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Probably Gout, Please Help!

Eliza.768

Member
Original Poster
After scouring these threads for all information regarding swollen legs, I'm guessing that my baby bearded dragon named Cherry has gout. On Wednesday of this last week (Oct 3rd), my husband noticed that their back left leg was a bit swollen, while I noticed that they were favoring their front right leg (no swelling at that time). We immediately got them a vet appointment for the next day, where they assumed we didn't have the correct UVB (which was correct, we did not have adequate UVB and have since replaced with an Arcadia 12% bulb in a T5 fixture above their tank as of Oct. 6th-yesterday). They sent us home with some calcium spray, vitamin A supplements, and said get better UVB and see them in two weeks. We feel as though this isn't MBD (which the vet seemed to assume, but didn't outright say), and especially after seeing so many posts with pictures similar to our beardie, we believe it to be gout. We understand that the lack of proper UVB, plus their genetics/diet has most likely caused this. Between their vet visit and today, their front right limb has some swelling, and they are definitely favoring it along with their rear left leg.

We are hoping to call a different vet tomorrow--as the first vet didn't seem to even consider gout and we aren't sure we want to go back to him--to hopefully get them on Allopurinol as soon as humanly possible. We have 100% black cherry juice and tonight was the first night we gave them anywhere between .5-1 ml. So we have corrected the UVB situation, have gotten the black cherry juice, and are looking for anything else we can possibly do for them?

We purchased our bearded dragon on June 22nd, and have had them between 4-5 months now (we aren't exactly sure how old they were when we got them). We love Cherry dearly, and are heartbroken that they seem to have developed this condition. They were on a diet of some greens and mainly crickets since they went through a massive growth spurt (sometimes mealworms when they were on food strike). About two weeks before this swelling, they did have some vomiting, but we assumed it was due to over-feeding and a supremely difficult shed that seemed to stress them out. We have also fed them dubias, and a couple of butter worms once we thought they were doing better (after the vomiting, but before the swelling). It's been a stressful month to say the least, and any help is greatly appreciated!
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
After scouring these threads for all information regarding swollen legs, I'm guessing that my baby bearded dragon named Cherry has gout. On Wednesday of this last week (Oct 3rd), my husband noticed that their back left leg was a bit swollen, while I noticed that they were favoring their front right leg (no swelling at that time). We immediately got them a vet appointment for the next day, where they assumed we didn't have the correct UVB (which was correct, we did not have adequate UVB and have since replaced with an Arcadia 12% bulb in a T5 fixture above their tank as of Oct. 6th-yesterday). They sent us home with some calcium spray, vitamin A supplements, and said get better UVB and see them in two weeks. We feel as though this isn't MBD (which the vet seemed to assume, but didn't outright say), and especially after seeing so many posts with pictures similar to our beardie, we believe it to be gout. We understand that the lack of proper UVB, plus their genetics/diet has most likely caused this. Between their vet visit and today, their front right limb has some swelling, and they are definitely favoring it along with their rear left leg.

We are hoping to call a different vet tomorrow--as the first vet didn't seem to even consider gout and we aren't sure we want to go back to him--to hopefully get them on Allopurinol as soon as humanly possible. We have 100% black cherry juice and tonight was the first night we gave them anywhere between .5-1 ml. So we have corrected the UVB situation, have gotten the black cherry juice, and are looking for anything else we can possibly do for them?

We purchased our bearded dragon on June 22nd, and have had them between 4-5 months now (we aren't exactly sure how old they were when we got them). We love Cherry dearly, and are heartbroken that they seem to have developed this condition. They were on a diet of some greens and mainly crickets since they went through a massive growth spurt (sometimes mealworms when they were on food strike). About two weeks before this swelling, they did have some vomiting, but we assumed it was due to over-feeding and a supremely difficult shed that seemed to stress them out. We have also fed them dubias, and a couple of butter worms once we thought they were doing better (after the vomiting, but before the swelling). It's been a stressful month to say the least, and any help is greatly appreciated!
Your uvb is where in the tank? On top of the screen or inside the tank? This is crucial- blood test need to be done to determine gout- uric acid levels- your basking temps what are they and how are you taking them? No stick ons please they are in accurate-- drache613 can help out here she's our vet tech mod- @Drache613
 

Eliza.768

Member
Original Poster
Your uvb is where in the tank? On top of the screen or inside the tank? This is crucial- blood test need to be done to determine gout- uric acid levels- your basking temps what are they and how are you taking them? No stick ons please they are in accurate-- drache613 can help out here she's our vet tech mod- @Drache613
The uvb is on top of the screen (larger mesh screen), and I know that before now it hasn't been adequate (realized that after reading through all of the swollen limb threads). We just got the T5 fixture with reflector, with Arcadia 12% bulb yesterday to rectify this issue. It is currently 12 inches above their basking spot (on top of the mesh screen).
I'm guessing they aren't big enough for a blood test, but can ask the next time we are at the vet.
Their basking temps (from a temp gun, not stick on) have been between 105-110 degrees.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
The uvb is on top of the screen (larger mesh screen), and I know that before now it hasn't been adequate (realized that after reading through all of the swollen limb threads). We just got the T5 fixture with reflector, with Arcadia 12% bulb yesterday to rectify this issue. It is currently 12 inches above their basking spot (on top of the mesh screen).
I'm guessing they aren't big enough for a blood test, but can ask the next time we are at the vet.
Their basking temps (from a temp gun, not stick on) have been between 105-110 degrees.
Ok wide hole screen is fine but please get the distance 8-10 inches- I would also recommend a digital probe thermometer- they are the most accurate- ir guns are good but sometimes they can't read off of certain materials- especially hammocks- drache613 can help more-
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Sorry to hear about Cherry's swelling. Are you referring to one dragon, or more than one dragon?
The Arcadia D3 12% T5 tube is very good so that's great you went ahead & purchased that for him. As suggested since the light
is on top of the screen 10 or so inches would be ideal alongside of your basking light.
How much black or tart cherry juice are you giving daily? You can give it straight or diluted daily. I would give .5ml daily for help with
his kidneys. Be cautious if giving a synthetic vitamin A supplement, it can become toxic if given in excess.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
 

Eliza.768

Member
Original Poster
Hello,

Sorry to hear about Cherry's swelling. Are you referring to one dragon, or more than one dragon?
The Arcadia D3 12% T5 tube is very good so that's great you went ahead & purchased that for him. As suggested since the light
is on top of the screen 10 or so inches would be ideal alongside of your basking light.
How much black or tart cherry juice are you giving daily? You can give it straight or diluted daily. I would give .5ml daily for help with
his kidneys. Be cautious if giving a synthetic vitamin A supplement, it can become toxic if given in excess.

Let us know how he is doing.
Tracie
Hello Tracie,

Thank you for responding! It's just the one dragon, Cherry.
Okay, I will get their basking rock up to 10 inches from their uvb and basking.
We just got the black cherry juice yesterday, and gave them .5-1ml to start to see if they would take it. Thankfully they liked the taste, so we will continue to give them just the .5ml daily.
We have only given them a very small amount of the vitamin A supplement, because they didn't like it and wouldn't take it. I'm not sure how often to give that to them, if at all. (The vet just assumed they might have a deficiency in calcium and vitamin A).

-Elizabeth
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

You are welcome! Just making sure it was just one dragon. I love the name Cherry, very cute.
That is great they like the black cherry juice, it isn't too bad in flavor. The amount is fine, you can
try to give a little extra oral fluids too for kidney help.
If the vitamins have synthetic vitamin A in them, they wont need the vitamins more than one time
per week, so it doesn't build up in the system.
A calcium deficiency is definitely a possibility & is very common in bearded dragons.
Let us know how Cherry is doing!

Tracie
 

Eliza.768

Member
Original Poster
Hello,

You are welcome! Just making sure it was just one dragon. I love the name Cherry, very cute.
That is great they like the black cherry juice, it isn't too bad in flavor. The amount is fine, you can
try to give a little extra oral fluids too for kidney help.
If the vitamins have synthetic vitamin A in them, they wont need the vitamins more than one time
per week, so it doesn't build up in the system.
A calcium deficiency is definitely a possibility & is very common in bearded dragons.
Let us know how Cherry is doing!

Tracie
Hey!

My husband and I love the name Cherry too, it works for their personality so well. Tracie, I believe my husband Shane has been emailing you separately, by the way! I made this post here after he had contacted you, so I'm sorry for any confusion that we may have caused. (We have also been using "they/them" to refer to our bearded dragon because we don't know whether it's a boy or girl yet, so that might have been confusing too!).

Cherry has seemed to improve, as some of the swelling in their front leg has gone down, and even possibly in their left back leg a bit (very minimal improvement, but anything is progress). Cherry was even hanging from their branch from their front legs when we got home yesterday which was huge for them to put weight on all of their limbs so readily! They didn't flinch when my husband touched their back leg yesterday which is also an improvement, as they had been clearly uncomfortable before.

We aren't sure if it was the beginning symptoms of MBD due to insufficient UVB, a fall that jarred their limbs and caused the swelling (it was odd that it was both front right and back left legs), or the possibility of gout. Or a combination of multiple things. We are still unsure at the moment what has caused the swelling. We initially thought it was just a fall, but many other people's pictures of their bearded dragons with gout looked frighteningly similar to Cherry, so we are braced for all possibilities at this point. We're continuing with the cherry juice, since it can't hurt to keep trying it, seeing as we aren't sure why Cherry is swollen.

-Elizabeth
 

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Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello Elizabeth,

Sure, no problem. While it could be some beginnings of metabolic bone disease, that is a bit of swelling or puffiness on the
hand & wrist area. Definitely keep watching that area to be sure it doesn't get worse. It is suspicious in nature & does appear
to be pre-gout but if so, some simple diet changes & the addition of better UVB lighting from you will hopefully reverse these
symptoms.
The black cherry juice is safe & healthy so you can continue to use that for him as long as you need to.
Hopefully the swelling will continue to go down & you wont have to start gout medication.

Let us know how he is doing.

Tracie
 

Eliza.768

Member
Original Poster
Hello!
I've been taking pictures every day to actually be able to compare the swelling of Cherry's limbs. The swelling of their left back leg has gone down, but is still very stiff (less so in the evenings, more so in the mornings). I really do think it's gout, and would love advice on diet to help reverse this if possible.

We'd like to take them to a different vet to hopefully get them started on gout medication/get them diagnosed, but the first vet we went to doesn't seem like he would listen to us about gout. I don't know if I'm giving it enough time to heal since we're just coming up on 2 weeks of better uvb, but I just really don't want Cherry to be in pain.

Thanks so much for any help/advice!
-Elizabeth
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Hello!
I've been taking pictures every day to actually be able to compare the swelling of Cherry's limbs. The swelling of their left back leg has gone down, but is still very stiff (less so in the evenings, more so in the mornings). I really do think it's gout, and would love advice on diet to help reverse this if possible.

We'd like to take them to a different vet to hopefully get them started on gout medication/get them diagnosed, but the first vet we went to doesn't seem like he would listen to us about gout. I don't know if I'm giving it enough time to heal since we're just coming up on 2 weeks of better uvb, but I just really don't want Cherry to be in pain.

Thanks so much for any help/advice!
-Elizabeth
Try this website for a reptile vet www.arav.org if your in a small town type the zip code in for a bigger city closest to you
they are going to need to do bloodwork to test for uric acid levels -- then if it is gout she can be put on allopurinol to get those levels down - she needs to be taken off dubias if shes eating those for a staple feeder - you can switch to crickets BSFL or silk worms for a staple feeder
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I am glad to hear Cherry's swelling has gone down some. It will take time for his joints to begin
to feel relief. Is he trying to move around any more than he was?
Yes, absolutely consider switching feeders, or at least reducing the number to help out her uric
acid levels. Silkworms or hornworms are really good feeders. Is she eating her greens right now?

Let us know how she is doing.
Tracie
 

Eliza.768

Member
Original Poster
Hello,

I am glad to hear Cherry's swelling has gone down some. It will take time for his joints to begin
to feel relief. Is he trying to move around any more than he was?
Yes, absolutely consider switching feeders, or at least reducing the number to help out her uric
acid levels. Silkworms or hornworms are really good feeders. Is she eating her greens right now?

Let us know how she is doing.
Tracie
Hello Tracie,

My husband and I took Cherry to a second vet (one we found through the reptile website Karrie provided.) We took them down, had an exam done, and the vet believed it to be MBD, but did consider the possibility of gout. (We saw our new vet on Sunday, Nov. 28th). We had X-rays taken but couldn't get a blood test since Cherry is so small/young. After our vet examined the x-rays, she did lean more towards gout as Cherry's bones seemed healthy and straight so far. Thankfully she also sent the images to a radiologist and told us we'd hear back about the results. We were also given some powder diet that we can mix into a slurry if Cherry doesn't want to eat as much (Cherry was underweight and dehydrated when we took them in for the exam).

We heard back early this week, and the results showed that Cherry does have MBD (or at least a definite calcium deficiency), while also having septic arthritis. Our vet didn't sugar-coat anything, as she let us know that the prognosis is rather guarded even after possibly months of antibiotics. We really don't know how our little one will do with it all, since they are so young. Cherry had another appointment today for a medication demonstration (the first dose today!), so we could learn how to inject them with the antibiotics. We will be giving them a dose every 72 hours, and we have another vet exam scheduled for December 24th to see how the antibiotics are doing.

Cherry has been moving on their own around their tank, from sleeping spot to basking, to their branch etc. We got them a different water bowl and they have now been drinking from it in front of us which is a huge improvement. The appetite comes and goes, sometimes they eat plenty of bugs one morning, and then want nothing to do with insects the next. They do eat their greens, but I wish they'd eat more of those as well. We have fed them twice from the diet mix when they refused to eat, because we want to get their appetite back up.

We are thankful to at least have some answers!

-Elizabeth
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello Elizabeth,

That is very good you have a few answers about Cherry. How is she doing? So, she is eating her greens a bit better? Give it
some time, they tend to take time to develop better eating habits. Keep encouraging her & trying out new food items to see if you
can find some foods that are favored more than others.
She is on antibiotics but has metabolic bone disease? Did they give a liquid calcium for her too? If it was caught early there is a
high probability that she will recover nicely.

Keep us posted on her progress.

Tracie
 

Eliza.768

Member
Original Poster
Hello Elizabeth,

That is very good you have a few answers about Cherry. How is she doing? So, she is eating her greens a bit better? Give it
some time, they tend to take time to develop better eating habits. Keep encouraging her & trying out new food items to see if you
can find some foods that are favored more than others.
She is on antibiotics but has metabolic bone disease? Did they give a liquid calcium for her too? If it was caught early there is a
high probability that she will recover nicely.

Keep us posted on her progress.

Tracie
Hello Tracie,

Yes, Cherry is eating their greens, which we are thankful for.

Cherry is on antibiotics for septic arthritis (which is why the joints are swelling). The MBD seems to be somewhat secondary to the infection at the moment, seeing as Cherry's bones are straight. They did not give her liquid calcium but recommended that we continue dusting our feeders. (I think the early catch of MBD was obviously the improper UVB that we have already corrected). So, we are focusing on getting the infection sorted out with the injections.

-Elizabeth
 
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