Is it time to find a vet??

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Is it time to find a vet??

Postby katk » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:13 pm

My beardie Tofi has changed his eating habits over the last month and I'm concerned. (I recently posted about this and asked if he might be brumating.) We've had him about 7 months and up until about a month ago, he would eat ~15-30 dubia roaches and greens a day. Over the last month he gradually stopped eating the dubia to the point now where he refuses them even when I try to hand feed him. He won't touch his greens. He'll now only eat a few mealworms a day, and only if I patiently hand-feed him. He also likes to spend half his day on his log in the cooler side of his tank. The store we bought him from guessed he was 3-4 months old so we think he's 10-11 months old now. Here are the details of his set-up:

-55 gallon tank
-white basking lamp, 10.0 T5 tube reptisun UVB over most of the tank (he also gets natural sunlight through the window)
-basking temp 95-105, cool side 75-85 (sometimes can drop to 73-74 during the day)
-reptile carpet substrate; various logs and a hiding spot

He looks okay to me, but just won't eat. We went out of town last week and I took his weight before leaving- he was 375 grams. We had someone checking on him every day and replenishing his greens and trying to feed him worms and dubia to no avail. We returned last night and now he weighs 365 grams. What should we do?
I've added a pic I just took of him. [Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:29 pm

I see hes clear to the top of his tank that tells me something is off w/ the lighting and I am thinking its the UVB - the screen on the tank is a fine mesh like a screen door or a wide hole type? If its a fine mesh the T 5 needs to go inside the tank its blocking 30% of those rays -- inside the tank it should be 12-15 inches directly above his basking decor piece -- the lighting looks very dim-- how are you taking basking temps? NO stickons they are inaccurate you need a digital probe thermometer to get accurate temps--- if hes losing weight that is not good -- get your lighting fixed and temps corrected - cool side during the day should be 80's -- the ones you have now are for night time --- you want temps for basking 95-100 for him -- but they must be taken w/a digital probe thermometer -- you should see improvement w/ his behavior right away when you get your lighting fixed -- they wont eat if its off - the UVB helps him process his calcium -- IF this does not fix the issue of not eating its possible he has parasites but we need to get the lighting and temps fixed first -- then go from there
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby katk » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:09 pm

Yes, we use digital probes. It's actually not dim in there at all- was just hard to get a good pic because it's kind of backlit. I can try moving the UVB inside or something- but my question is, if his set up has been like this for 6 months why would it just now start causing problems?
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:18 pm

It usually takes that long -- sometimes dragons will show signs sooner -- they will hide their illness for a long time its good you noticed it now cuz it will continue to get worse as time goes on -- they are notorious for hiding their illness its a instinct thing --
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby katk » Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:41 pm

Thanks, Karrie, got it.
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby Gail » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:02 pm

Seeing that he is a large and chubby dragon, you might look into a basking area that is more comfortable for him to lay on.
That vertical stick is fine for babies but he needs better support now.

I'm also going to suggest lowering the temps a tiny bit 90-95. Adults don't need the higher temps that babies do and I've never had a adult consistently bask at 100+

You can also try some new feeders. Its not uncommon for a dragon to get burned out eating the same insect. Silkworms, black solder fly larvae, hornworms, superworms are all something to try.
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby katk » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:08 pm

Another question: the UVB is only covering about 2/3 of his tank currently- does it need to cover the entire area? We might also need a larger UVB.
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:11 pm

No you do not want a longer UVB -- they need to be able to get out of the rays w/ out hiding from them but at this point where hes sitting he needs the UVB as hes not getting hardly any w/ it being on top of the screen --- once you get it placed in the tank w/ a distance of 12-15 inches directly above his basking decor then his behavior will change -- then you can work on diet -- but I do agree he needs better decor for basking on --- something that would give a gradient heat like this from Pet Smart is good this piece can be placed in the tank w/ the stick part laying on the floor of the tank and the big trunk part under the basking lamp- it will give different spots for him to pick a temp as well
https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/habita ... gid=500116
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby katk » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:26 pm

Okay, thanks. We want to get rid of that basking log anyway because it has WAY too many hiding places for dubia. Man, the money you can waste on the wrong gear when you're a first-time Beardie owner! It's so frustrating because we get conflicting or incorrect advice from store owners who claim to be experts too.

We'll work on the UVB placement for now and see if he starts eating again. If he doesn't improve after that I'll circle back.

I love my Tofi, but jeez, this is harder than any pet I've ever had!
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:32 pm

Yes they are and they sell them to kids --- they say they are a kids pets --- uhhhhhhhhhh NO - we get so many parents on here coming w/ sick dragons saying the its the kids pet and its either not being taken care of or the husbandry is all wrong etc etc etc -----
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby katk » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:54 pm

LOL isn't that the truth! We actually got him because my kid was begging us for a new pet when our last kitty passed away in June. We weren't ready for a new furry pet and we read these were great for kids. :lol: (Plus I always thought lizards were so cool!)

Fast forward to the present and my kid wants nothing to do with him and I do all the care because my husband forgets- so I'm left obsessing over him because I can't ever tell if we've gotten things right! I'm beginning to think nothing can ever be perfect enough for them...
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:28 pm

Once you get the basking temps and UVB in order everything else will fall into place
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby katk » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:09 am

Are we absolutely sure this can't be brumating behavior? He often won't wake up until later in the afternoon. Today he's been just sitting in the same spot where he went to sleep on the cool side of his tank on the floor. He's just been staring out the window since 8 am and not moving.
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:26 am

Not enough UVB will present this same behavior- thats why we always go over the UVB and basking temps first before we determine if its actually brumation --- w/ him sitting clear to the top of the tank under the UVB tells me hes not getting enough UVB --- basking distance for a T 5 on top of a wide hole screen would be 8-10 inches hes way closer to that where hes sitting - T5 's are strong bulbs so w/ him being that close hes trying to get to those rays -- inside that tank it would be 12-15 inches directly under the UVB -- please readjust your UVB -- then watch his behavior
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Re: Is it time to find a vet??

Postby Gail » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:10 pm

No one can say with 100% certainty that its not brumation but its a very low chance this time of year.
It could be a number of things, lighting is the easiest and cheapest thing to fix first and its often the culprit.

When I was given my baby, he came with the wrong uvb and he spent all his time as high as he could get, never basking proper.
Got a good uvb and now he is basking and eating normally.
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