Beardie hoarding food in his beard

Monpetitchou

Member
Beardie name(s)
Falcon
Hi there ! Sorry this is so long but i wanted to be as detailed as possibly before you guys give input or ask your questions:

Last week, Falcon twice hoarded food in his beard and twice regurgitated it after a day or couple of days. I noticed after eating bugs, his beard would be very saggy. At first i thought he was getting overweight since I read saggy beards can be a sign of weight gain. I also read that saggy beards can be a sign of infection (something the vet's bloodwork showed). but I ALSO read it can just be genetics. But after he regurgitated both times, it would shrink back down so I guess it was just from hoarding.


Here's a little schedule of last week or so:

8/20 Sa - Falcon turns 1 yr old, wellness exam (blood work & fecal test). bloodwork showed signs of infection and inflammation. fecal test showed no parasites. Reduced bug intake from daily to 2-3 week.
8/24 We - first day of meds for inflammation and infection (meloxicam [10 doses] and TMP/SMZ [30 doses]) . Fed 4 dubias/4 SW for dinner
8/29 Mo - had no appetite for food except for bugs (usually he'll eat a 1 dandelion green stalk from my hands)
8/30 Tu - Still no appetite for greens. No bowel movement.
8/31 We - Ate some kabocha squash and sneaked in some greens while he chewed squash. bowel movement when getting meds (due to being scared i think ? he is usually an AM pooer). Regurgitated whatever food he managed to eat up to this point during the night.
9/01 Th - Still no appetite for greens. very smelly PM bowel movement (1 worm not digested). 4 dubias & 4 SW/1 pc arugula/a few greens for dinner
9/02 Fr - Last day of Meloxicam (fed 1dubia/1 SW before giving meds). ate a few kabocha. No bowel movement
9/03 Sa - Regurgitated food again.
9/04 Sn - ate a few pc butternut squash, BSFL. no bowel movement. received injection antibiotic instead of TMP/SMZ
9/05 Mo - gave 2 baths and pumpkin & dandelion green. no bowel movement.
09/06 Tu - AM bowel movement! ate BSFL and a few pc of butternut squash

My questions are:
1) has anyone dealt with their beardie hoarding food long-term in their beard (I read they can do it for a couple of hrs but if it's longer than that, they risk choking.
2) What can cause a beardie to hoard food ? Bc i dont know the anatomy of a dragon, is the food just sitting in the throat and not passing to the stomach to digest, and then later poo out ?

I was worried about impaction but my vet doesn't think it's that. She was thinking he was getting nauseated from the meds (which is why we switched to an injection thats good for 10 days). but then his lack of poos made me think otherwise since he's a very very consistent and predictable pooer (everyday in the morning 1-3 hrs after lights go on). but then again, he HAS technically poo'd, just a lot less . Maybe reducing his bug intake also reduced his bowel movements.

I looked up other signs of impaction and the only other one he seemed to have besides regurgitation is a slight bump on his back but this small bump has been there most of his life and the vet said it's just his anatomy (not MBD).

I have lots of gut-loaded dubias (collard greens &/or dandelion greens) and superworms (carrot or sweet potato) still but i'm afraid to give them to him bc he seemed to choke on them the last 2 times. Theyre not huge. but since he's not really eating greens on his own, i'm afraid he's not getting enough calories/nutrients besides on bugs days. I bought some BSFL since theyre much smaller.

Important info you might ask:
-cool side ambient temp: 80F
-hot side ambient temp: 88F
-basking spot temp (directly under light): 95-100 depending on what surface is measured (see pic1)

-UVB Tube: ReptiSun 10.0 T5H0, mounted inside the tank, 8 months old. We use a solarmeter to measure UVB strength.
Using the ferguson scale (zone #3 for beardies : Zone UVI 1.0 – 2.6 (Maximum UVI: 2.9 – 7.4 in basking zone)), The rockwall only gets about 1.0 and the part directly under the lights (see pic2). He also gets daily sun-time if it's warm outside (we live in LA so it's generally pretty warm/sunny here)

any insight would be appreciated !
 

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parodyofagirl

Hatchling Member
Is he a dunner? For some reason, Dunners can have a quirk where they hold on to food in their beards and sometimes regurgitate it later. Usually, it is a behavior the younger dragons do and are trained or grow out of.

If he hasn’t really hoarded food before, maybe he is doing it now because something has changed regarding his health?

Do you have Falcon’s bloodwork handy so some of the more experienced people here could take a look at it?
 

Monpetitchou

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Falcon
H e is a dunner ! A FB admin told me there was an issue breeders had with dunners a while ago where they were hoarding food in their beard. How do you get them to stop doing this ?

The only thing that changed is we reduced his bug intake (and started giving him meds) - even if the meds made him throw up, I would think he would still swallow all his food. Do you think he’s hoarding bugs bc he’s not eating it daily anymore ? He choked one other time back in March but I think that was due to the food/bugs being too big. He hasn’t had the regurgitating issue since (minus these last two times)

I don’t have the exact test results but the vet said :
On his bloodwork his organ function (liver and kidneys), electrolytes and calcium are all unremarkable - which is great news for him. However, he does have some changes to his CBC that are concerning. He has elevation of some of his white blood cells that are indicative of inflammation; and evidence of immature white blood cells with what is call "toxic" change. This occurs when baby white blood cells are released before they mature, usually in response to an infection. There are also some changes to his proteins that indicate inflammation. Unfortunately these changes don't tell me where the infection is - so I have prescribed him a broad spectrum antibiotic and an ant-inflammatory and recommend that we recheck his bloodwork in about 3 weeks.
 
Last edited:

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Which antibiotic are you giving him?
I agree, try giving small feedings if possible. I always err on the side of caution when feeding any
insects just to help avoid impaction or other issues like choking, etc.
Has his beard been dark at all?
How are his basking temperatures for him?

Tracie
 

Monpetitchou

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Falcon
Hi Tracie
His basking temp is 96-105 depending what surface is measured under light (see my initial post for temps)

I’m not sure what the injection is but the oral was tmp/smz
 

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