Potential MBD Diagnosis - Vet Visit

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Potential MBD Diagnosis - Vet Visit

Postby Tkschnapp » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:03 pm

Hello to everyone, this is my first post on this board so I hope everyone is doing well and can assist me in this trying time with my beardie. My apologies about the long post.

- I got my beautiful bearded dragon when she was around 4 months old from a reptile shop. This isn't a "typical" pet store, they specialize in reptiles and snakes (they have a 15 foot retic on display in an enormous enclosure) and they seem to get their clutches from reputable breeders. However, due to covid, they had to wait several months to receive the beardies, so I put myself on a list to be eligible for first pick of the clutch they were expecting in.

- I picked out an orange/citrus trans male. I've owned a bearded dragon before when I was younger, so I was already familiar with the husbandry and spent more hours researching before I brought him home.

- His set up was a 40 gallon breeder, 22 inch T5 10.0 UVB that covers about 2/3 the tank, and baskings were always between 105-110. He had branches to climb on, and his basking was approx 8 inches from the UVB which I kept mounted on the top of the screen on the tank. He was my little baby, and I took extremely good care of him. He feasted on dusted dubias with normal calcium, and calcium with D3 about twice a week. Gave him dubias dusted with Reptivite once a week and he would eat his greens.

- He grew and grew, and never had a problem with eating and his stools always were on point. Fecal at the vet confirmed no parasites, so all seemed to be going well.
- Approximately 4 weeks ago, he went completely off food. He was eating about 20 medium dubias a day, to overnight eating nothing. I tried offering him crickets, superworms, but he wouldn't take anything including greens. I was concerned, so I was still giving him water and purchased liquid calcium so I could at least still get the calcium in him. I thought it was possibly brumation, but he seemed to young for that, but I still remained hopeful. He was still very active, running around. But it got to the point where he started to lose weight, and his colors seemed off, so I made a vet appointment.

- This is where it all went to *****. The very first thing the vet noticed was that he had a slight tremor in his walk, indicating MBD. I was shocked, seeing as my husbandry had been on point since day one. She told me it seemed very mild and with some intervention he could be right as rain. But then the vet took an X-Ray of my beardie, and the game plan changed. She saw abnormal growth in his right arm and his back two legs, indicating more progressed MBD then she originally thought. She gave me prescription grade Calcium that I syringe feed him one a day, and she advised I remove all climbing objects from the tank, so he doesn't jump off anything and fracture a bone. She also gave me this food which is a powder that I mix into 5ML of water and syringe feed him everyday. She said that after about a week of feeding him this food, he should be back onto insects. It's been over a week now, and he still shows no signs of being interested in dubias, crickets, or superworms. She advised to give him the Prescription calcium for 1-6 months and we will continually x-ray him to see if his condition is improving. Physically he has no deformities, he doesn't walk funny or on his forearms, but he does have very slight tremors in his head and his feet when he walks.

- At this point I am devastated. The vet bill was $700.00 for the x-ray and blood work and fecal they had done. I love this bearded very much, but in yours opinion, is there a realistic chance this bearded dragon can live a pain free happy life? I've read hours now on MBD and everything I read says it's irreversible. I love the bearded very much,but I can't keep shelling out hundreds of dollars every month especially if his condition is not improving. The beardie is under a year old, so instead of spending another $1000 over the next few months, I think it would be wisest to maybe get a new bearded dragon from a reputable breeder and put my current one to sleep? The vet said I shouldn't be holding him in case he jumps off me (Which I understand). But I would like to have a hearty bearded dragon I can take out and spend time with. I personally think the beardie developed the MBD in the first 4 months the breeder was taking care of him, because I've done everything to a T. I'm very sad, but I have a follow-up visit in a month for some more x-rays, and if it seems like he's not doing any better, or it's going to be necessary to go in montly for X-rays I'm afraid I will have to put him down, I wouldn't want him suffering.

Below shows an image of the X-Ray. You can see his left arm is formed normally, but his right arm and back two legs have abnormal bone growth. I'm looking for some opinions, information, what I should do at this point? Any help is appreciated, thanks.

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Re: Potential MBD Diagnosis - Vet Visit

Postby AHBD » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:24 pm

Hi there, so sorry about this predicament. Can you post pics of him , and what is his name BTW ? Personally I would just take the best care of him that I could, he's still active and there may never be a bone break from regular care if you are careful to not drop him. I've never dropped a dragon, always support them with 2 hands while carrying . Keep him on a softer substrate, you could try sand/soil mix or use a wad on newspapers. I would forego future xrays unless he actually became worse , lame etc. He looks big enough to brumate so that may be why he's slowed down on eating but has not actually gone to sleep.
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Re: Potential MBD Diagnosis - Vet Visit

Postby Tkschnapp » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:48 pm

Thanks for your input. His name is iggy. To be honest I love him to death, but if this is going to be a life long commitment and ill always have to worry about fractures and the mbd getting worse and making his life more painful i might give him up for adoption to someone who has the resources and would be able to adequately care for him in his current condition. Some pics are below.

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- this picture is the newest pic of her taken a couple days ago. You can see I took everything out of her tank to make it pretty flat. You can see her colors are off and her beard is much blacker then it normally is.

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Re: Potential MBD Diagnosis - Vet Visit

Postby AHBD » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:12 pm

Iggy is very beautiful. :) You referred to Iggy as both M + F, do you know the gender ? Looks very healthy there and if he's not having trouble getting around then just play it by ear. I believe you can hold him if you want, there's no reason not to. If you're not sure of Iggy's gender then see this link, if you want to post pics like that you can post it here :

https://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/sexing/
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Re: Potential MBD Diagnosis - Vet Visit

Postby Tkschnapp » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:24 pm

Iggy is a 100% male, sorry about the pronoun confusion. The only condition my fiance had for getting a beardie was that it was a female, but I've had a female before who died from the strain of laying eggs, so I got a male and told my fiance it was a female. My fiance is very naive to reptiles in general so there's no way of her ever figuring out she is a he.
- this might sound callous but I've only had the bearded dragon a couple months. Looking at future treatments and vet visits for if/when the mbd progresses, im thinking about giving her up for adoption for free to someone who would be able to care for her, and restarting with a new dragon from a reputable breeder instead of one from a reptile shop.
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Re: Potential MBD Diagnosis - Vet Visit

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:04 am

Iggy looks healthy in those photos and at a good weight. Has he been losing weight? It's good to keep a log of weight using a kitchen scale so you can tell how that is trending over time. Based on the photos I don't think he would need force feeding and not eating for a while is OK. It's possibly brumation behavior as suggested earlier. I don't see any signs of MBD and your T5 UVB light should do an excellent job providing enough UVB to prevent that as long as overall diet is healthy. The cost of the vet care seems high, but cost of things in Long Island is higher than I'm used to so may be normal for that area. I would hold off on further visits for now unless you see signs of distress like a jet black beard, significant weight loss, or something along those lines. I don't think handling him would cause any issues and I would encourage you to interact with him and provide some enrichment. Let him roam around the house a bit if it's safe for him to do so. They tend to enjoy sitting in a window sill and lookout out the window (while enjoying some warm sunshine). I wouldn't give up yet. I don't think things may be as bleak as the vet makes them sound.
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