Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

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Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:21 pm

Hey all,

First time I think Tifa is really sick since I've got her and I'm having a hard time diagnosing what's going on with her poops. Pardon in advance for the gross imagery, but I was hoping someone could help me identify what she just passed for the second time in the last week.

I finally decided a vet was required and called all over town today, and the best appointment I could get was for next Thursday. I'm really hoping she is okay between now and then. Her behavior's been a tiny bit off the last week, but she's still eating, pooping, acting playful for parts of the day, and basking under her UVB and heat bulb plenty. The bulbs are new and I've double checked all my temps and distances and I'm pretty confident they aren't contributing to any digestion problems. She also isn't lacking in calcium or vitamins.

Anyways, here's a rough timeline (she's approx 6 months, 12 inches, healthy size):

1 week ago: I've usually been able to trust her with a dish full of BSFL but she started doing that thing where they inhale too many worms at once and she got a little backed up I guess and had a big movement where she passed some 40/50 of them whole, in the bathtub. I switched her to Dubias and Supers that night to make sure she was eating stuff she could chew, but even the next day she had more BSFL still in her belly she needed to pass.

[Click image to enlarge]


In addition to the BSFL she was passing pieces of superworm shells, but not much, seemed to be digesting the roaches okay, and she also passed a weird piece of hard plastic-like substance that kind of looks like a worm. But as far as I know, they don't come out as hard as a rock like that..?..anyway I decided it must have been something I got stuck to the bottom of the rock I use in her bathtub and hoped it didn't happen again. She was not acting like a maniac who just had a really painful bowel movement and I took her behavior as a sign that hopefully her tummy problems had passed. Took a pic of it though:

[Click image to enlarge]


(I took all the advice I could find here on my own and made sure the next time we did BSFL I fed them to her individually, and I also poked each one with a needle to try to help with digestion. This seems to have helped, but not 100%).

Over the course of the week I made sure she got a good mix of dubias, silkworms, and some supers, in addition to the BSFL, kind of noodling around to make try and see what she could digest easiest and, although her poops have seemed messier in general, I haven't been seeing whole bugs in there so I though she was getting better. The biggest difference was they were all really moist and I attributed that to the silkworms I adding into her diet, as I remember hornworms usually created these kinds of poos too. They kind of looked like this, on average:

[Click image to enlarge]


I also noticed she was spending a lot more time kind of flattening out on the ground than I'm used to, which concerned me at first, but like I said she still seems to have no problems standing up tall, jumping from decor piece to decor piece, and has a healthy amount of energy. Doesn't seem to be freaking out. As for the poos, she's a little less frequent now (once every 1-2 days instead of a minimum once a day), but I attributed that to me having moved her from 3 meals a day down to 2 recently.

Anyways (sorry for the lengthiness, as always), a couple of her last poops had some bits of reddishness in them, and odd consistency. It didn't look like blood, not like I human am used to seeing blood at least, but almost more like chunks of something kinda dark orange. Couldn't account for it though. Unless it's carrot which she gets a few times a week in her salad. Today I found little pieces of that stuff again in a kind of disheveled looking sample she left me, unsure how helpful these photos from today are:

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Anyways you can maybe see there was yet another one of those weird hard worm looking things. Also a couple whole BSFL that maybe I didn't stab good enough...Again, she's showing pretty normal behavior. Went back to chilling on her rock under her UVB right after. But I have the two items saved now and am a little freaked out at what they might be. I'd be pretty pissy if it were me passing these things!

[Click image to enlarge]


So I don't necessarily have the $ for a potential emergency room visit right now. I'm hoping I have what the visit's ultimately gonna cost. And I'm a natural worrier about this stuff but I hope I'm doing okay taking cues from Tifa's behavior overall that she's not too distressed right now. Also I feel like she'd be declining in condition over the last week or so if her sickness was really getting bad..?..Based off the research I've done, it sounds like she's probably got some sort of parasite(s) that she'll need meds for. She even went through a shed over the last week while this all happened and she didn't seem any grumpier than she normally gets when trying to shake some skin off :p

If anyone has any opinions I'd love for a little reassurance or any info one might have. But I'm especially curious about these weird little hard things coming out of her, and if anyone knows what they are, because I haven't found anything that looks similar in my own searching around online.

So - thank you for bearing with me - and thanks in advance for any thoughts you experienced folks have :)

all the best
zampano
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby AHBD » Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:11 am

Hi there, that's too bad about the bsfl. This seems to happen with more than a few dragons . For some reason they just pass through like that and the dragon gets no nutritional value with food that is not digested. As for the difference in all these poos, a lot of it can be attributed to the change in diet. What type of veggies is she eating ? Your dragon should be totally fine until her vet visit, a fecal test will reveal if she has any type of parasites.
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:10 am

Thanks for the comforting advice (again) AHBD. If you maybe remember my worried post a couple weeks back about her new shed, she had some dietary adjustments while we were waiting 2+ weeks for her bugs in the mail, leaving me to resort to things like fresh-packed (non-living) silkworms. They were almost a staple for a good 5 days or so. That and the few crickets I could find around town. And you’re right that is a bummer about the bsfl because she really likes those things! Ever since we started feeding them to her she starting growing way faster than before and seemed overall really happy with them. Last night I fed her a lot, can’t recall how much, and poked every one of em, fed them fairly slowly one at a time, and I’ll see how that goes through today I guess. (Actually today we should be getting our first ever shipment of LIVE silkworms and everyone’s pretty excited about that, costliness aside :)

As for salad, she’s still very picky and doesn’t eat it as much as I’d like to see. She waits for me to be out of the room usually and just kinda nibbles on stuff. Some days she gets her 20% I think, but some days maybe just 5-10% to be honest. Her salad around the time this all started was mainly consisting of: carrot greens, carrot, parsley, curly kale and French/green beans. These are all things I usually rotate in and out and some of her favorite foods. Other times I try to feed collards/chard but she doesnt like them much yet, although she loves mustard greens it seems. Also sometimes we do sweet potato, yellow squash, various herbs like thyme/rosemary, and whatever else seems nifty. I’ve tried dressings and bee pollen but they don’t interest her, and she doesn’t have a sweet tooth except for the occasional nibble of an apple piece. (Actually she loves banana but I’ve only fed that a couple times to help with some light constipation).

Anyway her salad hasn’t been that unusual recently. I know people debate kale but frankly she likes it and has been eating it since she was a baby so I haven’t been too worried about it. And I make sure everything’s fresh and thoroughly washed as needed. I just wish she’d eat more of it most days.

Any tips/thoughts are great. But thank you most of all for confirming she’ll survive the week with me okay ))

...Still damn curious what those long plasticy-worm things are....
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby AHBD » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:26 am

Glad to help if I can, as the others here do as well. :) Those plasticy things do have the appearance of worms so I can imagine your concern. You say they are hard though ? Is there anything in her tank she might have swallowed ? Can you post a pic of her entire set up ? I might suspect carrot tops as well except they aren't hard like plastic.
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:54 am

Thanks for confirming. I haven’t seen anything online about worms or even veggies coming out in that hard form. Yeah, it’s pliable cuz it’s small but feels just like plastic. And the carrot tops I’ve been admittedly trying to incorporate more lately just cuz, even though it’s hard to find fresh healthy green ones most the time, she actually seems to enjoy eating them. She has some fake plants in the tank that I’ve never seen her try to eat and the shape wouldn’t make a lot of sense. There’s a little tree you can see that she climbs sometimes and is the only thing she could even really try I guess. (Only item I didn’t get from a pet store. Found it in goodwill for a couple bucks, washed it heavily before putting it in). Anyway everything else in there is basically wood so if it ends up being a synthetic or some sort maybe we’ll need to rethink the plants...anywhere here’s her current set up:

[Click image to enlarge]


PS I bought some collards last night and as I type she is wolfing down a big ole piece like I haven’t seen her do in some time. It’s good to see and it’s cute as hell )
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby AHBD » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:29 am

Great looking set up, looks like a Zen nice decor and light placement. I love the look of greenery in the tank but I can't risk it with my guys because the love greens and try to munch anything that looks like a plant. Just be careful with those you have in the tank, the pretty pink + green one on the back wall might have some small pieces that detach easily.
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:47 am

Thanks, Tifa loooves her new apartment. A lot of time and money went into getting that set up just right (and a lot of help from the members here :). Clearly the plants were mostly just aesthetic. She doesn’t necessarily need them. The tree holds up that branch but I could fix that I’m sure. And the pretty vine in the corner I was hoping I could mist and she’d drink from the leaves occasionally, but hasn’t happened. And to your point, I’ve lost a few leaves while washing in the sink..

It would be weird if any of those morphed into little worms in her belly I feel like, but seems like one of the more explainable culprits I guess. Either way I’m gonna take your advice to heart and look into getting some stuff to replace the plants just to keep things safe. So I’ll provably be back in the Enclosure forum before I know it )

I’ll keep posted here with any answers I can get from the vet for posterity.
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:14 am

Update: we saw the vet yesterday and fortunately Tifa isn’t having any major issues that were detectable. Unless we had an extremely “lucky” fecal flotation sample, she only found just 3 coccidilia, what she called a benign amount, and no other parasites of any kind present.

On the not-so-great side, she too had no clue what those long wormy things were. She tried to examine them and rehydrate them and was sure they weren’t worms and weren’t plastic. Her best guess is it is a buildup of keratin of some sort, which would explain the look. Still, not a fan. They don’t look comfortable to pass.

We agreed she’s having GI/stomach problems of some sort, and likely related to bacteria if not parasites. She gave me the option of either spending an additional $225 on sending a fecal sample to a lab for a complete work up to see if we can glean any more info, or we could put her on a course of Metronizadole which is just gonna cost me about $40. The visit was already $155 altogether and frankly I’m not sure I have the $225 additional to cough up right now so I’m going to put her on the Metronizadole for a couple weeks and hope we see some improvement. If not I guess we then need to wait a couple more weeks for her system to get back to normal, and run more tests. I really hope that isn’t necessary but we will see!

Anyway she’s still acting more or less normal (shes doing morning gymnastics right now) and I’m taking it as a good sign that nothing appears immediately wrong with her except the weird poops. Wish us luck the medication treatment goes well! Picking it up this afternoon.
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:34 pm

Figured out what those things are!

It’s those fresh packed silkworms! I was just fighting her over one with the tongs and she ripped it in half and one of them came slipping out of the worms body. Still very solid and very non-alive. Still looks like a worm but doesn’t really. Cut open another, had two in it. Ew.

[Click image to enlarge]


These were always a treat and never a staple, except in emergencies, but maaan do I feel bad for feeding her so many of these over the last few months! It’s her favorite snack by far. I even asked the vet if she thought it was an okay occasional snack and she said “should be, but you’re of course trusting the company that packaged them.” Solid advice. I’d looked them up online as all the chains sell these and haven’t found any similar complaints, or really any complaints at all. Maybe I’m the only person buying them?

Anyway, if not, buyer beware when it comes to ProBug Eco-Fresh packs. Poor thing is gonna have to pass a couple more of these for me tomorrow but these are the last ones.

It’s live feeders or bust for her now
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby AHBD » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:42 pm

Wow, that's crazy but so great that you solved the mystery ! I only used silkworms once when I had a lot of babies and some liked them but other dragons did not. BTW, never give 3 weeks worth of drugs to your beardie based on a " just in case " scenario. Thank fully you won't have to give her any of the Flagyl at all. :)
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:52 pm

Well I’ve given her 5 days worth at this point :/

Was instructed to give her 7 total (0.06cc per)

But I guess those were my main concern and the other concern was just not digesting food enough. Probably not something worthy of the Flagyl at all you’re right. Sucks had to go through all that.

Anyway I’m growing some silkies right now she loves em so much so if she wants them that way, she can have them while they’re still wiggly and under my care )
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby AHBD » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:59 pm

Oh well, it won't hurt a big healthy girl and it's still a big plus that you got the answer you were looking for. Excellent outcome any way you look at since you can put your mind at ease. :)
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:03 pm

Best news of 2020 so far 😂

I’ve been through much worse, more expensive, and stupider

Thanks for the help and support
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby saraho » Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:36 pm

I'm very happy that Tifa's mystery poops have been solved. I also love that she enjoys carrot greens. It's Charlie's favorite. I can't find them in the grocery stores here though. I can only get them in the summer from people who grow them in the garden.
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Can anyone identify what my dragon just pooped out?

Postby zampano » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:09 pm

They are very hard to find. I just saw some today at the supermarket but, as almost every time I see them on a bunch, they were largely brown and gooey already. Seems they don’t last all that long?

They should really package them and sell them separately somehow, I’d pay. I find she likes parsley almost as much as carrot greens and they make a fine substitute for that kind of snack. It was the first green I got her to love as a baby. Maybe Charlie would enjoy some nice crisp parsley through his winters )
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