Very sick

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Very sick

Postby Hollizard » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:35 pm

- Age: 5-6 years old. (Been with me for approx. 9 months)
- Size: 18-19 inches.
- Size of the enclosure: 40 gallons/36"x18"x18"
- Temperatures: Usual is 75F cool side, 85F hot side, 100F basking spot. Since being on antibiotic, at advice of vet, cool side raised to 85F.
- Type of substrate: Non-adhesive shelf liner.
- Diet: Usual is salad every day (collard greens, dandelion leaves, kale, butternut squash, etc.) and superworms every other day. Has never had a good appetite for the time I've had him. Barely ate salad, sometimes 5 superworms per meal. Currently not eating on his own.
- Lighting/heating: 100w basking bulb, 10.0 Reptisun tube UVB (2 months old), usually one, currently two ceramic heat emitters (one for each side of tank at night).


Hi everybody, I need some help, or advice, or just support.

I have a beardie named Chance. He's 5 (maybe almost 6) years old and I've had him since April. For the entire time I've had him, he's had neurological-like issues. He has always drifted to the left and has a head tremor and terrible aim when eating. According to his previous owners, he's had the tremor since he was 2. Back when I first got him, I took him to the vet because he wasn't eating great, and he was treated for a slightly high count of pinworms. Regarding his neurological signs, the vet didn't offer any explanation other than a possible brain aneurysm, but apparently that will kill them within a week and he's still alive, so it's probably not that. I wasn't very impressed with that vet and have not taken him back there. I had to insist on a fecal test and when the results came back, I had to insist on treatment.

Okay, now that you have his background... He recently went through brumation and was doing well and keeping his weight on. However, when he woke up, he wasn't interested in eating and has lost weight. His drift to the left has also slowly gotten worse over the time I've had him and he can now only turn in tight circles to the left. I took him to a different vet on the 3rd and this vet was amazing compared to the first one. He said Chance's symptoms of only turning one direction, nystagmus (or involuntary eye movement), and thick, sticky saliva show that he's having balance issues and that could point to an infection of the inner ear. He said it could be viral, in which case there's nothing we can do, or it could be bacterial. Hoping it's bacterial, he put Chance on a two week round of antibiotics (Baytril), which he will be through with on the 16th (tomorrow). He also gave me some Hill's Prescription Diet Urgent Care for dogs and cats, but he said it's good for recovering beardies as well. I started off syringe feeding him a mixture of the Urgent Care with a homemade slurry, but after a little digging, I'm not sure the Urgent Care is what's best for him. I have since gotten him some Reptaboost and Critical Care and continued syringe feeding with that. I also have Bene-bac on the way. At the vet, I had also brought in a fecal sample for testing, and a few days after starting on the Baytril, I heard back from the vet that he also had pinworms. He just completed 5 days of Panacur for the pinworms and I was advised to wait two weeks and then do another 5 days.

Recently, I noticed he has been doing this sort of gasp/cough, and it got worse two days ago. During the night, he would continuously wake up, "cough" for a few minutes, and go back to sleep. I started worrying that he may have aspirated his food and now I'm scared he has a respiratory infection. After doing some searches on this site, it sounds like it's very easy for beardies to aspirate during syringe feeding. Had I known this before, I would have been more careful. His saliva has also increased to the point where every morning his mouth is all crusty. During syringe feeding, I had noticed an area of his gums at the front of his mouth had become puffy and reddish. That combined with the crusty mouth also has me worrying about mouth rot.

So, at the moment, I'm snowed in with no way of getting to the vet. Is there anything I can do to ease his discomfort for the time being?

Also, just so everyone knows, I was fully expecting to have him put down on the 3rd when I first brought him in. His quality of life is terrible right now, but after hearing that the answer could be a simple round of antibiotics, I wanted to give him a chance. However, with his antibiotics finishing tomorrow and no sign of improvement, I'm wondering if I should still consider having him put down. Or should I wait until the next round of Panacur in case it's the pinworms causing problems? I don't know if I want to put him through another round of antibiotics for a possible respiratory infection and mouth rot. He's black-bearding almost constantly and just looks so miserable. He also occasionally flips on his back and cannot get himself upright. I don't want him to suffocate upside down if I don't notice. I don't have a job and I'm currently watching him pretty much 24/7, but there's still a possibility of something happening. What should I do? I feel terrible for having possibly caused him more problems than he started with.

Thanks for reading this long-winded, rambling post. Please send Chance some love.

[Click image to enlarge]


[Click image to enlarge]
Last edited by Hollizard on Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Very sick

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:40 pm

What a terrible ordeal your going thru w/ him--- I feel so bad --- one of the others on here AHBD or Brandon or Tracie she is our vet moderator on here at nite would haft to help you -- I am hoping for the best
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Re: Very sick

Postby Drache613 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:03 am

Hello,

Oh dear, poor Chance! He doesn't look good right there.
Can you post some pictures of his tank so we can see the lighting placement, etc for him?
Have they done a blood test on him, to see if he has liver or kidney issues? My first thoughts
are liver problems possibly due to adeno virus. Did they test him for it or not?
I agree, the canned foods for dogs/cats are really not designed for reptiles, honestly. The
protein is too high. The critical care is a much better choice!
If it is viral, I would recommend trying some colloidal silver, as it is not an antibiotic but, an
antimicrobial/antimicrobial agent instead.
Was he acting quite this way, before being medicated on the Baytril? If he does have a bad
respiratory infection, I would consider doing some nebulizer treatments so the meds penetrate
more effectively into the lungs.
What supplementation is he on, do you use calcium supplementation for him?
I hope that we can help him.

Tracie
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Re: Very sick

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:07 am

Here is a website to find a reptile vet in your area in case you want a second op-
www.arav.org
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Re: Very sick

Postby Hollizard » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:52 pm

Hi again,

Thanks for the support/sympathy. To answer your questions, Tracie...

No, they did not do a blood test. I thought I read somewhere that adenovirus can only be diagnosed after death? If that's not the case, I will definitely ask about testing for that. I have another bearded dragon, so I wouldn't want her to contract it from him. How do they test for adenovirus? Is it part of a blood test?

Honestly, I did a bit of Googling on colloidal silver and it makes me a little nervous. From what I understand it's a holistic treatment with lacking scientific evidence. I've always been very skeptical of holistic treatments, but I will keep an open mind and not rule it out. If you could enlighten me on it, I would be very happy to listen.

Chance has never seemed very healthy, but his neurological-like symptoms and lack of appetite have worsened since waking from brumation. The near-constant black-bearding, "coughing", sore in his mouth, and crusty saliva all began after starting on the Baytril, but I also upped his syringe feeding during that time too, so I'm not sure if it's the Baytril that caused it or the syringe feeding and possibly aspirating food.

I'm guessing a nebulizer is something I'd have to buy myself? What kind/brand would you recommend? I'm assuming a humidifier would not suffice? Which medication would be used in the nebulizer? I also have F10 for cleaning and I have heard it can help with respiratory infections? (Sorry for the bombardment of questions!)

I do use calcium with and without D3 for him as well as a multivitamin. The brand I initially bought was Rep-Cal, but since then I have done some reading on the fact that it is possibly too high in D3 and the oyster shells it's made from can contain high levels of other minerals. I also have some Fluker's calcium with D3 and liquid calcium, but I have been thinking of getting Miner-All. Do you have any recommendations? Since Chance isn't eating on his own right now, I put some Fluker's liquid calcium and Rep-Cal Herptivite in his homemade slurry.

He hasn't been "coughing" quite as much today, but he still opens his mouth in a sort of gasp every once in a while and his mouth is still crusty.

[Click image to enlarge]


As for his tank, here are some pictures. It isn't usually so bare, but since getting sick, I've worried about him flipping over and hurting himself on things. The shoe box is the only thing I have on hand at the moment as a safe basking spot. He cannot get up onto it on his own, so I put him up there occasionally throughout the day and he can flop off it whenever he wants. The rock is to hold his thermostat probes in place. A note on the Zoo Med Reptitemp thermostat on top the the tank: the right number (current temp.) glitches out when it gets over 100, but I've been checking things with the temperature gun and everything is still working. The thermostat on the side of the tank is a Herpstat EZ1.

[Click image to enlarge]


[Click image to enlarge]


That's all for now. I look forward to your reply.
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Re: Very sick

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:58 pm

That UVB is a T 5 or a T 8???? He needs to be able to sit directly under it from certain distances that is why I asked tube # ---- you need to get a piece of decor under it but I need to know the tube is it a T 5 or T 8 as of this moment there is nothing under it for him to bask ---- look on the bulb it will tell you
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Re: Very sick

Postby Hollizard » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:50 pm

Apologies, I forgot to mention that the UVB is a T5 HO. Following Zoo Med's distance guide, posted below, it's my understanding that the sweet spot is between 18 and 36 inches, and with the tank being 18" high, I figured he was getting enough UVB. Although I have seen people recommend between 6 and 8 inches, I opted to go with the manufacturer's guidelines. It would also be very difficult for me to get him 6 to 8 inches from the UVB when he has such bad mobility. I did move the shoe box so it's positioned more directly under the UVB, and on top of that he is about 11 inches from it. Do you think he will now be getting enough UVB?

[Click image to enlarge]


[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Very sick

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:08 pm

Yes recommended on this forum 12-15 w/ no cover over the bulb inside the tank if on top of screen 8-10 -- the screen blocks 30% of those rays-- I would move it inside the tank -- you can use plastic zip ties- picture wire hanger 3M Velcro fasteners-- shoe laces boot laces fishing line
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Re: Very sick

Postby Hollizard » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:41 pm

Will do, thank you. :)
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Re: Very sick

Postby Drache613 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:36 am

Hello,

How is Chance doing today?
He started becoming worse after going on the Baytril? What is his dose, it almost sounds like
it was too much for him.
The colloidal silver when made properly is extremely safe. It can be given short term for viral
treatment. I was able to clear out a couple of dragons using colloidal silver.
He is done with the Baytril right now? The black beard is indicative of stress. Do you have him
on probiotics?
As far as the T5 Reptisun tube, a 12-14 inch distance is fine, but we recommend it being under
neath of a screen or unobstructed if possible. Be sure the basking light is directly beside it also.
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
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Re: Very sick

Postby Hollizard » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:40 pm

There hasn't been much change in Chance today. Same as yesterday, he isn't "coughing" as much. I don't think he's black-bearding quite as obviously either, although he's still dark most of the time. I had a good look in his mouth today when I was cleaning off the crustiness and I definitely think he may have developed mouth rot. There are areas of his gums that are swollen and oozing blood. Mouth rot is something that would have to be treated with antibiotics, correct? He had his last dose of Baytril yesterday, and I'm concerned about putting him through another round because of how sickly he seemed on it. The dose was 0.1 mls once a day for 2 weeks and he is 470 grams. His probiotic was delayed by the snow, but I will have it by tomorrow.

One question: Is there a technique with syringe feeding to prevent any more possible aspiration of food?
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Re: Very sick

Postby Drache613 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:42 am

Hello,

I am sorry about his mouth issues. Could his gum problems been caused by syringe feeding,
or have they been bad before he started being syringe fed?
You could get some raw, unpasteurized or manuka honey to use on his gums to start. Also,
diluted betadine can help to clean the gums, too. There is a product called nolvadent that is
for oral use in mammals but works for reptiles, too.
You can try using a plastic syringe or dropper to just drip food onto the end of his snout to see
if he will willingly take it this way instead of having to open his mouth. There are less incidences
of aspiration this way.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
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Re: Very sick

Postby Hollizard » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:23 pm

Hi again,

Unfortunately I decided to have Chance put to sleep. After trying to feed him a superworm, I believe that he was unable to swallow properly anymore. The swelling and bleeding from his mouth also got worse quite quickly. With these things in mind and no change in his neurological symptoms, I decided it would be kinder on him to end his suffering. He was put to sleep on Wednesday.

Thank you for all your help.
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Re: Very sick

Postby AHBD » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:37 pm

I'm so sorry about this sad situation with Chance. You really tried to help him and it was definitely time to put him to sleep. My heart goes out to you. :(
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Re: Very sick

Postby KarrieRee » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:43 pm

I am sorry to hear :(
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