High white blood cells and LDH in bloodwork.

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We got a new girl at the age of 2 months after losing our last dragon to kidney disease at the age of only one year old back at the end of October.

She is now 4 months old and has been growing, seems energetic (When we take her out of tank, she loves to run around and climb and explore), eats and poops like a champ... no discernible problems (except major stress if she sees her reflection, so we covered all her walls), but we are neurotic now about health because we had no idea our last guy was developing a kidney disease.

Because of that, we (a) found a new vet (last one was a generalist, this one is registered with ARAV), and (b) spent a bunch of money to get full bloodwork just to be on the safe side. (We also got a fecal, which came out fine and parasite-free)

Liver and kidney seem fine, as do calcium levels etc, but the one thing that is off is elevated white blood cells (various immune-response cells), plus LDH

EDIT: Looking at the blood test numbers has me significantly worried, so I have moved this post to the ER forum.


Original Poster
Sorry, I posted some of this same info in the Health thread, but not sure if that’s the right place because the more I look at these numbers, the more they worry me. Our vet told us the wbc counts were “slightly elevated” but then I saw the actual report and they are actually more than 50% higher than the normal max, which seems more than a slight elevation.

Vet said we should wait a month and test again, but I’m worried. Especially because I looked up LDH and it looks like that is a sign of organ or tissue damage! The fact that elevated LDH and Eosinophils can both indicate cancer has me extra worried.

Here are the abnormal results:
LDH: 761 (reference 100-500)

WBC: 24 (reference range 6-15)
Azurophils: 1.2 (reference 0.1-0.7)
Eosinophils: 0.24 (reference 0-0.1)

The other related cells are slight elevation:
Lymphocytes: 14.16 (ref 4-12)
Basophils: 1.2 (ref 0-1)

Except Monocytes: 0 (ref 0-1.5)

She has T5 10.0 over screen (I measure basking spot UV to be about 4 with Solarmeter 6.5), basking temp 100-105, cool side 82; she does a good job eating both her salad (collards, arugula, bok choy, kale, romaine, and spaghetti squash) and her bugs (bsfl, about 20-30 per day); been feeding repcal multivitamins once per week.

It’s driving me nuts that she appears to have infection or inflammation, but isn’t showing obvious symptoms of a problem except for occasionally going (or staying) in her hide (for example, she’s not coming out until about 2 hours after turning on the light in the morning, but our room has also been warmer lately, occasionally driving basking temp up to about 110. Doesn’t seem excessive, and she can bask at 100 not far away)

Before getting the blood results back, the vet said we are doing everything right and she seems very healthy. We’re going to call her to talk about the results but... what could be causing this? These numbers seem more than a little bit high, and I am worried, even though the vet doesn’t seem to be.


BD.org Sicko
Hi there, sometimes just the stress [ going to the vet + getting jabbed with a needle ] can make levels spike. I wouldn't worry about it. Can you post pics of your girl ? What's her name BTW ?


BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Hi there,

The LDH most likely would be caused from the blood draw. It's really not that high, weve seen much much higher than that simply from blood draws.

WBC could indicate infection, but it could also mean many other things. The immune system is working. That doesnt always mean the immune system needs help if you know what I mean.

Was a fecal check done?

If your dragon is acting fine and healthy I wouldnt put much more thought into it

I agree with your vet, sounds like everything is fine and if anything, retest in a month or two.

I might have missed it, but what was the cause for wanting blood draws anyways? Was it just the taking longer to wake up?

If so that's really not too concerning of a behavior.



Original Poster
Thanks all...
The cause for the blood draws was just to have an early baseline and to check and see if there are any congenital/genetic problems, for example. We also did a fecal (even though poop seemed fine), and it came back clear.

Basically, we are paranoid because my last dragon died at the age of only one year old, and it took us by surprise because the vet we took him to (multiple times) NEVER did a blood test... diagnoses were always just based on a quick visual inspection (even when he had clear problems, like wobbly ataxia. Doctor diagnosed it as calcium deficiency... but I now believe it may have actually been hypercalcemia, so giving him calcium boosts the vet prescribed only made it worse. A blood test would have told us for sure, but he only got better when we stopped giving him D3 and an xray we ended up demanding when he developed a lump on his jaw post-calcium-regimen showed rock solid bone density.)

That was a big mistake, because he was developing kidney problems that we didn’t know about, and if we had done an early enough blood test, I believe we could have prevented it from developing to a fatal stage. (It may have been caused by a variety of factors; I was dusting with D3 calcium 3-4x per week, which I believe may have developed hypercalcemia... and also, he got a parasite infection and when I read up on the medicine we gave, that too could cause kidney damage. We also fed him a diet high on dubia, which may or may not have contributed)

But yes, she does seem like a happy and healthy girl overall, other than having major stress if she ever sees her reflection.

Best way to see photos and videos of her and her energetic, bright-eyed demeanor is at the instagram we are keeping for her: https://www.instagram.com/paisley.the.dragon/?hl=en


BD.org Sicko
Staff member

I agree, those white blood cell counts don't look too much out of range, really. A lot of times
during brumation, their values change somewhat due to metabolic shifts for energy, etc.
Do you have the readings for the regular blood work or the complete blood workup too, so
we can see the calcium, liver & kidney values also?



Original Poster
Went back for follow-up bloodwork... and all levels came back normal, except azurophils.

But we also decided to get a fecal (poo suddenly is not as well-formed as it used to be) and test for ADV while we were at it, and...

Our girl has ADV.

This would explain the high wbc. She was trying to fight it. But I’m wondering (hoping) if the more normal levels now indicate she was somewhat successful in building up resistance to the virus?

She is still very bright-eyed, energetic, hungry, and growing (started at 35 grams when 2 months old), now up to 101 at 5 months), but obviously the diagnosis is a bit devastating to hear.


BD.org Sicko
Staff member

That's too bad, but adeno is not necessarily a death sentence for all. Some are carriers &
don't really exhibit signs or symptoms while others are symptomatic & become ill.
Since she has reached 100 grams which seems to be a pretty good weight in which their
immune systems start developing, I would say that she has an excellent chance now.
Are you giving her anything for her immune system & liver such as milk thistle, dandelion
or bee pollen?
I have been successful at clearing out the virus in a few dragons, so it can be done. A lot
of it has to do with the individual & the strength of their immune system along with genetics,
How is she doing today?



Original Poster
She seems to be doing okay. Up to 120 grams now...
We have not added supplements to her diet yet, but plan to get some milk thistle extract and bee pollen, at the very least. We will also be doing another blood test in a few months just to check on things.

She poops daily and her appetite (for both bugs and greens) is voracious, so we take those as good signs.

I might order some silkworm eggs to grow as feeders, since I have heard that the serrapeptase they contain is also beneficial.


BD.org Sicko
Staff member

How is your girl doing today?
That's great she is doing pretty well. Since her weight is going up hopefully her immune system
is developing more now.
Definitely, the milk thistle & bee pollen would help out a lot for her. It's a great sign right now that
she has a very good appetite & is actually eating her greens, too. She would probably really love
the silkworms & it's rewarding to hatch & raise your own silkworms, too.

Let us know how things are going!

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