Growth on exterior of nose - looking for answers with vet

kr.gracd

Member
Hello,

I'm absolutely new to this forum, and honestly I'm hoping for either advice, or maybe anyone who has seen this before. I'm going to be as brief as possible, while also giving a lot of details. Most importantly, this is about my female bearded dragon Lucillia (a bit over 2 years old) and I adore her to pieces, despite the amount of sass she always gives me. She has a very strange, very odd looking growth on her nose.

First: She has been to the vet twice for this issue, and we have been unable to find answers. The first time she went, it was more of a scabbing wound, and we thought yellow fungus. Put her on a week long regimen of oral anti-fungals, (to be continued for one week in monthly cycles) and daily treatment of the area with silver sulfadiazine. The area scabbed over again, and the scab came off for a second time. She appeared to be healing. Then it got worse, but not in the same manner. Within a month of her first vet visit, the area has doubled in size, and is no longer scabbing. It is smooth, and slightly squishy. She is scheduled for a biopsy of the area on October 17th.

Briefly the good: her weight is consistent. A "loss" of five grams between her first visit (August 2) and today's visit. She weighs 418 grams, good for her size. Her appetite is excellent, eats all her food and all types of food quite well. I would not consider her to be over eating, as she doesn't always everything that's offered her. She's very bright. Active and curious, as always. She went through a full shed approximately two weeks ago, and that went well, no stuck shed or issues. I assisted her with the removal of shed from her nose and ear holes, but I always do that when its loose.

Briefly the bad: the area/growth/wound developed incredibly quickly. Its difficult to tell if it has puss or not. There is no oozing or bleeding. It appears to be growing both above and under her scales ( photos will be attached). Not only did it come on fast, it has continued to grow. It does seem as through the growth has slowed slightly. It is growing near her right nostril, but has not enveloped it.

I listed her habitat details in my profile, but again briefly: a 40 gallon tank, 36x18x18. Night light for nighttime heat (the room is cold) over a rock stays between 75-80 at night. Daytime basking around 100, around 90 in her warm area. A T8 50 UVB 50 watt. Reptile carpet. When the growth first started, she was on Reptichips, but I changed to carpet to keep the tank cleaner.

I've attached pictures. The ones without dates are from today. Honestly, I'm really hoping someone will say they've seen it before, and she just has some nasty scarring overgrowth. I'll even take a big abscess, because that can be fixed with antibiotics. However, I am quite scared that it is cancerous. But it doesn't resemble anything I've been able to find online so far.

Thank you,

Katie and Lucillia
 

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Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Holy cow.

Ok, you're working with a vet, that's good.
I assume the vet tested the growth... performed scrapings and sent them off to be tested before prescribing harsh oral anti-fungal medications? It didn't look fungal at all to me based on the first picture.. but hopefully it was actually tested..

Can you post a picture of your setup? The first picture looks like a burn or an injury that ended up getting infected.
What brand is your UVB. 50watt's isn't really a common wattage

-Brandon
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
Oh that poor baby, that has to be miserable, bless her heart. I agree with Claudiusx might first thought was a burn, but i have no idea how it could come to be like that.
 

kr.gracd

Member
Original Poster
Holy cow.

Ok, you're working with a vet, that's good.
I assume the vet tested the growth... performed scrapings and sent them off to be tested before prescribing harsh oral anti-fungal medications? It didn't look fungal at all to me based on the first picture.. but hopefully it was actually tested..

Can you post a picture of your setup? The first picture looks like a burn or an injury that ended up getting infected.
What brand is your UVB. 50watt's isn't really a common wattage

-Brandon
Unfortunately I had to leave just as you replied. I will taken pictures of her setup soon. And you're right, I was typing too quickly - her UVB is 15 watts, Zilla brand.

The vet did say he could take cultures, but that getting results takes a long time, and were often not even correct. The cultures would cost 800 dollars, which seemed excessive to me, but I've never had another vet for my reptiles to compare results or costs. Since that was pretty far beyond my budget, we went with the dual option of the oral antifungal and topical antibiotic.

During the initial visit, she also had a couple of spots (tail and belly) that were yellow in color. That contributed to the yellow fungus thought. However, the spots completely disappeared when she shed.

I asked today if he felt it would be a safe option to place her on oral antibiotics since it could be a big infection, but he didn't feel it was necessary as her behavior is normal.

I've reached out to a friend who has friends that keep reptiles to see if they can recommend a different vet.

Thank you for your reply :)
 

kr.gracd

Member
Original Poster
Oh that poor baby, that has to be miserable, bless her heart. I agree with Claudiusx might first thought was a burn, but i have no idea how it could come to be like that.
I wondered about a burn too, but I've no idea how she would have managed it. She was tank surfing around 3-4 months before this and had developed rub wounds on her chin. I put her in a larger tank, basically taller and a bit wider, and upgraded her UVB. She stopped surfing and her chin healed up great, just with me using regular antibiotic cream. And it was never as bad as this, more like she had a callous.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks for the clarification.

Personally, without being able to do labs and my own tests, it looks like it was originally a burn or wound that got infected.

From there, it's possible that the oral medications and/or topical cream caused a sensitivity to UV. Since the head/nose area typically get the most UV exposure, and with the scales (which normally are what protect the soft tissue from UV exposure) were damaged, it's possible that your dragon's wound area got sunburned - perse - and the lump is actually a fluid sac. A biopsy would tell you for sure if you're still getting one.

Otherwise, bloodwork should tell you if your dragon has an infection.

$800 is definitely a high price for a fungal culture... I don't blame you for second guessing the need to at that price. However, a more experienced vet should have been able to tell very easily that the wound was not fungus, or at least not yellow fungus.

At this point though, I agree with holding off on the antibiotics unless bloodwork shows a need for it. Antibiotics are notorious for making dragons that didn't need them in the first place sickly.

-Brandon
 

kr.gracd

Member
Original Poster
Thanks for the clarification.

Personally, without being able to do labs and my own tests, it looks like it was originally a burn or wound that got infected.

From there, it's possible that the oral medications and/or topical cream caused a sensitivity to UV. Since the head/nose area typically get the most UV exposure, and with the scales (which normally are what protect the soft tissue from UV exposure) were damaged, it's possible that your dragon's wound area got sunburned - perse - and the lump is actually a fluid sac. A biopsy would tell you for sure if you're still getting one.

Otherwise, bloodwork should tell you if your dragon has an infection.

$800 is definitely a high price for a fungal culture... I don't blame you for second guessing the need to at that price. However, a more experienced vet should have been able to tell very easily that the wound was not fungus, or at least not yellow fungus.

-Brandon
That makes so much more sense than anything I've heard. It it tender to her, but she tolerates me putting medicine on without trouble. I asked today if I should put guaze over the area, to protect it more. The vet felt I shouldn't, as he was worried it would get stuck. Which makes sense. But if it is a burn, it needs to be protected. But she also needs the lights for warmth and UVB. I can definitely get an undertank mat, but I don't know if that would be warm enough. And I could replace the heat bulb with a ceramic one. Worst part is, she tends to brush a fair amount of the medication off when she eats.

What are your thoughts on the guaze? I would have no problem spending the time to soak it off if needed. My other thought is to not let her have her dish with greens, and hand feed her multiple times a day.
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
You mentioned your light is a zilla brand. Does it gave the plastic cover over the bulb? If so please remove it immediately, as far as i know that cover completely blocks the uvb. it's just two small Phillips screws one in each corner to get it off.
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
Does ot look like this? This is the one with the plastic cover over the bulb.
 

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kr.gracd

Member
Original Poster
Does ot look like this? This is the one with the plastic cover over the bulb.
It is that one, and it did have the plastic cover. Thankfully, when I bought it, the people at the store had mentioned that fact to me. I had no idea prior, but luckily was at an actual small family owned reptile store, and they told me to remove it. But thank you very much for telling me, if I had gotten it elsewhere I wouldn't have had any idea.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Poor girl, that has got to hurt. You mentioned that they did lab work, right? If so, when will they
have the results?
I feel that it has gotten infected from the initial rostral injury from rubbing on the tank & it could
possibly be a staph type of infection. I agree, antibiotics normally aren't good to give if it isn't
warranted. If it is a staph infection, the Azithromycin would probably work on that as it's not an
antibiotic but instead an antibacterial/antimicrobial agent. Do you have any silver gel you could
put on it, or raw unpasteurized honey?

Let us know how she is doing.
Tracie
 

kr.gracd

Member
Original Poster
Hello,

Poor girl, that has got to hurt. You mentioned that they did lab work, right? If so, when will they
have the results?
I feel that it has gotten infected from the initial rostral injury from rubbing on the tank & it could
possibly be a staph type of infection. I agree, antibiotics normally aren't good to give if it isn't
warranted. If it is a staph infection, the Azithromycin would probably work on that as it's not an
antibiotic but instead an antibacterial/antimicrobial agent. Do you have any silver gel you could
put on it, or raw unpasteurized honey?

Let us know how she is doing.
Tracie
She is scheduled for a biopsy of the area on October 17th, they were booked pretty far out. I know they were reluctant to do the biopsy as reptiles are not great with anesthesia (so I've been told), but it's definitely a must now. I've never had a reptile need anesthesia, so I'm nervous. I've been using silver sulfadiazine on her nose for a month now. I'm considering switching to the raw honey, as it might stay on her nose better. It's hard to judge, because I know reptiles are notoriously slow healers, so I need to be patient, but I also want to see at least a little bit of improvement.

Attitude wise, she's still doing great. She's currently out exploring her territory, I wish I could share a video of how she runs around sometimes, it's like she prances.
 

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