Beardie not eating after brumating

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Beardie not eating after brumating

Postby DesiMorgan » Thu May 21, 2020 12:14 pm

This is my first ever beardie, Remy, he's about 1 year 10 months old, 18 inches long. His tank is 65 gallons, with a live desert vivarium, about 3-4 inches of dirt and leaf litter for substrate (from The Bio Dude), with real succulents/plants (he doesn't eat them, but they're safe if he ever does decide to). I believe he went through his first brumation period this past winter starting around November 2019. I never changed heat/light levels or timing, or had any major changes in my home, nor changed up his tank, he just did this on his own. He wasn't in deep sleep mode during this period, but definitely became less active, basked a lot less, and ate and pooped a lot less...to the point where he has now NOT eaten ANYTHING (bugs or greens, even his fav treat of blueberries), or pooped, for about 4 months straight, going on 5!!!

He has a recent clean bill of health from the vet just last week (with the exception of pin worms found in a stool sample, which the vet said is common and not concerning enough to treat), and all temperature levels are in the correct ranges (vet confirmed). He hasn't lost any weight or muscle strength throughout this period either. The vet is kinda stumped.

He's never been extremely motivated by food, but he definitely used to love to eat (picky with greens though), and his usual favs are roaches, mealworms, and superworms. I've tried everything the vet and my local reptile store (where I got him from) have suggested to get him to eat again. He will literally look directly at the squirming bugs right in front of him, then just not eat them and either look or walk away. Among other things, I've tried feeding at different times of day (I used to feed him in the morning before leaving for work). I've gotten new and fresh bugs. I've made sure he's warmed up before feeding. I've let him outside in the real sunshine, which I think helped him to FINALLY poop a HUGE one last week (which I was hoping was a good sign that maybe he was coming out of brumation and would eat again). But going outside seemed to freak him out a bit, and when he got back into his tank, he dug so much he reached the bottom of the tank! He's NEVER dug like that before! I had to rearrange his tank a bit so the branches wouldn't fall and crush him. I live in WI, so it's been difficult to give him real sunshine daily, and it's been overcast or raining all day with a slight cold spell for the last week-ish. I'm really hoping I don't have to resort to force-feeding!

The vet said we shouldn't see brumation behavior since we give them a controlled environment (but don't instinct and evolution kinda trump that??). And I keep getting conflicting or not enough information from my local reptile store and every beardie site I find. The next step at the vet is a $200+ blood test, so I'm trying to figure this out before spending that much money to probably tell me he's fine.

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to get my beardie to eat again? Any help is much appreciated!!
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Re: Beardie not eating after brumating

Postby AHBD » Fri May 22, 2020 4:35 am

Hi there, how long has he been back to " normal " activity, as in completely done with the off + on sleeping ? It usually talks a while before the appetite kicks back in for some dragons so it may happen soon. Getting a fecal test will rule out a parasite problem but I think it's just a matter of time and one day he'll start digging in again. One of me dragons eats soon after waking from a total knock out 3 month brumation, the other takes a couple weeks before he starts eating. I always shake my head when vets say that captive beardies don't brumate, a large number, probably more than half or more, will brumate most years.
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Re: Beardie not eating after brumating

Postby DesiMorgan » Fri May 22, 2020 5:32 am

Hi, thanks. I had his recent poop tested, and it came back positive for pinworms, which the vet said was not concerning enough to treat. I'm not sure when exactly he acquired pinworms since that's the first stool sample I've ever had tested for him. The vet also didn't seem to think they were the issue either.

He seems to have been back to "normal" for maybe a month, though it's hard to tell because he normally isn't extremely active to begin with. But the past couple weeks I've noticed he's slowly been coming out of his hiding spot more and more, I usually find him on the cool side in the morning now. So maybe he's just not quite done. I guess I'm still trying to fully figure him out. I've had him since December 2018, so this was the first full winter I've had with him.

I guess I'll just keep trying to entice him with different foods and more handling...? I'm just really worried that he'll start to lose weight if he doesn't start eating soon.
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Re: Beardie not eating after brumating

Postby AHBD » Fri May 22, 2020 5:36 am

My boy Tigger always looks like he's losing weight, then out of the blue he starts eating. My other dragon, Buddy, eats like a madman just shortly after waking. They are all different.
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Re: Beardie not eating after brumating

Postby Linzloohoo » Sat May 23, 2020 3:19 pm

I wouldn’t worry so much if he’s not losing weight, but continue weighing him to make sure. Kai brumated for about 4 months total, 3 of which he was completely out. When he woke up it took about 2 weeks until he had his first poo, and it was huge! And gross. He didn’t start really eating again until he had been awake for about a month. I actually started to get worried because his weight stayed the same during brumation but he lost 30 grams after waking up. I’m sure the huge poo had something to do with that. But after that 1 month of being awake and not eating he went back to normal and put the weight back on.
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Re: Beardie not eating after brumating

Postby DesiMorgan » Sat May 23, 2020 4:21 pm

Linzloohoo wrote:I wouldn’t worry so much if he’s not losing weight, but continue weighing him to make sure. Kai brumated for about 4 months total, 3 of which he was completely out. When he woke up it took about 2 weeks until he had his first poo, and it was huge! And gross. He didn’t start really eating again until he had been awake for about a month. I actually started to get worried because his weight stayed the same during brumation but he lost 30 grams after waking up. I’m sure the huge poo had something to do with that. But after that 1 month of being awake and not eating he went back to normal and put the weight back on.


This sounds like what's going on with my Remy, thanks! I'm keeping a close eye on him and so far still no eating or weight loss. Glad to know there's another beardie out there behaving similarly!
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