4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

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4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby emily92 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:53 pm

Hi, I apologize in advance for the long post. I have an approximately 4-5 month old beardie named Spyro. He’s my first bearded dragon, and is like my little baby dragon. I love him so much and need advice on how to best help him.

When I initially brought him home as a baby (around October) he leapt off my bed. He seemed fine, acted normal, and didn’t act like he was in pain. He did another one of his famous leaps off my shoulder, onto the footboard of the bed, and fell between the footboard and space heater (which was off). This was probably a month or so after the first fall. Again, didn’t seem to be in pain and no change to his behavior.
However, toward the end of December I noticed minor swelling in his back ankle. Thinking it might be gout I took him to the vet. After looking him over, he said it was more than likely an injury and to keep an eye on it. It got a bit more swollen, so we went back. Due to him being small and still growing, it’s hard to see definitively on an X-ray if there is a break. But they did xrays, and couldn’t see if there was a break in the ankle due to the swelling. But no crystals so he doesn’t have gout! The vet thought there may be a slight fracture in his leg, but again said it could just be the bones fusing together since he’s growing.
My options were they could tape his leg to his tail to stabilize it, or antibiotic injections every 2 days for 2 months. Taping his leg to his tail isn’t an option as he is still growing, and antibiotics dont seem like a way to fix a break

I went out of town for the week and luckily was able to board him at the vet. When I went to get him yesterday, his ankle was even more swollen. To the point where I can see what looks like his ankle joints? He does everything he can to avoid putting pressure on it, unless it’s cricket time. He does this half limp half dragging his leg, and now spends a lot of time laying flat on his stomach, which is something he never did before. He’s still eating well, even grew while I was away, but I can tell it’s hurting him.

Has anyone had any experience with a baby beardie with a broken ankle? I’m convinced it’s broken by the amount of swelling. I could use any advice anyone has. I have been thinking of trying to make him a homemade cast of some sort to avoid the vet taping his leg to his tail... Is there any supplement I could give him similar to an anti-inflammatory? Any ideas of what I can do to get my little dude feeling better would be greatly appreciated

When I first noticed the swelling in December
Image

Most recent pics of his ankle before I went out of town
Image

Image
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:04 pm

Very boisterous juvenile bluetongue skink of mine somehow broke upper left arm , first vet took xrays and saw no break , sent him home , two weeks later , arm was still being favoured and no weight put on it so I found another vet who took better quality xrays and found a spiral facture .
Told me it needed to be reset under a general.
Booked in next afternoon , specially made tungsten pin inserted and bone glued , arm in a full cast for 2 months. Antibiotics and antiinflamatories for 3 weeks.
Good as new when cast removed.

I think you need to know for sure , only way know is to have a vet examine the leg and take xrays .

The xrays will show if there is a break and where it is , and the vet can tell you what needs to be done to help it heal properly .
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby emily92 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:07 pm

They did xrays last month and couldn’t tell if the ankle was broken, couldn’t see the bone thru the swelling. Vet said he thought there may be a small fracture in his leg, but also said it could just be the bones fusing together so he wasn’t certain
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby Drache613 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:31 am

Hello,

Poor thing. So luckily no gout then?
If the vet isn't going to put a cast on it then that would be a good idea to try & make one at
home to help mobilize it to some extent. It wont heal up correctly if he keeps moving it too
much.
What UVB light are you using?
Does it seem to be hurting him a lot, is his beard dark any?

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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby emily92 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:28 pm

I’m using an exo terra solar glo 125 watt with uva and uvb, plus a zoo med 75 watt to keep him warm enough in the winter (old house, always cold lol). His beard is only black under the usual circumstances that make him grumpy. But not constantly black
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby emily92 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:55 pm

Just wanted to post an update. I took little dude to the vet today, who is now very concerned about the amount of swelling in his ankle. He thinks Spyro has an infection from some injury to his ankle that didn’t heal correctly, if at all. His other ankle is also beginning to swell, possibly from trying to compensate for his lack of using his left foot. So he just started antibiotic injections, enrofloxacin, which have to be done every 2 days for 1-2 months. Hopefully this gets my little guy feeling better 🤞

Here’s is the most recent photo of the swelling https://www.flickr.com/photos/186853520@N06/shares/7r7b9V
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby AHBD » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:35 pm

Wow, that's really swollen. I hope the antibiotics is all that's needed . If this treatment doesn't work it would be good to seek out another vet. It's a good warning to not let beardies jump from heights, they really can get hurt.
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby emily92 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:06 pm

Ya it was when I first got him, before I realized how fast he is. He’s learned not to even try it anymore, he just always stays close to me. Well, stays on me for the most part. Now the vet says he only needs 5 injections, so 2 more to go. The swelling is still bad, but after the first injection he stood on all 4 feet and walked/ran a bit. He had been laying on his belly a lot and staying low when he moved, like almost dragging himself, for about a week. So there’s a bit of improvement
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby Drache613 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:31 am

Hello,

Wow, that is a lot of swelling.
I am not sure that is going to be from an infection from a bone break or injury. How did the
vet determine that there were no uric acid crystals, by x-ray? Or did he aspirate fluids from
the affected area?
I am very suspicious of the swelling now starting on the other ankle. Has it began to get
worse when you started antibiotics? Gout can progress slowly.
Can you take more pictures of him, his overall physical condition, to determine if there are
any other areas beginning to show any type of swelling?
To be honest, I think he has been developing gout. The diagnosis usually evades a lot of
vets because in youngsters they aren't able to draw blood to determine uric acid levels. It
is extremely hard to determine crystals on x-rays. It depends on what they are comprised
of, either calcium or sodium as to whether or not they are easily visible on x-rays.
Can you get another opinion possibly?

Let us know how he is doing.
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby emily92 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:02 am

I originally thought it was gout when I took him to the vet. He said there were no crystals on the X-ray, so the only other thing he could think of as a cause would have been an injury that resulted in infection. It’s hard to tell if his front legs are swelling, since that’s where they’re giving him his shots. And the vet said he was too small to try to get any fluid out of his ankle without possibly hurting it more. Gout has been my absolute worst fear the whole time, because I’ve heard juvenile bearded dragons with gout usually end up dying from it... if I don’t see further improvement soon I’m finding a new vet to take him to
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby Drache613 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:10 am

Hello,

I'm sorry he is going through this. Can you post more full body pictures, so I can take a look
at his feet & hands a little more?
To be proactive, go ahead & get him started on some black cherry juice extract, daily to help
out his kidneys. You can give it full strength, he should like the taste.
I am afraid that the shots are going to cause more swelling because I am really leaning towards
gout since it is getting worse. A broken bone on one side wouldn't cause infection to jump to the
other side making the foot/ankle start to swell quite like that. It would likely just stay on that one
area for awhile.
I wouldn't wait too long, because if it is gout early treatment is best & yields the most positive
outcomes. How much longer is he supposed to be on the antibiotic shots?

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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby AHBD » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:01 am

Hi Emily, his legs don't look bad in those pics at all. Can you post a couple more that are just like the next to the last one and try to get clear pics of both back legs from above ? BTW, how is his appetite and his mobility ?
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby emily92 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:41 am

His appetite is decent, he’s not eating as much of his veggies and pellet food. But he’ll still devour his crickets. His mobility is bad, when he moves he stays low almost on his belly to avoid putting pressure on his back legs. He used to be all over his terrarium, now he just stays around his rock. The last pic is the best I can get at the moment, he’s sleeping behind his basking rock

https://www.flickr.com/photos/186853520@N06/49499599277/in/dateposted-public/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/186853520@N06/49531332446/in/dateposted-public/
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Re: 4 month old beardie broken ankle. Any advice please???

Postby AHBD » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:11 pm

Poor little one, the left foot does look bad. Good thing he's still eating well. Over oral hydration with a syringe or dropper on his snout, be patient and drip slowly until he starts to drink. Hydration is important right now.
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