MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

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MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Kossyra » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:00 pm

I need some advice, please. How do I help my beardie going forward? TL;DR metabolic bone disease, how do I prevent it from getting worse? Is my vet giving me good advice? Details below.

I got a baby beardie (6 inches, 8 grams at time of purchase, currently 40 grams and approx 9-10 inches) 08/24 from a local reptile store. The owners of the store breed their own beardies for stock, so I know the parents are healthy and well cared for. The siblings that are still in the store all look perfectly fine.

This morning I took mine into the vet because she's been knuckling over on her wrists and dragging the back feet occasionally and I got a diagnosis of MBD via x-ray. She has no deformity nor any shakiness or trembling.

I'm stumped. I've got a 40-gallon terrarium with a screen lid and a hammock to get her up to a good basking area (110-115*F) and a Reptisun 5.0 T8 that I just swapped for a 10.0. She's been getting calcium+D3 dusted crickets and collard greens. I have been avoiding spinach and kale. She has no problem getting around and jumping and has a great appetite and regular BMs.

The vet takes issue with crickets and wants me to get her outside more for real, actual sunlight. He wants me to quit using the calcium powder because he thinks she isn't absorbing it and wants me to find better, higher calcium insects/worms and veggies for her. I don't really like his advice much. He told me she is "underdeveloped" and basically told me to Google better food options. She is bigger than most of the rest of her siblings still in the shop and is by no means "underdeveloped", just a literal baby! His practice seems mainly dog and cat centered and I saw no other exotics come in, so I get the feeling he was not exactly experienced in herp medicine. He was on google on his computer looking up "worms for lizards" to try and give me alternatives to crickets.

I took a picture of the x-ray with my phone. I don't know what I'm looking for and he did not point out anything except that she has ribs. I asked if the x-ray could be emailed to me but I didn't really get an answer and I haven't received it yet. Sorry for the potato quality. I was expecting him to say maybe she had dislocated something or has a parasite. I brought a fecal sample and offered it twice but they didn't want to run it.
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:27 pm

Hi there,

The number one cause of MBD is improper UVB. And unfortunately, your bulb wasn't doing much of anything.

The 5.0 is a very weak bulb, it's basically for tropical species, not sun loving species.

It's good that you got the 10.0. But, you still need the 10.0 to be the proper distance from your dragon for it to be effective.

Can you post a picture of your setup for us?

What distance is your bulb from the basking surface?
Is the fixture resting ontop of a screen top, or is it mounted inside the tank?
No plastic cover on your fixture right?

-Brandon
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P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:31 pm

Also, it sounds like you shouldn't really rely on the vet, especially if he had to google options for bugs for you. But, if you could get the x ray that would help. It is hard to determine bone density with your aptly labeled, potato quality pic haha :D

-Brandon
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Kossyra » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:53 pm

Oh yes of course! Here's the pic of the tank. I busted out the measuring tape, where she's sitting now is about 10 inches from the bulb. She typically basks up on the hammock in the front right corner, which is maybe 1-2 inches higher. I actually moved the hammock down a couple inches when she first started knuckling her front feet over, I was concerned she was too close to her basking bulb sometimes, with temps getting into the 130s right in the middle of the hammock :shock:

The lid is a screen. The double dome has a 150 watt basking bulb and a ceramic heat emitter for overnight. Right now the hot side gets between 105-110, reading a toasty 107.4 when I took this pic just now, and the cool side is in the low-mid 80s/
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:06 pm

Ok thanks for the picture.

You're going to want to mount your reptisun inside the tank. You can use wires to hang it from the top, or you can try velcro or the 3m command hooks. Either way, the t8 10.0 needs to be inside the tank, or it needs to be only 6 inches away from the basking site if it's placed ontop of the screen.

If you moved your basking site closer, you most likely would get your basking temp too hot, so that's not really an option.

Your other option would be to get the t5 10.0 reptisun. You will need a new T5 fixture for this bulb, but it's stronger and is effective at the distance in your setup even if you have it on top of the screen.

-Brandon
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P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:09 pm

Depending on the screen if its a fine mesh it needs to be inside the tank w/ a distance of 6-8 inches directly above basking decor-- the UVB outside would be good for her for sure --have the vet email your the X ray if you have one then Tracie the vet tech mod can take a look at it - in the mean time get your UVB situated here are some ways to hang the fixture in the tank
3 M command Velcro fasteners- picture hanging wire –long plastic zip ties-- fishing line -- potted plant wire hangers or some TAK-TY hook and loop cable ties you can look at Walmart to see if they have them -- comes in a roll -- like velcro
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Kossyra » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:18 pm

Ok, I see! I bought the set up at the same pet store and dropped about $600 for everything including the lizard and I trusted the expertise of the shop owners on the T8 fixture, even though it came with the 5.0 bulb and she was already then recommending swapping it out once it expired in 6 months for the 10.0. I don't exactly want to be spending another $120 on a T5 set right now after spending $110 for garbage advice from a dog/cat vet and a shoddy x-ray today (it's like he didn't even try to get her to lie down straight) so I'll be setting that fixture inside the tank tonight it looks like! He was also trying to tell me UV bulbs are a scam :roll:

Any advice on routing the wire out from inside the cage? It's... uh... pretty well sealed up. Do you think I'm gonna have to punch a hole through the screen :?
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:28 pm

Post a pic of the screen --- sealed up? you may haft to get some cable wire cutters I am thinking and cut some of the screen so you can use some long zip ties -- here is a pic of how some one put theirs in the tank
[Click image to enlarge]

Here is a website to find a vet in case you ever need one again
www.arav.org
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Kossyra » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:42 pm

[Click image to enlarge]
Here are 2 pics of my screen lid so you get the idea of what I'm working with. There's no easy way to route out a power cable by putting this thing inside. I just busted out my wire wrapping kit, I'm sure I can rig a mounting inside the screen but it looks like its gonna be a project
[Click image to enlarge]

GOOD LORD LOOK AT THIS IT'S A T5 AFTER ALL
I guess I have the right kind of fixture anyway. This is the 10.0 bulb I just bought and installed today.
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:55 pm

Ok so the screen looks like it might be able to sit on top we need some one else to say different- make sure the basking decor is directly underneath- approx 8-10 inches-- you may want to put it inside if you can it might be better off at this point
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:01 pm

Hi there,

Ok, that would make more sense why your pet store told you to use the 5.0 until you needed to change it out. The 5.0 t5 is about the strength of the regular 10.0 t8. Glad you have the stronger fixture and bulb.

That mesh is super fine mesh though.If you can move your basking site down a bit so that if you were to mount it inside the tank, it would be 12 inches from the bulb, that would work. Otherwise, the basking site should be on the closer end of 8 inches from the bulb if it's on the screen. If that's what the petstore was using too, it's very unlikely that your dragon developed MBD in ony 2 months of your care.

What exactly does your supplement schedule look like?

-Brandon
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P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Kossyra » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:41 pm

Well, at first I was using Zoo-Med Repticalcium with D3 3x a day, every single cricket she ate for the first month was dusted. When I noticed she was knuckling over I started researching and became concerned about giving her too much so I backed it down to one feeding a day. Twice a week I swap out the calcium dust for zoo-med reptivite without D3.

For application I have an old Tupperware cup and a measuring spoon labeled "smidgen", so I put in a half smidgen of calcium and swirl the crickets in it. They come out with a decent coating, but they're not caked down in powder or anything.

*edit: the vet was trying to tell me the powdered calcium is useless, but if that were true every bearded dragon would have MBD so now I'm getting confused. Is what I'm using appropriate or should I be using different products? I really thought I figured all of this out before I even went and picked her out at the store...
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:49 pm

I would start dusting those insects w/ calcium D3 5 x per week once per feeding - coat them lightly not like a powder sugar donut and the vitamins 2 x per week once per feeding -- your vet does not know what he/she is doing -- do not listen to him please -- if you need to go to a vet down the road use this website to find one in your area --- www.arav.org
If none are where you live then I would call around your area and see who sees reptiles / bearded dragons-- and then call them to see how much experience they have
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Re: MBD diagnosis - how to correct my husbandry?

Postby Kossyra » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:00 pm

KarrieRee wrote:I would start dusting those insects w/ calcium D3 5 x per week once per feeding - coat them lightly not like a powder sugar donut and the vitamins 2 x per week once per feeding -


Ok good that's what I'm doing now, I feel better knowing at least I'm doing one thing right lol

Thank you for that link! I'm going to call the vet I went to today on Monday and remind them to email the x-ray to me and that will be the last time I bother with him. He was recommended to me by my mother who took my childhood beardie there to be euthed after struggling with coccidia in his old age. Which is why I'm a little bit miffed he didn't want to run the darn fecal for me!
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