baby bearded dragon appears to be dying

lizardlauren

New member
Beardie name(s)
harold
hi everyone, im posting here because im very concerned about the health of my girlfriends baby bearded dragon, harold. we adopted harold together from a reputable reptile store. he was very little when we got him, probably 2 months max. she has had him for about a month, and the whole time it seems like hes been on a slow decline. im not sure what the exact details of his setup are, but he has a reptile carpet, a rock hide, and a log to bask on, where he spends most of his time. he has a uv bulb and basking lamp, im not sure the exact wattage but we bought what the store employee recommended. we live in southern california, so it doesn’t get too cold at night, either. my girlfriend cleans out his cage regularly, so his hygiene is good. he gets regular baths and drinks a good amount of water each time. he gets fed wax worms and crickets, each dusted with calcium powder.

when we adopted harold, he was being housed with another dragon from his clutch, who was clearly the more dominant one and was a good bit bigger than him. we took pity on him, being the little guy, and assumed that whatever stress he experienced from bullying would not be an issue once he was settled in. he was very stressed and angry when we first brought him home, but after a few days of being there he perked up. he liked to be held and would snuggle with us, and he ate normally. well, sort of. he was never the best eater, but at the start, as long as u flicked his food around a little, he would eat fine. he seemed to be growing okay.

flash forward a few weeks and harold decides he is done with worms completely. so, we buy a bunch of crickets and he has a little feast. hes happy to eat them the first time. the next day, he eats them, but only when we put his feeding container in his enclosure and leave him alone. makes sense, he doesnt wanna be stressed out. he stops eating the crickets too, though, after like a week. we gave him a few days then started forcefeeding reptaboost to try to bring his appetite back, which doesn’t work. i think its important to note that he was pooping regularly when he was eating. anyway, at this time hes also acting grumpier when hes handled and is less active. we assumed he just wasnt being properly socialized because my girlfriend was spending a lot of time at my house, so he wasn’t getting handled a lot. he just seems like an extremely stressed lizard at this point, always puffing up, not eating, and has stress marks all over his belly. he does live in a house with a cat and a dog, but they dont go in the room that hes held in very often, and they are quickly shooed away if theyre ever near his cage.

anyways, one day after a bath, harold was feeling particularly frisky. I was letting him hang out on my sweater, and he climbed all over my neck and up on to my head. I shouldn’t have let him do that, I know, and I kept grabbing him to move him down but he would just keep doing it. I figured it was fine, as he climbs all over us a lot, but usually we are sitting or laying down, and I was standing this time. anyway, my worst nightmare happens and he fell off, on his back. I flipped him over right away and he still seemed energetic and was crawling all over the floor. I put him on my leg so he could run around on me and he was acting fine, until he suddenly started slowing down and appeared to lose his sense of balance. he kept wobbling and falling over, until eventually he went limp. I was panicking and my girlfriend and I both thought he had died. I was going crazy with guilt, screaming and sobbing and completely inconsolable. that is, until the little turd picked his head up. we put him back in his cage and the next day he was back to his previous baseline.

all was fine for a few weeks, he was getting by off of forcefeeding and eating a few crickets and he even started shedding! but all of a sudden, these past few days he has taken a turn for the worse. hes sleeping all the time and is barely responsive at feeding and bath time. forcefeeding isn’t really working; he won’t swallow. hes hiding behind his rock all the time and he just seems like hes given up. I know its not ideal, but my girlfriend and her family are just not in a financial position where they can take him to the vet. I know that it’s irresponsible to adopt a lizard when that is the case, but she has had bearded dragons before that have lived long happy lives without seeing the vet. anyway, I really feel like we’ve done all we can for the little guy and hes just not gonna make it. why did this happen? besides his fall, did we make any husbandry mistakes? could it be the bullying? I feel so guilty and even though he survived his tumble I blame myself for his poor condition. I just feel terrible for the little liz and I dont want him to be in any pain. I love him, and hes the first reptile ive ever really “had”, even though he is technically my girlfriend’s. I just dont know what to do and I am losing sleep over it (posting this at 2 am). advice and explanations would be really helpful :(
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 5 and Blaze is 3
hi everyone, im posting here because im very concerned about the health of my girlfriends baby bearded dragon, harold. we adopted harold together from a reputable reptile store. he was very little when we got him, probably 2 months max. she has had him for about a month, and the whole time it seems like hes been on a slow decline. im not sure what the exact details of his setup are, but he has a reptile carpet, a rock hide, and a log to bask on, where he spends most of his time. he has a uv bulb and basking lamp, im not sure the exact wattage but we bought what the store employee recommended. we live in southern california, so it doesn’t get too cold at night, either. my girlfriend cleans out his cage regularly, so his hygiene is good. he gets regular baths and drinks a good amount of water each time. he gets fed wax worms and crickets, each dusted with calcium powder.

when we adopted harold, he was being housed with another dragon from his clutch, who was clearly the more dominant one and was a good bit bigger than him. we took pity on him, being the little guy, and assumed that whatever stress he experienced from bullying would not be an issue once he was settled in. he was very stressed and angry when we first brought him home, but after a few days of being there he perked up. he liked to be held and would snuggle with us, and he ate normally. well, sort of. he was never the best eater, but at the start, as long as u flicked his food around a little, he would eat fine. he seemed to be growing okay.

flash forward a few weeks and harold decides he is done with worms completely. so, we buy a bunch of crickets and he has a little feast. hes happy to eat them the first time. the next day, he eats them, but only when we put his feeding container in his enclosure and leave him alone. makes sense, he doesnt wanna be stressed out. he stops eating the crickets too, though, after like a week. we gave him a few days then started forcefeeding reptaboost to try to bring his appetite back, which doesn’t work. i think its important to note that he was pooping regularly when he was eating. anyway, at this time hes also acting grumpier when hes handled and is less active. we assumed he just wasnt being properly socialized because my girlfriend was spending a lot of time at my house, so he wasn’t getting handled a lot. he just seems like an extremely stressed lizard at this point, always puffing up, not eating, and has stress marks all over his belly. he does live in a house with a cat and a dog, but they dont go in the room that hes held in very often, and they are quickly shooed away if theyre ever near his cage.

anyways, one day after a bath, harold was feeling particularly frisky. I was letting him hang out on my sweater, and he climbed all over my neck and up on to my head. I shouldn’t have let him do that, I know, and I kept grabbing him to move him down but he would just keep doing it. I figured it was fine, as he climbs all over us a lot, but usually we are sitting or laying down, and I was standing this time. anyway, my worst nightmare happens and he fell off, on his back. I flipped him over right away and he still seemed energetic and was crawling all over the floor. I put him on my leg so he could run around on me and he was acting fine, until he suddenly started slowing down and appeared to lose his sense of balance. he kept wobbling and falling over, until eventually he went limp. I was panicking and my girlfriend and I both thought he had died. I was going crazy with guilt, screaming and sobbing and completely inconsolable. that is, until the little turd picked his head up. we put him back in his cage and the next day he was back to his previous baseline.

all was fine for a few weeks, he was getting by off of forcefeeding and eating a few crickets and he even started shedding! but all of a sudden, these past few days he has taken a turn for the worse. hes sleeping all the time and is barely responsive at feeding and bath time. forcefeeding isn’t really working; he won’t swallow. hes hiding behind his rock all the time and he just seems like hes given up. I know its not ideal, but my girlfriend and her family are just not in a financial position where they can take him to the vet. I know that it’s irresponsible to adopt a lizard when that is the case, but she has had bearded dragons before that have lived long happy lives without seeing the vet. anyway, I really feel like we’ve done all we can for the little guy and hes just not gonna make it. why did this happen? besides his fall, did we make any husbandry mistakes? could it be the bullying? I feel so guilty and even though he survived his tumble I blame myself for his poor condition. I just feel terrible for the little liz and I dont want him to be in any pain. I love him, and hes the first reptile ive ever really “had”, even though he is technically my girlfriend’s. I just dont know what to do and I am losing sleep over it (posting this at 2 am). advice and explanations would be really helpful :(
Please go over the UVB bulb and surface basking temps--- coil or a long tube fixture-- where in the tank is the UVB? surface basking temps should be taken w/ a digital probe thermometer-- 105-110-- these are the MOST important things in the tank ---- please post a pic of the dragon ---
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Sorry your little one is having so many problems. Please post some pictures of your youngster,
along with your tank setup for us so we can see the lighting & the placement of the lighting.
Are the insects smaller than the space between the eyes of him, to avoid impaction of him?
Whatever you can do to encourage him to bask, by placing him under the light so that he can stay
warm as much as possible can help.
If he wont eat on his own, you can make a nutritional slurry mixing chicken or turkey baby food,
along with squash or sweet potato to drop onto his nose to see if he will lick some food off of his
nose that way. You can also try a few drops of blackstrap molasses mixed in with his food can give
vital minerals & nutrients, too or some bee pollen too.
Keep him a little warmer overnight, using a ceramic heat emitter, to help boost his immune system.
Usually around 75-80F is good, for overnight heating. Keep us posted on him.

Tracie
 

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