Degenerative joint disease

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Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:23 pm

Part 1 Hi I had our beardie to the vet yesterday because he has been having issues with his left leg and to me something looked off with his tail. I am trying to upload the info I received but when I open the page to upload, even before I do anything it says "known bugs." I sent an email asking about it.

Amusei- 5 years old
40 gallon tank
UVB- 34' T-5 HO fixture with Arcadia D3 + 12% HO bulb
March 2019 bought. 14" away from screened top (I did a previous post with pics and was told the type of screen I have is fine.

Exo Terra 75 watt Intense Basking spot- July 7, 2019

Temps-- 97° basking Cool 80°
Taken with infared thermometer and prob thermometer

Diet- mustard, turnip, collard, dandelion greens. acorn or butternut squash, endive, escarole, green pepper, broccoli, carrot, apple, strawberry. Usually a mixture of some of this, at times just one type of green, fruits occasionally.

Phoenix worms, Dubia roaches dusted with Repashy calcium plus, and hornworms

6/10, 6/16, 6/22, 6/28 - very smelly diarrhea
6/17- fecal -negative
7/8 was not going inspite of using pumpkin or mineral oil, with warm baths. Vet had showed me previously what to do if constipated, so I gently and barely used a Q-TIP with Vaseline. Barely needed to do anything. In addition to his smelly diarrhea, there was a very hard urate about an inch long.

Once he passed that appeared to walk better though with a limp on his left hand leg. He has had a weaker left leg for awhile. I have posted previously and received some very good advice. So he did ok until Thursday when he hardly walked. Got him into the vet yesterday.

Ok going to submit this and try to upload Drs. notes
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:16 pm

Part 2.

Cardio- no significant abnormalities
Respiratory- clear
Abdomen-nonpainful, no obvious masses, significant loose stool upon examination
Lymph nodes- normal limits

Musculoskeletal- LH leg- abnormal gait, painful along caudal pelvis base and tail base, good muscle development and minimal wasting bilateral, no swelling of joints or digits

All within normal limits:neurologic, eyes, oral, ears, skin, urogenital

Radiographs- General bone density good, LH coxofemoral hip- dislocation and cranial ventral placement
RH coxofemoral hip- joint - significant bone fragments, DJD, abnormal placement

Lab-pulled for reptile 3 panel -pending
Fecal pending

Assessment:

Notes: DJD of both hips with dislocation/laxity of LH coxofemoral joint
Diarrhea/loose stool
Weight loss

Plan: Pending fecal and blood work ( will interpretCa:Phos ratio for any changes)

Recommend to remove climbing and elevated surfaces from environment

Once blood work returns may consult with specialist in regards to pain management, options

Monitor weight
No changes to diet or lighting


So that's the vets report. He says he doesn't think it was caused by severe trauma. Doesn't fell there is anything else that can be done, like surgery. Mentioned hypoparathyroidism as a possibility. Did not feel he was looking at MDB. I had x-ray done at a different vet in January and everything was fine. Can clearly see something changed in new x-rays, which I forgot to ask for a copy so will call Monday.

So asking from this community of helpful dragon owners, what are your thoughts? He said nothing can be done and that he will adapt to walking like that. Feels since his right leg had problems in the past it is just something that as he aged happened. My heart is broken. I don't want him to be in pain. He also said that watching him go the bathroom you could see him straining some and that he may need occasional help with going. I am so sad. He otherwise is eating well and seems his happy little self. Any advise or thoughts. Thank you!
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:45 pm

Poor guy. I'd like to hear what the blood test results are but it sounds like he may just have a bum leg at this point. As advised by the vet, I'd make basking areas and hides flat and easy for him to access. Using a soft substrate like fleece may be helpful by lessening stress and impact on his leg. You may want to offer silk worms or serrapeptase supplement to help reduce inflammation, but I'd wait to see what the specialist thinks about pain management as well.
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:56 pm

The vet called and left me a message. Amusei's fecal came back negative.
Bloodwork: calcium was 11.9, same as it was in January. His phosphorus levels were down. His calcium to phosphorus rate was 3.9 / 1. In January it was 3/1. His calcium phosphate product was 35, with the limit being 60. Not quite sure what that is. His glucose, uric acid, and CK we're all good, better than they were in January actually.

He told me that he would like to review with a couple other specialists the x-rays that were just recently done in comparison to the January ones and to discuss pain management. He also mentioned doing calcium gluconate.

I have removed everything from his house and replaced it with soft fleece in the hopes that he will be more comfortable. He is still eating well. Looks like he is going to be having a big shed soon. He was out today for a lite bit because I wanted to see him walk. It does not appear to be any worse than it was.
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby AHBD » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:32 pm

Hi there, can you post pics of your guy and also of his set up ? Some dragons can hurt themselves in odd ways such as climbing on the screen of their tank , letting themselves fall and then one leg stays stuck. This can cause a possible slight dislocation or lameness as the body swings down with one foot stuck in the screen. Something similar can happen with a mesh hammock. Other uncommon accidents can happen as well, not often but there's always a possibility.

BTW, I would avoid mineral oil as a laxative aid, it is made from petroleum products. Use olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, baby food veggies or canned pumpkin. Your dragon can still have a pretty good life as long as he's not in severe pain.
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Drache613 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:09 pm

Hello,

Poor guy, he sounds like a real trooper. LOL
It is always possible he could have strained his leg perhaps in his tank. I wondered if you had
a copy of the blood tests I could see. Do you know off hand what the uric acid levels were,
exactly? I know he said that they were normal, but a lot of times the levels are on a higher
number than they need to be. I just wanted to check.
How is your boy doing today?

Tracie
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:37 am

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Amusei is a tough little guy! His appetite is still really good. He is taken out to give him room to run each day, he does limp/drag his left rear leg and once he starts to slow down he is put back in his house. My one big concern is he can't or won't go the bathroom on his own. He had always gone in the bathwater. The sure way for me to tell he had to go is when he runs back and forth in his house. I have had him in there for an hour multiple times and nothing. Gave him pumpkin and squash, nothing. But at the same time when he does go it has been very runny and smelly so I wonder if pumpkin is too much. He goes about once a week with me having to gently using a Q-TIP. I barely have to do it and he goes which makes me wonder if he isn't just ready to go on his own.

I do have the x-rays but they are in a website and I can zoom in but it only allows me to take a picture of all three views which shows very little detail because I can't zoom in. I would be ok with sharing the site if anyone wants me to email the link.

It appears that each day he is improving somewhat. Though Sunday I could not even touch his tail or hind legs without him twitching. The Dr. has placed him on Metacam 0.08ml once daily, can give every 12 hours for first 5-7 days then decrease to once daily. I have only given it to him once every 24 hours. He has tolerated it well. I always give after he eats.

Prior to this happening I had recently place a flat 2 1/2" x 15" rock in his 40 gallon tank. There was room on each side but I am willing to bet at some point he got stuck or turned around and possibly hurt himself. That has been removed.
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:52 am

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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:52 am

July test results

Also going to post the results he had in January for comparison
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:54 am

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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:55 am

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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:05 am

One more thing I forgot. I have been giving him dubias with Repashy calcium plus every couple days. I also started him on Fluker's liquid vitamin supplement. I am sure there is something better out there but I am desperately trying to get him feeling better.
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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Drache613 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:47 am

Hello,

How is your dragon doing?
How long have you been giving the liquid calcium for him, does it seem to be helping him
any?
His blood tests don't look too bad. The calcium to phosphorus ratios are ok, overall. The
phosphorus could come down some but it isn't bad. His AST levels have come down since
the last test & his uric acid levels look good too. What did the vet say about the results?
He doesn't feel that it is metabolic bone issues?
As long as he is able to get around & eat hopefully he isn't in any pain. Did the vet not give
you any liquid calcium yet?

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Re: Degenerative joint disease

Postby Amuseismom » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:33 pm

Amusei has been doing quite well the last few days, though right by the base of his tail he is still very sensitive. But it does not appear to hinder his walking. He may not be walking around as far but he definitely is walking. He seems to adapt his walk to his leg issues. I am not giving him any liquid calcium, but rather a vitamin supplement. I don't know if it has made a difference but I feel like it has.

Tomorrow I am contacting the vet to discuss my concerns about the possibility of it actually being MBD. Certain things make me think it could be. For instance, sometimes not a lot but sometimes his left front foot appears to turn inward. And he is still not pooping on his own. The last time he went was last Friday and he has been eating very well. Followed by Metacam once a day. I don't want to have to help him go. I mean I will if needed, and I am fortunate the vet showed me how to use the Q-TIP to help him, something I doubt most vets do. But him not going on his own has me concerned that MBD may be playing a roll. I also feel the days he has his Phoenix worms or Dubias he seems to do better the following day.

I am sure it has been discussed but when it says the calcium to phosphorus ratio what exactly does that mean? And what could I do to correct it having it a little high?
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