Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

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Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby zasdarq » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:55 pm

My 6 month old dragon, Ariki, has had a very low appetite for about two weeks now.

She's only accepted maybe 3 offerings of Dubias (~15 medium roaches) during this time, and otherwise ignores them when offered (still trying twice a day). For the first week, she wasn't eating much of anything at all. In the last week, she attacks her salad with higher than typical enthusiasm, but given the mess she makes its hard to say how much is getting into her. She's still pooping (though rarely as opposed to daily), basking, and otherwise behaving normal. She was doing a face shed in the first week of low appetite, which I suspected could be related, but it's been off for a couple days now.

Before the change in eating habits, she was a voracious eater. She was given BSFL, Dubia Roaches, and occasional crickets. The roaches she'd easily be eating 30-60 medium sized ones a day in January. She's also given daily salads: Kale, Collard Greens, and Dandelion Greens as staples + a large variety of other things (herbs, cabbage, fruit occasionally, etc.). She had one shorter period of low appetite back in December (~1 week) during another face shed, which is why I've not been too concerned until now.

She currently weighs 430 grams, and has been at that weight for the last couple weeks. This seems large for her age (I know her birth-date as she was purchased from a local breeder), but she did used to eat a lot :)

I'm reluctant to take her to the vet to avoid stressing her out. But that's my next step, and I thought I'd get some opinions here as well first.

My setup: She's in a Zen 4x2x2 with an Arcadia 12% UVB. The UVB levels are also checked with a UVB monitor. For temperatures I have a Herpstat thermostat keeping things at 102-110 on the hot side of the tank. Nothing in the tank / her life in general changed in the weeks previous to this change in appetite. She has a Zen mat for substrate.

Here are a couple pictures of her taken today (I haven't noticed any change in her appearance).

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Thanks in advance for anyone's thoughts on the subject! This forum has been an excellent resource that I've very much appreciated during the last 5 months with her.
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:40 pm

She looks great -- as long as shes not losing any weight I wouldnt worry to much about her appetite - it does tend to slow in winter -- as long as shes eating active basking and pooping and not losing weight she should be fine --
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby Drache613 » Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:09 am

Hello,

She definitely has great colors & appears to be in very good condition!
At 6 months of age, she could be going into a slow down phase or just simply trying to
partially brumate a bit. There is always a possibility of egg development, too though not
real common but does happen at that age.
They typically start eating a little less when their growth rate slows down.
The Arcadia D3 12% UVB light is good. Is that the T8 or the T5 tube?
You could get a fecal done on her, just to be sure everything is in check.

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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby Drache613 » Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:11 am

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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby zasdarq » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:42 am

Hello again. Thank you for the previous responses! From your suggestions I waited a couple more weeks and her behavior did not change, so I brought her in to see the reptile vet. He thought she seemed super healthy and was not too concerned either, as she was still eating at salads and *sometimes* eating bugs.

But in the last week, her behavior and eating habits have become worse. She's mostly just clinging to the back wall on the warm side of the tank. She'll come down to explore for maybe ~10 minutes of the day before returning to cling to the wall. She has continued to refuse all bugs and mostly ignores her salad as well now.

The vet ran a blood test last week, here were the results:

[Click image to enlarge]


The levels of Heterophils and Basophils concerned him a little, though he said entirely on its own it wouldn't necessarily be cause for a concern. He said a virus was the most likely culprit though given that bloodwork. And suggested next step would be fecals, possibly x-rays, and (for the virus) possibly a PCR test.

We haven't run a fecal as she hasn't pooped since I saw the vet, since she hasn't eaten since I saw the vet :(

Very belated response to @Drache613: It's a T5 bulb. Also the vet now suspects Ariki is a male, as he found some potential Femoral Pores, but he couldn't be absolutely sure. That would make eggs doubly unlikely.

I've contacted the vet again for arrange for further tests, but I'd love any other second opinions here if anyone has some. Would something like a slowdown phase or partial brumation make any sense still if we're nearly 2 months into this?
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:46 am

If you have a fecal done please take the fecal in ---DO NOT have them do a enema ---- viewtopic.php?f=45&t=252267
the T 5 where is it in the tank? Proper placement is crucial here
are you keeping track of the weight?
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby zasdarq » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:48 am

Forgot to mention her weight. She's 438 g now, which is more than she was when I posted 4 weeks ago. But during the last 4 weeks she went up to 450 g and then slowly back down to 438 g.
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:51 am

And placement of the T 5?
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby zasdarq » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:54 am

T5 is placed roughly centrally in the 4' tank (it's a 2' UVB). She's got a couple basking zones in the warm end, some high and on the back, and some low and on the ground in the middle. I use a Solarmeter to check UVB levels at those locations. The central positioning was to try to get the right amount of UVB in the right places, while still allowing for low UVB is the edges of the tank. And she's got covers and hides on both the warm side + coolside of the tank for getting out of UVB. This was the setup since November or so.

Though in her current preferred position of clinging to the back wall, she's likely not getting much UVB. And it would be difficult to place it without completely blasting her with excess UVB given how high she is.
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby zasdarq » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:01 am

The vet had mentioned something to help loosen stool that is inserted up her, but I seem to recall him specifically saying it was not an enema. Are there other, safer, methods he might be referring to? I was aware of the dangers of enema before, so I didn't take him up on the suggestion when we first spoke.

I'd love to take a fecal in but I'm concerned there won't be any poos if she's not eating anything to poop out!
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby KarrieRee » Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:41 am

You can try some canned pumpkin or unsweetened applesauce or baby prunes to get her to poop- the UVB should have a piece of basking decor directly under it and I would move it to the front center of the tank where she cant so get close to it -- place a piece of basking decor directly under it approx 12-15 inches then watch her behavior- she will get adequate UVB w/ that placement
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby zasdarq » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:14 am

Thanks for the suggestion Karrie. My description was poor, but she does have a log underneath the UVB for her to bask on if she wants to. It's one of her favorite spots (before she was sick and clinging to the back wall all day). I can double check the UVB measurements and placements though just in case it has caused any troubles for her.

I took her to a vet much further afield yesterday, and they ran more tests. From an X-Ray they decided she has a mild case of pneumonia and have prescribed her on a month of Ceftazidime (an antibiotic). I've also got some Emeraid Omnivore to help get food into her, and an antacid to help improve her appetite. Conveniently she pooped for them at the vet without any help so they were also able to rule out parasites.

In just the 24 hours since the initial dose of those medications, her color and mood have improved dramatically. She's back to laying normally on her hammock, alert and brightly colored. She also managed to eat a couple roaches along with the Emeraid. So hopefully this will put her back on the path to recovery!

I'm a bit concerned about how she managed to get Pneumonia as I'm quite careful about her tank conditions. The temperatures are carefully regulated, and the humidity is at 30% on the hot side of the tank -- which is potentially on the low end, but from what I've read it's high levels of humidity that increase the risk of Pneumonia?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond Karrie (and Drache!). Hopefully she's on the road to recovery (this vet thinks Ariki is female after all, so the final ruling is still out on that subject).
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Re: Low Appetite - 6 Months Old

Postby KarrieRee » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:45 am

I would move your hygrometer and I recommend a digital probe one place in center back wall of the tank--- it's going to give you humidity of the whole tank--- I am glad she's feeling better already - usually real low humidity like lower than 20 % is not good or anything 70% and above- optimal is 30-50% -- Tracie can help out w/ the meds etc--
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