Beardie Not Eating on Her Own

ABeardieDad

New member
Beardie name(s)
Kiwi
OK, I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible, although I think it's still going to be long since I want to provide enough detail to give a good background story here.

We have a female beardie who is approx. 20 months old now. We basically adopted her after pet-sitting her for about a month. The owners felt the kids weren't giving her enough attention anymore, so we accepted the offer to keep her. She was about 6 months old at the time.

When she first came to stay with us, I barely knew what a bearded dragon was, so I was not familiar with the care they required. After doing some extensive research on what they needed in noted some immediate husbandry issues. She had no UVB, so I immediately got one to give her what she needed in that regard. Luckily, she doesn't have any visible physical deformities from a lack of UVB and a vet x-ray shows her skeleton, while not perfect, did not show any serious signs of MBD. I also immediately upgraded her to a 40 gal tank because she was in a 10 gal aquarium and was clearly getting too big.

Fast forward a few months.

She seemed to be doing well in her new surroundings, but started getting lethargic and eating less and less. I thought maybe it was brumation but wanted to make sure. The vet decides to do bloodwork. The bloodwork comes back basically normal. The vet takes an x-ray and it revealed she was full of egg follicles. Up to this point, she had never laid eggs. The vest recommended we try a nesting box to see if she would start to lay eggs. First putting her in the nesting box looked promising as she began digging fairly quickly and kept at it for a while, but then she lost interest. After a couple more days of trying to get her to lay eggs, I finally gave up and back to the vet we go. Another x-ray revealed there appeared to be even more follicles than the last time. The vet then recommended surgery to remove them since in her opinion, it looked as though she was not going to be able to pass them on her own. Just for clarification, these were only follicles, not actual eggs, so I guess she wasn't technically egg bound. I agreed that the surgery was probably the best solution at that point and that's what happened. They removed approx. 80-90 follicles from her and performed a hysterectomy, so we didn't have to possibly go through it again later on.

She seemed to recover well and returned to her normal, more active self and during this time I also moved her to a Zen Habitat 4X2X2 enclosure. Her typical diet consisted of turnip, mustard, and collard greens and superworms, with some added calcium and (without D3 since I believe she gets good UVB from her 34" Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5HO) and herptivite multi.

Fast forward another few months.

Once again, she seems to be getting less active and has not wanted to eat and also sitting in her hide for long periods of time. Back to the vet we go. The vet does another x-ray and no follicles, so we could rule that out. I'm not trying to bash this vet at all because I think she's great, but she's not what I would call a super expert on reptiles. She deals with all kinds of animals and is very good at what she does. We don't really have a dedicated reptile vet here where I live that is accepting new clients. So, she then thinks we should treat her for parasites just in case and she gave her what I remember her saying was a steroid shot that should help increase her appetite. She sent me home with some Critical Care-Carnivore and the various syringes with the parasite meds and back home we go. Couple days go by and she still doesn't want to eat. Talked to the vet and she said the meds will often make them not want to eat, so we just stayed on course until the meds were done. She said if she still doesn't want to eat after the parasite treatment is done, we may need to do more bloodwork in case something else has changed. This was the end of October 2021.

I haven't been back to the vet. I don't know if it's just reluctance because nothing is working or what. She is still not eating on her own. After about a week on the Critical Care-Carnivore, I did research and read that the carnivore is not good for beardies for longer term care, especially adults, because of how high the protein content is. I bought some of the critical care herbivore and started mixing the two, then discovered the company also makes an omnivore, which specifically says bearded dragons on the package. So currently, I'm mixing the herbivore and omnivore together at about 50/50 and adding some powdered calcium. I give her approx 5ml of the wet paste solution, fed through syringe normally 2 days on, 1day off. I don't have to force open her mouth to feed her. I just place drops on the tip of her nose, and she licks it off. I should also add that every day she is still offered salads of the various greens mentioned before but has little interest. I have also tried weening her off the syringe feeding twice before. Once for a 5-day span and another for a 7-day span. I imagine she would've had to have gotten hungry and found her salad or superworms appetizing, but no real interest. She would watch the worms crawl around, but no interest to eat. So back to the syringe we go.

Now being 6 months later, I don't know what else to do. Am I going to have to syringe-feed her for the rest of her life? Just to note, there were 2 (but only 2 occasions in this entire time, where I guess she forgot she's on this hunger strike of hers and surprisingly decided to eat a couple superworms that were offered to her and then ate a little bit of salad. I also bought some crickets once and she ate some of those over a few days. None of these episodes occurred during the periods where I stopped syringe feeding her for several days though. I can't figure out what her issue is, and I don't like going for these week+ trials of not syringe feeding her at all, as she doesn't have any interest in her salad or worms in the 2 trials I've done. I'm hesitant to even go on vacation because leaving her with someone that's not intimately familiar with her situation and her needs is just not something I'm willing to do at this point.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Hi there, can you post pics of her to show her size ? Also her enclosure, lights, etc ? It's good that she ate a little bit on her own , I think she will resume eating in time.
 

Anyabones

New member
Beardie name(s)
Ruby
Maybe try a probiotic, appetite stimulant on a super enticing bug like horn worm or Pheonix worm just to get her eating again? My girl didn’t eat for about 3 months while she was treated for parasites.. the treatment can remove all the good gut flora along with parasites so it has to be built up again sometimes.
 

Jjurovaty

Member
I know i say it often, but variety of color and texture, different fruits and veggies, sometimes will catch their attention. My dragons went through phases, like kids, where they would love something and not the next. Their favorites were always red grapes, kale, blueberries, and this time of year dandelions. Of course depending on where you're located! Best of luck!
 

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