Sick Beardie & Vet Visit (Asking for Additional Advice on Pinworms/Inappetence)

Hi everyone! I’m new to the forum but wanted to see what advice you all have to offer regarding an illness Bender the 7 year old male beardie (540g) is going through right now. What I’m going to type is long because I’m not sure how to explain without all the details so I thank you in advance for listening or ignoring. :)

On 10/21/21, I took Bender to the vet due to what I would describe as a lack of appetite and some clear weight loss (sunken head pockets, thinning tail). He was labeled as “obese” back during his checkup in June. Lol. I wasn’t sure if he was beginning to brumate due to some drops in temps in NYC or if he was ill. I had noticed signs of decreased appetite from the weeks prior but he had still been eating his vegetables and insects. He stopped eating altogether about 12-14 days ago (last ate a couple of dubia roaches). He is commonly fed mixed combinations of either arugula, kale, collard greens, and sliced bell peppers and carrots (although he rarely touches the chopped carrots and peppers). Regarding insects, his diet is mainly super worms and hornworms, with the occasional dubia roaches as of late. I have given him free roam in the our private backyard up until early October (on the hot & sunny days) which is a combination of finished concrete and garden space - however all that is planted for him to eat is impatiens, dandelion/greens, and clover.

The doctor checked his vitals and everything checked out. Did a physical test by hand of any blockages or obstructions and stated he didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. I was informed he was dehydrated and so they gave him fluids. We opted for blood work, and a Ova/Parasite test. (i had grabbed a sample of mucous feces he had 2 days prior to the visit). Results came back 10/24/24 and I was informed Bender was seen to have pinworms “>50 eggs or parasites per slide” which is listed as the highest on their scale. His blood work appears to be mostly in range except for a few areas:
WBC estimate: 20.0 (High) | 2.8-14.6 range 1,000/ul
HCT: 42 (High) | 23-39 range %
Heterophils: 16,000 (High) | 80% | 1,146-6,238 range /ul
Glucose: 362 (High) | 129-293 mg/dl
Sodium: 174 (High) | 143-173 mg/dl

He has been prescribed:
Panacur (dewormer): .25 ml (1x every 14 days)
Fortaz (antibiotic): .13ml (1x every 3 days - for 10x)
BeneBac Gel: 1g every 3 days following antibiotics
…And if inappetent
Calcium Glubionate: .25ml 1x every day
Emeraid: .5ml 1x every 2 days

Tonight marks his 2nd dosage of Fortaz injections and BeneBac but he has not yet eaten anything except for the .5 Emeraid I gave the day after the first dose. I’m going to offer vegetable combos and insects tomorrow at multiple times of the day to see if he will eat, if not I will hand feed the .5 Emeraid again and begin giving the calcium. He’s now being stubborn with drinking water and refusing to drink from the bath and usual syringe droplets I place on his nose ever since he got his first shot. I think he hates the syringes now!

I’m very concerned however as his back legs appear to have now gone limp, and he is gripping with just his front. He certainly had mobility of his back legs on 10/24/21 when I gave him a bath. I’m going to be reaching out to the vet tomorrow for more info. Could this be MBD?! How could it have hit him so fast if so?! Could he just be temporarily not using his back legs because his lower half is fighting off the worms?! A side effect of the medication?!

His set up is a 40 gallon terrarium about 37”17”/17”. Tile flooring. Mesh cover. With 1 log, a climbing branch, and a faux suction cupped vine plant. I have a dual deep reflector dome which I use a 100w basking bulb along with a 10.0 mini 13w UVB on the branch end, and an additional 10.0 mini 13w UVB on a single reflector dome which I move around to give him additional UVB and light. At night, I swap out the UVB on the single dome and replace with a 100w black night heat bulb. His basking temps can range from 100-115 F, and cool side generally between 75-85 F. The basking spot is about 6” from the mesh cover.

In my nervousness, I just ordered the 24” T5 HO fixture and 10.0 UVB bulb but it should be coming in on Saturday. I hope I’m not too late!

I appreciate any kind words of support, advice, etc. Thank you!!!

(I’ve posted a picture of the good boy hanging out in the yard over the summer, hopefully he will bounce back!)
 

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Shinryu

Hatchling Member
Staff member
Lead Writer
I've never dealt with this situation so I just wanted to offer support! I can see how worried and concerned you are about Bender, and hope the little guy recovers! While I don't exactly know what could be wrong, I do have some suggestions regarding your setup. Definitely replace the mini UVB with a tube that extends to cover 2/3 -3/4 of your terrarium length. Also be sure to mount it on top (as opposed to on the side as I've seen in some setups). Really the only recommended UVB for bearded dragons are Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5 High Output (or T8 if mounting inside the enclosure) and Arcadia 12 % UVB T5 High Output (T8 is ok if mounting inside the enclosure). Also bearded dragons don't need black night heating lamps. They can disrupt their sleep. The best choice for heating is CHE but you only need it if your temps at night drop below 65 degrees. Otherwise, the beardie doesn't need anything at night. Do you use something for your basking surface that retains heat such as a basking rock or a log? I'm glad you're reaching out to the vet again! I hope they can help you more. When you mentioned weakness/paralysis in the hind legs, a few things came to mind such as impaction (intestinal blockage), calcium deficiency or MBD but I'm not experienced enough to advise further. Have you heard of slurries? Since your beardie is having such a tough time eating anything right now, I'm wondering if that would be a good way to hand feed him some nutrients. Update us on how the little guy is doing! I do think getting proper UVB will be super beneficial. Good luck!
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
Thank you very much for the reply. I actually just ordered a horizontal T5 fixture and 24” 10.0 UVB bulb to go along with it, it should be coming tomorrow. As far as basking, he has a sort of plastic basking branch that he’d usually climb up on to and bask prior to being sick, the temps check out on the spot and could be a bit on the higher end perhaps when I use a thermo gun reader.

I’ve been given the Emeraid critical care to offer but only in .5 ml 48hr feedings based on his slowed metabolism and k/cals needed as informed by the doctor (I’m aiming to give another .5 feeding today if he refuses). I haven’t tried slushees yet as I’m still offering a chance to regain his intake naturally but I can certainly make something for him.

I read the antibiotics can be rough on their insides but the probiotics should be able to counter that.

I’m emailing the vet now my concerns and will update soon.
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
I should have also mentioned that his Calcium & Phosphorus levels are in a healthy range based on his blood work. I read on here that ideally dragons want to maintain a 3:1 Ca : Ph range which he is. If that’s the case, this shouldn’t be MBD correct? Can MBD be determined through blood work?

I’m now concerned that maybe he is impacted due to the parasites or other reasons, which is causing that pressure on his lower half - and leaving his back legs useless. Does anybody know if back leg paralysis due to potential impaction is just temporary (until relieved)?

I just gave him a .5ml of Emeraid Omnivore based on vet instruction and about .2ml of Calcium Glubionate (he would not open his mouth for me to squeeze in the extra .05ml).
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
We need Tracie to look at this post --- and yes MBD can come on suddenly as dragons will hide the illness for as long as they can and the UVB 10.0 mini 13w UVB is a NO go --- it is good you have ordered the T 5 please let me know when it comes in and I will help you get it placed in your tank - they require certain distance and placement -- I will help w/ that -- in the mean time I am going to flag your post to Tracie
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
We need Tracie to look at this post --- and yes MBD can come on suddenly as dragons will hide the illness for as long as they can and the UVB 10.0 mini 13w UVB is a NO go --- it is good you have ordered the T 5 please let me know when it comes in and I will help you get it placed in your tank - they require certain distance and placement -- I will help w/ that -- in the mean time I am going to flag your post to Tracie
Thank you so much! I removed the plastic basking branch as I don’t think he’s able to climb up it right now, and as part of my cleaning up of the tank I might replace it with something else when I go to the store. Right now he only has the log in the basking area. I was thinking about cutting some slits/sections out of the mesh cover as to get the UVB to penetrate with minimal disturbance. I might do that while my wife gives him a warm bath tomorrow. It looks like the distance between the log now and top of the tank is 11.5”, with the old branch it was about 7” maybe. Is that too far for the lights?
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
Thank you so much! I removed the plastic basking branch as I don’t think he’s able to climb up it right now, and as part of my cleaning up of the tank I might replace it with something else when I go to the store. Right now he only has the log in the basking area. I was thinking about cutting some slits/sections out of the mesh cover as to get the UVB to penetrate with minimal disturbance. I might do that while my wife gives him a warm bath tomorrow. It looks like the distance between the log now and top of the tank is 11.5”, with the old branch it was about 7” maybe. Is that too far for the lights?
For now I would shut that coil UVB off its not doing any good --- depending on the screen on the tank the UVB can go on top but since hes having issues w/ those back legs its probably going to be best having it unobstructed -- so when the UVB comes place it approx 12-15 inches directly above the basking decor piece -- also I would try and get your basking temp down to 95-100 most older dragons do not like real hot heat -- and you dont need the CHE unless your tank is dropping below 65 at nite ---
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
For now I would shut that coil UVB off its not doing any good --- depending on the screen on the tank the UVB can go on top but since hes having issues w/ those back legs its probably going to be best having it unobstructed -- so when the UVB comes place it approx 12-15 inches directly above the basking decor piece -- also I would try and get your basking temp down to 95-100 most older dragons do not like real hot heat -- and you dont need the CHE unless your tank is dropping below 65 at nite ---
Sounds like a plan. The temps do not dip below 65 at night so I can scratch that off the list. I was actually considering getting a 75w basking bulb as opposed to the 100w I’ve been using. I’ll continue to monitor the heat levels.

I was researching here that at night I should possibly use a night heat bulb to help him fight off this medical issue. What I’m using now is a 75w night black heat bulb. Is that really going to disrupt his sleep? Should I not even bother with it if the night time temps are in line?

Quick question, should I fully disinfect the terrarium?

Thanks again Karrie!
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
Sounds like a plan. The temps do not dip below 65 at night so I can scratch that off the list. I was researching here that at night I should possibly use a night heat bulb to help him fight off the issue. What I’m using now is a 75w night black heat bulb. Is that really going to disrupt his sleep? I barely see any color coming off. Quick question, should I fully disinfect the terrarium? Thanks again Karrie!
Please get rid of any colored bulbs -- you dont want any at all -- if you ever need heat at nite use a CHE ceramic heat emitter -- they give off only heat NO light -- that would be useful for him being sick or if cold weather drops your temps at night -- as far as disinfecting if your treating for parasites now get rid of extra decor keep only what you need for him to bask etc - and yes you need to disinfect every time he poops --- what kind of substrate are you using? Can you take it out ? If so replace w/ paper towels for now then you can throw it out each time he poops - good disinfectants are F10 found on Walmarts website spendy but good - Rescue or Zoo Meds Wipe Out -- every time he poops clean w/ that -- a long w/ the basking decor -- I am lucky I have 2 dragons that only poop in one area and its on tile - so when Blaze had the parasites I only had to pull those tiles and then clean the basking decor w/ the F 10 I had -- he had another fecal done right after the meds were done he was clean and then last week he had another done and they have not come back -
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
Please get rid of any colored bulbs -- you dont want any at all -- if you ever need heat at nite use a CHE ceramic heat emitter -- they give off only heat NO light -- that would be useful for him being sick or if cold weather drops your temps at night -- as far as disinfecting if your treating for parasites now get rid of extra decor keep only what you need for him to bask etc - and yes you need to disinfect every time he poops --- what kind of substrate are you using? Can you take it out ? If so replace w/ paper towels for now then you can throw it out each time he poops - good disinfectants are F10 found on Walmarts website spendy but good - Rescue or Zoo Meds Wipe Out -- every time he poops clean w/ that -- a long w/ the basking decor -- I am lucky I have 2 dragons that only poop in one area and its on tile - so when Blaze had the parasites I only had to pull those tiles and then clean the basking decor w/ the F 10 I had -- he had another fecal done right after the meds were done he was clean and then last week he had another done and they have not come back -
I have tile down as his substrate. I don’t have any F10 right now but will order. What would you consider safe to use to clean the tiles and glass? I’m so paranoid now I’m overthinking! I sincerely appreciate the help!
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
I have tile down as his substrate. I don’t have any F10 right now but will order. What would you consider safe to use to clean the tiles and glass? I’m so paranoid now I’m overthinking! I sincerely appreciate the help!
The F 10 is good but I would get some Zoo Meds Wipe Out at Pet Smart etc for now --- keep your F 10 on hand its a concentrate and will keep for quite awhile - you can use the Wipe Out for daily cleaning its going to kill those parasites every time you clean when hes pooped -- you have regular glass - check on the instructions for cleaning glass I am not sure w/ the Wipe Out --- I dont know if vinegar/ water will do it --
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
The F 10 is good but I would get some Zoo Meds Wipe Out at Pet Smart etc for now --- keep your F 10 on hand its a concentrate and will keep for quite awhile - you can use the Wipe Out for daily cleaning its going to kill those parasites every time you clean when hes pooped -- you have regular glass - check on the instructions for cleaning glass I am not sure w/ the Wipe Out --- I dont know if vinegar/ water will do it --
I certainly appreciate your quick responses! I just ordered F10 and it will come tomorrow.
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
Just got back from the vet for an emergency visit due to the concerns of lack of back leg mobility (and some on/off mouth gaping-breathing) and decided to take some x-rays. Based on the results it looks like Bender has a URI perhaps even pneumonia (along with the dang pinworms). They also noticed a pocket of air in the stomach seen in the side view x-ray, which they’re saying could be due to him breathing harder. I’m pissed! I’m sure the higher humidity and excess rains this month certainly didn’t help! I hope he recovers so he doesn’t have to feel this pain.

The vet also mentioned that when they pinched his legs he gave a reaction and tried placing his foot down so perhaps it’s just a lack of strength issue as the sensory and neuro seem to point in a positive direction.

He doesn’t look impacted which is a good sign. His bone density is fairly good and so the MBD should be out of the question based on his blood work.

We’ve opted to keep him at the exotic vet for direct care for 5 days which his enclosure will be set up accordingly to combat these issues. He should be getting a nice pamper treatment of fluids, feedings, baths, etc. This will give us time to clean up his enclosure and set up his new lights for when he comes home.

I posted pics of his X-ray and blood work for any additional assistance and for reference. Maybe somebody will find these images helpful for their dragon babies too!
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
Just got back from the vet for an emergency visit due to the concerns of lack of back leg mobility (and some on/off mouth gaping-breathing) and decided to take some x-rays. Based on the results it looks like Bender has a URI perhaps even pneumonia (along with the dang pinworms). They also noticed a pocket of air in the stomach seen in the side view x-ray, which they’re saying could be due to him breathing harder. I’m pissed! I’m sure the higher humidity and excess rains this month certainly didn’t help! I hope he recovers so he doesn’t have to feel this pain.

The vet also mentioned that when they pinched his legs he gave a reaction and tried placing his foot down so perhaps it’s just a lack of strength issue as the sensory and neuro seem to point in a positive direction.

He doesn’t look impacted which is a good sign. His bone density is fairly good and so the MBD should be out of the question based on his blood work.

We’ve opted to keep him at the exotic vet for direct care for 5 days which his enclosure will be set up accordingly to combat these issues. He should be getting a nice pamper treatment of fluids, feedings, baths, etc. This will give us time to clean up his enclosure and set up his new lights for when he comes home.

I posted pics of his X-ray and blood work for any additional assistance and for reference. Maybe somebody will find these images helpful for their dragon babies too!
Yes Tracie can help w/ those --- I am going to flag your post to her
 

BenderTheBeardie

Member
Original Poster
Good morning, sadly, we got the call this morning that our big boy Bender has passed away. We know he fought terribly hard and I suppose didn’t want us to see him pass. We are devastated and grieving now. We love you, and will miss you buddy! I’ve posted some pictures of Bender over the years in his honor…

Thank you all for your help. I wish your fellow beardie companions all the best!
 

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