stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

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stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:32 pm

My beardie, Jeff, began eating less about 2-3 months ago. He went from eating on his own, to being nudged, to having food placed directly in his mouth. When it became harder to get him to take food by hand, I took him to the vet. He also had some gasping and clicking noises and would hold food in the back of his throat. The vet suggested we start with a vitamin D supplement. The vet didn't seem to do any kind of physical exam outside of looking at him. I knew vitamin D wasn't the primary issue but tried anyway. He just got worse. Within a little over a week he wouldn't eat insects at all. All his food was via syringe. Eventually he was more and more against taking syringe feedings. He started pooping during each feeding. He moved around more but looked uncomfortable. He went to the vet yesterday again and they said he looks so bad there's no way he can recover and he needs to be put down. She guessed it is either stomach cancer or renal failure. she measured his glucose and it was 375. He is barely taking anything, even a syringe, and has lost a lot of weight. He's tired and his beard is black. However, he is warm and has good color. Up until he visited the vet, he was moving a lot (still don't necessarily take that as good but he clearly has strength). The vet suggested we euthanize him but his presentation, other than clearly not feeling well, seems so good to me (warm, nice bright scales) seems ok snd I wonder if there's treatment. Stomach cancer is not treatable, but renal failure is. However, I'm not sure if treating him for renal failure would help. What are your thoughts/experiences? Should I bother testing him for kidney disease? I don't like the idea of euthanization and want to know if I can make him more comfortable so he can have a peaceful, natural death-----or GET BETTER! However he's not eating, gasping a lot, black beard, very sleepy/lethargic. Back is becoming hunched and tail getting darker, strange spots on head. Back, tail, and head new in the last 2 months.

BACKGROUND: rescued from abandoned apartment w/ no lamps or food 3.5 years ago. Approx age estimated (by me) to be 5-6 years old.
Husbandry: 100w UBV, 100w UVA. Felt substrate. Big water bowl. Mostly fed super worms with blueberries, cilantro, other fruits and veggies occasionally. Temps not measured. Poops every 3-7 days. (I started feeding him more doubts roaches in the summer, around same times symptoms started). I know his diet was not ideal but he refused to eat much from the jump. Very finicky.

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Last edited by linds28 on Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby Drache613 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:21 am

Hello,

I am sorry your dragon is so ill. There seems to be a lot of that going on now, unfortunately.
Did they do a complete blood test on him, or just measure his glucose levels?
His symptoms do not sound good though.
Which type/brand of UVB are you using? The temperatures do need to be measured for him.
I would highly recommend getting a temp gun at least to measure them. They are so crucial
for their health. The temperature ranges need to be around 95-110 or at least to 100 to 105
for adults with a cooler end of around 78-82 roughly.
Did they not do any x-rays to check for a respiratory infection? If he has not had proper temps,
then he could have developed a respiratory infection which went into pneumonia. Since you
mentioned him gasping, etc it sounds like he is having trouble breathing. A hunched back can
be metabolic bone disease developing, too.
The problem is you are not sure what to treat him for because the vet didn't diagnose him
with anything definitive. It's hard to give directions. You can get some black or tart cherry
juice extract to try & give daily for help with his kidneys.
Pictures of his setup would be good & any of him, just so we can see his physical condition
to determine any swellings, etc on him for cases of gout or metabolic bone disease.

Let us know how he is doing.
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:44 am

There was no other testing done. They offered a CBC at the initial visit but it was so costly. I had already paid for an emergency visit and hoped a physical would give us enough info to help. The vet the other day suggested, outside of euthanasia, to run a glucose (which we did) followed be CBC or x-ray. After reading all night I’m wondering if he’s just got so many other problems that there’s just no hope. I wonder if maybe I’ve ruined his life by not measuring temps or cleaning the water bowl enough. Maybe I am supposed to just put him out of his misery. Idk. Not sure how to post photos on here I will have to look.
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:47 am

The vet acted as though if his glucose was high he had stomach cancer and needed to be put down. However I’ve seen posts on here where pets had glucose of over 900, so I’m just not convinced by that statement. My son has Crohn’s disease. When he’s not doing well, his labs are all over the place. This one indicator, CRP, has normal values of 0-15. He’s been sick but able to move around and not be hospitalized at over 100. Certainly in no position for drastic measures even tho it’s a call for urgent concern. So that’s how I’m looking at these glucose results now.
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:05 am

[img]IMG]https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/uploads/109420/109420-1434239848_small.jpg[/img][/img]
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby Drache613 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:09 am

Hello,

Poor guy, can he walk or move much at all right now?
It is very hard to determine exactly what could be going on, without further analysis & tests
to see what his kidneys & liver are doing. We can try to make a few changes first, to give him
a chance before you make a decision on putting him down.
The UVB light appears to be a coil style light, correct? If so, we highly recommend getting a
new light for him. The better choices for lights are either the Reptisun 10 T5 tube or the Arcadia
D3 12% tube. How far would you say the screen top is from his basking spot, or does he just
lay on the bottom of his tank right now?

You can get a temp gun on Amazon, or Here is a link for a temp gun, on amazon, but there are other ones available too on other sites,
but this just gives an idea of one. You can also get a digital probe thermometer, at Walmart, the
Accurite brand which is fine as well.
Is he coughing or wheezing/gasping a lot? At the moment, one of the most important things you
can do is get a thermometer to correctly measure his temperatures. I can't tell for sure, but he
may have a respiratory infection progressing. A good UVB light is crucial. What wattage of
basking light do you have, 100 watts?
Is he eating anything at all right now? He may not be eating for several reasons, anything from
not being warm enough, or being ill, etc.

So try to get his lighting & heating setup better, as soon as you can. Next, go ahead & get some
black or tart cherry juice extract to start giving to him, in case his kidneys need some help. You
can also get some baby food such as squash or sweet potato, to mix together with chicken or
turkey baby food to feed to him for nutritional support. Are you giving any calcium for him on a
regular basis? How much D3 did the vet give & instruct you to give? So, he got worse when
you gave that to him? That alone can cause renal issues if given in excess.

Let us know if you have more questions or need help finding the products such as lighting or
thermometers, etc.

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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:11 am

These are 100 bulbs, 1 UVA, 1 UVB. They’re the bulb/blobs shapes, not spirals. He does not eat. I can barely get a string in at all. He gags when I feed him, even through the syringe. I’m confident he doesn’t have gout or a kidney issue. Pretty sure URI or pneumonia. The vet said since he doesn’t have a nasal drip probably not but he’s obviously coughing which was my primary complaint! And you can feel his throat is swollen from the outside! I am demanding antibiotics!
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:13 am

And he can walk still. He runs from the food 🥺
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby AHBD » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:40 am

So sorry your dragon is in rough shape. I agree he almost definitely has an R.I., lack of uvb is a problem as well. If it's warm out where you live take him out in the sun. That can liven them up a bit [ can sometimes scare them too but he needs good uvb ] The sun will give him plenty of uvb if you sit out with him for 30-40 minutes a day until you get a long tube bulb. Try dripping water on the tip of his snout to get hin to drink. Be patient since he may not drink right away and do it slowly. Yopu might gget somme Baytril [ enrofloxacin ] for his R.I here . www.bugdelite.com
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:41 pm

You guys! Got a copy of the vet's notes. All of his presentation was great. He was just sleepy and clearly very skinny/dehydrated. Tooth, coloring, behavior, nervous system, etc. all relatively normal. I got them to prescribe him an antibiotic after leaning in on them.

I also got some baby food for him and the try juice. he is licking the baby food. thank god! I cannot believe I was about to take him to be euthanized the other day!

I looked up bearded dragon glucose values. Apparently up to 300 is normal? He's a 375. I read that hyperglycemia can also be due to stress and starvation--both things he is experiencing. So glad I got your help! Will keep you all updated. Thanks so much for your help!
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby Drache613 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:41 pm

Hello,

Oh that is good to hear you did get some food & fluids into him. Give them with care so that
he doesn't aspirate any of it.
I agree. His body does not appear to have any swellings, as it would with gout. Though, he
could be having some renal issues based on just dehydration, etc. You are correct though,
that the glucose levels can greatly fluctuate from stress or an infection, too. Yes, a normal
glucose level is usually 275 to 300. So, 375 is not the end of the world, so you should be
able to get that down.
Were you able to shop for a temperature gun or digital probe so that you can start to monitor
his temperatures?
His symptoms do sound a lot like a respiratory infection or possibly pneumonia. Do you have
a way to keep his tank around 75-80, overnight, using a ceramic heat emitter or a heating pad?
Which antibiotic did the vet prescribe & what is the dose for him?
Let us know how he is doing!

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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:30 am

Yes my next move is the temps. I live in Chicago so it’s only warm in the summer but I’m in an apartment with radiator heat so it’s always warm so I’ve never worried too much. On a very hot day in the summer, I turn the basking bulb off. In the winter I tend to leave both bulbs on longer. I can’t just take him out to get natural sun. My guess is temps are always about 80 in there. I’ve been waiting for a check to post before buying. I believe it’s posted today so I will order one of those lights that goes across the whole tank? Should that be a basking bulb? Or the sun bulb?
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby AHBD » Tue Sep 29, 2020 7:45 am

You need a long tube uvb like this , first pic is the fixture:

https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... -hood.html

Next, this is the stronger uvb bulb. The fixture comes wiith a good bulb but it's weaker strength:

https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... vb-t5.html

If you can't afford both at first, just get the fixture with the weaker bulb and attach it under the screen of your enclosure .
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby linds28 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:11 am

Thanks! What size?
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Re: stomach cancer, euthanasia suggested. any hope?

Postby AHBD » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:12 am

The 24" would be good if they have it.
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