Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

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Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby ElisaAndSteven » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:38 pm

Hey guys. Forgive me for using my first post to ask for help, but I've been a visitor for a long time. Our dragon is having some health issues, so I just wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions.

Setup:
70 gallon tank
Excavator clay
Keep water bowl in tank
Dust his bugs with calcium every other day, and a multivitamin once a week (will eat between 5 and 10 medium size dub roaches, or 20-30 crickets)
ReptiSun bulb (UVB and heat)
Basking temp usually right around 104-105 degrees F, and he's loved it up until this all started
Clean objects in his tank roughly once a week
Keep ground up sepia bone in a little dish for him (rarely touches it)

Symptoms in order observed over past couple weeks:

Started with bloating, still had appetite. No other problems.

Started lying down away from basking light earlier in the day.

Slowly started losing appetite and getting black beard for no reason.

In the past week, he's basically stopped eating, aside from a cricket here and there. Stools are tiny, and he has permanent black beard and neck. Still extremely bloated.

He's now starting to stand with curled fingers pretty regularly. I suspect this is because he's not eating and getting enough calcium.

At night, he sleeps with his head up in the air, as if he's trying not to lay fully on his belly. Looks very uncomfortable.


What we've done:

Tried implementing more veggies at first, since it was just bloating. We thought maybe he was impacted. Also gave him olive oil and apple sauce at separate times.

Gave him warm baths every other day for roughly 30 mins, and massaged his belly a few times. This worked a few times to get him to poop, but now since he hasn't been eating as much, he's not really pooping much.

Cleaned his tank, and refreshed substrate surface (we're using excavator clay, and he does not eat it)

Took him to vet yesterday, and the first thing he said was "Oh boy, this is gonna be a tough one to diagnose." Vet worked at zoo and has lots of experience with reptiles. Vet said he was not impacted and didn't feel any hard lumps. He gave him a fluid shot to hydrate him just in case. Also gave him his first dose of antibiotics yesterday (Baytril Suspension). Vet said it might help depending on whats wrong with him. Have a stool sampling container we're going to return in a couple days if we can get him to poop enough.

We've been using a PowerSun bulb for a few months, and it has seemed to work great, but picked up an additional ReptiSun 10.0 UVB fluorescent bulb with a lamp today just in case the other was not working. Figured it was worth a shot.

Worth mentioning. We purchased some organic dub roaches from Dubia Roach Depot online before this all started. The place seemed to have a great reputation. Could just be a coincidence, but after about a week of having them, the symptoms started. We haven't given those to him for a week now, and have been trying to feed him crickets from local reptile store instead.


Here are some pictures below. Had no issues for the first couple of months we had him, but suddenly, the past couple of weeks have been rough.

Right around when the bloating started, but still had appetite and acted normal.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


About a week later, had black beard here. Looked a little weak.
[Click image to enlarge]


And now another week later. Refreshed his tank yesterday. Cleaned all objects in it, and brushed away and removed top surface of excavator clay.
[Click image to enlarge]


This is him right now. Feels like a water balloon when we hold him.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Thanks guys,
Steven and Elisa
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:15 pm

The UVB is gonna help - where is the UVB is it in the tank or on top of screen ? Is it the T 8 or T 5 bulb-- I am gonna say the old UVB was part of the problem -- it sounds like hes got a upset stomach- which the UVB has a lot to do w/ digestion --- if you got the T 8 bulb I would get it inside the tank and approx 6-8 inches from basking area-- the T5 can sit on top as it is a stronger bulb-- others on here are gonna haft to help you w/ the bloated stomach ---
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby ElisaAndSteven » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:51 pm

Its on top of the screen on his tank, roughly a foot above his basking area. There should still be a little bit of UVB coming from the other bulb as well I was just trying to supplement it to rule that out as the issue.

It's the 20" Reptisun T8 hood with the 18" 15 watt T8 Reptisun 10.0 UVB fluorescent bulb.
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby claudiusx » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:40 pm

Interesting that this happened after switching to a new feeder. Thats not a very common cause of issues like these, but it's good you stopped with them just in case. What makes them organic?
He really does look extremely bloated and unhappy.

So when is the last time he had a decent BM?
I'm not a big fan of prescribing antibiotics just in case, it's becoming a common practice now with a lot of vets. Did he mention getting bloodwork done at all? That is where I would start.

Do you have a picture of him sleeping with his head up?

The toes curling thing, that wouldn't really be expected to have been caused by simply 1 week of low food consumption.

The bloating could potentially be caused from water retention which could be a sign of organ failure, which is why bloodwork would be the best course of action IMO.

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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby Drache613 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:42 pm

Hello,

So sorry your boy is not doing well right now.
Was he bloated before you went to the vet or was that one of the reasons you took him
in? Did they not do a blood test?
If he felt that he was dehydrated, Baytril shouldn't have been given that quickly until
ruling out infection. Baytril is hard on the kidneys especially for reptiles who are already
dehydrated.
I don't think it is a calcium issue really. It looks like he has adequate UVB, now, with the
addition of the Reptisun 10 tube he will be fine.
What were you gutloading your insects with previously? How many roaches are you
feeding him weekly? I am finding that too many roaches are too high in protein if fed in
excess & if gut loaded with high protein feed.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby ElisaAndSteven » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:18 am

Thanks Tracie and Brandon. The organic roaches are just fed organic food by the company that sells them (http://www.dubiaroachdepot.com). Before that, everything we got came from either LLLReptile or PetSmart.

Once we have the roaches at our house, we usually just feed carrots. We were getting 25 1/2" dubia roaches at a time, so they were gone within a week or two. I always clean the container too if it gets gross.

Last decent bowel movement was about two weeks ago during a bath.

I'll try to get a picture of him with his head up while sleeping. Just looks like he's super tense.

I don't like the antibiotic thing either but we're trying to get ahead of this thing as much as possible before it's too late.

His bloating was his first symptom of a health issue, but we just figured he's going to have a big poop coming, or it was because he was in the middle of shedding.

The blood test was $200, and we didn't really sense the urgency from the vet, so we didn't do it. He said that if he's not better in a few days after the antibiotics, then to bring him back and do it. He also said to bring back the poop sample container for testing as well, another $58. First visit was $120 to get the antibiotics, a fluid shot, and cost of the visit. Trying not to pay attention to the cost because we really miss him when he was happy.


Also:
I spoke to my aunt yesterday. She had a 1-year old dragon one time that had some pretty bad symptoms, although no bloating. The vet told them it was dying and probably needed to be put down. My uncle, who is obsessed with vitamins and such, told her to bring him home. They mixed up an elixir of two drops B-complex vitamin, 2 drops Green Tea Extract, and 2 drops Colostrum, and gave it to his dragon twice a day, and said that within 24 hours, the symptoms had pretty much disappeared. They continued it for a little while after and eventually stopped. Their dragon lived for another 8 years. We gave ours his first dose yesterday, but just diluted Colostrum powder i the mix instead since we couldn't find an extract. Another $40 for all three vitamins, fml lol
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby THier220 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:16 pm

Hate to say this but this sounds just like our Taz. Blood test show high glucose, that with symptoms lead vet to diagnose GNT. See my post. Vet said she'd try surgery, but recommended putting him to sleep. We followed her suggestion. Taz passed peacefully.

So sorry, I know exactly what you are going through.
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby Drache613 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:55 pm

Hello,

How is he doing tonight?
I agree that natural supplementation seems to be the way to go. There are often times a need
for antibiotics but for long term they really respond well to supplements.
The gutload sounds fine then. I hope the commercialized feed you used from LLL reptile & or
Petsmart wasn't too bad.
I hope he is looking better. Please keep us posted on him.

Tracie
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby ElisaAndSteven » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:10 am

THier220 wrote:Hate to say this but this sounds just like our Taz. Blood test show high glucose, that with symptoms lead vet to diagnose GNT. See my post. Vet said she'd try surgery, but recommended putting him to sleep. We followed her suggestion. Taz passed peacefully.

So sorry, I know exactly what you are going through.

I dropped off a stool sample on Friday at the vet, and will be getting the results today. Have not done a blood test yet, but if nothing comes up in the stool, we'll be taking Pico in for one.

Drache613 wrote:Hello,

How is he doing tonight?
I agree that natural supplementation seems to be the way to go. There are often times a need
for antibiotics but for long term they really respond well to supplements.
The gutload sounds fine then. I hope the commercialized feed you used from LLL reptile & or
Petsmart wasn't too bad.
I hope he is looking better. Please keep us posted on him.

Tracie

Pico seems to be doing a lot better. Definitely not 100%, but much better than before. He's not really acting lethargic anymore, and his black beard is gone for most of the day.

On Friday, we noticed he was acting a little more alert. We went and got him some super worms, and he actually ate a few of them. Saturday, we unfortunately had to be gone most the day, but he was up and basking and looked happy when I left the house.

Yesterday, he was very active, cruising around his tank, bathing in his water, and basking under his light. Ate a couple of super worms. Night time seems to be when he gets his black beard the most. Not sure if it was a coincidence tonight or not, but he got it after we gave him his antibiotics, which we're diluting with water to hydrate him a little bit. He also seemed a little restless, and is still lifting his head up while he sleeps. I usually have him on a towel while he sleeps, and I've been angling it up when I notice it so that he can rest his head at an angle instead of holding himself up. This morning, his black beard went away as he was waking up. I gave him his vitamins and he looked pretty good when I left for work.

We've still been giving him two doses every day of:
2 drops green tea extract
2 drops B-complex
3-4 drops ReptiAid (<250g reptile)
Pinch of colostrum powder

We've also been mixing in Nature Zone Electrolytes + Probiotics in his water, which he bathed in a few times yesterday. Hoping this helps replenish him while being on the antibiotics. As I was mentioning before, we also added an additional T8 UVB light on his non-basking side of the tank where his water bowl/bath is at.

Weird thing is that he's been pooping a tiny amount of very watery poop every night while he sleeps. I think its because most of what is going into his body right now is liquid, (supplements, antibiotics, and water) and he's only eaten one or two super worms the past couple of days. Either that, or the antibiotics are messing with his metabolism.

His bloating has also almost disappeared completely, and now he's looking real skinny since he hasn't really been eating. He still seems to be really active now though, and I'm hoping he gets hungry soon. I'll keep you guys updated.

Some more images from the past couple days:
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby Drache613 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:26 pm

Hello,

Pico does look better right now, I hope he is feeling good.
Did you get the fecal results back yet to see if he had worms or parasites yet?
I am glad his black beard has been going away though, that is a good sign. The antibiotic
doesn't taste well & will definitely dehydrate him so do continue giving the extra fluids along
with them. How much longer does he have on the antibiotic?
I hope that the additional tube UVB helps out for him. It should add some extra brightness in
there for him also.
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby ElisaAndSteven » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:22 am

Drache613 wrote:Hello,

Pico does look better right now, I hope he is feeling good.
Did you get the fecal results back yet to see if he had worms or parasites yet?
I am glad his black beard has been going away though, that is a good sign. The antibiotic
doesn't taste well & will definitely dehydrate him so do continue giving the extra fluids along
with them. How much longer does he have on the antibiotic?
I hope that the additional tube UVB helps out for him. It should add some extra brightness in
there for him also.
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie


Hi Tracie,

First off, your concern means a lot. It's comforting knowing we're doing the right things, so thank you for the knowledge and advice.

His stool sample tested positive for Coccidia. Vet prescribed him Ponazuril, so now we have him on two medications. I talked with the vet a little bit because I didn’t want Pico on so much stuff (seemed to be taking a lot out of him), but he recommended staying on the Baytril for at least a couple more doses so it is a more complete regime. He said he’s been using it on various small animals for 15 years with success, so I’m putting my trust in him.

We are trying to let Pico bask for an hour or two after giving him the meds as well, and then giving him a warm Probiotic bath after. It's pretty much bedtime for him after that. Luckily, he is finding a little comfort in the bath, and he’s drinking from it every time. His color lightened up after it the other night. Very relieving.

We gave him his first dose of the Ponazuril on Tuesday, alongside the Baytril. The day after Baytril, he’s usually lethargic, but yesterday he was up and alert, even though he did get stressed a couple times and glass surf a bit. I took him out and he climbed on my shoulder. Ended up pooping on me before I put him back under his light.

At night, while he’s sleeping, he has still been propping himself up with black beard sometime through the night. Looks very tensed. I end up adjusting the towel so his head has support. But he is usually relaxed by morning as you can see below. We have him sleeping on a heat blanket at night too to keep him warm.

At this point, we’ve got some much going into him with the meds and vitamins that were not really sure what’s helping him the most, but his attitude is overall light years better than it was. Still no appetite yet, but we’re going to try forcefeeding him a worm today if he’s not too stubborn. He wasn't exactly bulky before he got sick, so this not eating thing has got him looking pretty boney. Hoping it's just a part of the road to recovery.

He sleeps in my night stand drawer on top of a heat blanket with a little towel cave over him for comfort. :) When he's not sick, he usually makes his way out of the cave, and he's staring at me when I wake up, ready to lay on my chest for a bit. Hoping to see those little eyes like that again soon.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby vrenee1018 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:55 am

Hello. I've just gone through your post and bless your little Pico. Love the name, btw, my girls name is Tampico! Ha Anywho, off topic...I am glad the little guy is doing much better. I don't have much advice to offer as you've been getting it from the best already. His new pictures, he seems to have a bit more of a smile now and that warms my heart. I'm so glad you are doing everything you can for the little fella. You don't know how much they'll crawl into your heart and create a nice cozy warm spot until something bad happens to them. Pulling for you and little Pico! :blob8: :blob8:
Image Ohhh myyy little Taaam-piiico <3
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby Foxxy76 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:17 am

What a sweet little man! Let us know how he's doing! I may copy down that recipe of your Uncle's for future beardie issues!
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby Drache613 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:11 am

Hello,

How is little Pico doing today? I hope he is feeling better. His picture was so sweet, he
looked so comfortable & cozy.
Please keep us posted on his progress.

Tracie
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Re: Bad signs - Bloated, black beard, no appetite, etc.

Postby ElisaAndSteven » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:01 pm

Hey guys. Pico's doing a lot better! He got really hungry today and ate 5 super worms. A few hours later, I had him out of tank and he was cruising around on our bed. He ended up wanting back in his tank, and he scarfed down another worm. Now, he's sitting on top his rocks, basking and enjoying the view. Going to keep giving him vitamins over the next week, and probably somewhat regularly from now. Couldn't hurt. Going to keep a close eye on him this week still as well. Still not entirely sure what helped him the most, but he seemed to make the biggest improvements after his Ponazuril treatment.
[Click image to enlarge]
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