Absolute Mystery Illness- Vets Are Baffled


BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3

Thank you for the advice everyone!

I cut the screen off so that the Reptisun is now unobstructed. I did this on Thursday since that was the soonest I saw the reply.

What white basking bulb do you recommend? I wasn't aware that the LuckyHerp isn't any good.

The good news is Percy only black bearded a couple times this week! But I haven't the time to observe him 24/7 so I don't know how accurate my observations are... ☹️

The bad news is that the vet still hasn't gotten back with me about medication and it's been an entire week now. This is frustrating. The other bad news is that he still gasps sometimes.

He especially does this after I try to get him to walk around. ☹️ I've been able to get him to walk around on my bed at times as well as in the bathtub when I spray his back...but other times he puffs up his body so I stop. I worry it causes him stress. The other thing I've been able to do is put him on a long cardboard box and tilt it. This will force him to move but he also starts gasping more even when he barely moves! What should I do?!

I tried taking him outdoors in a netted pen made for puppies and kittens to get some sunlight. (I opened the top so the sun would be unobstructed.) He immediately started gaping and puffing out his beard and then breathing heavily. So I took him in after a few minutes. That wasn't successful.

Also tried a video of another beardie waving...he started breathing heavily...lol...why would the waving stress him though? He's so weird.

As for swimming he doesn't really swim at all, just sits there. I never let it get too deep because he moves so little and I'm scared he would drown on accident. So I'm always extremely extremely careful....

Finally I got some silkworms and Milk thistle extract. He ate four small silkworms today and I put some of the other worms- the phoenix worms (BSFL) in the extract powder and he ate them that way.

How much of the extract should I be giving him? He didn't even get half a pill. (They are capsules so I take them out of the coating and so it's just powder. It's not actually a pill don't worry.) They say take two a day for adult humans.

I don't want to give him too much.

I just hope the vet gets back to me soon. I also don't know the severity of his disease.
The lucky herp is fine as long as it's keeping surface basking temps-- and it's a solid clear bright white as far as the other questions Tracie will need to answer them


BD.org Sicko
Staff member

Let us know what the vet says as to the extent of the liver disease.
Did he like the silkworms I hope? Most tend to like them & they are low fat & healthy so
he can have those on a regular basis or as you can get them. The Milk thistle should help
a lot for liver function. Does it have any strength or mg/ml listed on the label? If not, you
can give .5ml to 1ml daily.
That should help a lot by opening the top of the screen so the UVB can be stronger for him.
I'm not sure why the waving would stress him, it probably just worked him up! It is good to
be very careful of how deep you make the water for his bathtime & swimming so he doesn't
Let us know how things are going!



Juvie Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Rango Rocky Balboa


Beardie name(s)
Little Miss Poppins
Ihave read through your post and all comments. Your dragon very lucky to have you to take care of him. Also thank you for accepting the amazing advice and use it to give him the best chance of recovering. I have only just joined this so am a little late with advice.
I saw your vet diagnosed liver failure and had prescribed a few different medicines including antibiotics and pain killers not long before X-ray and clear blood tests. Was purely going the X-ray results? Because if it is hereditary it would have shown in the bloods. How ever they is multiple parasites will show the exact symptoms including liver failure, digestion and bowel problems..These sort of parasites can only be detected by having fecal tested.


Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Perseus "Percy"
Here's a short update on Percy:

I thought he was doing quite a bit better these past two weeks. The black bearding had lessened or even disappeared for a while. He also wasn't gasping as frequently.

I had a reptile expert vet from another city come to take a look at him. He noticed that the inside of his mouth directly under his nostrils was inflamed. I'm not sure what this area is called. I'd take a pic if I could but it's impossible for his mouth to stay open very long. As best as I can tell it's either the choana and or the Jacobson's organ. So the vet put Percy on .09 mL Ceftazidime injection under the skin on his sides. This is done once every three days alternating sides. He's been on this treatment for two weeks so far.

He said my husbandry and enclosure was good, although he did recommend a thermostat which I still haven't gotten due to some other bad things which happened in my life so far....

He also said Dubia roaches are better than silkworms, but Percy really did love the silkworms.

As for the liver disease, he said he can't rule it out but he is suspicious of the other vet's diagnosis. He felt Percy's stomach and didn't think his liver felt enlarged. Although he would need to do blood work and x-rays himself. He thinks the other vet, because that practice mainly works with cats and dogs, doesn't have the correct values established for bearded dragons and it's possible that they misdiagnosed Percy.

Since I couldn't afford it at the time I opted just to do the injections and see if there was improvement.

I thought he was improving a lot, but today he had a set back...

After I fed him some collard greens and he pooped in his cage, he started gasping a lot, which I hadn't seen him do that frequently in an entire week. ☹️ Then he started violently shaking his head! It looked exactly like the motion I've seen in videos where the beardie vomits, but he never vomited thankfully.

I'm really sad about this set back. He also blackbearded for about five minutes. I soaked him because he crawled in his poop and then his color turned back to normal.

It seems pretty likely I'll go back to the reptile expert and see if I can get blood work and x-rays to know exactly what's going on. ☹️

It's so frustrating and I've spent so much on him, I'm starting to worry they'll never figure it out. 😢


Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Perseus "Percy"
Edit: I should mention that the main person who worked on Percys case before I could see the expert did know quite a bit, but the one who took the Ultrasound really didn't seem to know what he was doing because he said reptiles have vestigial livers...🤦‍♀️

I never heard back from the vet about the extent of liver disease. I may try calling again although they've been unresponsive so I kinda have given up on them....
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