Blood work

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
Hi there! Apologies if this isn't the right place, but I've posted here before (about 9 months ago) regarding Mercury, my rankin's dragon who has crypto. Firstly, he's been well as far as crypto goes, it's well controlled on his medication and his medicine has even been reduced to every other day rather than daily by the vet and he's still responding well.

But my problem is his scale discolouration. It's happened again since my last post but this time (late Friday 23rd February) his mucous membranes have also gone yellow. Upon the advice of the vet I started him on destolit over the weekend until they could get him in on Monday for an exam. I arranged a vet visit yesterday morning (Monday 26th) fearing it was something to do with his liver.

The vet was in total agreement with my theory and took him for a blood test. However, the vet wasn't able to get a big enough sample to test everything (multiple factors were contributing - including the cold, dehydration, and his small size). But we still did a basic blood panel on what we did manage to extract. His inflammation markers were raised, which I was reassured was probably the crypto and that he'd get anti-inflammatory medicine to combat that. But his white blood cell count was normal, so no infections were present. We also did a quick skin swab and tested for yellow fungus, which was negative.

I was given cerenia and more destolit to give daily, along with his parofor every other day and told to give him a month, but advised if there was no improvement within 2 weeks to bring him back and we'd try get a better sample under sedation in a warmer environment and with fluids to try and get a better sample.


Which brings me to today (Tuesday 27th), I gave him his daily electrolyte bath (advised by the vet last month to help with bowel movements because he sometimes struggles). While I had him out I gave him a once over, and within minutes his beard came up really patterned and dark from almost white, then when I touched his stomach he made this strange noise that I can only describe as a whine, it was a fast exhale of air that was high pitched and he closed his eyes and started breathing heavily, so I gave him a dose of cerenia and put him back in his vivarium, he's since calmed down.

I emailed the vet with the new symptoms, and he's booked him in for admission at 8:30am on Friday (to give the meds a chance to get in his system and monitor a little longer), with an estimated pick up time of 2:30pm the same day.

I have anxiety, ADHD and autism, so my mind is racing with all what ifs and possibilities. I'm worried about taking him to the vet unnecesarily, and I'm also worried about not listening to my gut which is telling me he needs it. I've always been able to pick up on things easily, and Mercury is one of those animals I can read like an open book, but I'm still worried I'm overreacting. Me and the vet have a good rapport, we're almost always in agreement and he listens to my concerns.

Any reassurance, advice, or experiences around this sort of thing are more than welcome.

Thanks in advance, Z
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Hi there! Apologies if this isn't the right place, but I've posted here before (about 9 months ago) regarding Mercury, my rankin's dragon who has crypto. Firstly, he's been well as far as crypto goes, it's well controlled on his medication and his medicine has even been reduced to every other day rather than daily by the vet and he's still responding well.

But my problem is his scale discolouration. It's happened again since my last post but this time (late Friday 23rd February) his mucous membranes have also gone yellow. Upon the advice of the vet I started him on destolit over the weekend until they could get him in on Monday for an exam. I arranged a vet visit yesterday morning (Monday 26th) fearing it was something to do with his liver.

The vet was in total agreement with my theory and took him for a blood test. However, the vet wasn't able to get a big enough sample to test everything (multiple factors were contributing - including the cold, dehydration, and his small size). But we still did a basic blood panel on what we did manage to extract. His inflammation markers were raised, which I was reassured was probably the crypto and that he'd get anti-inflammatory medicine to combat that. But his white blood cell count was normal, so no infections were present. We also did a quick skin swab and tested for yellow fungus, which was negative.

I was given cerenia and more destolit to give daily, along with his parofor every other day and told to give him a month, but advised if there was no improvement within 2 weeks to bring him back and we'd try get a better sample under sedation in a warmer environment and with fluids to try and get a better sample.


Which brings me to today (Tuesday 27th), I gave him his daily electrolyte bath (advised by the vet last month to help with bowel movements because he sometimes struggles). While I had him out I gave him a once over, and within minutes his beard came up really patterned and dark from almost white, then when I touched his stomach he made this strange noise that I can only describe as a whine, it was a fast exhale of air that was high pitched and he closed his eyes and started breathing heavily, so I gave him a dose of cerenia and put him back in his vivarium, he's since calmed down.

I emailed the vet with the new symptoms, and he's booked him in for admission at 8:30am on Friday (to give the meds a chance to get in his system and monitor a little longer), with an estimated pick up time of 2:30pm the same day.

I have anxiety, ADHD and autism, so my mind is racing with all what ifs and possibilities. I'm worried about taking him to the vet unnecesarily, and I'm also worried about not listening to my gut which is telling me he needs it. I've always been able to pick up on things easily, and Mercury is one of those animals I can read like an open book, but I'm still worried I'm overreacting. Me and the vet have a good rapport, we're almost always in agreement and he listens to my concerns.

Any reassurance, advice, or experiences around this sort of thing are more than welcome.

Thanks in advance, Z
Tracie needs to address this
@Drache613
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Sorry your boy is having some trouble. I am concerned about the color of his gums, the yellowing of them is not good.
How long has he been on the medication for cryptosporidium & what is the medication called? I am concerned that the medication is too harsh on him & could be causing liver issues.
Are you giving a probiotic for him right now, to help balance out his system while he is on the medication?

Tracie
 

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
Hello,

Sorry your boy is having some trouble. I am concerned about the color of his gums, the yellowing of them is not good.
How long has he been on the medication for cryptosporidium & what is the medication called? I am concerned that the medication is too harsh on him & could be causing liver issues.
Are you giving a probiotic for him right now, to help balance out his system while he is on the medication?

Tracie
Hi,

Mercury has been on the medication for crypto exactly a year today, for the first 8 months it was a daily dose at 0.02ml, but in the last 4 months it's been the same dose at a frequency of every other day. The medication is called Parofor and metabolises in the stomach.

He is on a probiotic, I'm using reptoboost. He gets a bath in 500ml of warm water and 1 scoop of reptoboost daily, as advised by the vet (he will only eat mealworms as his protein source and every attempt at introducing new food doesn't work, so he does sometimes get a little impacted. But it's not often and managed with the baths). He also drinks when he's in the bath and I syringe water droplets onto his lips for him to drink also.

He has regular faecal tests and we've successfully managed to get the crypto under control (as in only a few oocysts are present at each time of testing and it's consistent results). He also has quarterly vet checks to review the parofor dosage and check his overall health, including his quality of life.

He's booked in for an admission on Friday at 8:30am for comprehensive blood tests, the vet is hopeful we can get enough to run a liver panel and see what's going on.

Z
 

Xjrosie

Hatchling Member
Never worry about overreacting. It's not like they can just tell us what's wrong. Never worry about taking them to the vet. After all, if you don't take them to the vet and something IS wrong, you're going to beat yourself up even worse if it's something that can't be corrected. With our family members who don't speak our language, you can never be too careful. I hope you get some answers soon!
 

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
Never worry about overreacting. It's not like they can just tell us what's wrong. Never worry about taking them to the vet. After all, if you don't take them to the vet and something IS wrong, you're going to beat yourself up even worse if it's something that can't be corrected. With our family members who don't speak our language, you can never be too careful. I hope you get some answers soon!
Thank you so much for your kind words! I've just finished up at the vet and will write up an update soon. It's just a lot to process even if it isn't the worst possible outcome
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Definitely don't worry, we all worry or overreact because that is what we all do! Reptiles are masters
of disguising their illness.
I hope that his liver is doing ok. A blood test would definitely be a good idea, if at all possible. How is
he doing, has he been active lately?
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
 

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
Hello,

Definitely don't worry, we all worry or overreact because that is what we all do! Reptiles are masters
of disguising their illness.
I hope that his liver is doing ok. A blood test would definitely be a good idea, if at all possible. How is
he doing, has he been active lately?
Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
Thank you! He's been doing amazingly in all fairness since restarting the Cerenia and Destolit last Friday, he's smashing his greens every day, loves his mealworms, and is very active around the viv. He's pooping normally too. As far as I'm aware there's no sign his quality of life is suffering which is something that's always paramount to me
 

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
As promised, here's an update on Mercury and I'm just going to lay it out as the vet told me.
So there's a lot going on with Little Merc. Firstly, they were able to safely extract a large enough sample for testing and were able to do a full liver panel. He was placed on fluids which helped massively in getting the sample. Which then came back normal. No cirrhosis. No liver cancer and a previous blood test showed no infections. There was nothing to indicate he was sick with his liver.

The vet wasn't happy with this because of his symptoms, and the ultrasound on his liver from January was repeated, and despite being on destolit and cerenia, it was still inflamed in places. This has led us to believe that he's in very VERY early liver failure, it's still functioning above 70% because that's when it starts to show on blood tests, the only way to confirm this would be a biopsy, something which we've both discussed and agreed is a possibility further down the line but not an answer right now as it wouldn't change the treatment plan at this time.

So he's been put on cerenia long term alongside destolit for at least a few months while we reassess in three months and discuss next steps.

He was very well behaved for the vet and has received a couple waxworms last night for his trouble, I also went and got him a new rock for his basking area from the reptile shop by mine so that's in his vivarium and he loves it.

I've been advised to get a humid hide for him, which I know isn't the standard for dragons, but if it's in his vivarium and he uses it, great, if not, that's fine too. It's mostly just another way to help keep him hydrated.

Z
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Oh sorry his liver still seems to be inflamed. The liver can definitely regenerate. Has the vet considered putting him on Silymarin AKA Milk Thistle? It is highly effective & works. Try to keep his diet low in fat & have an abundance of leafy greens as much as you can.
Work to keep his immune system optimized as much as possible to lessen any stress on the liver.
Let us know how things are going! I hope he is getting some rest after his vet exam!

Tracie
 

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
Hello,

Oh sorry his liver still seems to be inflamed. The liver can definitely regenerate. Has the vet considered putting him on Silymarin AKA Milk Thistle? It is highly effective & works. Try to keep his diet low in fat & have an abundance of leafy greens as much as you can.
Work to keep his immune system optimized as much as possible to lessen any stress on the liver.
Let us know how things are going! I hope he is getting some rest after his vet exam!

Tracie
I'm not sure about the silymarin consideration, but I will call when they open tomorrow and ask the vet what he thinks, whether it's been considered or not. I did do a quick search on Google and it said it's mostly for hepatic lipidosis in reptiles? I'll have to use my uni credentials to access some research papers later today and do better research before approaching the vet.

He didn't touch the waxworms so they were removed and replaced by some spring greens which he was more than happy with and promptly filled up on.

His lights came on about an hour ago, his heatlamp thermostat is set to 44°C, so slightly above recommended for dragons, to help with his immune system, he also has a deep heat projector at night in the winter to help. This, with daily electrolyte and probiotic baths I think will keep his immune system the best that it can given his conditions.

Other than that he's doing really well, he had a little flare up where his head went yellow on Saturday - but I think this was because he didn't have medicine on the Friday (because of his bloodwork, I didn't give him anything in case the vet did - it was too late to call by the time I'd realised, and I didn't want to risk double-dosing him so I just gave him it a little earlier on Saturday). He's otherwise active and keen to run around his vivarium, he's currently looking at me through the glass expecting his breakfast (he'll be having a bath first though)

Z
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

How are things going?
Milk thistle is commonly used for overall health
of the liver & for keeping the blood clean/circulatory
help.
That's great his lights came, are they working well
so far? Great to use a heat projector for boosting the immune system to help out. I hope he is feeling better.
Hopefully he will eat more greens on a regular basis.
He will likely eat some of the waxworms once he starts
feeling better.
Let me know how things go at the vets.

Tracie
 

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
Hello,

How are things going?
Milk thistle is commonly used for overall health
of the liver & for keeping the blood clean/circulatory
help.
That's great his lights came, are they working well
so far? Great to use a heat projector for boosting the immune system to help out. I hope he is feeling better.
Hopefully he will eat more greens on a regular basis.
He will likely eat some of the waxworms once he starts
feeling better.
Let me know how things go at the vets.

Tracie
Hi there! Things are going great, he's responding well to the destolit and cerenia. I had to take my latest rescue (another rankin's called Cinder) to the vet yesterday morning, so I inquired about the silymarin. The vet listened and said it was something we could look into, but given Mercury's current condition it'd be best to stay on something more focused for now and review in 3 months.

Lights are working great, he's basking as we speak. He had more greens yesterday, so today I'll give him protein.

Unfortunately Cinder has coccidia according to her faecal results (but pinworm was normal and no traces of crypto were seen, which is a poaitive result), so now it's a case of introducing more quarantine procedures for her, and stricter cross contamination procedures for Mercury (if they could get stricter, I'm already stringent and thorough with them, but there's always room for improvement imo).

Thank you for all your support!

Z
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello!

I also PM'd you a response, too.
How is Cinder doing? So he has coccidia again?
Did the vet give Ponazuril or Toltrazuril for the coccidia or not? Just keep everything as clean as possible & it should hopefully clear out soon.
Sure, the milk thistle is natural so he can stay on that as a supplement, long term without any side effects at all.
It is used to increase liver health & improve blood circulation as well.
I'm glad the new lights are working out well. I hope he is enjoying the greens too.
Keep us posted on him, I hope he continues to improve!

Tracie
 

ArteMiloFlo

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Mercury
Hello!

I also PM'd you a response, too.
How is Cinder doing? So he has coccidia again?
Did the vet give Ponazuril or Toltrazuril for the coccidia or not? Just keep everything as clean as possible & it should hopefully clear out soon.
Sure, the milk thistle is natural so he can stay on that as a supplement, long term without any side effects at all.
It is used to increase liver health & improve blood circulation as well.
I'm glad the new lights are working out well. I hope he is enjoying the greens too.
Keep us posted on him, I hope he continues to improve!

Tracie
Hi!

Haven't received a PM, unfortunately!

And Cinder is a new rescue that came to me in late January, I have no information about her age or whether she's definitely female but she's only 30 grams so definitely under 1 year. For the coccidia the vet has given Zorabel, 3 days treatment, repeated after a week, and then wants to see her again two weeks after that. He said the infection was pretty bad, but she's separate from my other reptiles because she was still in 4 month quarantine. So it's a case of dealing with everyone else first, then her, then Mercury.

Luckily I have a steamer, and steam clean the vivs during deep cleans, so I'll be stepping up her cleaning regime to every other day with daily spot cleaning.

Fab, at the 3 month review I'll discuss starting him on the Silymarin as a complimentary treatment!

Thank you so much, again for all your help and support!

Z
 

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