My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

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My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Brutus2 » Sat May 30, 2020 10:55 pm

I have a bearded dragon who is about 4 years old. He hasn't been eating a lot, but the last few weeks he stopped eating completely, he has diarrhea, is very lethargic, and now he is really thin and dehydrated. I took him to a local vet who did a stool test and they said there were no parasites but that there was a lot of bacteria, so they gave us Carafate, Baytril, and Metronidazole Benzoate. I gave him those medicines for a week and tried to force feed him some nutrient mix, but I am not very good at forcing him to eat and am afraid that I will injure him. I also gave him frequent baths which seemed to help some, but he still wasn't eating and was pretty lethargic. He also seemed to have really thick saliva and did not seem to be swallowing well, and he still had diarrhea and any nutrient mixes we gave him he passed really quickly.

I took him to a different vet clinic that specializes in exotic animals, and they did a blood test. They said that his organs seemed to still be functioning, but that it looked like he had an infection somewhere in his organs. She told us to stop taking the other medications, and prescribed Ciprofloxacin. He has only been on the new medication for a day or two, but he seems even more lethargic and has started to move weirdly. Also, he looks like he is trying to bite the air, constantly has a black beard, and is moving around the enclosure like he wants to get out. I am not sure if this is due to stress from all of the vet trips, or something else. Also, when he pooped today, it looked like it had blood in it, and his body seems really bloated even though he is underweight.

I don't know what to do, and I'm really worried about him. Please help if you have any recommendations or advice.

Additional info: He is in a 48" X 24" cage. We usually use reptile carpet, but he is on paper towels right now so I can clean up any gross poop easily. I replaced the heat lights (halogen bulbs) when he started acting sick, and I ordered a new UVB bulb. His diet was not very well balanced before (mostly peas, strawberries or grapes with crickets occasionally) and I understand the issue with that and am trying to fix it, but he won't eat anything right now.
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Toezamaze » Sun May 31, 2020 12:03 am

I have a seriously sick bearded, she hasn’t eaten for over a month now. She was over weight an we didn’t notice how bad until I weighed her and noticed these issues we have.
I have also been to the vets and awaiting results, had an X-ray, she’s dehydrated an drinking water but sadly it’s sitting in her lungs completely missing her stomach and drowning if we don’t get the water out. She’s on meds at moment, but to get food into her (which I’m praying isnt also going into her lungs) I’ve been blending her kayle, peppers, Cumber & grapes into a paste, adding a-little water so it can be syringed. You won’t hurt them opening their mouths for them if you can be gentle. A wooden lollipop stick can help (YouTube videos) but I’m used to it I can do it with my finger now (washed before and after). I also add the cal powder they need and some pellets for added extra. Or if that fails purée baby food can help, I’ve used the mini jars it’s bright orange and is basically just squash. They done sometimes fight you trying to help them, but alittle of something for them is better then nothing, maybe give that a try. Sorry I can’t be of more help with her problems but maybe that would help getting nutrients back into them they need. 🤞🏼🤞🏼
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby KarrieRee » Sun May 31, 2020 5:40 am

I am flagging both post to Tracie and AHBD -- we need to go over the set ups for the tanks - what are you using for UVB basking temps how are you taking them etc brand and bulbs of the lighting please post pics of the tanks and lighting
https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ click on XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the pic it should post
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Brutus2 » Sun May 31, 2020 7:04 am

I have tried force feeding, but he obviously hates it, but trying a Popsicle stick may help!

For lighting, I am using a Reptisun 10.0 UVB light (just replaced the year old one this morning) and two 50 Watt halogen lights for heat on one end. There are also two ceramic heating lights on the opposite end of the warmer side because the tank is large, but I am moving them to the basking side because the temperature is too low (it says it is around 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit on the warmer side, so I can only imagine the other side). We are taking the temperature using an adhesive thermometer that is on the side, so the cooler temp may partially be because the light is not under the heat sources but on the side.
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby AHBD » Sun May 31, 2020 3:52 pm

Hi there, sorry to hear about your beardie. Poor boy, it sounds like he's really in severe distress. Have you had him for 4 years or did you just get him recently ? Can you get a video of him and also a pic showing his body condition ? How many watts are the CHE's [ ceramic heaters ] and have you had this set up this way the whole time you've had him ? The stick on thermometer's are not accurate so I'm wondering if it's been too hot for him. You'll need to get a digital thermometer to be sure.
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Brutus2 » Sun May 31, 2020 6:19 pm

I have had him for 4 years, and he's had this cage set up for a little over a year. I am not sure of the wattage of the CHE's, but I started using those because it seemed to cold in there. I just used an infrared thermometer (I'm not sure how accurate that one is either), but the highest temperature I could find in his cage was around 103 degrees, and the lowest was around 82 degrees. The temperature gradient is not how I had tried to set it up (the warmest spot is not the basking spot), so I will try and rearrange the lights. I was worried it wasn't hot enough, so I added a spare UVB light (110 watts) to one end to try and help, but if it is better to remove that one I will turn it off.

He has gotten worse just in a day. I have found him on his back twice today, and he seems unable to move well, and just kind of wiggles around. It almost looks like he is trying to dig or burrow sometimes, but he can't walk correctly either, and I don't think he can hold his weight up. He also seems to be pushing his head into the corners of the cage, and I am going to get him a bigger hide to see if that helps with his agitation, but I don't want him to hide in there to the point that he never comes out for heat or light. We gave him a dose of antibiotics this morning, and when I went to try and syringe feed him he became visibly upset and scared and moved away from me, even with his limited mobility so I did not feed him. Should I feed him even when he is so visibly distressed? I don't want to injure him or make him so incredibly upset, but he has received very little nutrition in the last two weeks, and I haven't force fed him in two days. Please help.

The first picture is from when he was healthy, the next two are from right before I took him to the vet the first time. The last pictures are him today. I can't seem to upload a video because it is too large, but if it would be really helpful I can try and message you. I am extremely worried about him.

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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Drache613 » Sun May 31, 2020 11:47 pm

Hello,

OH dear,he is extremely critical! Are you sure that your dragon is male & not female?
Do you have a copy of the blood tests you could post so I could take a look over them?
I am thinking he may have a respiratory type of issue/pneumonia, or possibly developing
gout.
Can you review the medication doses with us to be sure he isn't getting overdosed. Was
he in this bad of shape before he started the medication then? I think for now, you should
take him off of the meds because it looks like they are really affecting him, neurologically.
I would say he is very ill so for now, definitely keep him warmer overnight, around 80 or so
to help boost his immune system. Are you able to get some oral fluids into him also, to keep
him hydrated. Medications are so harsh on their systems.

Let us know how he is doing.
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Brutus2 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:36 am

I am not sure of his gender, but was going off the size of the base of his tail and the presence of femoral pores. I do not have a copy of the blood test, but I can try to get a copy.

The first vet prescribed 2.5 ml of carafate every 12 hours, 0.15 ml of metronidazole benzoate every 24 hours, and 0.05 ml of baytril every 24 hours. I gave him those doses for a week.The second vet told me to stop giving him those medicines, and to give him 0.2 ml of ciprofloxacin every other day.

He was skinny and lethargic before we gave him any medicine, he seemed to have an issue with swallowing and thick mucus after we went to the first vet, and the other issues have arisen after we went to the more recent vet (although the symptoms may have been more noticeable or compounded through out the vet trips and the medicine as well as his condition getting worse). I have tried to give him fluids with frequent baths, but I think I may have to start feeding him liquids because he has started to react really negatively to the baths.

I am really hesitant to take him off of medication because that is the only treatment I can really give him.

Thank you!
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Toezamaze » Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:46 am

Personally, if a trained vet has told you to give the meds to your dragon, I wouldn’t take them off it. No offence too people trying to help on these forums, giving their advice from probs their own experiences but advising someone to take their pet of meds that a vet has advised hasn’t got a place. They could be helping on the inside where it may be needed and not noticeable straight away on the outside.

I agree 100% you really need to administer water into your dragon, though they may not need much being dessert creatures, they still need some. I’m currently giving my dragon 5ml of water a day, and feeding her purée food much too her disagreement, she does fight with me lately, I’m doing it for her own good. giving them fluids and nutrients could possibly be the helping fighting chance they need along with the meds and keeping the tanks warmer like others have stated, be it only 1 or 2 ml purée twice a day it’s better then nothing. Bathing is good, but if your dragon is reluctant, have your tried just placing them in an empty bath and using a new cleaned/rinsed sponge, having a warm bowl of water and gently squeeze it over their bodies... our bubble loves that when she has her baths, I thought I would suggest it. But if it causes them too much stress, I wouldn’t advise bathing as much, stress on top of stress with illness be last thing they need really.
Poor baby, I do hope they pull through this :)
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:49 am

Tracie is our vet moderator and has a practice in Texas-- if she has advised to stop the meds then she is doing so for a reason
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Toezamaze » Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:02 pm

Ok that’s fair but personally I wouldn’t stop unless a vet that has seen the dragon personally advises to do so. I’d be great full for all advise but that.
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Drache613 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:48 am

Hello,

How is your boy doing today?
I was thinking you could request doing some nebulization treatments on him, if he seems
to be having breathing issues or trouble swallowing, etc. It could be a respiratory infection
possibly.
I mentioned the medication decrease simply because if he is having kidney problems, over
medicating him will make things worse for him.
Let us know how he is doing.

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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Brutus2 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 2:42 pm

It deeply saddens me to say that Brutus passed away yesterday. I am not sure of the exact cause (whether it be an intestinal infection or a respiratory illness), but he did not make it through the night. Thank you all for your help and advice over the last few days, and I wish you luck with your beardie Toezamaze. At least he is no longer in pain.
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:29 pm

:cry:
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Re: My Beardie is really sick and I don't know what to do

Postby Toezamaze » Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:38 pm

💔💔 I’m so so sorry to hear of losing him. Absolutely guttered for you. No more pain, R.I.P beardie
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