Lack of motivation towards food

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Lack of motivation towards food

Postby Silvally » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:35 am

My bearded dragon, Toffee (I've made a few health posts about her here before) has for a few months now had a lack of motivation towards eating. She went from chasing superworms to ignoring them etc. From my knowledge she hasn't exactly been losing weight (the vet always says shes put on weight when I get her examined) , she still occassionally eats 1 to 3 dusted roaches a week if I'm lucky and completely refuses veggies. She has been tested for parasites which has shown no impactful load of parasites (not enough to justify action), she's been slowly recovering from a respiratory illness (slight crackle in breathe - hasn't fully cleared up and I might ask for some more meds soon). She has sufficient uvb lighting - t8 with reflector about 11 inches away from basking spot + furniture and a basking spot with the temp of around 100 - 110 depending on how warm it is in the house hooked up to a dimming thermostat to try to keep it as static as possible.
I'm kind of at a loss to understand why she's stopped eating the foods she typically enjoys - she occassionally goes crazy for waxworms but that's died down a bit too. Could it be that she's just growing up? She's been the most active I've ever seen her for the past few months too. Could it be some form of semi brumation? she's using her hide more often despite being pretty active.
Would also like to mention she still poos with a urate and relativly normal poo, though slightly smaller than before this all started and less frequent as her meals are smaller.
Does anyone know a solution for this or what could be wrong with her? I'm unsure where to go from here as it would be difficult for me to find a herp specialist as scotland is in tiered lockdown right now, and from my knowledge the closest one is in glasgow which is rather far from where I live in scotland + travel to and from Glasgow is limited right now. I can't travel to England either. It would also cost a lot - covid has made this very impractical.
I'm kind of unsure whether I'm worrying over nothing over this as she doesn't show any real signs of stress or anything - though I know they can be pretty resistant to symptoms and not show anything untill they are really far gone. The last time she was irritated was when she drunk way too much water and coughed some of it up.
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Re: Lack of motivation towards food

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:08 pm

I would use a kitchen scale to track her weight. If that is stable, then she is probably fine. It's normal for them to go through phases in which they eat less, but they are usually able to slow their metabolism and maintain weight while they do so.

I do suggest trying to move the T8 a little closer. 6-8'' above the main basking area is optimal for those in most cases. The output drops off pretty quickly beyond 8'' based on what I've measured.
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Re: Lack of motivation towards food

Postby Silvally » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:24 am

I'll look into getting a t5 at some point as It would be a bit difficult to remount my uvb into a different position, but I thought t8s were fine with reflectors at about 12 inches? Anyway, I'll try to move it.
Something weird I've noticed (if it's something) is when she squirms out of my grip when I hold her her feet shake. I don't know if thats just her forcing a movement (like when you push really hard with your hands and they shake) or involuntary tremors. She doesn't do this is any other sort of context and has no issues with walking or any weird bone developments or anything (other than a slight kink at the end of her tail which she has had since she was a baby). Obviously due to her lack of eating as much she a hasn't been able to get as much calcium powder in her, so if this is a calcium deficiency, is there a way I could get some in her safely to prevent any mbd or anything?
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Re: Lack of motivation towards food

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:16 am

The T8s are OK, but don't have a great range. They are best suited for small enclosures. 6-8'' is about right. Once you get beyond about 8'' from the bulb the output drops off pretty quickly based on my testing.

When you're holding her, do you support both of her hands and feet? They don't like feeling off balance and will kind of panic a bit if they don't have all limbs supported or if they feel a dropping sensation (you want to lower them to the floor slowly). It's not a huge deal, but more of a reflex they have.
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