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