Health Problem-solving?

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Health Problem-solving?

Postby NatureCenter » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:13 pm

I'm looking for some advice on dealing with health issues in Spark, the bearded dragon.

Spark was donated to the camp I work at about six months before I started working there, and his owner didn't leave much information on his background. He's an adult, but not sure what age. I'm also not sure what condition he arrived in, but ever since I've started working with him he has never seemed completely healthy. His top jaw is receded, leaving curled edges, and he never seems to have great muscle tone or energy.

I've tried improving his habitat with a better UVB light and better basking spot (although there is still room for improvement) and increasing his calcium intake by dusting any live food, but I haven't noticed much improvement in his condition. He is a VERY picky eater and rarely can be convinced to eat any veggies, so that might be part of the problem.

Now for the questions ... Does this sound like MBD? If so, can something like a deformed jaw be reversed, or is that permanent damage? Besides calcium powder, is there any other at-home/DIY type treatment that might help Spark? How helpful do you think a vet visit might be? The closest reptile vet is several hours away and the camp budget is pretty limited, so I'm trying to do as much as I can on my own.

Thanks for any insight or advice you can offer!

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Health Problem-solving?

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:13 pm

Lets first start w/ Sparks lighting ---- UVB brand and bulb ? Coil or tube and where in the tank is it? Top of screen or in the tank? Basking temps what are they and how are you taking them? NO stick ons they are inaccurate----- as far as I know MBD cannot be reversed but it can be prevented from getting any worse--- Tracie or AHBD or both can help you on that issue
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Re: Health Problem-solving?

Postby NatureCenter » Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:06 am

Thanks Karrie!

Spark has a 48" Reptisun 10.0 UVB running the length of his tank on top of the screen. Basking temp is 95F, which I'm measuring with a ZooMed probe thermometer.
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Re: Health Problem-solving?

Postby AHBD » Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:53 pm

Hi there, it's really nice that you've taken an interest in Spark ! The jaw deformity is permanent but it sounds like you're on the right track with his care now. Are his limbs , back or tail deformed in any way ? Can he walk O.K ? He just needed better nutrition + lighting, which you are providing now so keep up the good work. A vet won't help much and it would be stressful for Spark to be taken for that long distance. You can offer a veggie smoothie 1-2 times a week. Experiment to see what he might like, squash is usually a favorite, you can add kale, a wee bit of sweet potato and any greens like turnip, mustard, collards. A pinch of calcium powder should be added. What type of insects is he eating and how often ?
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Re: Health Problem-solving?

Postby NatureCenter » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:53 am

Thanks! It's super helpful to know that a vet visit wouldn't make much of a difference at this point. Spark's back, limbs, and tail all are straight and look normal, although he doesn't walk around much, and when he does, he limps/just has a very awkward gait.

Should the veggie smoothy be a completely pureed consistency? And should the veggies be cooked first? Do beardies generally have a preference for cold, room temp, or warm food?

Spark usually eats 5ish super worms 5-6 days per week. He used to like crickets, but doesn't seem to like them anymore. Any recommendations on types/amounts of insects to feed Spark?
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Re: Health Problem-solving?

Postby AHBD » Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:43 am

Puree consistency is good, raw veggies bit if anything is super hard you can microwave it some to soften it. Room temp. is good for all their food, luke warm wouldn't hurt but not much more than that and definitely nothing cold. It sounds like he has a good appetite for superworms, be sure to dust them with calcium powder. I keep 2 types on hand, one with and one without D3 and use one on one day, another the next feeding. For adults it's 2-3 X a week but since our boy has MBD you might want to dust the bugs every other day, switching between the calc. with + next time calc. w/out. Can you get any other insects like dubia roaches ? You should get a good vitamin powder as well to use very lightly only 1-2 X a week.
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