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Fluid in abdomen…need some advice

Apologies in advance for the long post but I desperately need advice:

Hi! Long time reader first time poster.
I need some help regarding my 1.5 year old bearded dragon Bitcoin. In December I took him to the vet regarding bloating in his abdomen. They did bloodwork and X-rays and noted fluid in his abdomen and sent the X-rays to a specialist to confirm. They mentioned fatty liver disease
The specialist disagreed but the vet said many of the doctors also agreed with her about the fluid.
I took him to a specialist they recommended who also said his X-rays looked normal.
At the time he was given a couple antibiotics for a possible RI and critical care because he wasn’t eating much.
He loved the critical care and the bloating seemed to get better but it would come and go.
For the past couple of weeks he has been pretty bloated, it feels like fluid. He has been a little more lethargic lately but still eating normally.
I’ve read so many things on here (every post there is actually) on fluid in the abdomen and I’m so worried.

The exotic vet specialist near me had such a terrifying review left for them recently that I will never go back. The vet I go to (VCA) does have exotic vets but not “specialists”.

I’m so scared and I’m not sure what to do. I texted my vet to make an appointment as soon as possible to have the X-rays looked at again and ask if they can do a belly tap (they didn’t offer before) and I’m looking everywhere for any other exotic specialist but there are none with trustworthy reviews.

I’m wondering if I can get an opinion on this X-ray (it’s from December but his belly feels the same now as it did then)
And if it is fluid, what I can be doing now if it is liver related to help him. I will literally do anything.
Thank you in advance!

I’m not sure how to upload a picture so I hope one of these works!
111955-8029900612.jpg

Here is a photo of him (sorry for quality) where you can kind of see the bloating I’m talking about in the lower part of the abdomen.

111955-6438915054.jpg

Set up:

40 gallon terrarium (120 gal zen habitat literally in the mail)
Reptisun 10.0 T5 UVB with hood and reflector mounted on top of mesh about 7 inches from basking spot, just replaced last week and I always replace every 6months
Basking spot 95-105 measured with digital probe thermometer
Cool side around 70-80

Food: mustard greens/Bok Choy/kale every day. He’s normally good about eating his greens but has his off months (hasn’t eaten them in a couple days now)
Dubia roaches and super worms about 2-3 times per week sprinkled with repashy calcium + D3. I feel like I may be over supplementing him because his urates have been kind of hard but I’m not sure.

He was eating just kale for a few months and then I read it shouldn’t be used as a staple so I found mustard greens and bok choy.

For the last few weeks he has not left his hammock (on the cool side) willingly. He is extremely alert but does seem to go to sleep earlier. Not sure if this is brumation because he still eats. At first I attributed it to shedding he was going through but now he’s done shedding and still won’t leave the hammock to bask. I forgot to mention between the time I took him to the vet in December up until now he’s been acting normal.

Any and all help and advice is appreciated!!! Thank you in advance!!!
 

Amandaaviva

Member
Original Poster
I posted his set up here at first and then decided to add it to original post and now I can’t figure out how to delete this one.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

No need to delete your second message, it is perfectly fine!
Are you able to get a copy of the bloodwork too for us?
The x-rays look pretty good. It could be the resonance but the upper cervical area is not as
bright white as it should be but again, that just could be shadowing. The hipbones & skull area
look fine, as well as the femurs.
Are you positive your dragon is a male & not a female? The center area looks a bit off to me,
not sure what it could be. Did they mention any type of mass, or just fatty liver possibility? I
have seen x-rays that had a mottled look similar to that which were calcified eggs or a mass of
eggs, etc. Just trying to cover all bases.
Do you give just plain calcium now without D3? Since he does have a T5 tube, I would give just
regular calcium without any D3 for awhile in case it could be hypervitaminosis D.
Does he have any trouble walking, or climbing right now?
You could consider trying a probiotic or even bromelain powder to see if that helps out with any
GI distress. Did they test him for Adeno virus?
Kale is fine, as long as you have a few other greens mixed in with it, too.
The tank setup looks fine as well. Are you keeping him a little warmer overnight, to help boost
his system right now?

Tracie
 

Amandaaviva

Member
Original Poster
Drache613":1fvswkf7 said:
Hello,

No need to delete your second message, it is perfectly fine!
Are you able to get a copy of the bloodwork too for us?
The x-rays look pretty good. It could be the resonance but the upper cervical area is not as
bright white as it should be but again, that just could be shadowing. The hipbones & skull area
look fine, as well as the femurs.
Are you positive your dragon is a male & not a female? The center area looks a bit off to me,
not sure what it could be. Did they mention any type of mass, or just fatty liver possibility? I
have seen x-rays that had a mottled look similar to that which were calcified eggs or a mass of
eggs, etc. Just trying to cover all bases.
Do you give just plain calcium now without D3? Since he does have a T5 tube, I would give just
regular calcium without any D3 for awhile in case it could be hypervitaminosis D.
Does he have any trouble walking, or climbing right now?
You could consider trying a probiotic or even bromelain powder to see if that helps out with any
GI distress. Did they test him for Adeno virus?
Kale is fine, as long as you have a few other greens mixed in with it, too.
The tank setup looks fine as well. Are you keeping him a little warmer overnight, to help boost
his system right now?

Tracie

Hi Tracie! Thank you SO much for responding. He is a definitely a male, sperm plugs and all. I do have bloodwork! I know his white blood cell count was high (suspected URI at time but vet also said could be from stress and minor injury of getting the bloodwork done. He has not been tested for Adv but it’s definitely something I am concerned about reading through these posts. I will buy an under tank heater today to keep him warmer at night, I live in SoCal and it’s pretty hot now but I will definitely do that!

No I don’t give plain calcium without D3, this was recommended by the vet specialist (who I mentioned had that bad review that makes me never want to go back)
But I will get some today! They didn’t mention any mass and his stomach feels soft, almost as if there IS fluid in it, but it’s not always like that so I’m wondering if it’s something I’m doing.

The prognosis on the bloodwork says fair-guarded but once the vet realized they inside of their mouths can be yellow and it’s not due to liver disease, they said it wasn’t as bad as originally though.

No trouble walking or climbing. The next available appointment at the vet is September 22. I wish I could find another exotic specialist so badly. These people were way more knowledgeable than even the specialist it seemed like. They didn’t do anything that screamed THIS IS NOT A REPTILE VET. I just want to make sure they run all tests they can, etc.

Thank you again so much!!!

111955-4383417522.jpg
111955-6576248430.jpg
 

Amandaaviva

Member
Original Poster
Drache613":3ajysc1s said:
Hello,

No need to delete your second message, it is perfectly fine!
Are you able to get a copy of the bloodwork too for us?
The x-rays look pretty good. It could be the resonance but the upper cervical area is not as
bright white as it should be but again, that just could be shadowing. The hipbones & skull area
look fine, as well as the femurs.
Are you positive your dragon is a male & not a female? The center area looks a bit off to me,
not sure what it could be. Did they mention any type of mass, or just fatty liver possibility? I
have seen x-rays that had a mottled look similar to that which were calcified eggs or a mass of
eggs, etc. Just trying to cover all bases.
Do you give just plain calcium now without D3? Since he does have a T5 tube, I would give just
regular calcium without any D3 for awhile in case it could be hypervitaminosis D.
Does he have any trouble walking, or climbing right now?
You could consider trying a probiotic or even bromelain powder to see if that helps out with any
GI distress. Did they test him for Adeno virus?
Kale is fine, as long as you have a few other greens mixed in with it, too.
The tank setup looks fine as well. Are you keeping him a little warmer overnight, to help boost
his system right now?

Tracie


I also want to emphasize his belly feels fluid-filled, almost water balloony, (this is my main concern) but it’s come and gone since December. The antibiotics and critical care they gave him at the time seemed to help.

I also forgot to mention he seems to be keeping himself pretty upright lately, not laying down much horizontally. I don’t know if this is fluid/lung related.

In December he would sometimes sleep laying down with his head completely vertical against the glass which I know can be a sign of breathing distress but he rarely sleeps like that anymore, and I haven’t seen any signs of breathing distress. When I pick him up sometimes I hear a VERY faint/slight wheeze but I’ve always attributed that to me pushing on his belly slightly to pick him up since he never wheezes any other time.


I’ve been reading through the posts here and keeping seeing things about supplements like milk thistle etc to improve liver function. Could I start these now? And if so, where could I find these items? Or basically what should I look out for when purchasing them.
Thank you again SO SO much!!!
 

Amandaaviva

Member
Original Poster
Drache613":e4eqkfcs said:
Hello,

No need to delete your second message, it is perfectly fine!
Are you able to get a copy of the bloodwork too for us?
The x-rays look pretty good. It could be the resonance but the upper cervical area is not as
bright white as it should be but again, that just could be shadowing. The hipbones & skull area
look fine, as well as the femurs.
Are you positive your dragon is a male & not a female? The center area looks a bit off to me,
not sure what it could be. Did they mention any type of mass, or just fatty liver possibility? I
have seen x-rays that had a mottled look similar to that which were calcified eggs or a mass of
eggs, etc. Just trying to cover all bases.
Do you give just plain calcium now without D3? Since he does have a T5 tube, I would give just
regular calcium without any D3 for awhile in case it could be hypervitaminosis D.
Does he have any trouble walking, or climbing right now?
You could consider trying a probiotic or even bromelain powder to see if that helps out with any
GI distress. Did they test him for Adeno virus?
Kale is fine, as long as you have a few other greens mixed in with it, too.
The tank setup looks fine as well. Are you keeping him a little warmer overnight, to help boost
his system right now?

Tracie


I’m so sorry for all the replies! I just keep thinking of more things to add. Here is a picture showing what seems to be the “fluid” in the lower belly. I know it doesn’t look too abnormal but it just feels very water balloony

111955-1330001019.jpg
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Sorry for the delay, how is your boy tonight?
I did scan the blood tests, & just at a quick glance I could see the uric acid & the calcium levels,
which looks within range. The AST however, which is the liver enzymes are high. That is going
to most likely be the cause for fluid in his belly, in my opinion. Adeno is a culprit a lot of times,
for the fluid because it targets the liver.
I help with getting dragons tested for Adeno & it is very easy to do. I can PM you information
to get him tested, if you would like.
For milk thistle, you can do either a liquid or a powder. Here i a link for my online store if you
are considering milk thistle & colloidal silver for liver help.

www.bug-de-lite.com

His colors are really nice, too. That's good your climate is warmer, that should help out. It may
be warm enough for him overnight then, just be sure it doesn't get warmer than around 80 or
so overnight for him.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
 

Amandaaviva

Member
Original Poster
Drache613":jzf9npgk said:
Hello,

Sorry for the delay, how is your boy tonight?
I did scan the blood tests, & just at a quick glance I could see the uric acid & the calcium levels,
which looks within range. The AST however, which is the liver enzymes are high. That is going
to most likely be the cause for fluid in his belly, in my opinion. Adeno is a culprit a lot of times,
for the fluid because it targets the liver.
I help with getting dragons tested for Adeno & it is very easy to do. I can PM you information
to get him tested, if you would like.
For milk thistle, you can do either a liquid or a powder. Here i a link for my online store if you
are considering milk thistle & colloidal silver for liver help.

http://www.bug-de-lite.com

His colors are really nice, too. That's good your climate is warmer, that should help out. It may
be warm enough for him overnight then, just be sure it doesn't get warmer than around 80 or
so overnight for him.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie


Thank you! I wish the vet had mentioned that when I saw her. I actually purchased some from your website yesterday!

The closest vet appointment wasn’t for 3 weeks (September 28th), what can I do in the meantime? Since he doesn’t want to eat greens right now I wanted to get him critical care omnivore since he loves it but it’s prescription only. I was thinking of doing a 15 min live chat with you through your website because of how stressed I am over all of this I could cry.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Hi there, just wanted to chime in while your waiting on Tracie [ she will be a great help if your dragon has ADV ] Your boy looks pretty healthy, don't worry too much if he loses his appetite for certain food items at times, they do that once they reach adult or even sub adult size. BTW, kale is fine, no higher oxalates than any other recommended greens.
 
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