HELP! Beardie doesn't poop, black beard, and spasming/twitching and bloated this morning but went to vet 3 days ago


Original Poster
Tank Info: Zen Habitats 4'x2'x2' , 120 gal
T8 UVB in tank about 7 in. from basking area
Basking/heat lamp w/ UVA
Thermometer w/ probe going to hot end of tank; 95-100 degrees or so

Hi all, my beardie Sparkle is a little over a year old and has had health issues since I got him as a baby (last November). First, he seemed to have a really tough eye shed that progressively got worse until I got worried that it was Yellow Fungus. I took him to a regular vet that treated reptiles (I didn't know better but I do now) and she basically told me she didn't know and she isn't a reptile expert but h's probably fine (at this time he was having trouble pooping but was still going, it was just like once every two weeks). I told her about Yellow Fungus and she said she had to go look it up and then told me that she thought it could be Yellow Fungus but she doesn't know how to find out and that it doesn't matter because there would be nothing I could do and that he would die soon. He goes through cycles where his eye and neck get more yellow and I get really worried, but the last three months it has looked a lot better and now is just slightly tinted yellow and on the left side of his face only, and the scales just like slightly malformed. My current reptile specialist vet told me that it looks mostly like coloring. My previous reptile vet before i moved tested him for Yellow Fungus but he tested negative. However, she said there is a decently high change of a false negative in a blood test and that they would have to take a biopsy and test it to be sure, which was like $250 and I did not do it. I did try to give him antifungal medicine but it did not seem to help. In fact, it actually got worse over the six weeks that I gave it to him.

The last few months he has just had trouble pooping and I have taken him to the vet quite a few times. He was on lactulose and daily baths which was helping but eventually he just stopped pooping. One day when I was giving him his lactulose (about three months ago or so) he swallowed the tip of a syringe. He has pooped twice since then, both with help from my veterinarian with an enema. At the initial appointment about a month and a half ago, the vet conducted an e-ray, x-ray with contrast, blood tests, and a stool sample. The vet said everything looked fine, and gave him an enema and said that his urate was really big and hard and it seemed to be his urate that was causing his impaction and to give him less calcium. This past week he still had not pooped so I brought him in to the vet again. She did another X-ray and found a really big urate, gave him an enema, and did blood samples again and checked kidney functioning. Again she said everything looked good besides the big urate, gave him an enema, and he passed it along with his poop, which she said the poop looked healthy and so she assumed it was mostly due to the urate. She also said that she isn't worried about him still having the syringe tip stuck because she has fully flushed him twice. That was on Wednesday. It is now Saturday and Sparkle has refused his crickets since the vet, although he has been eating his greens. The vet told me she thought the urate was due to dehydration, and told me to get thermostats in the tank to decrease the temperature (95-110 on the warm side, probably 80-85 on the cool side) and return to giving him daily baths (I stopped in between vet appointments because the vet looked at his mouth last time and said she was worried about mouth rot, and I also didn't want him to get a respiroatory infection because with all his medical problems already he probably couldn't handle that). She also told me to increase his fiber and leafy greens (his typical salad is kale, but I also give very occassional asparagus, carrots and snap peas sometimes, and apples sometimes. I live in a small town (an hour from the vet) and there are not many beardie-friendly options to choose from so that's why I usually just use kale, which him and my other beardie seem to like. Although I know some people recommend not to feed your beardie spinach, she said that spinach would be a good veggie to feed him to help pass his poop and urate so I gave a little bit of it to him along with some peeled cucumber and cilantro two days in a row. I haven't given him a bath until this morning, but I have been trying to mist his tank, I have a water bowl (although the vet recommended I get a larger one that their entire body can fit in, which I will do soon), and I try to give him drinks of water by dripping it onto his nose but it rarely works.

This morning when I went to check on him and turn his lights on he was lying in the corner on the warm side of his viv, with a very very black beard and looked really sick. There were small pieces of poop spread around his cage and a tiny bit of urate. I assumed he had been trying to poop but was struggling, so I thought if I turned the lights on and gave it an hour or two that he might be able to. I also noticed his tummy felt pretty full and bloated, which is odd because he hasn't eaten crickets in probably a week. I don't want to force him to eat critical care because he seems like he is in a lot of pain and his tummy kind of spasms/twitches every few minutes. Also, when I tried to massage his tummy his stomach twitched just slightly below the midpoint on just his body. That was not the case, so I decided to put him on a heating pad and then give him a bath. he didn't like the heating pad and kept crawling off of it so I ended up just giving him a bath. He has been in the bath for probably the last 40 minutes, but is mostly staying out of the water by propping himself up on the rock I put in with him (he hates baths and he was frantically trying to escape so I didn't want to force him to stay in the bath and be super distressed). but his legs and tail are in the water.

I've had a lot of really tough events going on in my life with multiple family emergencies and am also a college student, so with all the out of town drives to the vet and daily care plus my job and chronic illness of mine that has emerged in the past year I've gotten really behind on a lot of my other daily tasks and school work. I have some stuff that I need to work on today and am really busy plus trying to keep an eye on my beardie's health so I will post the cage details in a bit, because I also forgot what sizes and wattages things are and need to double check. He is in a big cage with a heat lamp and a long UVB that I need to change soon but changed it about five months ago probably. It does not have a reflector but it is hanging inside his cage about 7 inches above his basking area and covering about half of his vivarium. He is not on his cool side very often. The temps in my house drop below 65 at night but I keep a space heater on in their room and the room stays at about 72 degrees. In addition to him not eating much or pooping (or on his own at all in the last 3 months), he is relatively lethargic but seems healthy and when he does move around he looks healthy, although he is less active than I would want him to be. He's also been pretty nervous lately it seems like. When I take him out of his viv. to exercise/explore or sit with me, he usually just bobs his head, even if there is not another beardie or any animal or a mirror around. Sorry this is a long post! I just wanted to give all the background info because there's so much. I'll try and get the cage info posted by tonight sometime, I just wanted to post the general question first because I'm worried and it seems like he's in a lot of pain.


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Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

Oh no, I am so sorry, it sounds like it was a painful experience for you both. :cry: The only comfort is that he was not aloneyou
were with him. I am not sure what I would do, regarding a necropsy. Maybe give it a few days to consider.
So sorry for your loss of your precious dragon.


KarrieRee Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
I am so sorry to hear about this -- what a terrible experience for you - it is up to you about finding out the exact cause - but again I feel for you and him and it is not easy watching something like that --- my heart goes out to you -- 💔

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