I don’t know what I’m doing wrong and can’t figure it out

Sheezafreak

Member
Beardie name(s)
Derpy
My bearded dragon, derpy, is close to one year old and he’s our first dragon but have had him all of his little life. The past few months we have been concerned with his behavior, eating habits, sheddings, and bowel movements. This summer we upgraded him to a 125 gallon tank and since then things have been going down hill. He hasn’t done a full shed since, jeez, I dont even remember when it’s been so long. His eating habits have decreased greatly to the point he’s BARELY eating anything right now. He’s been not having regular bowel movements. He’s been to the vet twice since this summer for lack of bowel movements and they relieve him but nothing really changes when he’s back home. he’s not very active because of everything going on with him. I’m worried and dont know what I’m doing wrong and wanted some help with his environment since that’s what its looking like the issue is. Any advice anyone can provide would be a tremendous help. I’ll tell you about the set up and post some pictures.

Diet: superworms + hornworms. He was eating dubia roaches most of his life but for some reason he started to refuse them completely. he is also very picky when it comes to veggies and will only eat romaine lettuce but like I mentioned he won’t eat much these days. We sprinkle flukers calcium with d3 on his foods but honestly with the lack of eating he probably hasn’t gotten much of it.

Enclosure: 125 gl. Tank we had to make a lid for it. It’s got three sections, one mesh side with 1/2 inch mesh holes so it’s not blocking too much I hope, and 2 plexiglass sides. On the left side, his hot side, has a 100w mercury vapor bulb in a wire cage sitting on top the meshing and derpy’s basking light because the mercury bulb alone wasn’t keeping his old 40gal tank warm enough and it wouldn’t keep an even bigger tank warm enough either.

We had a 22 inch t5 uvb hanging inside the cage to cover the middle section and on the far right no lighting but we recently decided to move the t5 onto the furthest right side because that’s the only spot he would be on all day and we wanted him to still be getting uvb exposure.

Both bulbs are not very old plus we have a decor item that lets us know if the uvb isn’t working so it’s not bad bulbs.

The hot side stays at about 100 degrees , the middle and cold side about 80-85 degrees. Humidity is anywhere between 30-40% sometimes even 50% on all sides.

His substrate is a mixture of sand,soil, and bark. All of them being made for reptiles. I know sand and other loose substrate isn’t a lot of peoples favorite but hes not ingesting it. If I get him to eat it’s by tweezers anyway.

He gets bathed 3+ times a week like his vet said because of dehydration. I can sometimes get him to go to bathroom if he sits in there for a little bit and maybe a gentle tummy massage to help but that doesn’t always work. Not even a little watery fruit gets him going.

I’ve never once seen him go to his water bowl for a drink. It’s always fresh bottled water changed daily. We have to get him hydrated other ways, like baths and using a syringe thing to drop water droplets on his nose. But he never really wants it but I can see him barely open his mouth to test out what it is. He’s very leery of anything in a syringe because we ONE time tricked him to get a medication administered for pinworm parasites but that has since been cleared up and retested again recently.

Ok sorry for the information dump, i tried to cover everything I could think of and probably overshared a little instead but any confusion with what I’ve said can be cleared if you get in touch with me. I really hope someone can help I’ve done everything I could possibly think of.
 

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AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Hi there, how old + what size was he when you moved him to the new home and is that when his behavior changed ? They can get stressed with a move but it usually doesn't last this long. Post a pic of Derpy, that will help to see his condition.

Your enclosure is beautiful ! Did you have the same substrate in the old tank ? Just wondering if Derpy possibly swallowed a piece of bark.
 

Sheezafreak

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Derpy
Hi there, how old + what size was he when you moved him to the new home and is that when his behavior changed ? They can get stressed with a move but it usually doesn't last this long. Post a pic of Derpy, that will help to see his condition.

Your enclosure is beautiful ! Did you have the same substrate in the old tank ? Just wondering if Derpy possibly swallowed a piece of bark.
Oh man it was this summer so he’s had plenty of time to adjust to it. He did fine at first but now isnt doing well. im almost certain he hasnt been ingesting any bark but I can’t say for sure without xray but they did a stool sample last month or so when he went to vet. Everything came back okay. The vet said nothing was wrong with him, it was on our end pretty much. We hand feed him also so he’s not getting a chance to get it mixed in with his food Either. We have watched him closely when we first switched and it’s never been a problem. The new substrate came after he got in the new tank. If you need more pictures let me know. I just didn’t want to pull him out and disturb him. I’m on way to PetSmart to try different bulbs right now.
 

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AHBD

BD.org Sicko
If he was doing fine at first but just started this a month or 2 ago then it might be a slight brumation slow down without actually being brumation. He's really big enough and his behavior leans toward that.
 

Sheezafreak

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Derpy
If he was doing fine at first but just started this a month or 2 ago then it might be a slight brumation slow down without actually being brumation. He's really big enough and his behavior leans toward that.
I thought captive beardies didn’t brumate unless you lead them into it by changing to shorter hours with the lights?. I never know what to believe anymore when it comes to reliable information about bearded dragons. Even vets have given incorrect information to me. I really hope it’s brumation. are there any signs to look out for that would need to raise the alarm that somthing isn’t okay?.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
I just re-read your first post t see if I forgot anything, when you say that the vet relieved him of constipation do you mean he was given an enema ? If so that's very dangerous and to be avoided. Any time you want to help a beardie to poo, give them any of these : canned pumkin [ no spice ] baby food squash, sweet potato, prunes or green bean. You can add a drop or 2 of olive oil or raw honey.

Brumation is very natural and many beardies will . Vets will give you mixed info on that . I can tell you that in over 25 yrs. of owning beardies, every one has gone in to brumation. My two 12 year olds are sleeping now.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
I thought captive beardies didn’t brumate unless you lead them into it by changing to shorter hours with the lights?. I never know what to believe anymore when it comes to reliable information about bearded dragons. Even vets have given incorrect information to me. I really hope it’s brumation. are there any signs to look out for that would need to raise the alarm that somthing isn’t okay?.
Once lighting is ruled out as incorrect temps and UVB can cause brumation behavior symptoms then you can rule in brumation - it is natural instinct for them to brumate --- your getting wrong info from vets that tell you otherwise ---- https://www.beardeddragon.org/resources/brumation-in-bearded-dragons.4/
please ask more questions if you need to --
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Karrie, there are 2 articles on brumation. That's the old one that is long + rambling and I kind of wish it was removed. Also has some incorrect info.

This one is better + shorter.


 

Chris.

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
Well mine is 13 months now and sounds a lot like yours. He is barely eating or pooping but he's not sleeping. Just being lazy and going to bed a little early. Brumation hits a lot of them by instict and all behave a little different. Our dragons are still young which is probably why they are not fully sleeping.
Do you monitor his weight? If he's not loosing weight he should be alright and it probably is just him slowing down over the winter....
 

Sheezafreak

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Derpy
Well mine is 13 months now and sounds a lot like yours. He is barely eating or pooping but he's not sleeping. Just being lazy and going to bed a little early. Brumation hits a lot of them by instict and all behave a little different. Our dragons are still young which is probably why they are not fully sleeping.
Do you monitor his weight? If he's not loosing weight he should be alright and it probably is just him slowing down over the winter....

I reluctantly took him to the vet AGAIN and left there more confused than ever. They did give me some syrup stuff for pooping and powered emergency omnivore and herbivore supplement and some rinse for some mouth rot. The vet told me he’s physically in fine shape (aside from minor mouth rot), alert and active during his stay. (Surprised me because he’s anything but when he’s at home.) she question his lighting set up and was going to do some math to see if was at right distance and uvb. All checked out good…only thing she said was that maybe try to make it hotter for him because 95 degrees want enough and that maybe the night time temps were slightly below the recommended threshold of 72?! I’ve spent time looking into what’s going on with my derp and I’ve never seen 70 degrees at night time being an issue with 72 lowest temperature for bearded dragons. So I’m at a loss and have looked a brumation symptoms and he’s hit all but one, so I’m praying this is only brumation. The vet not one time mentioned this being a possibility…there’s another 150 down the drain with no real or clear answers.

On another note: the mouth wash is a rinse, so I’m assuming that it needs to be spit out (idk)..how would I accomplish that? I’ve tried the running the dispenser syringes along mouth sides to get him to open and droplets on nose and IT DOES NOT WORK. He’s not got one rinse since we got it. He’s has three doses of the syrup with still no poops and the supplemental powder stuff..he drinks it for a small period of time then out of no where just takes off from me
I don’t know and I don’t get it even slightly what is going here.
 

Chris.

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
He might be slightly less alert at home because he is comfortable there!? Just a guess but mine is also very different, like active, defensive, black beard and puff up, at the vet.
When Luis got his medication for the pinworms, I had to open his mouth with a little bit of force (very gently). Felt bad but it had to be.
95°F is on the low end of where you want his basking spot to be.

Does he show symptoms of being unwell?
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
If the vet gave your dragon enemas in the past, doesn't understand brumation and thinks that 70 degrees is too cold then you really ARE wasting your money, sorry to say. Just get your basking temp. up about 5 degrees or so and leave him be. He looks quite healthy in the last picture. Can you post a new picture of him ?
I hope the enemas didn't do internal damage.
 

Sheezafreak

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Derpy
If the vet gave your dragon enemas in the past, doesn't understand brumation and thinks that 70 degrees is too cold then you really ARE wasting your money, sorry to say. Just get your basking temp. up about 5 degrees or so and leave him be. He looks quite healthy in the last picture. Can you post a new picture of him ?
I hope the enemas didn't do internal damage.
I have unfortunately taken him to two different vets here in Spokane and the first one was 100% worse. we don’t have an exotic vet here that i have come across. Only vets claiming they know but clearly don’t. i don’t have one within the last couple weeks but this one is from December
 

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Sheezafreak

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Derpy
He might be slightly less alert at home because he is comfortable there!? Just a guess but mine is also very different, like active, defensive, black beard and puff up, at the vet.
When Luis got his medication for the pinworms, I had to open his mouth with a little bit of force (very gently). Felt bad but it had to be.
95°F is on the low end of where you want his basking spot to be.

Does he show symptoms of being unwell?

He might be slightly less alert at home because he is comfortable there!? Just a guess but mine is also very different, like active, defensive, black beard and puff up, at the vet.
When Luis got his medication for the pinworms, I had to open his mouth with a little bit of force (very gently). Felt bad but it had to be.
95°F is on the low end of where you want his basking spot to be.

Does he show symptoms of being unwell?
I know if I'm brave enough to pry open his mouth. How could I make sure he's just doing a rinse and not swallowing it? as far looking unwell he looks like he's okay but also not in someways- I agree though about the brumation. Its just hard to see him not be active at all and sleep often
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
He's the size and has the body of a well fed, chubby adult . Are you 100 % sure that Derpy is a male ? It's really important to know. He most likely was just trying to brumate so it's best to just let him be. My 12 year old boys have been sleeping since around mid October and they both woke up briefly last week but are not up to full wakeness. It's sad that vets today do not understand and explain this to beardie owners but instead they fool around and make the beardie stressed out and put a strain on their health.
What did the vet say that showed mouth rot ?
 

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