Loss of appetite, infrequent pooping

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Hey all, I'm having an interesting time here with my dragon, Rincewind.

He seems to have lost all appetite and he poops only about once every two weeks or so. Back around Christmas, he went almost a month, I took him into the vet for x-rays and a check-up, and he was just really full of crap (literally) and dooked like crazy within an hour of getting him home. The vet was a herp specialist and said otherwise he was fine.

Since then, his appetite has lessened quite a bit, and he's the fussiest/pickiest eater I know. He went crazy for crickets the first 6 months we had him, then went completely off them, so we went to superworms, which he has recently started refusing. He tried a few dubias, and now won't eat those. He's back to pooping infrequently. I offer him kale, mustard greens, basil, approved baby foods from the healthydragons feeding sheet. He pretty much turns his nose up at these. He goes for a week or more between feedings, and poops even less frequently. He gets misted or bathed almost daily.

Setup Q's:
Tile substrate, brick/tile pyramid for climbing/basking
Basking temp: between 110-116f during the day, measured with infrared digital therm
Cool side temp: between 80-88f during the day, measured with infrared digital therm
Sleeping spot has a warming pad and an old t-shirt that gets washed regularly
UV is Reptisun 10, replaced every 6 months

Dragon is about 18m old, ate like crazy for about a year, has slowed down a lot lately, and not in the way that adults seem to slow down, as in, eats basically nothing.

The part that drives me absolutely banana sandwich is that he LOOKS and ACTS perfectly FINE. We let him run around in our apartment, he likes to sit in windows and watch outside, he's friendly, rarely blacks his beard, has never nipped, waved, or head-bobbed at anyone. No signs of MBD, skin/scales look good, and he's a chubby little guy even after all this time, his head is nice and rubbery, legs are chunky, tail is nice and heavy, he keeps it up. Basks regularly, likes to hide in the shade from time to time, glass dances to get out sometimes, and loves to hide in my wife's hair if we sit on the couch and watch tv.

TL;DR version: I have what appears to be a perfectly healthy BD who WILL NOT EAT OR POOP but doesn't act unhealthy.

The herp vet did say that some of them slow down, has anyone heard of a dragon who will just absolutely stop eating for weeks? It doesn't seem to be brumation, he's active otherwise. He'll drink water during a bath and a mist, and when I mix up some baby food/olive oil/calcium vitamin mix and syringe feed him, he seems to enjoy it.

If I missed any Q's, let me know, I'm open to learning. This guy is our baby and it's almost like I wish he would act sick so I could figure out how to fix it, but he just sits around all day like "HA HA, I'M STARVING MYSELF AND I WON'T TELL YOU WHY."
 

Esther19

BD.org Addict
Hi! This one has me kind of stumped. I only have 2 questions: Is he losing weight? Have his basking temps always been that high?
 

TheLastBaron

Member
Original Poster
He doesn't appear to be losing weight, at his last weigh-in, he was about 23oz and the vet said that was a little heavy. His basking temps have been between 105-120 this last year.
 

Esther19

BD.org Addict
That's great that he is maintaining his weight. Here's a link to foods you can try:
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

If it was my dragon, I would dial the basking temp down to 105- 110F and see what his response was. Most adults prefer 100-105. 110 max.

I'm sorry I haven't been much help. Please let us know how he progresses.
 

KristineM

Gray-bearded Member
Hi there!! I'm sorry you seem to have such a picky eater!! They can be so stubborn!! I think my first thought/suggestion would be to certainly dial down on those basking temps and maybe even remove that heating pad.

I see that you are using an infrared temp gun which is great! Are you being sure to take the temps from 2 inches away? This will give the most accurate reading. (I didn't know temps had to be taken at a certain distance).

Just a couple suggestions :) Hope he starts eating and pooping soon!!
 

tgolden

Sub-Adult Member
The behavior you are describing is how mine acts before he's starts going down for burmation. mine only poops once maybe twice in a 2 week period but when he does or looks like a dinosaur let loose in there . He's been like that sense he was a juvie. Some dragons don't go all The time some do
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hi, I have to say that I agree with the others that the temps are too high. I have had beardies for over 11 yrs and when they reached a yr old or so, none of them would bask if the temp reached over 103 so I would try lowering his temps. He may very well be happier with a basking temp of 101 to 104 and I would suggest that you try that to see how he reacts. The cool side should be 78 to 82 with 80 being ideal. If he basks more, it should help him defecate more frequently.

You're using the Repti-Sun 10.0 fluorescent tube, right? What is the distance of that particular bulb when he is in his basking spot?

They do get tired of the same feeders and greens, their tastes change so it's a good idea to switch things around off & on. One of our beardies decided he didn't want any crickets at all when he was about 6 mo old so we switched to other feeders. When he was about 18 mo, he decided he LOVED crickets again and ate them until he passed over at the age of over 10 yrs. Buying soft wormed feeders helps them pass their feces more frequently too. Silkworms and hornworms are great feeders and most beardies love them, especially the hornworms. Linda has some great prices and she is a member of this forum too. Here website is: www.lindasgonebuggie.com She even has some $5.00 specials on the bottom of one of her pages.

Please be sure to keep us updated on him.
 

TheLastBaron

Member
Original Poster
diamc,

I am using the 10.0 Reptisun, it's about 15 inches from his basking spot at a slight diagonal. I have two bulbs directly over his basking spot. If the general consensus is too hot, I'll dial down the heat this week and see what happens. Thanks, all, for your replies so far! I've been paying a little more attention to him (more than usual) this week and it does seem like he's not getting up to his basking place as much as last summer. As they age, do they wind up preferring cooler temps for basking? When he was 6-10 months or so, he loved hot temps.

I'll look into hornworms, too. I've offered him supers, dubias, romaine, kale, cantaloupe, squash, green beans, chicken, and beardie pellets this last two weeks and he won't go after anything. He had a very squishy poop with a small urate on Saturday after a long soak. About once a week if he won't eat anything else I'll syringe feed a mixture of green bean or squash baby food with olive oil and vitamin/calcium powder just so I know he's getting some nutrition.

Is it easier to go down to a 75-watt bulb from 100 than try to rig a light source to be further away? I know that's a no-brainer question, but...thoughts?

Update: he still seems okay, stays in his sleeping spot a lot, I unplugged the heating pad per suggestions and he does seem to like to be there more often now. I guess it may be too warm in there...more to come.

I love this community. Thanks all for your expertise.
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
With the Repti-Sun 10.0 tube at a distance of 15" from the basking spot, he's not getting any benefit from it which won't prevent metabolic bone disease and other health issues and also won't allow the proper absorption of his calcium. It should be 6 to 8" from him while in his basking spot. Is the UVB mounted inside his tank or on top of the screen?

It's hard to know for sure what you're using to check the temps. Is it an infrared temperature gun that you're holding 2" from the area you're checking? Or, are you using a digital thermometer with a long wire & probe end and placing the probe right on the basking spot and then waiting 45 min to an hr before getting the final reading? Or are you using a digital strip thermometer that's stuck to the glass? Once we have narrowed down the type you're using, we can help more.

Yes, as they get older, their temps need to be lowered as they don't need the 110 (no higher) baby temp anymore and actually won't tolerate it that high.

What size tank is he in and what are the wattages of the 2 basking bulbs? Would it be possible to post a picture of him in the tank to see if we can offer more suggestions?

Here's a list of the best staple foods in green print: http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html Kale actually binds the calcium preventing proper absorption so not a good idea to offer that daily unless mixed with the daily staple greens of turnip & mustard greens,, dandelion, escarole, endive, collards. Romaine is mostly water and doesn't really have much nutritional value. At his age, he should be getting calcium 3 days a wk and vitamins once a wk so if he doesn't start eating on his own soon, it would be a good idea to feed the squash baby food a few more times a wk so you can include one of the supplements in it.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
I agree with the others, the first thing I thought of was high temps. Just wondering, though, how long is he ? Depending on his length,at his weight of roughly 650 grams he may be overweight as your vet mentioned, and now is the time [ at 18 months ] to scale way back on live food, so he may be overfed and just naturally not interested in food altogether. Keep offering greens , maybe mix it up + put something colorful like flower petals [ be sure they're non toxic ] such as impatiens or hibiscus, also yellow squash and one other thing that many dragons like is green leaf clover[ AKA red or white clover because of the color of the little flower ]
 

TheLastBaron

Member
Original Poster
AHBD, he is about 10 inches nose to vent and about 7-9 more inches vent to tail tip. He's definitely still a chubster right now.

diamc, I'm using a digital thermometer about 2" from the topmost tiles. I've switched to 75w bulbs and today I'll check temps after they've warmed up for an hour or so. Right now he's basking flat-out on the tiles, which I haven't seen with the 100w bulbs for a long time, so there appears to be some progress. When I swapped them last night, he climbed right up and plunked down, that was good to see.

The bulb on on the top screen, and if I eyeball it, it does look to be about 8-10 inches from his basking spot at just a bit of an angle. This has been the set-up for a while and no vet has ever mentioned anything about bone density on x-rays (also, my father-in-law is a small pets and equestrian vet, so I have access to an x-ray as well). However! I'm going to change up my lighting this weekend so that the UVB is closer to his spot. Lack of symptoms does not equal lack of problem and I want to get this right.

I need to figure out how to upload some pics so I can share my set up and get some pics of Rincewind up...
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
diamc, I'm using a digital thermometer about 2" from the topmost tiles
Are you using a digital strip like this?
ther-stright.jpg


Or one similar to this?
th


It's very important that we find this out.

What size tank is he in and are you using 2 - 75 wattt heat bulbs?
 

TheLastBaron

Member
Original Poster
I'm using a wand to measure temps, a digital infrared laser thermometer you point at the place you want to measure temps and it reads out on a display on the wand. There's no probe. He is in a 18x20x48 glass tank. I am now using 2 75w bulbs with a deep dome fixture.
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
It sounds like a temp gun. How close are you holding the gun from the area you're checking?

What size tank is he in?
 

TheLastBaron

Member
Original Poster
The "Save" button is killing me. I keep thinking I've replied and I wind up saving drafts, which I then can't find. Ay yi yi.

It is a temp gun. I've rearranged his tile stacks so he isn't as close to the bulbs but is still close to the UV bulb. He's been blackbearding a little more this last week, but if he is set in the window, he calms down. It is probably too warm in his cage altogether, I'm going to be pulling out an older light fixture and using a single 100w bulb with a dimmer switch to see if I can't cool down the basking spot and internal temps. If the 100w and dimmer don't dial down the warm, I'll use a 75w and the dimmer.

Thanks all again for your information. I've gotten some collard greens and nectarines, I'm going to be offering them today and see how he feels. He's basking right now, which is a good sign.
 
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