Otherwise healthy, active dragon with chronic diarrhea

ecags

New member
Original Poster
My dragon Orlando is almost 4 years old. We've had him since he was a baby. Over the last year, he's been struggling with digestive issues that I and his vet can't figure out.

Here's his setup:
  • 40 gallon glass enclosure, screen lid
  • Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5HO 22 mounted under the screen
  • Zoo Med Repti Basking spot lamp, 100 w
  • Air temperature is 85-90 F during the day
  • Basking spot of 100-105 F, 10 inches from UVB
  • Cool side with hide, 85 F
  • Night temps of 70 F ish with CHE and space heater (it's winter and our house is horribly insulated)
His diet consists of dubia roaches with occasional super worms for protein, dusted with phosphorous-free calcium and multivitamin and probiotic powder (which helped the last time he had the runs/poor appetite). He will not eat greens unless he really, really wants to. I've tried for the last three years to get him interested in a range of vegetables but the only thing he'll eat with eagerness is bell pepper. Even then, I have to trick him into eating collards, but he'd rather starve than eat greens most of the time. He'll go for a veggie slurry, but only reluctantly. Recently I've managed to get him interested in butternut squash, but he's still very suspicious of it. He refuses to drink water on his own and I have to give water to him in a dropper--and even then sometimes he will not drink unless I gently nudge the dropper into his firmly closed mouth.

The scenario:

Last summer, Orlando started having the runniest stools, complete with undigested bits of food. After a parasite screening came back negative, I paid more careful attention to his setup and discovered his basking spot was getting way too warm. After making some changes, his issues seemed to resolve a little.

Then he went into brumation for four months, starting in September. This was the first time he'd done it, so I wasn't sure if he was sick or just brumating (he wasn't basking, hiding all day, eating very little, etc.). His stools solidified, though, even though his urates were really hard and chalky. He was pooping once a week, but only during his weekly baths. After noticing a little redness in his urate, I had him screened for parasites again in December--the test came back negative for parasites.

A few weeks ago, he launched himself out of brumation. He's active, hungry (but still not hungry enough to eat vegetables), basking, venting, running around, and happy as a clam.

Except his poop is liquid again. And I mean liquid. It's mostly brown fluid with a little bit of roughly digested food and runny urates. And he's pooping every day or every other day.

I've checked all his tank settings (they're normal), kept him hydrated with the water dropper and baths, fed him veggie slurry in the hopes of getting literally any amount of vegetables in his system, added probiotics back into his diet, tried feeding greens to his feeders (they also don't like eating anything green, though, so it's a struggle). It's not parasites, he's not too warm in his basking spot, he's acting happy and healthy.

Help. I don't know what to do.

I just ordered a new UVB bulb, as his current one is six months old and due for a change. If that doesn't help, then I don't know what else I can try.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
My dragon Orlando is almost 4 years old. We've had him since he was a baby. Over the last year, he's been struggling with digestive issues that I and his vet can't figure out.

Here's his setup:
  • 40 gallon glass enclosure, screen lid
  • Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5HO 22 mounted under the screen
  • Zoo Med Repti Basking spot lamp, 100 w
  • Air temperature is 85-90 F during the day
  • Basking spot of 100-105 F, 10 inches from UVB
  • Cool side with hide, 85 F
  • Night temps of 70 F ish with CHE and space heater (it's winter and our house is horribly insulated)
His diet consists of dubia roaches with occasional super worms for protein, dusted with phosphorous-free calcium and multivitamin and probiotic powder (which helped the last time he had the runs/poor appetite). He will not eat greens unless he really, really wants to. I've tried for the last three years to get him interested in a range of vegetables but the only thing he'll eat with eagerness is bell pepper. Even then, I have to trick him into eating collards, but he'd rather starve than eat greens most of the time. He'll go for a veggie slurry, but only reluctantly. Recently I've managed to get him interested in butternut squash, but he's still very suspicious of it. He refuses to drink water on his own and I have to give water to him in a dropper--and even then sometimes he will not drink unless I gently nudge the dropper into his firmly closed mouth.

The scenario:

Last summer, Orlando started having the runniest stools, complete with undigested bits of food. After a parasite screening came back negative, I paid more careful attention to his setup and discovered his basking spot was getting way too warm. After making some changes, his issues seemed to resolve a little.

Then he went into brumation for four months, starting in September. This was the first time he'd done it, so I wasn't sure if he was sick or just brumating (he wasn't basking, hiding all day, eating very little, etc.). His stools solidified, though, even though his urates were really hard and chalky. He was pooping once a week, but only during his weekly baths. After noticing a little redness in his urate, I had him screened for parasites again in December--the test came back negative for parasites.

A few weeks ago, he launched himself out of brumation. He's active, hungry (but still not hungry enough to eat vegetables), basking, venting, running around, and happy as a clam.

Except his poop is liquid again. And I mean liquid. It's mostly brown fluid with a little bit of roughly digested food and runny urates. And he's pooping every day or every other day.

I've checked all his tank settings (they're normal), kept him hydrated with the water dropper and baths, fed him veggie slurry in the hopes of getting literally any amount of vegetables in his system, added probiotics back into his diet, tried feeding greens to his feeders (they also don't like eating anything green, though, so it's a struggle). It's not parasites, he's not too warm in his basking spot, he's acting happy and healthy.

Help. I don't know what to do.

I just ordered a new UVB bulb, as his current one is six months old and due for a change. If that doesn't help, then I don't know what else I can try.
@CooperDragon
@Drache613
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Since the issue appears to be coming and going over time, and multiple tests have helped rule out common parasites, I agree that he may just be passing excess water through his system. Since he is acting alert and healty otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it too much, but it's probably worth making some adjustments even if just to see if diet makes a difference. See if the poop solidifies if you cut out (or lessen) the slurry and extra water and see if just hydrated bugs and whatever veges you can get him to eat make a difference.

It's also possible that he has some irritation or inflammation in his GI Tract. You could try offering him silkworms for a while, or get a serrapeptase supplement and see if that helps. It might reduce inflammation if that is the cause. I'd give that a try if reducing fluids in his diet doesn't help.
 

ecags

New member
Original Poster
Since the issue appears to be coming and going over time, and multiple tests have helped rule out common parasites, I agree that he may just be passing excess water through his system. Since he is acting alert and healty otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it too much, but it's probably worth making some adjustments even if just to see if diet makes a difference. See if the poop solidifies if you cut out (or lessen) the slurry and extra water and see if just hydrated bugs and whatever veges you can get him to eat make a difference.

It's also possible that he has some irritation or inflammation in his GI Tract. You could try offering him silkworms for a while, or get a serrapeptase supplement and see if that helps. It might reduce inflammation if that is the cause. I'd give that a try if reducing fluids in his diet doesn't help.
Thank you!
 
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