URGENT BEARDIE SWALLOWING/ANEMIC/TUMOR?

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URGENT BEARDIE SWALLOWING/ANEMIC/TUMOR?

Postby ChubbyTrudy » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:08 pm

**URGENT NEED HELP sorry long post**

My bearded dragon has trouble swallowing food/water sometimes. She is 9 years old and was a rescue. She was neglected for most of her life until I got her. It's a miracle she is still here today.
Anyway recently she choked on some turnip greens on Saturday the 25th. She could still breath but couldn't swallow the greens. I tried taking it out but wasn't able to. She was stressed out so I let her rest and after awhile when I went to go check on her she swallowed everything.

Next day the 26th Sunday she was basking and looked fine. Then I tried feeding her water and the moment she drank some she started to choke. Her eyes got sunken in and she got a black beard and tail. I have never seen her like this before. I have never even seen her got a black beard after I had her under my care. She calmed down when she laid on my chest and the black beard went away.
Today the 27th she drank water fine in the morning until I gave her some liquid critical care. She started to choke on the critical care and had a black beard, sunken eyes, black tail again. She was gasping for air and was choking. I had to call my husband who was at work to leave early so we can bring her to the exotic emergency vet in MN. As we only have 1 car, the waiting and having my beardie choking was unbearable. She calmed down during the ride to the vet.

After being at the vet, the dr told us she couldnt find anything blocking her throat and the xrays showed her esophagus looks a bit dented compared to normal beardies. Because normal beardies have a straight esophagus? Seemed like she didn't know much about bearded dragons. She told me my beardie looks constipated and that I would need to go to another specialist to look at the xrays because there is another specialist who is experienced with looking at the xrays. She wanted to give my beardie baytril because she THINKS the lungs in the xray looks fuzzy and that MAYBE my beardie has pneumonia. I told her no and that I would talk to another specialist as she doesn't seem to know much anyway that is going on. MAYBE is not worth giving my beardie meds she might not need and put her in more stress. She then told me that 9 years old is old enough and that there wasn't much they could do and that she would probably pass sooner or later as she was so old. She didn't think blood work or anything would do any good because my beardie is at that age where her body is deteriorating?

Anyway I'm just wondering if anyone was any experience with this or if they know a better vet in MN. I can't seem to find the best vets in my area. I've been to 3 others in the past and all don't seem like they know much bout this trouble swallowing/drinking. Could it be that she just has a weak swallowing reflex? Thanks for reading and any help is appreciated.

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Last edited by ChubbyTrudy on Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby Drache613 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:31 am

Hello,

So sorry your dragon has gone through all of this stress! This behavior just came on pretty
suddenly then?
How long have you had her? It is highly possible that she may have an enlarged liver which
can press on her tummy causing her to have difficulty swallowing. The lungs appear clear in
the pictures/x-rays that you posted. The resonance might not be real sharp in the x-rays, so
it's hard to determine if they are fuzzy. Has she exhibited any symptoms of respiratory distress
like coughing/wheezing, mucous in the mouth or nose recently? Also, it could be hard to tell
on a computer screen too. I was looking at the fat pads under her arms, are they soft or hard &
are they enlarged a good amount or not? Again, hard to tell from the x-ray.
At 9, she could still have a few years left, it's hard to know. Though, it's too early to just give up
& contribute it to age. Vets are not always compassionate. I think that blood work would be a
good idea to get an idea of liver & kidney function.
Can you review the tank setup with us, such as the type/brand of UVB, supplementation &
temperatures just so we can be sure it's all correct.
Also, post some pictures of her too so we can see her physical condition.
It is so hard to find good vets that actually treat reptiles.

Here is a site that might help locate one for you:

https://arav.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=3661

She does sound critical. For now, try to keep her around 80 or so, in her tank overnight, to
help boost her immune system.
Can she lick any food off of her snout using a plastic dropper or syringe, without choking?

Let us know how she is doing.

Tracie
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby DorgEndo » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:00 am

I have a few veterinarians I've meet in the Twin Cities area. Not sure how close you are to any of these people. I picked these because of their education and experience with exotics

Dr Naomi Plantz at Cedar Pet Clinic in Lake Elmo https://www.cedarpetclinic.com/our-veterinarians

Dr Charles Cosimini at Saint Francis animal hospital in Roseville https://www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com/ ... e-cosimini

Dr Natalie Keller at Cedar Animal Hospital in Minneapolis https://vcahospitals.com/cedar/team/natalie-kellar
Devlyn my beautiful bearded dragon, approx hatch 8/18, mine since 2/19. Kitty Greysie born 3/06. Lttle rescue Charlie the American grey tree frog, found 11/18. Lots of house plants, I like cacti and succulents.
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby Drache613 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:35 am

Hello,

How is your dragon doing this evening?

******DorgEndo** Thanks for helping the OP, hopefully something will work out with
one of them.

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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby ChubbyTrudy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:11 pm

Hi,
Thanks so much for your response everyone. I really appreciate it so much. For the most part everything went downhill on Saturday the 25th after I had fed her turnip greens which are shredded to small bits. I also gave her some honey dew which I cut into small pieces. Its only when I gave her some turnips that she started having trouble swallowing. She kept trying to gulp food down but to no avail. I tried to take some out but it was hard as she kept closing her mouth. So I decided to let her rest and sleep. During the middle of the night I went to go check on her and the turnips has all been swallowed.
Her last stool was last Monday. Last Tuesday she tried to push something out but nothing was coming out but urates. Is it possible to do a urate sample at the vets? because she is not passing any stools now.
She hasn’t been coughing/wheezing, and no mucous on nose. She started drooling occasionally though. Some days none and somedays there will be dried spit around her mouth.
I did notice that 2 weeks ago her left eye was cloudy and it wasn’t dilating but she was still mellow and looked happy.
The fat pads under her arms are soft. The vet said that there was some slight discomfort when she touched her belly.

Update: went to another vet on the 28th and showed the vet our bearded dragon’s x-rays and he said her bones and calcium level seem good and that there’s nothing wrong with it no MBD,. He also said there seems to be air bubbles in her lungs and that was a concern for him but didn’t suggest any supportive measures for that. The vet suggested we went on and had her blood works done and so we did. The initial result that they were able to pull up on site indicates that she is anemic. We were told that she had severely lower than usual red blood cell count at 7 and that the white blood cells are normal level. The vet then indicated that this is a late stage of kidney failure or cancer and said further analysis of the blood work will not change anything although we opted to do it anyway. The vet has said that there’s nothing he can do to help and did not offer anything after the visit. Pretty much paid $260 for him to tell us that there’s nothing he could do for us. Right now, we are waiting on the remaining results of the blood work that they’ve sent offsite and really don’t know what we can do at this point to help our beardie. The complete blood work should be done by Thursday and he said he will call me to let me know.
After the first visit where they had given her some fluids to hydrate her, she seems to be doing better today. She’s still lethargic but at least she is no longer showing very dark black beards and tail. She seems to be more normal in a sense.
I’m just shocked because I asked him how I can feed her because of her swallowing and he said there is nothing he can do? He said it was best to euthanize her. I asked him if he can do anything to see if there is any blockage in her esophagus. He said in the xray he didn’t see anything and he tried opening her mouth but said he didn’t see anything and that he will try again in the back. Which I have no idea if he did. He said he could do an endoscopy but he would have to sedate her and he didn’t want to put any added stress in her.
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:25 pm

Did you take her to one of the vets mentioned above? It would help Tracie if you could post what results you have for her blood work and the rest when they come in--- maybe she can give you some advice on what to do --- feeding her have you tried making slushy out of the vegies etc? Would she be able to swallow if it was more of liquid form?
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby ChubbyTrudy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:37 pm

She lives in a 55 gallon tank. No substrate. She is 595 grams.
Her UVB lights are Zoo Med PowerSun UV UVB (160 watt) and Zoo Med OS36 T8 ReptiSun UVB 10.0 HO Light .
She has a heat emitter at night that is set to 85-87 degrees.
The hot side is 99-101 and cold side 85-88.
I give her calcium with d3 2-3 times a week and vitamin spray 2x a week.
I feed her turnips, crickets, bell peppers, butter nut squash, honey dew, collards, mustard greens.

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This is how she looks like right now. She is basking. No black beard, sunken eyes, and black tail today.
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This is her on Tuesday the 28th at the vet office.
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This is her on Monday 27th. She was choking and gasping for air. We brought her to the ER and they gave her fluid injections subcutaneous
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This was how she looked like on Sunday 26th and she occasionally had this black beard on Monday and Tuesday that comes and goes. Along with the sunken eyes and black tail.
Last edited by ChubbyTrudy on Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby ChubbyTrudy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:44 pm

Hi thanks. I went to valley view vet. I went to lake elmo before and it seemed like they weren't too great. I had a random vet who wasn't experienced with reptiles.

I'm willing to go to any vet who would help her. I'm trying to find any vets that deals with anemia in bearded dragons and kidney failure. The vet said he is 90% sure it is kidney failure but what happens if that 10% is actually something else. When he told me to euthanize her and that her blood count will keep dropping and deplete eventually and her organs will shut down. I kept thinking what if? What if she somehow got a blood transfusion? maybe she can be saved. I don't know. I'm at a lost.

I gave her some water today and she didn't choke. I bought a blender yesterday night so I can blend some veggies for her. But since she might have kidney failure, I'm unsure of what veggies that are right for kidney failure. I looked online and apples, cauliflower, kale is great? does anyone have any suggestions. Thanks so much everyone I appreciate all the replies and help so far
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby ChubbyTrudy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:00 pm

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These are random photos of her of how she looked like before in the last couple months and this month. She was always mellow and yellow. Never showed a black beard, black tail or sunken eyes ever in her life. Im just shocked at how her state went downhill so fast.
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby WiseWolf » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:16 pm

Try a warm bath. Ease the dragon into the water, and if his or her tail curls upward quickly, then he/she thinks the water is too hot. Either add cool water or wait. Soak the dragon (tail end submerged, head and neck out of water, supported by your hand) for 15 minutes. Dragon should warm up. Once nice and warm to the touch, start GENTLY massaging the belly from ribs to tail. Check the vent. If crusted, gently clean (I sometimes use a Dollar Tree extra soft tooth brush, which I either boil and use later ONLY on the dragon, or throw away when finished using).

More tips later....good luck
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:17 pm

Yes they hide their illnesses very well - Tracie or AHBD would be able to help w/ the diet -- as far as what to feed her for her kidneys -- here is a website that might be able to find another vet for you -
http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist
you can try that and did you call the ones that were posted on a earlier post ?
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby WiseWolf » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:03 pm

When my dragon was 8-8.5, he had a stroke. His tongue was that color (bad) and his vet handled the situation poorly and with bad bedside manner. I switched to a different vet!! The new vet gave me an antibiotic, steroid, anti-inflammatory/pain medication (the first event who was a bird and exotic specialist said that lizards don't feel pain 😮😠), and two different types of critical care diet. Carnivore and omnivore. I was to give the medications twice a day, and to feed the critical care diet, mixed at a one to one carnivore/omnivore ratio, also twice a day. The vet said I could mix the critical care powder with lukewarm water, with juiced kale, or with his favorite fruit juice (orange). I was to mix it thick at first, like a baby food consistency, gently open the dragon's mouth by applying gentle pressure to the sides of the jaw, and coaxing in small amounts. If that didn't work I was allowed to dilute it more and feed it by syringe into the mouth. I had to do that for....3, 4 maybe 5 months... And then my dragon started eating on his own again. Well, at first I could hand feed him very small chopped but still solid foods and he progressed from there to eating small chopped solid foods on his own (slowly).

My dragon needed warm baths, extra time in his cage in a quiet room under the basking lamp, a new high output UVB bulb just in case the old one wasn't performing well enough, the antibiotic, the steroid, and the mixed critical care diet food (I also added reptocal powder). When there were days that he did not want to accept the critical care diet, I pulled out my jack-o'-lantern juicer and mixed together kale, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, any healthy vegetables that also had high calcium content, and just gave him the juice by syringe. Even when we couldn't chew.

He sprang back. But I do think that after all of that he only lived another 6 months. I spoiled the heck out of him and he had a good last day
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby Drache613 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:36 am

Hello,

Wow, I am so sorry that you haven't had very helpful or compassionate vets. Honestly,
I do not understand what's wrong with people, they wont even try!
Please post or PM me to send the blood test results once you do receive them. I would
love to see the values.
You can mix up some squash baby food, sweet potato baby food along with some alfalfa
leaf powder for a non purine protein source for her. Just give a little bit at a time to be sure
she can tolerate the feedings. Are her gums pale?
Did they do a fecal on her to see if she had worms or parasites that could be making her
ill?
If her liver is enlarged, that can cause stomach distress or pressure to where she would
have trouble swallowing. Kidney issues wouldn't necessarily present choking problems
from my experience but would cause reduced urate output & sunken fat pads, too.
Let us know how she is doing.

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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby WiseWolf » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:48 am

ChubbyTrudy wrote:Hi thanks. I went to valley view vet. I went to lake elmo before and it seemed like they weren't too great. I had a random vet who wasn't experienced with reptiles.

I'm willing to go to any vet who would help her. I'm trying to find any vets that deals with anemia in bearded dragons and kidney failure. The vet said he is 90% sure it is kidney failure but what happens if that 10% is actually something else. When he told me to euthanize her and that her blood count will keep dropping and deplete eventually and her organs will shut down. I kept thinking what if? What if she somehow got a blood transfusion? maybe she can be saved. I don't know. I'm at a lost.

I gave her some water today and she didn't choke. I bought a blender yesterday night so I can blend some veggies for her. But since she might have kidney failure, I'm unsure of what veggies that are right for kidney failure. I looked online and apples, cauliflower, kale is great? does anyone have any suggestions. Thanks so much everyone I appreciate all the replies and help so far


I have a vet now when I trust and whom I know has experience with reptiles. But always call first to ask if going to a new vet. Saves time and money! When mine was sick, I was told there is a specialty vet hospital in Michigan that could do CT scans (mine had a stroke), and IV medications and fluids. If they can do that, why not a blood transfusion? Might be too far for you, though?
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Re: URGENT BEARDIE CAN'T SWALLOW

Postby ChubbyTrudy » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:48 pm

thanks so much tracie and wisewolf and everyone. I really appreciate all the help. Thanks so much for taking the time to help me and Trudy. Wisewolf I cried looking at your older post about your beardie. I hope no one has to go through that. We all love our beardies so much. They bring us so much joy. Tracie thanks for all the support and advice; it does seem that they don't really care. I appreciate all the help so far. It seems like I get more help on here than at the vets.

Anyway after waiting all morning and afternoon for the vet to call me I ended up calling them to ask for the results of the blood work. Turns out the receptionist told me that the dr that saw my beardie Trudy wasn't working today and that he will be available Friday. He told me on Tue that he will call me on thursday so I'm confused as to why he said he would call me when he's off. I told them I want him to call me on Friday to talk more about Trudy because I have some other questions to ask him. They said that would be fine. Let's hope he actually calls me because it seems like he doesn't really care much.

This is Trudy's bloodwork
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Upon looking at it I realize her glucose and CPK is also high. Her blood count is low like the doctor said. I'm unsure what everything means though
Last edited by ChubbyTrudy on Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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