Parasites?

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Leo
Hi there, strangers of the internet; I'm concerned that my bearded dragon has caught some kind of parasite. For reference, he is a 4 1/2 month old male central bearded dragon with a big appetite and a big personality. He sits at roughly 92 grams and 13" in length as of right now, I am almost certain that he is not malnourished nor is he dehydrated. He eats 50 medium wingless crickets a day (he has trouble digesting the ones with wings) all dusted in calcium powder with added D3 with occasional BSFL when they are available. On treat days (once a week) he gets 1-3 mealworms and a small hornworm or two. He eats a salad of collard greens, spaghetti squash and bell peppers.

Now, onto the topic of the symptoms of parasites... He's been having nauseatingly bad smelling diarrhea for weeks now, it is not remotely solid nor is the urate itself. Today in fact, the urate had a reddish orange tint which I've read to be a sign of parasites or some further issue with the intestines; is this accurate? He has also been dragging his hind legs after passing stool before getting back to normal, though this could be because of the shed coming off of the area near his vent and hind legs. He's been acting oddly recently as well, this started when he first had symptoms 2 1/2 weeks ago. I need advice, does it sound like he has parasites?

I am scheduling a fecal sample with an exotic vet asap, we are calling her as well for advice before hands and getting him on antibiotics when ever we can if it does turn out to be what I've feared, how long does it take for a parasitic infection to become life threatening? Have we messed up horribly by waiting so long for further symptoms? Is this a life or death situation? He hasn't acted lethargic but I've read they are asymptomatic until something is really wrong, will he recover? There are no obvious worms in his stool.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
He's been having nauseatingly bad smelling diarrhea for weeks now, it is not remotely solid nor is the urate itself.
While poo is gonna smell like poo, an extremely bad smell along with the constant lack of formed bowel movements is indicative of a parasite infection. A fecal test would be in order in this case.
Today in fact, the urate had a reddish orange tint which I've read to be a sign of parasites or some further issue with the intestines; is this accurate?
More often than not, discolored urates are from over supplementation (calcium powder/ multi / etc.) A lot of times too, especially with crickets, the cricket food will discolor the dragons urates. Those gel cube cricket diets are notorious for doing so.
how long does it take for a parasitic infection to become life threatening?
With proper husbandry, parasite infections could take years to be life threatening. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't be treated when needed though. Remember, most dragons will have some amount of parasites in their system. The normal healthy body will keep these parasite numbers in check causing them to be non-symptomatic. It's only when the dragon is showing signs of the infection that it usually requires treatment.

Beardies are not like humans, and don't respond well to medications like humans do. That being said, generally, parasite medication is typically safe, but you don't want to be giving any medications to your dragon if not necessary.

Depending on the type of parasite(s) found in your dragon, medication is only half the battle. The other half (Arguably harder half) is keeping the enclosure clean to prevent reinfection.

Also important that you make sure your husbandry is up to par. Especially your temperatures. Measuring them with a digital thermometer with probe end to verify your basking SURFACE temp is where it needs to be. Improper temps alone could lead to loose stools.

-Brandon
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
What ever you do, don't let the vet do an enema. Take a fecal sample in with you. Don't refrigerate it and take it in within 24 hours of collecting it.
If he turns out to have an outbreak post up what it is and the community can help you get it under control.
As Claudiusx said, keeping the habitat sanitized is key to preventing/solving outbreaks, use of good cleaners is essential. Bleach wipes won't kill some of the tougher parasites. Ammonia, f10, wipeout, (f10 and wipeout are both Ammonia based) chlorhexidine (f10 and chlorhexidine are what vets and zoos use) are good options.
Keep in mind ammonia is toxic, it needs to be rinsed out and aired out to zero fumes.
Chlorhexidine can be bought at tractor suppy. It can be found in the horse supply section. It's about 20 buck for a gallon and mixes 10:1 so it last a long time. It also doesn't have the fumes associated with ammonia.
F10 can be bought on Amazon and wipeout can be obtained from Amazon or most any reptile store.
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
While poo is gonna smell like poo, an extremely bad smell along with the constant lack of formed bowel movements is indicative of a parasite infection. A fecal test would be in order in this case.

More often than not, discolored urates are from over supplementation (calcium powder/ multi / etc.) A lot of times too, especially with crickets, the cricket food will discolor the dragons urates. Those gel cube cricket diets are notorious for doing so.

With proper husbandry, parasite infections could take years to be life threatening. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't be treated when needed though. Remember, most dragons will have some amount of parasites in their system. The normal healthy body will keep these parasite numbers in check causing them to be non-symptomatic. It's only when the dragon is showing signs of the infection that it usually requires treatment.

Beardies are not like humans, and don't respond well to medications like humans do. That being said, generally, parasite medication is typically safe, but you don't want to be giving any medications to your dragon if not necessary.

Depending on the type of parasite(s) found in your dragon, medication is only half the battle. The other half (Arguably harder half) is keeping the enclosure clean to prevent reinfection.

Also important that you make sure your husbandry is up to par. Especially your temperatures. Measuring them with a digital thermometer with probe end to verify your basking SURFACE temp is where it needs to be. Improper temps alone could lead to loose stools.

-Brandon
Of course, we're scheduling a visit with an exotic vet near us as soon as possible although they are quite booked already so it might be a bit of a wait- I'm really hoping it isn't any type of parasite! I only today read about over supplementation... I've recently changed my method for dusting calcium and D3 on his feeders and I find a lot more has been sticking to them, he has a very calcium rich diet but I've also read that it takes a lot of constant calcium supplements to overdose on that- I've only started this method 3-4 weeks ago tops. He isn't constipated, he isn't lethargic and he doesn't struggle with mobility.

I read that overdosing with D3 supplements are more common, should I change to calcium without added D3? I was scared he wasn't getting enough from my first method but now I fear he's getting too much! The red urates are the only visible symptom though- although today he has been acting up and black bearding a bit which confused me... Is stress a sign of over supplementation? I did feed him his first 2" hornworm today, could that have upset his stomach? I'm sorry for the long reply, I'm quite panicy about my beardie's overall health. My last beardie caught a cancerous disease, and well... You know what happened next.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I read that overdosing with D3 supplements are more common
I can't think of one single case of hypervitaminosis D ever on this board. That is an exceedingly rare occurrence. However, we see signs of over supplementation from calcium quite often (namely discolored urates).

If his urates are showing signs of over supplementation, it would be wise to cut back on the supplementation. You don't want to wait until there are major physiological symptoms present before deciding to cut back.

The red urates are the only visible symptom though
What are you feeding your crickets?

I did feed him his first 2" hornworm today, could that have upset his stomach?
Any new item in the diet can cause an odd poo. Especially a hornworm which is very hydrating and often does cause some liquid to be excreted in the poo.

-Brandon
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
I can't think of one single case of hypervitaminosis D ever on this board. That is an exceedingly rare occurrence. However, we see signs of over supplementation from calcium quite often (namely discolored urates).

If his urates are showing signs of over supplementation, it would be wise to cut back on the supplementation. You don't want to wait until there are major physiological symptoms present before deciding to cut back.


What are you feeding your crickets?


Any new item in the diet can cause an odd poo. Especially a hornworm which is very hydrating and often does cause some liquid to be excreted in the poo.

-Brandon
Thank you for the quick response! I suppose the vitamin D3 thing was a hoax then, can't trust everything the internet tells you. I'm already taking action in regards to the calcium, I might revert to the dipping method due to the lack of concerns it brings with it until I find a more effective way of doing things. Thanks to that he will have a much lower calcium intake but not low enough to be a problem.

My crickets are being fed "Fluker's orange cube cricket diet" or smtn like that as well as collard greens. I only introduced hornworms to him today, his runny stool started weeks ago. I think it started after I began feeding him BSFL, I've stopped giving him them but there is no difference. Thanks,
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
My crickets are being fed "Fluker's orange cube cricket diet
Hold off on changing your dusting schedule and stop feeding the orange cubes now. The cubes are what are discoloring your dragons urates. I know it's the crickets eating the cubes, but it's been proven over the years that the cricket cubes discolor the dragons urates.

Let your dragon eat insects that haven't had those cubes for like a week or so and see if the urate clears up. If not, cut back a bit on the dusting.

-Brandon
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
Hold off on changing your dusting schedule and stop feeding the orange cubes now. The cubes are what are discoloring your dragons urates. I know it's the crickets eating the cubes, but it's been proven over the years that the cricket cubes discolor the dragons urates.

Let your dragon eat insects that haven't had those cubes for like a week or so and see if the urate clears up. If not, cut back a bit on the dusting.

-Brandon
Alright, today the urate only had the tiniest pink tint to it and was actually in a semi-uniform shape and so was the poo! Should I wait an see if the diarrhea clears up completely before getting a fecal or should I do that regardless?
 

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