So the vet suspects brumation, looking for your opinions

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So the vet suspects brumation, looking for your opinions

Postby DrRobotnik » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:19 pm

So this is my first post (sorry if it's a bit on the long side, I did read the articles on brumation), we have a healthy female beardie named Ducky (roughly 10-12 months old) who is in excellent health as of her most recent check up. Over the past month or so, she has been spending more time on the cool side of her enclosure (her husbandry is stable and excellent according to the reptile specialist vet, but I can elaborate if necessary). Up until about a month ago, she typically would spend most of the day basking and would be eagerly awaiting feedings throughout the day, chasing down her food almost before we could get it in her enclosure! Now we noticed the change in behavior when she started hanging out almost all day on the cool side, darkening in color, and was not interested in food while she was there. We started moving her over to her basking spot to warm her up and attempt feeding (her color would lighten and normalize), but she was not as interested, and we would have to put her right in front of her food (be it dubias, BSFL, crickets, or salad) and she would eat a fair amount, though still less than normal. This prompted us to bring her back to the vet, and he examined her and said she was in perfect health, and suspected that she was trying to brumate, although he said this is kind of on the young side to display this behavior he felt it was not extremely abnormal. His suggestion was that we stop feeding her completely and lower her daylight time to no more than 10 hours max, and monitor her weight for a couple weeks. He felt that if she maintained weight (or had relatively nominal losses of 1-3 grams) that it was a sign that she is in fact healthily brumating, but if she started to drastically lose weight then this would be a sign something else was wrong and he would do blood work (we gave a stool sample which he said looked healthy and will have the results tomorrow).

My concern right now is mainly in not feeding her at all for a couple weeks, as it just seems abnormal to me since she was still eating, albeit less than normal and only when we moved her to her basking spot/right in front of her food. He stated that it's not uncommon for brumating dragons to still eat when offered, but still suggested that we offer no food at all for the next two weeks and monitor weight, stay in contact and go from there.

Should I be concerned about not feeding her at all for the next week or two? Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated!!
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Re: So the vet suspects brumation, looking for your opinions

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:48 pm

Its that time of year -- they get lazy appetite diminishes-- keep her hydrated - get her out once a week offer water bath her and get a weight on her -- kitchen scale and weigh in grams-- if shes maintaining weight shes good - if she starts to lose a lot then be concerned --- I would keep a chart on her weight - if she comes out then offer her food - you can cut the photo period down to earlier in the evening if she is sleeping but I would turn her lights on normal time in the morning --
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Re: So the vet suspects brumation, looking for your opinions

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:04 pm

Hi there,

It sounds like you have a decent vet. Many end up not understanding brumation and end up causing issues to a dragon that was just brumating.

That being said, it's still best to double check.

Could you go over your setup with us just so we can verify and rule that out?

IME, brumation is more a size thing than an age thing. I have a 6 or 7 month old right now semi-brumating, but she is also quite large for her size. She's as big as my year old who is brumating right now too.

Have you been monitoring the weight? If so what is it?

Did the vet perform a fecal check? That would have been a good thing to get done, if she is brumating, it's best to make sure her counts aren't out of whack. But, good luck getting poo if she's hunkering down now lol.

If she is brumating, she could go much much longer than 2 weeks without eating. Some go 2 months without hardly touching a thing. Just watch the weight and if it isn't dropping, thats the sign that the body has slowed down and is just maintaining itself.

-Brandon
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Re: So the vet suspects brumation, looking for your opinions

Postby DrRobotnik » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:31 pm

Thanks for the replies!

So, Ducky currently weighs 285g, she's a bit on the smaller side due to inadequate UV lighting for about her first 3 months (the pet store we got her from didn't have an optimal setup and gave us inadequate recommendations for lighting). She is in a 40 gallon breeder with paper towel as substrate. We have a 24in Reptisun 10.0 high output UVB tube that is mounted with a reflector under the mesh top of the enclosure. There is a 100 watt basking light and 100 watt ceramic heat emitter on her basking end. Average temperatures are 95-105 for her basking platform and roughly 90 in general on the the basking side. The cool side ranges 75-80 and she has two logs/hideaways on that side (where she's been spending most of her time lately). The humidity is maintained between 25 and 35 at all times. The vet mentioned that our current setup is pretty much optimal at this point. She has no heart issues and is in perfect health, as per the vet based on physical examination. She doesn't drink standing water but we give her water by hand daily and regular baths and has a healthy diet to supplement that.

We haven't been monitoring weight, as she has been healthy and growing thus far, but will be monitoring her weight closely on a weekly basis. The vet did perform a fecal check, she actually gave a sample while we were at the vet, which was convenient :) We will have the results tomorrow, but the vet did mention that it was important that she was pin worm free/etc before brumating, although she is showing no symptoms of infection thus far.

We changed the lighting timing per the vet's recommendations, 10 hours of UVB/basking lighting, then ceramic heater during the off time. Thanks for the reassurance about lack of feeding, as that was what I was most worried about, it just seemed unnatural to not feed her at all for 2 weeks while we monitor her weight to ensure it is in fact brumation vs. an ailment. The vet did recommend weekly baths during brumation, and I think for peace of mind I will put some greens in a dish daily just in case she decides she is hungry.

Thanks againm, and let me know if you have any further suggestions/advice/opinions and I will keep you updated!
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Re: So the vet suspects brumation, looking for your opinions

Postby claudiusx » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:42 pm

Ok great. Sounds like everything is in order. How great of her to give a sample at the vets! Talk about convenient LOL.

Pinworms really only need to be treated if the counts are too high, so make sure if the vet finds them, that they aren't actually a low count. But it sounds like your vet is quite knowledgeable, I am impressed. You found a good one :)

I would weigh her right now, and then weigh again in a week just because your scale might read differently than the vets. That way you have your own baseline.

285g is a decent size to brumate so that's fine by the way :)

-Brandon
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Re: So the vet suspects brumation, looking for your opinions

Postby DrRobotnik » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:09 pm

Thank you so much for your help! The vet did mention that pin worms are common but that he usually doesn't recommend treating unless they are causing symptoms like diarrhea, etc. which we have thankfully not experienced, so I'm optimistic that the stool test will come back normal. We don't have a scale but I just bought one so we will get a baseline weight on Friday. It's reassuring to know that it sounds like our vet is knowledgeable with bearded dragons (he mentioned he has a beardie of his own). Thanks again for the help!
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