Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

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Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby Jtdelee37 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:16 pm

Hi all...

I recently was on craigslist and came upon a bearded dragon who was 2 years old and only 12 inches long... I asked the seller for more info, and discovered he was being "temporarily" housed in a ten gallon tank with no lighting or heat. I had the space and time so I decided to take him in and help the lil guy out. His underside was coated in his own poop when I picked him up, and the tank was recently emptied (likely to hide how dirty it probably was). When we got home I examined him a little closer. His jaw is a bit softer than my other bearded dragons' jaws but not as bad as some I've seen in the reptile world, and his arms and legs are sooo skinny. All of him is so skinny... He's 150 grams in total. I put him in a 40 gallon with a few hides/things to climb, a 36 inch uvb, and a basking bulb.

Literally 30 minutes after getting under the heat, he started to poop, right there on the basking spot. He looked like he was struggling to poop, was shaking and pushing, and then he did the strangest thing, lifted up both his back legs behind him as he pooped. This lasted for at LEAST 30 seconds. The product was the HUGEST pile I've ever seen from something so small, and it was soft and came with a pool of water.

Then, he pooped in his sleep last night... I did not see this take place.

THEN today I saw him trying to poop again. He didn't do the leg thing this time, but I was at a different/better angle, and I could now see that while he was straining, his insides were popping out of him... A decent blob of pink. Didn't look anything like a prolapse though... I am definitely no lizard anatomy expert, but it looked like intestines. This time, a laaarge pool of water and a bit of urate was the product, but no poop. A few minutes after he finished "pooping", his insides popped back in

WHAT ON EARTH is going on?? Straining, lifting up hind legs, insides coming out, large pools of water... Really wanna help this bug out, make his life as good as it can possibly be. Of course I'd rather avoid the vet, but I'm looking for genuine insight as to what is going on and why, and advice, and will take him to the vet if there's nothing I can do myself.

Thanks so much...
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:26 am

Poor little guy. What you were seeing was a prolapse, but fortunately it righted itself on its own. That is likely from straining and also being dehydrated and malnourished. It sounds like he's been through a rough time. I'm glad he's found his way to you for help.

Since he is malnourished, I'd first focus on keeping him hydrated. Offer small amounts of water by dripping on his nose to lick up several times per day. (smaller batches more frequently is better than a lot at once).

If he holds the water down, then try doing the same with some baby food. I've had good luck with squash, green beans, and sweet potato flavors. Those should provide some vitamins and nutrients while being easier to digest than solid foods. It's important to avoid a lot of protein for now so not to overwhelm his system. Keep up with that for a bit and let him spend time under his new lighting and try to gain some strength. Then you can slowly introduce some salad items/veges and see if he'll dig into those.
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby Jtdelee37 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:10 am

CooperDragon wrote:Poor little guy. What you were seeing was a prolapse, but fortunately it righted itself on its own. That is likely from straining and also being dehydrated and malnourished. It sounds like he's been through a rough time. I'm glad he's found his way to you for help.

Since he is malnourished, I'd first focus on keeping him hydrated. Offer small amounts of water by dripping on his nose to lick up several times per day. (smaller batches more frequently is better than a lot at once).

If he holds the water down, then try doing the same with some baby food. I've had good luck with squash, green beans, and sweet potato flavors. Those should provide some vitamins and nutrients while being easier to digest than solid foods. It's important to avoid a lot of protein for now so not to overwhelm his system. Keep up with that for a bit and let him spend time under his new lighting and try to gain some strength. Then you can slowly introduce some salad items/veges and see if he'll dig into those.


I've been giving him loads of baths for hydration but not actually trying to feed him water so I will start on that today! And the baby food.

Good to know about not giving him too much protein, I may have been misstepping there slightly but I will correct myself.

It really didn't look like a prolapse from the ones I've seen, which is why I was asking rather than assuming that's what it was. But perhaps thats just because of his issues, maybe his business looks a little different... I'm not sure. Is there anything else it may have been? Though a prolapse makes perfect sense!

Thank you SO MUCH for the advice!! So excited to see him start to improve. I'm already seeing it happen, even in his colors. This is him right when he got home, when i was scrubbing off the poop...
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And this is him after basking for an hour or so!
https://imgur.com/Xs4wb0O

Thanks again... If anyone has any additional advice I will gladly accept it!
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby Jtdelee37 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:14 am

Sorry, idk if the before photo worked, here it is
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https://imgur.com/VuSK3rv
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:14 am

Just make sure you have his basking temps taken w/ a digital probe thermometer and they are 95-100 for him -- UVB is correct distance and proper placement -- what are you using for a UVB brand and bulb please T 5 or T 8 they have certain distances for bulbs and placement
It sounds like hes doing good / w/ the proper care temps and UVB he should bounce back
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:39 pm

He looks pretty good based on the photos! Hopefully he will bounce back quickly and thrive under your care.
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby Jtdelee37 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:45 pm

CooperDragon wrote:He looks pretty good based on the photos! Hopefully he will bounce back quickly and thrive under your care.


Pretty good except the fact that he's half the size of my other male!! Haha, but all things considered, you're right, he looks pretty good. And here's to hoping he does indeed bounce back quickly!
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby Jtdelee37 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:20 pm

Update for anyone interested: I took him to the vet and found out a couple things. One, the vet thinks one of the reasons he's struggling to poop/prolapsing is simply because he's eating well but due to prior care, his pelvis didn't grow big enough to allow all that to come out easily. The second thing I found out is that he has quite a heavy load of pinworms, which apparently can cause prolapses as well. I started treatment today, and I'm hopeful for the retest in five weeks! He's eating well, VERY active (bobs his head a lot...), and he seems to be improving daily in different ways.

Here's an updated photo of him, giving us leg! Lol
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https://imgur.com/ZhReV9P
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 26, 2021 4:10 pm

Well at least you found out what was going on -- I would however take out that piece of log hes on -- your gonna haft to sanitize that tank every time he goes poop so its good to have bare minimum stuff in the tank stuff that is easily cleaned - the paper towels is good -- I would get some Zoo Meds Wipe Out or some Rescue disinfectant -- I would recommend F 10 but you cant find that stuff hardly anymore
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Re: Need advice on rescue I took in!!!

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Apr 27, 2021 4:02 am

I'm glad he is active. The pinworms should be relatively easy to treat with some Panacur. That doesn't tend to be too hard on dragons, which is good.
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