Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

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Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:26 pm

Hello everyone,

I really need some advice and reassurance. I have a strong and rather healthy 10 month old bearded dragon by the name of Twix. I owned a few Rankin dragons in the past so I am quite familiar with their needs (heating, husbandry etc.. I'll get into the details of his set up in a bit).

Long story short, Twix has a partial blockage due to a large cricket he ate. I took him to the vet a week ago and she did an xray and prescribed lactulose .15ml per day. The vet sounded confident that he was going to pass it because he is still eating and is pooping and is alert so he isn't fully blocked and is not vomiting or couching or gaping as if he's in pain.

So to backtrack a bit, early February, Twix appetite decreased. I thought he was possibly wanting to brumate plus perhaps feeling hormonal because of his age (he was about 8 1/2 months back then). I took him to one vet after a few weeks, who examined him and said he felt a lump and his solution was to cut him right open and charge me 4K for it. Needless to say, I freaked out. He didn't perform an xray or ultrasound and said it was a waste of money to do so because in the end, the lump would have to come out. So he said monitor for a few weeks and let me know. But yeah he flat out said it was likely a tumor and we had to do surgery ASAP.

Twix started perking up a about two weeks later and I took him to a different vet because he still wasn't eating insects but was eating baby food and pooping but the lump was still there. I described his set up to her ( 38 long tank by 24 high and 24 deep, mat instead of substrate, basking temps around 42 to 43 degrees Celsius and cool side around 27 Celsius, when he wants to take a break of basking, he hangs out in the middle of the tank) she said the set up was good and that she did an xray and saw a partial blockage in his stomach but didn't sound too alarmed. She asked me if he was eating and the poor thing, he looks at food with such ferocious appetite but is not inclined to eat because his belly is full.. but i said yeah he eats out of my hand and i feed him purees and baby food. She prescribed the lactulose which I've been giving him since Saturday but he didn't poop the blockage out yet! He is pooping though but what I've been feeding him which is pumpkin puree (freshly steamed pumpkin that I make for my baby boo), pureed prunes and frozen packed BSFL that I thaw out, rinse and hand feed him.

Anyways, so more background details, Twix wasn't eating for the first two weeks of February, was feeling sleepier, sleeping in longer hours in the morning and wanting to sleep earlier and that lasted up until his first vet visit. So I had some Emercare and was syringe feeding him that. He was eating it and pooping some big ones (that was before the first freak told me to cut him open, Ive been syringe feeding him because he wasn't fully brumating and lost a bit of weight and wasn't his usual bright orange but looking paler so I decided to syringe feed him by dripp8ng on his nose and he'd like it up) I did more research and came across info about baby food on your forum, so I started to feed him baby food ( sweet potato with chicken and peas, he'd eats a good quantity and poops it but still, the lump was present) so that's when I took him to the second vet which was last week.

So here i am now. Sorry for being all over the place but I feel like my brain is scattered. I feel worried everyone...I left a message earlier tonight for the vet to call me back and I plan on asking her what I should do next, if lactulose will eventually soften that cricket(s) and I want to ask her more questions, which I didn't last time such as what can break down chitin, I know it's super hard to digest if even digestible, but if it's indeed a large insect stuck in there (my two other Rankins hated crickets so I fed them BSFL which I was planning to feed Twix once temperature became more favorable to get them shipped, which would be around now... but stupid me fed him crickets that could have been too hard for him to digest and now my baby boo has one stuck in his belly and its not coming out) I also want to know if there are different laxatives or if I should just be patient and it will eventually pass by using lactulose. I am really kicking myself because of this.

I've been giving him daily warm baths, feed him frozen packed BSFL (he eats about 10 or so, he just snaps them out of my hand then stops, he then has some pureed pumpkin or pureed prunes, he's eating ok considering his situation, he's always been drinking lots of water from the dripper daily and still does, he's very alert, his beard is a little blackish, mostly turns blacker after he eats for a little while but then gets less black just a little around the edges, he runs around and is strong, he is not limp nor dragging his legs or walking funny, and when the last vet checked him she told me his lungs and heart both sounded good. She also said he has excellent bone density. But that darn lump is still there and its driving me insane!!

I read on your threads the dangers of enemas so I'm afraid and nervous if laxatives don't work would that or surgery be my last options? I'm thinking, no, it can't be so I am turning to you for some advice. I am waiting for my vet to call back and will let you know what she recommends but based on what I've been reading, a lot of you are seasoned and experienced bearded dragon owners so I'd be comforted to get your input as well based on what you've dealt with. I don't want to put Twix in danger in any shape or form I love him with all of my heart and cannot take the death of another beloved reptile. My two Rankins passed due to old age, I got them at 3 and they lived until they were about 7 (which is apparently long for those little critters) and I got Twix shortly afterwards because I couldn't live with the heartbreak and beardies live longer and are hardier especially when properly taken care of, but now, I made a huge mistake because I thought well he's eating them and he's fine but should have mixed with softer worms like silkies, hornworms etc.. which I have been swearing to do each night as soon as he gets better but my lack of experience caused him a blockage and I'm hurting and worried sick. He went from a big eater who also LOVED his greens (collar, mustard greens, spring mix, sometimes kale and chard, etc..)to barely eating because of this blockage.

My apologies for the long disorganized post but please...any advice to help me and Twix would be appreciated. Let me know if you need more details, he's 16 inches and approx 280 grams so he's not skinny but not where he should be due to this. I did a fecal when he was about 5 months old and he was in the clear. I appreciate your time and help. God bless you.
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Drache613 » Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:58 am

Hello,

I am sorry he is having so much trouble. Based on what you are already doing for him,
it sounds like you are doing everything you can to get his impaction passed. Where is
the lump located & exactly how long has he had this issue?
Surgery is only needed if he is fully impacted & cannot pass anything at all. If it isn't really
affecting him negatively right now, I would give him some time to try & naturally pass it on
his own.
If you can, post pictures of Twix so we can see what he looks like. How big was the cricket,
larger than the space between his eyes?
Are you keeping him warmer overnight to help boost his system? The lactulose is usually
helpful but shouldn't be used long term.
It is a good sign however, that he is still very active, eating & going to the bathroom on a
regular basis.
Keep us posted on him. Hopefully he will pass it all through soon.

Tracie
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:09 am

Hi Tracie,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I suspect that it's been there since he stopped eating solids back in February. I only found out about the lump three weeks ago, when I went to visit the first vet but I thought that he was going into brumation as it gets pretty cold where I live in winter (Ontario, Canada). My concern was that he was too young to brumate which is why I took him in and wanted to ensure he was healthy enough to do so.

The lump is in his lower abdomen, towards the right. When feeling the lump towards the upper side I can feel a point (like elongated instead of lumpy) which I think might be the cricket's hind legs. I would usually buy him a mix of small and medium sized crickets but due to COVID , the local pet store had more spaced out orders so I got a box with some larger crickets than I would usually feed but it's not as if they were huge. I don't quite remember if it could have been larger than the space between his eyes but I suspect that it might have been the case to cause a partial blockage.

I included recent pictures of Twix as well of his set up. This tank is new from 2 days ago. The previous one was 36x18x18. I just saw him in this position where he is pressing his bum down and his legs are up, as if he's trying to get ready to push it out. He is not straining but hanging out in this position. You can see from his other pictures that he's not as beefy as he should but the poor thing hasn't eaten anything solid in weeks.

He ate his pureed pumpkin and prune mix and drank some water around 8 this morning then at 11, he had a little bit of baby food with some olive oil mixed in it. I try to feed him (or attempt to) every couple of hours so he can at least get something in his system, bit by bit, so that it doesn't irritate his stomach too much. I work from home so even during working days I try feeding him little bits throughout the day.

Back when he was eating his crickets and greens he would poop every day, every other day. Now he goes every 3 days or 4, but it's because he's not eating as much.

His new tank keeps him at 24 degrees Celsius at night and I wrap him up in his blanket. Should I add a ceramic heating bulb to keep him warmer at night? Also, after how long should I stop the lactulose? I am still waiting to get a call back from my vet but I will let you know what she says.

I appreciate your help!

Isma

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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:51 pm

What is the coil bulb? Is it a UVB or just another basking bulb?
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:53 pm

Its a second UVA/ UVB, he hangs around under it when he takes breaks from basking under his heat bulb. He has a 22 inch T5H towards the front of the tank but he never hangs out in that area, which is why I have a second cooler area with UVA/UVB( doesn't generate much heat but its warm) . Towards the extreme right hand side of the tank, there is nothing there in case he ends to be in the completely cool area of the tank but he doesn't go there (even in his former tank, he went from hot basking to under his uv bulb to cool then then back again) so I figured he likes doing this. Is that good for him or should I take it out?
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:29 pm

If the coil is a 13 watt please get rid of it--- they are a terrible bulb--- the T 5 is sooooo much better- just make sure your distance is 12-15 inches directly above the basking decor-- the 26 Reptisun bulb is the only coil that I know of that has not caused issues but it has to be in a reflective dome approx 6-8 inches above basking decor
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:50 pm

I took out the coil bulb its a Zilla 20 watt desert 50. So I have a reflective light fixture for the T5, is he getting sufficient UVA UVB even if he's not directly under it? I think I will take him back to the vet tomorrow afternoon I'm just so worried about him.
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:16 pm

As long as distance is good and to where she can at least sit close to being underneath-- that bulb is one of the best on the market at this time-- your reflector is going to help-- if he's pooping he's not impacted- NO ENEMAS--they often end in disaster
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:31 pm

He just likes to climb on the back wall near his basking light which is not under is UV tube (its a zoo med 10.0 is that a good brand?). The tube lamp is more in the middle of the tank. I attached another pic of where he hangs out and where his UV tube is...does it look good?

So the Zilla 50 is good? I read that Zilla bulbs aren't good (I did some more digging) unless its only the lower wattage ones. I just took it out in case because I'm feeling super paranoid.

Now I know he's not impacted (thank God!!) because he's pooping and eating soft foods and not completely rejecting it, but he is partially blocked. That lump bothers me a lot and poor baby is not eating any solids. This is my fault, he was so healthy and eating greens and crickets like a little beast...now he down to pureed food and small bits at a time. You can all understand how gut wrenched im feeling as he's doing OK but he's not his usual self i just know that he must be so uncomfortable :( i only want him to be back to his usual self but the time passing by is torturing me.

How long should I keep using the lactulose btw? Its going to be a full week tomorrow. Should I continue or is it too long ?

I read your threads about enemas and it scared the daylights out of me. At least the vet said his vitals are strong and bone density is excellent but how long does it take for a beardie to pass something that's stuck? Especially if its a larger cricket and chitin is hard, will it eventually break down in pieces or soften up then eventually poop it out? I suspect that he's only pooping out what I'm feeding him and not whatever is stuck in there because its soft just like the baby food I've been giving him and nothing hard is coming out.

Again, you are all so helpful, I am honestly overwhelmed by your kindness, thank you so much..

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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby KarrieRee » Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:38 pm

As long as the basking bulb is keeping temps to what they need to be 95-100 for a adult hes good- the UVB is what distance? For a T 5 it needs to be 12-15 inches directly above him for a T 8 distance should be 6-8 inches directly above him --- thats going to help w/ the digestion pooping issue -- the lactulose I am not sure Tracie will haft to answer that and I know she said NO long term so she can answer that one -- same w / the lump thing -- you might want to have the vet check it out just in case --
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:10 pm

His tank is 24 inches high and he's hanging by the upper part of the wall so he's pretty much within the needed range. I called again his vet but she's working the evening/ night shift for emergencies. I made it clear that she can call me back at any time. I'll see what she says and will take him back if she asks to re-examine. She didn't seem too concerned when she examined him and did the xrays, she sounded confident that he was going to pass the blockage, she said she felt some firmness in his belly but to give him lactulose and bathe him daily but it'll be a week tomorrow and the lump is still there so I don't know if I need to be more patient and it'll eventually pass or if we should try something else.

Also, up until when he got his new tank, his basking spot was a mercury vapor bulb but I couldn't use it in his new tank because it got the temps waaaaay too high in a matter of minutes. So he always had a good heating source. But I only started the pumpkin and prune a few days ago so maybe I should give that a little more time.

I pray for my little one to poo all of this out soon...I don't want him to get worst.
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:15 pm

His tank is 24 inches high and he's hanging by the upper part of the wall so he's pretty much within the needed range. I called again his vet but she's working the evening/ night shift for emergencies. I made it clear that she can call me back at any time. I'll see what she says and will take him back if she asks to re-examine. She didn't seem too concerned when she examined him and did the xrays, she sounded confident that he was going to pass the blockage, she said she felt some firmness in his belly but to give him lactulose and bathe him daily but it'll be a week tomorrow and the lump is still there so I don't know if I need to be more patient and it'll eventually pass or if we should try something else.

Also, up until when he got his new tank, his basking spot was a mercury vapor bulb but I couldn't use it in his new tank because it got the temps waaaaay too high in a matter of minutes. His old tank was all glass with a mesh top and his new tank is PVC with some vents so it retains heat like a hot box. So he always had a good heating source but i would take him out for about 2 hours a day to cuddle while I worked on my computer so that must have not helped :( . I'm only taking him out to exercise, feed and bathe so he's spending more time in his tank so he can stay warmer, longer and digest whatever is in his belly.

I started the pumpkin and prunes a few days ago so maybe I should give that a little more time especially since there's no more long periods of mommy cuddling.

I pray for my little one to poo all of this out soon...I don't want him to get worst. If anyone else has input or ideas please share your thoughts. Thanks again for your responses.
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*Happy update* :) 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:38 am

My little sugar boo pooped this morning and there was definitely some old stuff in there. For the most part it was jiggly and squishy (baby food) but there was a part that was harder, not hard per say, but fibrous and dark. I had to dig in it (pretty gross first thing in the morning, lol) but boy, it stunk to the high heavens and usually Twix doesn't smell at all. So whatever I am doing is finally starting to work because the old stuff seems to be breaking down.

Funny thing was I took him out to feed him his plum and pumpkin puree and let him exercise. He was running around, then he suddenly stopped, looked at me awkward then started to strain a little. My hubby and I were on the edge of our chairs as if we were watching a Hockey game waiting for a score, lol. I just ran up to the poop and took it to the washroom to conduct my analysis. Twix got a nice warm bath afterwards and I put him back in his tank to bask. I am soooo happy and relieved and hopeful!

Once the rest of it passes I will definitely take him for a follow up check up and poop test to make sure he's in the clear. Oh and believe me, I have learned an extremely valuable lesson, if it's too big, GET RID OF IT! No more risks, poor thing has been going through such a rough time, it's not over yet but at least it's starting to come out.

I will update you once it's all done. I can't wait for my little baby to be back to being his little ol' self... we're getting there ! :) :) thank you for your support ❤
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Drache613 » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:35 am

Hello,

Poor guy, it sounds like he is passing everything through so that is definitely progress! The
lactulose can be used for a few weeks at a time. It seems to be doing its job at the moment.
Has the lump gone down any yet?
Keep up with the soft foods as you are doing so his digestive system doesn't have to work
so hard. Remember, reptile GI tracts are slower than mammals' are so it tends to take a bit
longer for them to pass things through their systems.
Are you using the Zilla tube bulb now? We definitely recommend either the Reptisun 10 or
the Arcadia D3 12% or 14% tube. They have a T5 high output bulb which is a stronger counter
part of the older T8 model tube bulb.

Keep us posted on his progress!

Tracie
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Re: Help please!! 10 month old beardie partial blockage

Postby Twixiesmom » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:04 am

Hi Tracie,

The Zilla desert 50 was just a secondary bulb i was using for some extra UV. Hes always had a reptisun 10.0 T5 in there but he doesn't hang out under it, he's more against the wall where that secondary bulb was. I removed it though because I've seen some threads advising against thoae types of bulbs due to the harm it caused to some owners reptiles.

As another question, are all of those coil bulbs bad? I thought Zilla and Repti sun were good brands.. I also have a U shaped 13 watt 10.0 repti sun as a secondary bulb (brand new haven't used it) but now I'm scared that this might be bad for him. I wouldn't solely use them as a UV source but thought I'd pop them in as he doesn't hang out under his actual UV tube.

So now, he just has his basking light and Reptisun UV tube which has a reflector. I put a ceramic emitter to keep his temps around 27 degrees at night.

He pooped again this morning but it was just the baby food. At least it's breaking down, that's what was worrying me. But you are right, with slower metabolism, they will take more time to react to meds, digest etc..

The vet called me back yesterday actually and she told me the exact same thing, keep up with the soft foods and warm baths with belly rubs. She said that the blockage is in his GI tract and was surprised to see him that alert and active. We are both so lucky because we could have been dealing with a much worst situation. His lump has also gone down which is great!!

Twix has been so good, he squirms when I first put him in his bath but then settles down and stays in there for a solid 20 minutes. I also warm up the water at least 3 or 4 times to make sure it doesn't get cold. And Twix also loves the tummy rubs and just relaxes on my hand. He's such a big sweet baby... I will definitely keep you posted but it looks like we're heading in the right direction :)
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