Sick Bearded Dragon

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I wasn't able to see your video though. I agree with AHBD that he may have compromised bone strength so a fall is likely to really
affect his bones or muscles. It sounds like he probably injured himself to some extent so hopefully he will continue to recover.
Is he still eating greens too?
If possible, you might need to lower his basking area some to keep him from having to climb too much right now.

Tracie
 

Chris92

Member
Original Poster
Hello,

I wasn't able to see your video though. I agree with AHBD that he may have compromised bone strength so a fall is likely to really
affect his bones or muscles. It sounds like he probably injured himself to some extent so hopefully he will continue to recover.
Is he still eating greens too?
If possible, you might need to lower his basking area some to keep him from having to climb too much right now.

Tracie
I have lowered his basking area and placed towels all over to ensure gradual slopes in his habitat. Over the past week his leg has SLOWLY improved. He went from it being completely limp/paralyzed to now being able to walk on it (with a bad limp).

He is eating more and more every day! TONS of greens, but no interest in bugs. I put chicken baby food on the greens to ensure he gets protein. The strange part is that despite the appetite increase over the past two weeks, he is actually LOSING more weight :( He was stabilized at 240 grams for the month and a half where he was only getting food from a syringe, but now he is down to 228 grams (those 12 grams lost in the last 2 weeks... since starting to eat on his own).

Chris
 

Chris92

Member
Original Poster
Another update on Drax:

He regained use of his left arm last week. He still had a limp, but seemed to be improving. Then, this morning I woke up to his right arm being paralyzed.... Obviously, this is not an injury at this point. Any ideas?
 

Chris92

Member
Original Poster
Hi all,

Looking for a hail mary diagnosis here... Drax never really improved. He would get slightly better for a couple weeks, then regress.

As of now he is limp and incredibly weak (can't really move any limb). It really looks like I am running out of time to figure out what is going on here. For the record, I have been working closely with Tracie (Drache613), who has been amazing in trying to help. Figured I'd just reach out to see if anyone has any other perspectives/ideas on the matter as a last attempt to save this amazing creature's life.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

To help folks not have to read everything up to this point, here is a summary:

About 8 months ago (July), Drax was 10 months old/337 grams and things were normal... He was growing at a great pace and no issues were noted. From July to December, he slowly lost weight (down to 240 grams by December), despite behaving relatively normally. Additionally, he seemed to stop growing and didn't have a single shed over that time period (and still hasn't). Despite the weight loss, he was still eating "fine"... I say that in quotes because he has always been a bit picky on certain occasions. Due to the weight loss though, we were starting to get concerned. By November, with his weight at 258 grams, we added even more variety to his diet to see if this would help. This seemed to have a positive impact and he actually picked up a little weight (up to 270 grams). Thinking things were going in the right direction, we decided to continue with our plans to visit family for the holidays (we had to bring him with us). We have traveled with him before, and this had messed with his eating habits before, which is why we were somewhat hesitant. Unfortunately, our fears became reality, as he only ate 3 worms the entire 15 days that we were with family (those three worms were also towards the beginning of that time period).

When we got back from our trip, we immediately went to our local exotics vet as it had been over a week since he had eaten. The symptoms we provided to the vet were no appetite and weight loss. The vet could not find any visible signs of illness outside of being too skinny... They also mentioned that these symptoms can be caused by many different things. While a fecal would have helped, Drax's lack of food intake made that not possible. Despite not having a fecal, the vet decided to treat Drax for parasites using Albon and Panacur (5-day treatment). Additionally, they provided me with some oxbow critical care food in order to start getting something into his stomach.

After the parasite treatments ended, Drax still had no interest in food (though his weight had stabilized at around 240 grams). As I did during treatment, I syringed critical care and squash/chicken baby food (in addition to some probiotic) to keep him from wasting away. Worried over his lack of appetite, I proceeded to get a stool sample (stool sample was now possible due to syringing food) and blood work (this was in the middle of January.) The stool sample came back negative for any parasites, but the blood work identified low calcium levels (everything else seemed to be normal, and I actually had you look over the charts) and a bad calcium to phosphorus ratio. The vet diagnosed him with nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. This seemed to make sense as the issues always got worse when we traveled... and we later found out that his travel UVB was no good (it had a plastic cover on it 🙁).

With a diagnosis in mind, we began treating him with liquid calcium (Flukers) and adjusting his lights to achieve better distances. We also replaced our 10.0 T8 UVB setup (which we now know was too far away and above a wired top) with a 10.0 T5 UVB hood (reptisun). We also purchased a mercury vapor bulb per the vet's request. The day we got the mercury vapor bulb, he started black bearding. He would also freak out and run full speed in all directions... we were scared for his safety! Eventually we concluded he hated the bulb for some reason, so we changed the setup to having just the T5 UVB and his basking lamps. Almost right away the freak outs stopped. Not long after this, we noticed his walking had become strange. He was off balance and would limp. Additionally, he began having head tremors. The vet (and beardeddragon.org folks) seemed convinced this was just the hypocalcemia progressing, so I decided to switch calcium brands to one that had better dosing instructions (Zilla). Within a week his walking was back to normal. Soon after (beginning of February), he actually began eating on his own (collards and mustard greens when hand fed). We thought we were finally seeing progress... Then, literally overnight, his limp returned. Within 24 hours the limp progressed to full paralysis of his front left arm. A few days before he re-developed the limp, he did take a fall off of his basking rock... but I didn't think much of it when he was fine directly afterwards. Either way, I decided to "baby proof" his tank to make things easy on him in case it was an injury. After a week, he regained use of his arm. So, again we were hopeful that it was just a minor setback and we were still treating for the right thing. Then, a week later, his front right arm (opposite of before) randomly become weak (partially paralyzed). This partial limb paralysis on different extremities continued off and on through much of February and all of March. Additionally, he began experiencing swelling on his right hand's big finger and his left arm's wrist. He also began walking on his right wrist consistently during the last couple weeks of March. A couple weeks ago I tried treating for gout in addition to the calcium treatments, but never saw any improvement. Within the past week though, he took a nose dive. He really can't move any of his limbs and is completely limp when I pick him up. His eyes are often still alert though and he will react to food in front of him... That said, he is too weak to eat anything. He has now been like this since Friday (4/1).
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

I can honestly say I have spent 10s of hours scrolling through this site looking at past situations to find anything remotely similar to this... but I haven't. I am hoping maybe someone on here has a suggestion.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Hi all,

Looking for a hail mary diagnosis here... Drax never really improved. He would get slightly better for a couple weeks, then regress.

As of now he is limp and incredibly weak (can't really move any limb). It really looks like I am running out of time to figure out what is going on here. For the record, I have been working closely with Tracie (Drache613), who has been amazing in trying to help. Figured I'd just reach out to see if anyone has any other perspectives/ideas on the matter as a last attempt to save this amazing creature's life.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

To help folks not have to read everything up to this point, here is a summary:

About 8 months ago (July), Drax was 10 months old/337 grams and things were normal... He was growing at a great pace and no issues were noted. From July to December, he slowly lost weight (down to 240 grams by December), despite behaving relatively normally. Additionally, he seemed to stop growing and didn't have a single shed over that time period (and still hasn't). Despite the weight loss, he was still eating "fine"... I say that in quotes because he has always been a bit picky on certain occasions. Due to the weight loss though, we were starting to get concerned. By November, with his weight at 258 grams, we added even more variety to his diet to see if this would help. This seemed to have a positive impact and he actually picked up a little weight (up to 270 grams). Thinking things were going in the right direction, we decided to continue with our plans to visit family for the holidays (we had to bring him with us). We have traveled with him before, and this had messed with his eating habits before, which is why we were somewhat hesitant. Unfortunately, our fears became reality, as he only ate 3 worms the entire 15 days that we were with family (those three worms were also towards the beginning of that time period).

When we got back from our trip, we immediately went to our local exotics vet as it had been over a week since he had eaten. The symptoms we provided to the vet were no appetite and weight loss. The vet could not find any visible signs of illness outside of being too skinny... They also mentioned that these symptoms can be caused by many different things. While a fecal would have helped, Drax's lack of food intake made that not possible. Despite not having a fecal, the vet decided to treat Drax for parasites using Albon and Panacur (5-day treatment). Additionally, they provided me with some oxbow critical care food in order to start getting something into his stomach.

After the parasite treatments ended, Drax still had no interest in food (though his weight had stabilized at around 240 grams). As I did during treatment, I syringed critical care and squash/chicken baby food (in addition to some probiotic) to keep him from wasting away. Worried over his lack of appetite, I proceeded to get a stool sample (stool sample was now possible due to syringing food) and blood work (this was in the middle of January.) The stool sample came back negative for any parasites, but the blood work identified low calcium levels (everything else seemed to be normal, and I actually had you look over the charts) and a bad calcium to phosphorus ratio. The vet diagnosed him with nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. This seemed to make sense as the issues always got worse when we traveled... and we later found out that his travel UVB was no good (it had a plastic cover on it 🙁).

With a diagnosis in mind, we began treating him with liquid calcium (Flukers) and adjusting his lights to achieve better distances. We also replaced our 10.0 T8 UVB setup (which we now know was too far away and above a wired top) with a 10.0 T5 UVB hood (reptisun). We also purchased a mercury vapor bulb per the vet's request. The day we got the mercury vapor bulb, he started black bearding. He would also freak out and run full speed in all directions... we were scared for his safety! Eventually we concluded he hated the bulb for some reason, so we changed the setup to having just the T5 UVB and his basking lamps. Almost right away the freak outs stopped. Not long after this, we noticed his walking had become strange. He was off balance and would limp. Additionally, he began having head tremors. The vet (and beardeddragon.org folks) seemed convinced this was just the hypocalcemia progressing, so I decided to switch calcium brands to one that had better dosing instructions (Zilla). Within a week his walking was back to normal. Soon after (beginning of February), he actually began eating on his own (collards and mustard greens when hand fed). We thought we were finally seeing progress... Then, literally overnight, his limp returned. Within 24 hours the limp progressed to full paralysis of his front left arm. A few days before he re-developed the limp, he did take a fall off of his basking rock... but I didn't think much of it when he was fine directly afterwards. Either way, I decided to "baby proof" his tank to make things easy on him in case it was an injury. After a week, he regained use of his arm. So, again we were hopeful that it was just a minor setback and we were still treating for the right thing. Then, a week later, his front right arm (opposite of before) randomly become weak (partially paralyzed). This partial limb paralysis on different extremities continued off and on through much of February and all of March. Additionally, he began experiencing swelling on his right hand's big finger and his left arm's wrist. He also began walking on his right wrist consistently during the last couple weeks of March. A couple weeks ago I tried treating for gout in addition to the calcium treatments, but never saw any improvement. Within the past week though, he took a nose dive. He really can't move any of his limbs and is completely limp when I pick him up. His eyes are often still alert though and he will react to food in front of him... That said, he is too weak to eat anything. He has now been like this since Friday (4/1).
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

I can honestly say I have spent 10s of hours scrolling through this site looking at past situations to find anything remotely similar to this... but I haven't. I am hoping maybe someone on here has a suggestion.
@Drache613
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
I'm so sorry that Drax is going through this and you as his owner are in this stressful situation. I wish I could think of anything but I also just don't know why this is happening. I wonder if there were a veterinary teaching college if they could help Drax. My best wishes go out to you and for some glimmer of hope.
 

Chris92

Member
Original Poster
I'm so sorry that Drax is going through this and you as his owner are in this stressful situation. I wish I could think of anything but I also just don't know why this is happening. I wonder if there were a veterinary teaching college if they could help Drax. My best wishes go out to you and for some glimmer of hope.
Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.

I do live near UGA, which does have vet teaching hospital... Unfortunately, they are not really able to do anything special as they are very short staffed at the moment. My vet did work with them for the original diagnosis (likely not correct), but at this point I feel out of options.

Things are definitely not looking good today :( He is not very alert, limp, and black bearding constantly.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.

I do live near UGA, which does have vet teaching hospital... Unfortunately, they are not really able to do anything special as they are very short staffed at the moment. My vet did work with them for the original diagnosis (likely not correct), but at this point I feel out of options.

Things are definitely not looking good today :( He is not very alert, limp, and black bearding constantly.
:(
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello Chris,

I will be returning your email tonight, but wanted to check in here. I had forgotten you had a
thread on here also. Did he react negatively to the Baytril or can you tell yet?
Based on all of this & his symptoms I really am leaning towards liver issues. I fully believei that
his kidneys are fine at this point.
Have you been able to keep him warm overnight too? Bless him. I am so sorry, it is emotionally
difficult having to go through illness with a beardie because they are such sweet souls.

I will email you later on.
Tracie
 

Chris92

Member
Original Poster
He is still the same (too weak to move). It's tough to say for certain if he is reacting poorly to the baytril since he was seemingly nearing the end before he took it. He did start black bearding maybe a little more ever since I started him on it, but it's tough to say for sure. I have been giving milk thistle to him... Just don't see any improvement at all.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello Chris,

I managed to get an email sent earlier~
How is Drax this evening, any changes? Definitely try to keep his overnight temperatures a bit
higher, around 80 to help boost his system more.
I hope the Baytril doesn't bother him too much. Try to keep him as hydrated as possible & get
some blended greens/slurry into him if possible.

Tracie
 

Chris92

Member
Original Poster
Hello Chris,

I managed to get an email sent earlier~
How is Drax this evening, any changes? Definitely try to keep his overnight temperatures a bit
higher, around 80 to help boost his system more.
I hope the Baytril doesn't bother him too much. Try to keep him as hydrated as possible & get
some blended greens/slurry into him if possible.

Tracie
He is still alive, but I really don't understand how at this point. He is pretty rigid and can't move even his head at this point. His breathing is normal... and when I am able to get his mouth open (it is locked pretty tight), I can get him to have a few drops of slurry. This is just insane now.

:(
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
He is still alive, but I really don't understand how at this point. He is pretty rigid and can't move even his head at this point. His breathing is normal... and when I am able to get his mouth open (it is locked pretty tight), I can get him to have a few drops of slurry. This is just insane now.

:(
Oh man I am so sorry and feel so bad for this dragon --- :cry:
 
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