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Beardie has ADV?

Hi all!

I'm new to posting on this forum though I have used it very often throughout being a relatively new beardie owner.

To provide some background, I got Zeus in February of this year, I was told he was 6 months old so he would currently be around one. When I got him, he was very active and slightly underweight. I was new to beardies, and didnt even think to ask about his past or his diet. Easy to say I have learned more in the past six months from articles than my entire college career (exaggeration). Anyway, I nursed him back to health to where he got to a healthy weight around 8 months old. About a month and a half ago, I noticed the tiniest bit blood in his stool. I called the vet and got him in a week later where they did a fecal on him. Results came back fine, with just a few parasites that, I guess, live in beards naturally, but there can be an excess of them. I knew he was overweight at that time (he had quite the belly on him since I fed him so much due to concern of his previous weight) and was told he needs to go on a strict all greens diet. The vet sent me home and said to call back if the blood continues. I obeyed the vet, only gave him a variety of dusted greens - collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion leaves, kale, carrots, and tried strawberries at times. He would rarely touch them. I let him go on a hunger strike for about two weeks, then gave him and fed him a fat hornworm. Thereafter, I began to force feed him greens. Doing this stressed him out, so I was only able to do a few leaves. I even tried the Repashy beardie buffet. He didn't eat it on his own, so I force fed a little bit of this as well. He had another bloody stool, so I called the vet and they put him on ronidazole for 10 days. Eight days into the medication, he had ANOTHER bloody stool, so I took him back in. He had lost about 35 grams from not eating and he had blood work done. She had also sent us home with the critical care formula since he hadn't been eating. I was syringe feeding him only the critical care for about six days. During this time, he had a large stool pass and there was, finally, no blood! Also during this time, he got several long baths, one of which he drank the most water I've seen him drink in a while. I offered him some greens after I got home from work one day and he ate a couple of leaves so fast its like the starvation caught up with him. He also ate them so fast he seemed like he was going to throw them up, so I figured I would stop there for the night. The next day, I syringed fed him less critical care and offered super worms, he ate three on his own. Long story short, he has gotten his appetite back for the most part and his stools have been normal besides a little on the watery side. The blood results came back a week later and his vet said his wbc count is extremely high and 93% of those cells were lymphocytes. She said he might have ADV or cancer...though cancer was not AS likely since the shape or size of the cells were not unusual. I took him to a different vet yesterday for another opinion and was hoping to test for ADV. The vet discouraged me from testing him since, for one, it would be over $500, and his appetite was back and his stools were looking good (they did another fecal yesterday and it came back normal). I learned that with ADV, beards can live a long healthy life with proper care and treatment, but I'm not sure how to manage besides switching to critical care when he loses his appetite. I am going to get Zeus bee pollen and milk thistle since I have heard many good things about them too. My concern is, even though he is eating, he prefers to hide all day to the point where he gets cold, he does not like basking, and isn't drinking water as much. I brought this up to the vet, and he didn't really have a good answer for me. He just said he's very happy to hear his appetite is growing and that his stools are looking good. Zeus also has not been showing any serious signs of ADV besides previous loss of appetite and lethargy only while in his tank. He does not seize, stargaze, twitch, roll, or anything like that. He is a very strong little boy. I take him out everyday and let him free roam or we'll stare out the window together. But It's the strangest thing, he seems so sickly and ill while in his tank but will run around when out of it. He still tries to find a spot to hide while outside of the tank, but it takes about five/ten minutes or so for him to get to that point. He has plenty of stuff inside of his tank too... Take today for example, I got home from work and immediately went to check on him like I always do, he was laying next to his heat rock but not on it, body limp, and tired eyes, like not all the way open. I picked him up and he wasn't super cold, but not near as warm as he should be. I'm just so lost on what to do or how to handle this situation. Too back animals can't communicate how they're feeling :(

Tank and beardie info:
Tank size: 40 gal
Basking spot: Around 95-100
Cool side: 82, but I have a heating rock on this side since this is where he likes to hide, so I put there in hopes of keeping him warm
UVB: linear Reptisun 10.0 UVB
Husbandry: he has a grass mat on one side and sand mat on the other, several fake plants, hammock where he should be basking and a hanging circular net with vines around it. I took his hide out since he would spend all day in there and not get heat or UVB. I tried to engulf the heat rock with fake plants so he would at least feel like he were hiding, but he still gets UVB while being on the rock.
Diet: Used to be heavy in insects and offered greens/carrots a couple times a week. Most days they would be dusted with calcium. Of course, I switched his diet when his weight was an issue.

I'd like to add that I have a veiled chameleon who has been absolutely thriving. I moved a month ago and they are in separate rooms as of right now, but before, their cages were right next to each other with about a foot or two in between them (the side walls were covered so they couldn't see each other). I only bring this up because ADV is extremely contagious. My Cham is very healthy and is around a year old as well. I would think that if Zeus has ADV, then my Cham would as well, but I for sure know my cham is perfectly healthy.

I've read that people have beat ADV before even though it's said there is no cure. I'm wondering if I assume this is ADV like the vet had mentioned or if it could be something else... Any insight and advice is very appreciated!! I have cried over my baby boy several times especially on his bad days. It's crazy how a little four legged creature can mean so much!

Thanks a bunch,
Maquel
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Tracie needs to help w/ this - she is the vet tech on the forum-- What is the distance you have for the UVB--- it should be inside the tank w/ a distance of 12-15 inches w/ basking decor directly under it-- for him not to be basking is concerning - how are you getting the temps ? Digital probe thermometer is best --- temps should be 95-100 -- NO colored bulbs please - the heat rock is not real good - if they malfunction the dragon could get burned - I would remove it - dragons heat from their backs anyway-- did you have him tested for ADV? If hes not showing any signs why do you think he has ADV? Can you post a pic of him and his tank please -- https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ click on the XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the pic it should post
 

zeusmama1999

Member
Original Poster
Thank you for responding. No colored bulbs. His heat lamp is the zoo med basking bulb - 100w. I didn’t realize heat rocks were not good for them, thanks for letting me know! His uvb is tied to the inside of his tank, I’d estimate there being a foot or so between him and the light. I do use a digital probe thermometer. I just measured it again this morning and it was at 102.

It’s not that I think Zeus has ADV, his vet had mentioned it being a high possibility though since his white blood cell count was extremely high and that 93% of them were lymphocytes. I did not get him tested because his new vet really said it’s not worth it? Doctor said he was primarily concerned about his stools and appetite, but both had been good. I will call the vet today to get a copy of the results and upload them here. This morning he ate a little bit of repashy beardie buffet mixed with carrots and collard greens and his calcium supplement, then ate some collard greens when I held them out for him. I will post pictures of him and his tank that I took this morning. I’d like to add that his gray beard is a pigmentation thing confirmed by the vet. It has been a lightish and sometimes darker gray his whole life. But he’ll black beard when stressed.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
To me he looks good --- after looking at the UVB it looks like a T 8 - please look on the bulb it will tell you- but it does look like a T 8 and if that is the case please make sure your distance for that bulb is 6-8 inches directly below the basking decor --- and NO clear plastic cover over the bulb -- replace in 6 months I recommend 5--- as far as the dragon having AVD he does not look sick and if hes showing no star gazing I am not sure what other obvious signs would be --- but that would be a definite one - Tracie is going to haft to help on the medical things - I am going to flag the post to her so she can better help and posting the blood work would be great and most helpful to her
 

zeusmama1999

Member
Original Poster
Yes, his UVB is the T8. I have been watching him all day since I have the day off and every time I set him in his basking spot, he moves within a minute to ground level. He is still preferring to hide. I took out the rock (he wasn't happy with me lol) but I never realized how HOT it got! I'm just not sure what else to do about the lack of basking even with his temps where they should be. Physically, he looks perfectly healthy, but I know he isn't feeling well since he always wants to hide and be cold.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Does he sit on the hammock for basking? Make sure your getting the temp w/ the probe and not the IR gun--- what is the temp under the hammock?
 

zeusmama1999

Member
Original Poster
He won’t sit on the hammock to bask. When I place him there, he moves within a couple of minutes to the cooler side of the tank or to underneath the hammock. Under his hammock is 85-88 degrees. On the hammock, it’s ranging from 95-99
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Sorry your dragon is having so much trouble. You are positive that your dragon is female
instead of male?
Do you have a copy of the blood tests you could post also?
If you need to test your dragon, let me know. I work with or in conjunction with a lab in Allen,
Texas who does the adeno testing for a great price of $20.
You can go to my website at:
www.thepats.info
Then, just sign up & be sure to include your mailing address so I know where to send out a
swab & form to.
What type of supplementation are you giving him?
As far as the Reptisun 10 bulb, it is a T8 or a T5? Overall he does look good weight wise &
has great color. Is he a leatherback?

Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
 

zeusmama1999

Member
Original Poster
111779-8423863975.jpg
Hi Tracie, thank you for replying! I attached photos of the supplements I use. I use the calcium every other day and the vitamins once a week. Zeus is a male and it’s been confirmed by the vet. He is a leatherback and his uvb is the T8. I will upload photos of the blood work once I receive them. I will definitely take you up on the test though! That’s insane. My vet was going to charge me over $500 for the test. Thank you so much. I also attached a photo of his usual behavior in the tank. All slumped and he just looks sad or sickly, and never under his basking spot. I’m not sure what it is.
111779-149697261.jpg
111779-2606821154.jpg
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello!

How is Zeus doing today, has he basked at all?
He does look a bit sluggish. Are you wanting to get him tested for Adeno?
It is a possibility that he is trying to brumate. They can brumate as young as 6-8 months of
age. His weight has been stable, correct?
So for now, he hasn't had anymore blood in his stools?
The Reptisun 10 T8 tube is fine so be sure it is at a 6-8 inch distance from him, if you can.
His bloodwork doesn't look bad. Many times, during times of brumation, their heterophils tend
to decrease & other counts are lowered due to lower hormonal output. His uric acid & AST/ALT
levels are low while. He could be a bit dehydrated but not too badly. You could consider getting
some extra oral fluids into him, maybe some diluted grape, apple or cherry juice a few times per
week.
At the moment, it doesn't appear that he has a major infection raging or organ failure. His calcium
levels look good as well. I would recommend monitoring his weight, watching the pads above his
eyes (on top of his head), & just let him rest & sleep for now. If he starts losing weight, or black
bearding & acting distressed, something is going on most likely.

You can keep his lights on but shorten the number of hours by a couple, daily so he can get some
rest. Just closely monitor him & let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
 

zeusmama1999

Member
Original Poster
Yesterday he basked quite a bit! Which was very exciting. I just moved on Sunday and I put his tank by a window that doesn't get much sun, so he can enjoy looking outside. I feel like ever since I did this, he started to bask more. Today he basked, but not as much as yesterday. He's been glass surfing like crazy, especially yesterday. When he does this, his black will get black. But I think that's because we are in a new place... He didn't eat much today, but right now its hard to tell if he's feeling sick still or if its stress from moving (his beard is shedding as well right now). Today he has also been more so on the cooler side of the tank looking a little sluggish again/napping.

There has been no blood in his stools for a couple of weeks now which I am very happy about. It's still super hot out right now so I didn't even think brumation was a possibility for him. I would have thought that would take place in colder months like November or December but I'm not sure.

I got apple juice to try for him. How much do I dilute it before giving him some? Also, I'm considering adding bee pollen and milk thistle to his diet, do you think that's a good idea? I think I will give him some time to adjust to the new place and finish shedding. I will monitor him closely and if he doesn't improve, I will definitely test him for Adeno.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

That is great to hear he basked more than normal! Moving can affect
their behavior so that could be part of it. If he can see activity outside
& there is a little more brightness from the window, then that can help
out as well.
Shedding is also something that can cause a more lazy behavior or lack of
appetite, too. Hopefully he will get done shedding & start to feel more
normal in his new surroundings soon. I know it can be frustrating when you
don't know exactly what is going on.
That's good to hear he hasn't had any blood in his stools then. They can
brumate really, at strange times of the year, even in the middle of summer
sometimes!
You can mix 1 part apple juice to 3 parts water just so he has some nice
apple flavor but diluted enough so he doesn't get overwhelmed with sugar.
He should like the flavor!
Any addition of supplements can definitely help so you can add bee pollen
& milk thistle for him, anytime. They are safe, & easy to give for overall
health maintenance.

Let us know how he is doing!
Tracie
 

zeusmama1999

Member
Original Poster
I tried out the diluted apple juice tonight, he seemed to enjoy it and I got a solid amount in him! When I got home from work, he wasn't in his basking spot but he was warm, which makes me happy since normally he'd be super cold. Overall, he seems to be doing much better. He is still picky with is greens though. He'll eat one piece of kale or collard greens and close his eyes/shake his head when I offer more, but the moment I give him a worm, he'll run after it. The greens are rarely touched throughout the day -.-

I'm just nervous to strictly offer him only greens since I know he'll go on a hunger strike. I'm not too sure that's the best idea considering everything he's gone through the last month and half. Anyway, I just ordered some bee pollen. Is that something I can use daily? Or just a couple times a week?

Also regarding brumation, do you recommend allowing beardies to do their thing? I've read so many articles about people letting their beardie be active and keep them awake so they skip brumation... but I don't want to do that if it affects his health in any way.
 
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