Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

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Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby fiji » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:41 am

Hello thank you for taking time to check my post
Cutting to the matter I recently visited a friend that had a bearded dragon and I remember it being healthy before it never was entirely fat but it was definitely healthy or so I think so

I visited yesterday after a long time and what I saw horrified me, the bones are pretty much visible and is totally lethargic

I took it home since he told me he can't take care of it anymore because of studies and work so now I put it in an improvised tank with paper towels and a trunk so it can climb
Its tank was very dirty with very dirty tile with poops that were probably very very old and it was laying on a corner without moving much

How can I bulk it up? Theres literally no reptile specialized vets anywhere around where I live and the closest ones are very far away + I don't have much money because I'm a student
I gave it a warm bath and it drank water for almost the entire time also dipped it head underwater and that scared me so I kept pulling it up
But apparently it was just drinking so I let it be
When I took it back it started coughing and threw up some water which scared me to death but I read that's ok and not something very worrying since it's fairly common
I force fed it some zucchini and banana (not a lot I want to slowly increase the intake) it took some effort but it ate it, I have an UVB light and a ceramic light that I bought this morning installed and gave it some water but in 10 seconds intervals to avoid it getting sick again
Right now it seems more active and is walking around and randomly running sometimes, also standing on its legs instead of laying totally down

I'm planing on buying insects tomorrow since it likes chasing things specially attracted to movement when I was putting down the paper towels
What should I get better? Crickets or worms? Protein or fat?
I really want this little guy to survive :cry: :cry: :cry:

Any help will be greatly appreciated I will adjunct some pictures





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The bones :(

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The set up I quickly put together

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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby claudiusx » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:03 am

Hi there,

Thanks for trying to rescue this dragon.
We are here to help so lets start :)

Firstly, you're right he does look skin and bones, it's good that you got him. A few things are of the utmost importance to him right now.
1. Proper lighting
2. Proper temperatures
3. Proper diet.

Starting with number 1, it looks like you have a compact coil bulb for your uvb. Unfortunately, these really aren't suitable for dragons as they put off improper wavelengths of uvb, and what little they do put out, diminishes quickly just an inch or two from the bulb. You really should get either a reptisun 10.0 T8 or T5 HO tube. These both are tubes so you'll need the appropriate fixture for them.
Secondly, a CHE is really only suitable for night time as i'm sure you're aware, it produces no visible light. A dragon needs a bright white basking bulb in conjunction with the proper uvb bulb. These two light sources work together for the health of your dragon. You can use the CHE if the tank is still too cold, or at night if temps drop too low.

2. Ties closely in with 1, but proper temps. You need that bright white basking bulb to provide a proper basking SURFACE temperature for him. I would shoot for 105-100. If he likes it a little cooler he can always bask a little further away. But if you provide too cool a temp, he doesn't get to choose if he wants it warmer. Make sure you're measuring with an accurate device, no dial stick ons.

3. This is an important one, and something you really need to focus on. IMO, I know what your intentions are, but I think you should change your wording so you hammer in what is the most important part here. You don't want to fatten him up, you want to bring him back to health. The difference in those two are paramount. Because if the first is the goal, you will only try to get him to gain weight, despite the consequences. If the latter is the goal, health is in mind and that's all that matters.

Since he is so skinny, he obviously hasn't been eating much, or has been going long periods of time without eating. This is an important thing to realize as it will likely mean his system can easily get over taxed if you try to feed him too much too soon. It's likely what happened with the water, he over did it and threw up. It's good that you are hydrating him and that he is drinking, but try not to let it be excessive.

Now, the goal is to get him to eat on his own, not force feed. The fact that he drank water so readily is a very good sign that he is willing to eat on his own. What feeder insects do you have access to? For the first couple days I'd let him eat a few small meals of insects maybe twice a day or so. And keep a healthy salad available to him at all times so he can eat that if he wants. Make sure you are picking healthy salad options, and healthy feeder options. Sure, you can give him a ton of waxworms and he will fatten up eventually, but he won't be healthy.
Here is a good site on nutrition if you weren't aware of it:
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

Good luck, keep us posted and updated, and we are all rooting for you.

-Brandon
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:46 am

I'm glad you were able to take him in. As mentioned, it's a very good sign that he is drinking water. My guy was the same way when I got him and he is now very happy and healthy. It takes time and patience but if he's willing to fight then you have a good shot at helping him if he has proper care. Go easy on food at first so you don't overwhelm his system. You can try dripping some baby food on his nose to lick up. Don't force it and offer small amounts at a time (smaller amounts over the course of the day is better than a lot at once). I've had good luck offering squash, green bean, and sweet potato baby food this way. If you offer a salad and he eats that readily, you can go straight to those. I would hold off on live bugs for a bit and just introduce those slowly. You can get him healthy with a mostly vegetarian diet. Proper lighting is also important. You want a good temperature gradient with adequate basking temps available and plenty of UVB. Bringing him outside to sit with you in natural sunlight is also a good idea if he is OK with being held (if not, don't stress him out further with handling for now).
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby fiji » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:46 am

claudiusx wrote:Hi there,

Thanks for trying to rescue this dragon.
We are here to help so lets start :)

Firstly, you're right he does look skin and bones, it's good that you got him. A few things are of the utmost importance to him right now.
1. Proper lighting
2. Proper temperatures
3. Proper diet.

Starting with number 1, it looks like you have a compact coil bulb for your uvb. Unfortunately, these really aren't suitable for dragons as they put off improper wavelengths of uvb, and what little they do put out, diminishes quickly just an inch or two from the bulb. You really should get either a reptisun 10.0 T8 or T5 HO tube. These both are tubes so you'll need the appropriate fixture for them.
Secondly, a CHE is really only suitable for night time as i'm sure you're aware, it produces no visible light. A dragon needs a bright white basking bulb in conjunction with the proper uvb bulb. These two light sources work together for the health of your dragon. You can use the CHE if the tank is still too cold, or at night if temps drop too low.

2. Ties closely in with 1, but proper temps. You need that bright white basking bulb to provide a proper basking SURFACE temperature for him. I would shoot for 105-100. If he likes it a little cooler he can always bask a little further away. But if you provide too cool a temp, he doesn't get to choose if he wants it warmer. Make sure you're measuring with an accurate device, no dial stick ons.

3. This is an important one, and something you really need to focus on. IMO, I know what your intentions are, but I think you should change your wording so you hammer in what is the most important part here. You don't want to fatten him up, you want to bring him back to health. The difference in those two are paramount. Because if the first is the goal, you will only try to get him to gain weight, despite the consequences. If the latter is the goal, health is in mind and that's all that matters.

Since he is so skinny, he obviously hasn't been eating much, or has been going long periods of time without eating. This is an important thing to realize as it will likely mean his system can easily get over taxed if you try to feed him too much too soon. It's likely what happened with the water, he over did it and threw up. It's good that you are hydrating him and that he is drinking, but try not to let it be excessive.

Now, the goal is to get him to eat on his own, not force feed. The fact that he drank water so readily is a very good sign that he is willing to eat on his own. What feeder insects do you have access to? For the first couple days I'd let him eat a few small meals of insects maybe twice a day or so. And keep a healthy salad available to him at all times so he can eat that if he wants. Make sure you are picking healthy salad options, and healthy feeder options. Sure, you can give him a ton of waxworms and he will fatten up eventually, but he won't be healthy.
Here is a good site on nutrition if you weren't aware of it:
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

Good luck, keep us posted and updated, and we are all rooting for you.

-Brandon

Thank you so much for replying

I will definitely take these tips into account and in the time being since my first post I went ahead and bought a basking lightbulb (specifically the ExoTerra Intense Basking Spot 75W)

I have no idea how I will fit the tube in there but I will talk to some carpenters or someone who could adapt this furniture into an actual tank properly suited for a reptile
Is taking it into the sun the same or better effect? I don't know when I'd be able to have the tube fitment thing prepared and these days are extremely clear and sunny and very nice so if yes, I'd like to know for how much time and how often

Regarding food you are absolutely right, that's definitely what I had in mind I might have phrased it poorly or didn't know how to properly explain myself

I have access to crickets and mealworms, I think my local pet store has zophobas for sale too
For a while I used to breed crickets for fun and because since we live in a city we don't have any and my mom loves the sound of them, it went pretty well so I might give it another try for a steady and basically free source of food for my new friend

It loves water but Im afraid of it over drinking, how often should I bath it and give it water? I live in southern Spain and these days are very hot (35ºC on average during day time with soft breeze and 15ºC average at night time) I know bearded dragons live pretty much on the Australian desert but I still want to know how often I should hydrate it


Again thank you very much for replying

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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby fiji » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:54 am

CooperDragon wrote:I'm glad you were able to take him in. As mentioned, it's a very good sign that he is drinking water. My guy was the same way when I got him and he is now very happy and healthy. It takes time and patience but if he's willing to fight then you have a good shot at helping him if he has proper care. Go easy on food at first so you don't overwhelm his system. You can try dripping some baby food on his nose to lick up. Don't force it and offer small amounts at a time (smaller amounts over the course of the day is better than a lot at once). I've had good luck offering squash, green bean, and sweet potato baby food this way. If you offer a salad and he eats that readily, you can go straight to those. I would hold off on live bugs for a bit and just introduce those slowly. You can get him healthy with a mostly vegetarian diet. Proper lighting is also important. You want a good temperature gradient with adequate basking temps available and plenty of UVB. Bringing him outside to sit with you in natural sunlight is also a good idea if he is OK with being held (if not, don't stress him out further with handling for now).


Thank you very much for your reply
Surprisingly it's very tame and has no issues with handling whatsoever also appears to love to be touched and petted

I didn't feed it a lot, I cut 2 slices (probably 5 mm in total) of banana that I mashed into a paste that I then used as dipping for 2 small slices of zucchini that I cut into thin slices, I used feeding thongs and a popsicle stick to assist with mouth opening (watched a video where they explained is not painful to them and is pretty useful and indeed it was) so practically I didn't fed it much but just wanted to put some food on its stomach to start things up (used banana since it has nice caloric density) and honestly it looks a bit more livid now (even though now is resting on top of the trunk at least is not totally motionless on the ground like a ragdoll)
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby claudiusx » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:01 am

Actually I like Coopers suggestion of maybe holding off on the insects for the time being and trying the baby food. I think I would still try to offer a couple crickets per day, just to get him eating on his own, but if he will eat the baby food how cooper suggested, that would be great too.

Taking him outside will help a lot, but you do still need to get a proper uvb bulb. UV plays a large role in appetite, health, immune function, along with other psychological effects it has on the dragon.

There really is no science to it, but you can let him drink a few times a day, just limit how much he is drinking to prevent him from throwing up again. That might be better than 1 big drink a day. Then once he has started having bowel movements, watch his urates to see how his hydration is doing, and adjust from there.

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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby fiji » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:11 am

claudiusx wrote:Actually I like Coopers suggestion of maybe holding off on the insects for the time being and trying the baby food. I think I would still try to offer a couple crickets per day, just to get him eating on his own, but if he will eat the baby food how cooper suggested, that would be great too.

Taking him outside will help a lot, but you do still need to get a proper uvb bulb. UV plays a large role in appetite, health, immune function, along with other psychological effects it has on the dragon.

There really is no science to it, but you can let him drink a few times a day, just limit how much he is drinking to prevent him from throwing up again. That might be better than 1 big drink a day. Then once he has started having bowel movements, watch his urates to see how his hydration is doing, and adjust from there.

-Brandon


Will definitely do

What type of baby food is best? I don't want to pick anything poisonous or something that could harm or upset its tummy :?

I honestly still want to try some insects (if that's a good idea at all) since it becomes really really active whenever it sees something moving like a sharp shadow or a reflection (jumping, running, sudden sharp movements, looking with tongue out wherever the shadow or reflection is)

Also learned that it's around 10 years old and I think it's a she but I'm not entirely sure yet

I have experience successfully rehabilitating baby/weak/ill birds and doves and I know how to use feeding tubes, should I try tube feeding it? I know it's different but I can do research and make an attempt (Not sure if reptiles can drown by aspiration like birds do when being fed formulas/water)
If not then should I just put some on a spoon and try to make it lick it? I have syringes too (Many sizes and types)

Thanks very much for enlightening me about the whole situation and sorry if in any way I'm being annoying

(I will drop my discord account here in case someone uses the app and wants to directly message me)

passionfruit#7423
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:17 am

I've had good luck using squash, green bean, and sweet potato baby food. Most veges will be fine. You can offer with a spoon or use a dropper or syringe to put a bit on her nose to lick up. Just a little bit at a time and don't force feed her. At her age, she should be mostly vegetarian so it's OK to focus on the veges for now. The protein from bugs may wind up overwhelming her system if she isn't used to it (a little probably wouldn't hurt, but I've had good luck using veges to rehab adult dragons). Go easy on the water too. Better to offer small amounts frequently (you can drip it on her nose to lick up the same way as the food) than offering a lot at once which may make her vomit. Slow and steady with these guys in this condition.
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby fiji » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:42 am

CooperDragon wrote:I've had good luck using squash, green bean, and sweet potato baby food. Most veges will be fine. You can offer with a spoon or use a dropper or syringe to put a bit on her nose to lick up. Just a little bit at a time and don't force feed her. At her age, she should be mostly vegetarian so it's OK to focus on the veges for now. The protein from bugs may wind up overwhelming her system if she isn't used to it (a little probably wouldn't hurt, but I've had good luck using veges to rehab adult dragons). Go easy on the water too. Better to offer small amounts frequently (you can drip it on her nose to lick up the same way as the food) than offering a lot at once which may make her vomit. Slow and steady with these guys in this condition.


Thank you very much, I was extremely sad when I saw she didn't even want to eat and was just laying down with eyes closed with 0 life in her, for 5 mins I even thought euthanasia would be the way to go

But now I feel so horrible for even thinking about that, I will do everything possible for this little fella, my heart is burning with hope rn

I will try everything said here and I will keep updating on her status
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:55 am

For encouragement: This is Darwin the day I picked him up three and a half years ago.

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


This is him last summer enjoying time on the lake.
[Click image to enlarge]


And running all around the house as he loves to do.
[Click image to enlarge]


It may take time but these little guys are tough and can bounce back from some rough situations.
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby fiji » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:28 pm

CooperDragon wrote:For encouragement: This is Darwin the day I picked him up three and a half years ago.

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


This is him last summer enjoying time on the lake.
[Click image to enlarge]


And running all around the house as he loves to do.
[Click image to enlarge]


It may take time but these little guys are tough and can bounce back from some rough situations.


Damn this is truly beautiful :cry: :cry:

you did a great job buddy, I will try not to disappoint
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby JumpinJellyfish » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:23 am

Just wanted to mention you can also try something like Oxbow Carnivore care for syringe feeding, or ReptiBoost. It *reeks* when you mix it, but it has a good nutrient content. :0)
Never knew I could get so happy about poop, or so comfortable with bugs. :-D
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby CooperDragon » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:23 am

JumpinJellyfish wrote:Just wanted to mention you can also try something like Oxbow Carnivore care for syringe feeding, or ReptiBoost. It *reeks* when you mix it, but it has a good nutrient content. :0)


The Carnivore Care is pretty high in protein. I would prefer to use Critical Care especially for an adult dragon. I've found that plain veg baby food works pretty well though.
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby fiji » Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:42 am

CooperDragon wrote:
JumpinJellyfish wrote:Just wanted to mention you can also try something like Oxbow Carnivore care for syringe feeding, or ReptiBoost. It *reeks* when you mix it, but it has a good nutrient content. :0)


The Carnivore Care is pretty high in protein. I would prefer to use Critical Care especially for an adult dragon. I've found that plain veg baby food works pretty well though.

Hello!

I went to the store earlier and looked through the baby section from start to end and I didn't find any all veggie baby food but I found 2 options which are +50% veggies but they also have some meat on them

Option A has:
veggies 56% (potato,green beans, carrot, tomato, green peas and onion)
chicken meat 6.5%
beef meat 2.5%
cornstarch and olive oil 1.7%

Option B has:
potato 15%
carrot 15%
green peas 10%
leek 10%
chicken 6%
onion 5%
beef 3%
olive oil and cornstarch 1.7%


Which one is more ideal?

edit: Gave her some water and she ran to it and drank (i kept an eye on her thought, counted to 10 seconds and retired the water, she didn't get sick)

Also some update pictures:

Not lethargic with sad eyes closed at all anymore

Image


Added this cardboard box so she can go inside and have a cool hiding spot and she loves it

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Last edited by fiji on Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Urgent help needed rescued anorexic dragon

Postby claudiusx » Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:45 am

I wish you were near by, we have lots of left over baby food. You should be able to find veggie baby food. Do you have another store near by?

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