Post-surgery recovery

Morri

Member
Beardie name(s)
Zoom
Hello,

This is my first post here after lurking ever since I got my beardie.

Let me preface with apologies for not completing the husbandry part of the profile, I will definitely do this later, I am just super anxious right now and want to get the post out of the way before everything I want to ask evaporates from my head. The vet has gone over the setup and advised it is spot on.

Zoom, my almost 3 yo. beardie had surgery to remove an insane amount of follicles and spay her. This was 10 days ago. They were discovered after trying to determine the cause of a prolapse a couple of days earlier and an immediate visit to emergency vets to fix it (luckily, I was with her when it happened and it wasn't massive, so she got into vets quickly and had it fixed straight away).

The surgery went well, but the vet mentioned she did take quite a while to come round from the anaesthetics. He assured me it is nothing to worry about as some dragons just take longer than others.

She was extremely sleepy for the first couple of days, then started gradually getting more alert. She was also given tramadol (0.16 ml in the morning) and critical care omnivore mix (10 ml over the course of day, I split it roughly to 3 feedings of 3.3 ml as instructions said to divide into 2 or 3 portions). And this is currently my biggest issue. She absolutely hates it. She will get visibly agitated, keep her mouth shut, fight me with of her might. I tried just putting the food on her lips for her to lick off, but she won't have any of it. She is also not interested in her normal food, she just closes her eyes when presented with bugs or salad, backs out if I try to gently rub her favourite blueberries on her lips.

On Wednesday she had her 1 week post-op check-up and they were happy with her condition. Said she is healing well and that no appetite is a normal thing and it can take a while for it to come back. She is well sustained on the critical care mix and poops every couple of days, so there's nothing to worry about. They also suggested upping the tramadol because she might start eating quicker if she is less sore. The post-op doc said the 0.16 prescribed by the surgeon was really quite low for a girl her size. Also mentioned that she was getting a bit dehydrated. I was trying to get her to drink by putting the water on her snout, but she wasn't having any of it. She was also basking much more than usual, so I suspect that didn't help. Clearly the water in wet food is not enough for her at the moment, so I started giving her a bit of reptoboost in a syringe. She will not lick it off her snout, so again, I need to carefully put small amounts in her mouth via syringe.

We are now on day 10 post-op and she still won't eat or drink on her own. Moreover, the feeding situation is getting more and more stressful. She fights, she bites the syringe she gets EXTREMELY stressed. I am being as gentle and careful as I can, but it changes nothing. This morning she scraped her gums on the syringe tip so hard she bled a bit, which I am assuming is the main factor why the next feeds were even harder. She went from being a cuddle bug to getting scared when I approach. It breaks my heart.

Now there are some things I noticed:
-She is much more alert and moves more in the evening and the last feed seems a bit less dramatic.
-She seemed a bit more active prior to increasing the tramadol dose as advised by vet on Wednesday (obviously not for the first couple of days post-op, but she was getting a bit brighter everyday)
-She also looks a bit more alert in the morning before her meds

This leads me to believe that it might be the tramadol making her groggy, nauseous and affecting her appetite? Is this something that could happen? It goes against what the vet said about her possibly needing a higher dose, but her behaviour seems to point to it. They mentioned her needing it for the first two weeks and we have the two week check-up on Wednesday, so I am hoping they will take her off it. Not going to lie, her not eating on her own makes me extremely anxious. I am also worried that the added stress of syringe feeds is not helping her get better and hungrier either.
Could it also be that she is not interested because she is getting all she needs from Emeraid?

If there's anyone here who has previous experience with beardies that have been through a quite extensive and invasive procedure, could you please tell me how long can it take for them to start eating again?

I'm sorry this ended up being an essay, I just wanted to provide as much detail as possible.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Hi there, sorry that your girl has been going through this sress ! I'm sure she'll be fine if you stop the Tramadol and the near force feeding. Let her get back to feeling better on her own. They often do very well with fewer meds.
Every few days just drip water slooooowly on her snout for a chance to drink. She should bounce back.
BTW can you post full body pics of her and pics of her enclosure ?
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I agree with AHBD, the Tramadol is opium based so, very hard on the system. They have a very
unique metabolic system & when medication crosses the blood brain barrier it stays in their system
longer than a mammals does. It does this because they have variations in their body temperatures
since they are ectotherms & have a cool down phase at night with a lower body temperature.
Since she is getting food from the critical care & emeraid, her own natural appetite will be markedly
less.
Definitely post some pictures of her for us, so we can see her. It sounds like she has definitely been
through a huge ordeal, so I'm happy to hear she is recovering nicely.

Tracie
 

Morri

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Zoom
Thank you both for your responses. They do make me feel a bit better.

Her enclosure has been stripped bare on vet's advice, so she doesn't have much entertainment, bless her. I just made up a "rock" from a towel for some elevation when she basks.

I realise the light looks a bit yellow, but please rest assured this is proper T5. For some reason my phone pics always come up really warm.

IMG_9527.jpeg
IMG_9528.jpeg
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Is she a Leatherback perhaps?
I hope she is getting some rest. Keep working on hydration for her. Her eyes don't look too bad, but she does appear a little tired & probably just needs rest & hydration.
It was a good idea, for now, to keep her tank bare bones to avoid her having to climb too much to where she hurts herself.
Is her appetite improving yet?
It is always so hard to capture the true color of the lighting on various devices!

Tracie
 

Morri

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Zoom
Hello,

Is she a Leatherback perhaps?
I hope she is getting some rest. Keep working on hydration for her. Her eyes don't look too bad, but she does appear a little tired & probably just needs rest & hydration.
It was a good idea, for now, to keep her tank bare bones to avoid her having to climb too much to where she hurts herself.
Is her appetite improving yet?
It is always so hard to capture the true color of the lighting on various devices!

Tracie

She is a leatherback indeed!

She's definitely a bit more perky today and looked at a bug with some interest, but then changed her mind. Salad is still extremely offensive and met with instant judgment. Trying to source the pumpkin baby food and bee pollen, but none of it is available locally, so it will have to be a delivery.

She pooped a semi-hard poop yesterday (better than the one on Saturday) and then a very liquidy one a couple of hours later, so I am wondering if the electrolytes started kicking in and a bit too hard at that. It was just once and she's been ok since.

We have another post-op checkup tomorrow, so I will post an update.

(Edited to correct a typo, autocorrect insisted on changing "bee pollen" to "beer pollen". She's not getting beer, she's sick & underaged. 🙃)
 

Morri

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Zoom
Beautiful girl, nice smooth leatherback. :) How does the incision look ?

Thank you, she is fully aware. Always cocks her head and blinks when you tell her she's a pretty princess.

The incision is looking good, the initial redness has gone down. Still pretty scary because the stitches look massive on such a small creature.

IMG_9534.jpeg
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Yes that does look good ! I've seen larger incisions posted here before and from my memory they all recovered quite well in time. No beardie beer was consumed though.
 

Morri

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Zoom
Yes that does look good ! I've seen larger incisions posted here before and from my memory they all recovered quite well in time. No beardie beer was consumed though.

Oh, poor dragon babies!

I'm sure I perceive it as worse than it actually is because I am looking at it through "it's on a creature I love" coloured glasses.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
It definitely is a serious and stressful situation so it would cause a lot of worry for any owner so your concern is understandable and not to be seen as excessive .
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

The incision looks very good, that's great to see! It is really hard not to worry after an invasive
surgery such as hers was. It's a great sign she has perked up some, so hopefully she'll start to
eat more again soon.
Good luck with getting the bee pollen & pumpkin baby food. Or you could just get a can of pumpkin
that is essentially the same thing.

Keep us posted on her.
Tracie
 

Morri

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Zoom
Hello,

The incision looks very good, that's great to see! It is really hard not to worry after an invasive
surgery such as hers was. It's a great sign she has perked up some, so hopefully she'll start to
eat more again soon.
Good luck with getting the bee pollen & pumpkin baby food. Or you could just get a can of pumpkin
that is essentially the same thing.

Keep us posted on her.
Tracie

Hello! Apologies for a break in posting, had a bit of a crazy day yesterday between work and vet check-up.

GOOD NEWS!

Vet was very happy with her healing. Yesterday evening she got much perkier. This morning I think that the remaining tramadol finally left her system and she woke up a completely different lizard! She ate two locusts, which is not much, but it's a start.

I am so relieved. She obviously threw a tantrum about the salad, so we need to work on that, but I will just keep offering and experimenting.

Regarding the pumpkin, they are not very popular in UK cuisine, so the only canned one you can get here is American import at an insanely inflated price and whole ones are mostly sold for Halloween. There's only one brand of baby food that has it.
 
Last edited:

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Can you find butternut squash possibly? That would work as well as the pumpkin so you can look
for that too.
She had a tantrum when you tried to feed her a salad? That figures, they can be so picky about their
foods! I'm sure that the Tramadol was affecting her, absolutely so she should be feeling much better
now.
It sounds like her appetite is improving. Bless her. So, happy to hear the incision is healing up so
nicely. It will most likely shed soon too. I'm so glad to hear she is recovering so quickly.

Tracie
 

Cuttlefishh

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Charlie
Thank you, she is fully aware. Always cocks her head and blinks when you tell her she's a pretty princess.

The incision is looking good, the initial redness has gone down. Still pretty scary because the stitches look massive on such a small creature.

View attachment 87104

I was reading your post and I'm so glad to see your girl is improving! I went through this with my beardie almost a year ago. I gotta say though your girls incision looks so clean - the vet you went to did an amazing job- my girls vets were good too but gosh did they make an ugly incision - but she still healed up mostly without complications so I am 100% sure your girl Zoom will be the same :)
 

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