Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

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Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby savannahlou » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:19 pm

Hello. I am having some problems with one of my Dragons. He is about 3 months old. I feel I've exhausted a ton of options. Colt has had pooping issues since the beginning. I have 2 other Dragons that do very well and have grown into nice healthy adults. Here is his care:
20 gallon tank for now. He's still small.
Reptisun 10.0 T8 mounted inside.
90 ambient on the warm side, 80 on the cool side.
Basking spot at 100
Humidity 32%
Non adhesive shelf liner
Fed small Dubia roaches
Collard Greens & Butternut squash

Here is the problem. He seems to always be impacted. Ever since I've had him I've had to give tummy massages and warm baths. It started with me noticing no poop for a day. So I shrugged it off. It went to 2 days. I got him some squash baby food and some warn baths. Eventually he went. Next time it ended up being 4 days without a bowel movement. Repeated this. He eventually went. It ended up becoming a week apart. I got him into the vet and the fecal came back clean because he decided to poop on the car ride there. He ended up getting a shot of fluids and the vet said our care was perfect and the little guy looked healthy. The scenario repeated of another week with no poop. He went back to the vet. This time he was given another shot. Also an enema was given but all we got was a urate out of that. The vet prescribed Lactulose and Metoclopramide for 3 days. After the first dose of metoclopramide we got a bowel movement with a decent amount of poop. We got a bowel movement eveyday he took the metoclopramide. After the treatment his bowel movements got smaller and smaller until they just stopped again. I have tried raising the Basking temp. Lowering it. Pumpkin. Honey. Mineral Oil. No solids, only Reptaboost. He stays super hydrated. The only thing he is passing is urates. Warm baths and tummy massages result in urates. I can feel the stuff in there. It goes from soft, like there is nothing there, to a hard ball. Constantly. I'm not sure what is going on. I'm lost on what to do. I have tried so many things that I probably am missing some things I've tried. I have even replaced a brand new UVB bulb for another brand new one. He's not growing like he should because he's missing out on eating all of the good protien he can. He's gets calcium, always has. I'm not sure anyone can help. I don't know if it's weak digestive muscles or if he possibly has a narrow digestive tract?
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby AHBD » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:36 pm

Poor little guy . Hi there, a few Q's to start. How big is the baby, how long have you had him and how big are the roaches compared to him ? Also how many is he eating ? Can you post pics of one next to him ? Is he on loose substrate ? Here's how to post pics :

http://www.cafepress.com/beardiestuff Then use the XIMG to upload them

It is possible that he has a defect in his digestive tract but beardies have such high metabolisms I would think that he would just have more frequent but smaller poos, like 3 X a day rather than this. So it is perplexing. BTW, be careful about enemas, they can kill a dragon.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby savannahlou » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:01 pm

AHBD wrote:Poor little guy . Hi there, a few Q's to start. How big is the baby, how long have you had him and how big are the roaches compared to him ? Also how many is he eating ? Can you post pics of one next to him ? Is he on loose substrate ? Here's how to post pics :

http://www.cafepress.com/beardiestuff Then use the XIMG to upload them

It is possible that he has a defect in his digestive tract but beardies have such high metabolisms I would think that he would just have more frequent but smaller poos, like 3 X a day rather than this. So it is perplexing. BTW, be careful about enemas, they can kill a dragon.



I'm not sure about his exact length. I'd have to measure him. I'll weigh and measure him later and post it. The roaches are the tiniest in my colony. From newborn to maybe one shed after newborn. He gobbles them down but because of his poop problems, when I do give him roaches I limit it to about 15. I've had him for 3 months about.When I got him I believe he was really young, 2 weeks at the least. Too young in my opinion. He has never been on loose substrate. Not even paper towel. He's always been on non adhesive shelf liner.

I'm just stumped. The metoclopramide seemed to work. Which worries me because I've read it's for acid reflux all the way to paralyzed GI Tracts. I make sure when I give him a bath that he's moving around a lot to get things moving. Just earlier he passed a urate and some clear liquid, but again no poop.

Here he is when I first got him. I'm sure you can compare with the probe. [Click image to enlarge]


Him a couple of weeks after that. [Click image to enlarge]


Here he is at his vet appointment a couple of weeks ago. He thinned out because he had a bowel movement on the way there. We could still feel more in there. [Click image to enlarge]


There is some growth but by his age my Dixie was twice his size. I'm very worried. The growth I feel has to do with him not being able to eat as much as he wants or should. His poor tummy. It goes from being soft, like there's nothing there, to there being a ball or harder area. I massage his right side frequently.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:49 am

How are you measuring these temperatures ?

What is the feeding schedule you are trying to get him onto ? 3 month old should on meals of insects per day.

Substrate ?

I have a hunch there are issues with temperatures and his metabolic rate might be a result of this.

I'm a bit worried about the use of metoclopramide , was this prescribed by a reptile vet ? Doseage you have been giving.
The side effects of this stuff are pretty rough for humans , I expect even worse for a very young dragon.
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
CBDs: Puff (M)(RIP 10Dec2015),Rex (F)(RIP 16Mar2017),Toothless (M)(RIP 26Nov2017).Peppa (F) (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (M)(wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (F)(rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, over 8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy (F) 4y old when rescued 14Nov2017 my little livewire , ubertame, thriving and very happy .
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:54 am

savannahlou wrote:Hello. I am having some problems with one of my Dragons. He is about 3 months old. I feel I've exhausted a ton of options. Colt has had pooping issues since the beginning. I have 2 other Dragons that do very well and have grown into nice healthy adults. Here is his care:
20 gallon tank for now. He's still small.
Reptisun 10.0 T8 mounted inside.
<<<< how far from the basking spot ?
<<<< reflector hood used ?


90 ambient on the warm side, 80 on the cool side.
Basking spot at 100
>>>> how are measuring these temperatures ?
Humidity 32%
Non adhesive shelf liner
Fed small Dubia roaches <<<< exactly how big in relation the distance between his eyes ?
Collard Greens & Butternut squash

Here is the problem. He seems to always be impacted. Ever since I've had him I've had to give tummy massages and warm baths. It started with me noticing no poop for a day. So I shrugged it off. It went to 2 days. I got him some squash baby food and some warn baths. Eventually he went. Next time it ended up being 4 days without a bowel movement. Repeated this. He eventually went. It ended up becoming a week apart. I got him into the vet and the fecal came back clean because he decided to poop on the car ride there. He ended up getting a shot of fluids and the vet said our care was perfect and the little guy looked healthy. The scenario repeated of another week with no poop. He went back to the vet. This time he was given another shot. Also an enema was given but all we got was a urate out of that. The vet prescribed Lactulose and Metoclopramide for 3 days. After the first dose of metoclopramide we got a bowel movement with a decent amount of poop. We got a bowel movement eveyday he took the metoclopramide. After the treatment his bowel movements got smaller and smaller until they just stopped again. I have tried raising the Basking temp. Lowering it. Pumpkin. Honey. Mineral Oil. No solids, only Reptaboost. He stays super hydrated. The only thing he is passing is urates. Warm baths and tummy massages result in urates. I can feel the stuff in there. It goes from soft, like there is nothing there, to a hard ball. Constantly. I'm not sure what is going on. I'm lost on what to do. I have tried so many things that I probably am missing some things I've tried. I have even replaced a brand new UVB bulb for another brand new one. He's not growing like he should because he's missing out on eating all of the good protien he can. He's gets calcium, always has. I'm not sure anyone can help. I don't know if it's weak digestive muscles or if he possibly has a narrow digestive tract?
CBDs: Puff (M)(RIP 10Dec2015),Rex (F)(RIP 16Mar2017),Toothless (M)(RIP 26Nov2017).Peppa (F) (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (M)(wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (F)(rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, over 8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy (F) 4y old when rescued 14Nov2017 my little livewire , ubertame, thriving and very happy .
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby AHBD » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:53 am

He's a cute little guy, looks like a trans. leatherback possibly. Where did you get him ? You say you've tried a higher temp. already ? I agree that if he was 2 weeks old it was too young to sell but it would still not be the cause of his problem.

You might try getting some Repashy grub pie for him + continue with the baby food squash mixed in. Offer only 5-6 dubias at a time so they digest quickly and he'll be hungry enough for the grub pie. These very soft foods might go through more easily. Try small Phoenix worms as well.

I'm also concerned about giving him the metroclopramide [ aka Reglan, ] it can have side effects. Pretty amazing that the vet can dose it for such a tiny animal. My 92 year old dad was on it for gastroparesis when he was dying from cancer and it did help but of course it was short term . But anyway, if you can get him to poo without that [ even if the poos are far apart ] it would be best. Of course you want your baby to be O.K. so you're going with what's prescribed.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby savannahlou » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:36 am

kingofnobbys wrote:How are you measuring these temperatures ?

What is the feeding schedule you are trying to get him onto ? 3 month old should on meals of insects per day.

Substrate ?

I have a hunch there are issues with temperatures and his metabolic rate might be a result of this.

I'm a bit worried about the use of metoclopramide , was this prescribed by a reptile vet ? Doseage you have been giving.
The side effects of this stuff are pretty rough for humans , I expect even worse for a very young dragon.



He's got a messed up feeding schedule right now because I don't want it to keep biulding up. He is on non adhesive shelf liner, always has been. I measure his temps with a digital probe thermometer and also a temp gun. It was prescribed by a vet. It was only taken for 3 days. It was 0.05 ml one time a day. He pooped everyday while on it, normal poops.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby savannahlou » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:46 am

AHBD wrote:He's a cute little guy, looks like a trans. leatherback possibly. Where did you get him ? You say you've tried a higher temp. already ? I agree that if he was 2 weeks old it was too young to sell but it would still not be the cause of his problem.

You might try getting some Repashy grub pie for him + continue with the baby food squash mixed in. Offer only 5-6 dubias at a time so they digest quickly and he'll be hungry enough for the grub pie. These very soft foods might go through more easily. Try small Phoenix worms as well.

I'm also concerned about giving him the metroclopramide [ aka Reglan, ] it can have side effects. Pretty amazing that the vet can dose it for such a tiny animal. My 92 year old dad was on it for gastroparesis when he was dying from cancer and it did help but of course it was short term . But anyway, if you can get him to poo without that [ even if the poos are far apart ] it would be best. Of course you want your baby to be O.K. so you're going with what's prescribed.


He's a trans. I got him from a Reptile show, from a breeder. I've raised the temp, nothing changed. Dropped the temp, no difference. I've been so stumped. New bulbs in case I got a faulty one. Another fellow owner and me went as far as to say maybe the calcium is acting like a TUM in a way? My next thought actually was get him started on BSFL so I can test that. I've even switched calcium types. The Dubia I'm feeding him are actually very tiny. Newborn and maybe some a shed after a newborn. He could handle a bigger size at this point if it wasn't for the digestion problems.

I've been doing possibly everything I can think of.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby AHBD » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:04 am

I can imagine how disturbing this is for you. Keep doing your best, you're certainly exploring all options and he at least is doing well for his situation.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby savannahlou » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:19 am

AHBD wrote:I can imagine how disturbing this is for you. Keep doing your best, you're certainly exploring all options and he at least is doing well for his situation.


It makes me feel bad because he has such a huge appetite and would gobble up a ton of dubia if I let him. He is active and lively. Nothing bothers him. He's not sluggish in any way. Which I notice most of the time with something similar to this, that they have other problems like not eating. You couldn't tell anything was wrong if you didn't know he just doesn't poop. I'm taking him to another vet for a second opinion. This one has a clinic specifically for exotics, while very pricey, I just want him to get better.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby AHBD » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:48 pm

I wonder maybe if you let him eat a whole bunch of the baby roaches if it might actually prompt him to poo more quickly ? Since he's not straining to poo but just taking long periods in between maybe try that.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby savannahlou » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:22 am

AHBD wrote:I wonder maybe if you let him eat a whole bunch of the baby roaches if it might actually prompt him to poo more quickly ? Since he's not straining to poo but just taking long periods in between maybe try that.

I've been thinking about that. Maybe help push it through? It's scary though because I don't want to create more blockage in his tummy because I'm not entirely sure if he's even blocked. He doesn't try to poop. He gets the urate out and just stops like he's finished. I'll give his some Reptaboost with some Mineral oil before I give him some so that it will make it easier for him to get it out.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby savannahlou » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:47 pm

Today he threw up. I'm almost positive this is throw up and now his stomach feels empty. This has to be what I'm feeling in there. He had a very tiny poop yesterday in the bath. I'm so very confused and worried about him. He's not acting wierd at all. [Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby AHBD » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:25 pm

Aw, poor little one, that does look like vomit. I think you should try Phoenix worms now to see if there might be any change. Poor little sweetie is a real trooper though. I think it's possible that he does have some G.I abnormality such as a narrowing of the tract somewhere.

At least he doesn't act sickly, that's a plus. BTW, I know the roaches are small but could you post a pic of them next to a coin. I don't doubt that they're as you described but I'd just like to double check. But it seems like Phoenix worms are the next thing to try. Maybe even baby crickets and or just the tiniest fresh shed roaches.


If he DOES have a G.I malformation it might correct itself a bit as he grows or he may have to live his life with specialized care.
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Re: Digestion problems, don't know what to do at this point.

Postby jjkima » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:58 pm

This is a tricky one, how much calcium are you giving him? A multivitamin?
Try changing up his salads and adding diversity. Mine eat mustard or turnip greens, sometimes collards, butternut squash and green bell peppers.
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