Anemic bearded dragon with low blood sugar and low protein, looking for help and advice

mikaela

Member
My bearded dragon, Sylvain, is 3 years old and has always had some issues. When I got him he was a year old, covered in his own poop and already had a stiff/bent tail due to metabolic bone disease. He has always had some issue going on with his stomach that makes his poop irregular, but the vet has never been able to figure it out so that’s become a normal thing with him. (I tried changing his diet, substrate, nothing ever fixed that.)
He’s dehydrated because he refuses to drink water despite having a water bowl so I have to get him to drink water myself. It’s not enough though, because he’s still dehydrated and I’m unsure how to fix that. The vet gave him fluids when we went in.

I just took him to the vet for an annual check-up and was told Sylvain is anemic (low blood cell count), has low blood sugar and low protein. He has never had these problems show up in the past times he’s had blood work done.

He’s been lethargic and resting/sleeping more recently, as well as eating less. A big concern of mine is that there’s an underlying issue we haven’t caught which is what’s causing his poop to be irregular and now this with the anemia, etc.

I did some research and saw that having their enclosure changed can cause stress and anemia, so I wanted to note that he did just get a new enclosure almost a month ago. It’s a 4’2’2 PVC enclosure with bioactive substrate, some beardie safe succulents, his water bowl, and branches. I’ll attach pictures at the end.

The vet tested my UVB bulb and it’s barely going at this point and apparently the brand hasn’t been doing good for a while now, so I wonder if the light has been bad for a while now and that is part of the issue? (I now have 2 new UVB lights ordered and on the way.)

Sylvain’s staple foods are collard greens, kale, dubia roaches, and butternut squash with occasional green beans and orange bell pepper. I’m planning on adjusting to collard greens, dandelion leaves, endive, dubia roaches, and butternut squash for staple foods, with the same occasional veggies and crickets.

The vet wants me to come in tomorrow to get antibiotics for Sylvain but he didn’t specify what kind, so I’m going to call before the appointment to ask.

I’m extremely worried and don’t know what the best course of action is or if I’m doing something wrong regarding Sylvain’s care, so I wanted to post here for input.

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
My bearded dragon, Sylvain, is 3 years old and has always had some issues. When I got him he was a year old, covered in his own poop and already had a stiff/bent tail due to metabolic bone disease. He has always had some issue going on with his stomach that makes his poop irregular, but the vet has never been able to figure it out so that’s become a normal thing with him. (I tried changing his diet, substrate, nothing ever fixed that.)
He’s dehydrated because he refuses to drink water despite having a water bowl so I have to get him to drink water myself. It’s not enough though, because he’s still dehydrated and I’m unsure how to fix that. The vet gave him fluids when we went in.

I just took him to the vet for an annual check-up and was told Sylvain is anemic (low blood cell count), has low blood sugar and low protein. He has never had these problems show up in the past times he’s had blood work done.

He’s been lethargic and resting/sleeping more recently, as well as eating less. A big concern of mine is that there’s an underlying issue we haven’t caught which is what’s causing his poop to be irregular and now this with the anemia, etc.

I did some research and saw that having their enclosure changed can cause stress and anemia, so I wanted to note that he did just get a new enclosure almost a month ago. It’s a 4’2’2 PVC enclosure with bioactive substrate, some beardie safe succulents, his water bowl, and branches. I’ll attach pictures at the end.

The vet tested my UVB bulb and it’s barely going at this point and apparently the brand hasn’t been doing good for a while now, so I wonder if the light has been bad for a while now and that is part of the issue? (I now have 2 new UVB lights ordered and on the way.)

Sylvain’s staple foods are collard greens, kale, dubia roaches, and butternut squash with occasional green beans and orange bell pepper. I’m planning on adjusting to collard greens, dandelion leaves, endive, dubia roaches, and butternut squash for staple foods, with the same occasional veggies and crickets.

The vet wants me to come in tomorrow to get antibiotics for Sylvain but he didn’t specify what kind, so I’m going to call before the appointment to ask.

I’m extremely worried and don’t know what the best course of action is or if I’m doing something wrong regarding Sylvain’s care, so I wanted to post here for input.

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I am sorry to hear about your dragon - please tell me what uvb you have coming- brand bulb and length- uvb is crucial to the dragons health and if it has been incorrect all this time is a good reason why he is not in good health- I don't see any temp gauges in the tank another crucial item- please get 2 digital probe thermometers place one on the cool side of the tank and one on the spot he sits to.bask- you want surface basking temps--95-100 crucial to his health and digestion issues- you don't need to leave the probe there but spit check every 10 days- heat bulbs loose their strength - as far as the health issues I am going to flag to Tracie our vet tech mod she can help you there-- but first and foremost we need to get your uvb correctly placed and distanced- you will see a difference in his behavior and appetite - dragons will not eat w/ out proper uvb and basking temps- @Drache613
 
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mikaela

Member
Original Poster
I am sorry to hear about your dragon - please tell me what uvb you have coming- brand bulb and length- uvb is crucial to the dragons health and if it has been incorrect all this time is a good reason why he is not in good health- I don't see any temp gauges in the tank another crucial item- please get 2 digital probe thermometers place one on the cool side of the tank and one on the spot he sits to.bask- you want surface basking temps--95-100 crucial to his health and digestion issues- you don't need to leave the probe there but spit check every 10 days- heat bulbs loose their strength - as far as the health issues I am going to flag to Tracie our vet tech mod she can help you there-- but first and foremost we need to get your uvb correctly placed and distanced- you will see a difference in his behavior and appetite - dragons will not eat w/ out proper uvb and basking temps- @Drache613
I have an Arcadia Prot5 48” 12% UVB kit and a Exo Terra Solar Glo 160W UVA UVB bulb ordered. I have a thermometer in there but it’s not shown in the picture, the current bulb I have for heat doesn’t have it at the proper temperature since the enclosure is larger, which is why I bought another to fix that. Both should be arriving this week. Thank you!
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
I have an Arcadia Prot5 48” 12% UVB kit and a Exo Terra Solar Glo 160W UVA UVB bulb ordered. I have a thermometer in there but it’s not shown in the picture, the current bulb I have for heat doesn’t have it at the proper temperature since the enclosure is larger, which is why I bought another to fix that. Both should be arriving this week. Thank you!
Ok good bulbs - please put your pro T 5 inside your tank directly above the basking decor 12-15 inches - the solar glo are you going to set on the screen? W/ the pro T 5 you really don't need the mvb - a regular solid bright white basking bulb would be good and less expensive
 

mikaela

Member
Original Poster
Ok good bulbs - please put your pro T 5 inside your tank directly above the basking decor 12-15 inches - the solar glo are you going to set on the screen? W/ the pro T 5 you really don't need the mvb - a regular solid bright white basking bulb would be good and less expensive
Will do, and yes I was going to set the Solar Glo on the screen. I ordered that one because the vet said 2 UVB bulbs would be good because of the size of the enclosure, but he didn’t discuss brands with me or anything so he might not know specifics. Should I not get the Solar Glo and just go for a regular basking bulb? I’m unsure what wattage to get because I currently have 150w and that doesn’t have the enclosure hot enough (it gets up to the high 70s at most), what do you think would be good to use with the 150w to get it to the right temperature? I tried 80w with it and that wasn’t enough either.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
Will do, and yes I was going to set the Solar Glo on the screen. I ordered that one because the vet said 2 UVB bulbs would be good because of the size of the enclosure, but he didn’t discuss brands with me or anything so he might not know specifics. Should I not get the Solar Glo and just go for a regular basking bulb? I’m unsure what wattage to get because I currently have 150w and that doesn’t have the enclosure hot enough (it gets up to the high 70s at most), what do you think would be good to use with the 150w to get it to the right temperature? I tried 80w with it and that wasn’t enough either.
Summer 150 watt should be good please get the digital probe thermometers they are the most accurate before you do anything- you don't want to over uvb your dragon-- I have a zen and at the moment have 2 basking areas set up- one hotter side and one in the middle of the tank behind my uvb - that area sits in the 90's-- basking hot side has a gradient heat- I will post a pic of it tomorrow so you can see- but please get the probes to get your temps
 

mikaela

Member
Original Poster
Summer 150 watt should be good please get the digital probe thermometers they are the most accurate before you do anything- you don't want to over uvb your dragon-- I have a zen and at the moment have 2 basking areas set up- one hotter side and one in the middle of the tank behind my uvb - that area sits in the 90's-- basking hot side has a gradient heat- I will post a pic of it tomorrow so you can see- but please get the probes to get your temps
Alright, I’ll order another 150 watt basking bulb instead of the extra UVB. Thank you so much for your help!
 

xp29

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
I have 2 beardies that wont drink without motivation. The trick i use is to mix just a little none citrus fruit punch in the water, i also put liquid calcium in it because my rescue will not eat anything dusted. (If i do dust i give her hornworms i wet the bottom so it holds more calcium and or vitamins so she cant see it) i use an eye dropper to drip the mix on the nose, usually that works. If it doesn't i gently pull their bottom lip down towards the back and drop just a little on their gums. As soon as they taste it they start lapping and i can go back to dripping on the nose. If you try that be careful not to aspirate him by forcing to much into his mouth. Just mix in enough fruit punch to give it a little flavor, you want him to drink the water not the punch.
I hope this helps with hydration :)

Oh if you dont have an eye dropper you can get them in the baby section at any pharmacy ir box store
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

You do have a nice tank, great size. It would be fine to use the Solar Glo MVB too, if you did
want to use that in combination with the Arcadia D3 12% T5 tube. A regular basking bulb will
be fine as well.
If you have a copy of the blood test results, if you can post them here that would be great. If
there isn't good evidence of infection, I would be hesitant to just automatically medicate him for
an infection if it isn't present.
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
 

mikaela

Member
Original Poster
Hello,

You do have a nice tank, great size. It would be fine to use the Solar Glo MVB too, if you did
want to use that in combination with the Arcadia D3 12% T5 tube. A regular basking bulb will
be fine as well.
If you have a copy of the blood test results, if you can post them here that would be great. If
there isn't good evidence of infection, I would be hesitant to just automatically medicate him for
an infection if it isn't present.
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
When I call the vet I’ll ask for a copy of the blood test results to be emailed to me, I was hesitant about the medication since they didn’t say anything about an infection being present and I don’t want to give him anything that ends up being unnecessary or would possibly negatively effect his health. I know some antibiotics can cause dehydration or upset stomachs which is a worry. I’ll keep you updated and reply with his blood test results when I get them, thank you so much!

Edit: I called and they said they want to give him antibiotics because there’s toxicity in his white blood cells. Do you know what can cause this and if the antibiotics would be good? Still waiting on the blood test results so I can post them.
 
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mikaela

Member
Original Poster
I have 2 beardies that wont drink without motivation. The trick i use is to mix just a little none citrus fruit punch in the water, i also put liquid calcium in it because my rescue will not eat anything dusted. (If i do dust i give her hornworms i wet the bottom so it holds more calcium and or vitamins so she cant see it) i use an eye dropper to drip the mix on the nose, usually that works. If it doesn't i gently pull their bottom lip down towards the back and drop just a little on their gums. As soon as they taste it they start lapping and i can go back to dripping on the nose. If you try that be careful not to aspirate him by forcing to much into his mouth. Just mix in enough fruit punch to give it a little flavor, you want him to drink the water not the punch.
I hope this helps with hydration :)

Oh if you dont have an eye dropper you can get them in the baby section at any pharmacy ir box store
I’ve never heard of that, I’ll definitely try it out thank you! It typically works when I do that with just water, but sometimes he still refuses to drink. Maybe that would help with his motivation to actually drink water and not be stubborn about it. (He’s got an attitude haha)
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Thanks, we will look forward to seeing the blood test results. How is he doing this evening?
Infection can be caused by a number of things, from improper basking temperatures or humidity,
or a simple infestation or high counts of coccidia, etc. High parasite levels can contribute to
anemic conditions because they "steal" nutrition & that alone is enough to elevate stress levels
in them.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
 

mikaela

Member
Original Poster
Hello,

Thanks, we will look forward to seeing the blood test results. How is he doing this evening?
Infection can be caused by a number of things, from improper basking temperatures or humidity,
or a simple infestation or high counts of coccidia, etc. High parasite levels can contribute to
anemic conditions because they "steal" nutrition & that alone is enough to elevate stress levels
in them.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
He seems to be doing alright, I had him out and he was walking all over me like he always does. Still a bit lethargic though, I got another 150w bulb and am hoping it’ll fix the temperature.
Update: I took him in to get antibiotics today for the toxicity in his white blood cells, they said to give him an injection every three days. The antibiotic they prescribed is Ceftazidime.
I also got an infrared thermometer to get a better grasp of the temperature in his enclosure, it’s about 110 to 95 in the basking areas, and 80 on the cool side. The Arcadia UVB kit arrived but the bulb is broken, so now I have to wait for the company to respond and have to get a new one…
He’s still active like he always is when he’s out, crawls all over me and walks around. I still don’t really understand what’s causing the low protein and low blood sugar, does that just have to do with his diet? Or are there multiple causes for that as well? I forgot to ask when I was there. Thank you for your help!
Another update: They ran a fecal test and found Protozoa, they said not an alarming amount but enough that they’re going to treat him for that as well. They’ve never found anything off in fecal tests with him before so this is a first. I’m going to pick up the medicine tomorrow morning, I forgot the name after the call ended but I do know it started with M.
 
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