Spike’s Progress

Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
So I’m making this thread as a place to provide updates on my now elderly rescue Spike as some users who’ve been helping and following his recent health scare have been interested in continuing to know how he’s going.
For those reading this who haven’t read about his health scare last year around late August he was diagnosed with Chromatophotoma (a rarely diagnosed, fast growing and aggressive tumor) in his beard/throat region.
He underwent surgery in early September at a specialist vet facility to remove the tumor which also ended up involving the removal of a portion of his oesophagus and subsequent reconstruction.
He’s recovered very well, better than even the specialist vet team was expecting him to.
He’s healed up very well and at this point 4 months on you wouldn’t even be able to tell he’d had a feeding tube placed unless you knew exactly where to look. His surgical scar continues to improve with time and from a distance you can’t see he had a 5cm incision.
He did lose some weight over this time which is understandable as the tumor had been beginning to compress his oesophagus so he wasn’t wanting to really eat.
He is beginning to gain that weight back now he’s feeling better and was just over 500 grams the other day when I weighed him.
While we don’t know his exact age as his original owners didn’t provide those details we do estimate he’s no younger than 8 years old though potentially is older than that.
With his age he is losing his short range vision so nowdays he doesn’t have enough short range vision to see his food and eat unassisted so I am now helping him with getting food into his mouth.
He’s continuing to improve in re-learning how to use his tongue post surgery and while he is mostly eating a specialised formula or blended up ‘smoothies’ he is able to eat prepared young prickly pear pad if it’s cut up small.
Given the type of tumor he had it is likely that it will return in time but at this stage I haven’t seen or felt any indication that it’s begin returning just yet.
He did end up losing the end of his tail during his surgery recovery so we think that a pre-existing abnormality with his tail tip had made it more likely to shrivel and die off and at that time his immune system was likely more focused on surgery healing and left that tail tip ‘unguarded’ so to speak. It hasn’t bothered him and the shrivelling hasn’t progressed since the end fell off and healed over.
So at this stage he is continuing to improve and doesn’t seem to be in any sort of pain or discomfort.
Additionally tomorrow (29th January Australian time) will be exactly 6 years since I took him and my other rescue dragon in.
I’m hoping I’ll get many more years with Spike but whatever happens I know that in taking him in I’ve been able to give him a much longer, better life than he’d have otherwise had given his condition when he was rescued.

@Drache613
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
You my friend are for sure a hero!!!
It makes me so happy to hear he is continuing to improve, to be honest I didn't think he would make it. He is definitely a fighter. And so are you. I hope you continue to keep us posted, we all root for every dragon/hooman and love success stories 🙂
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Stunningly positive news for your precious Spike! IF he is older than 8 then that is even more
amazing to know he has come through such an invasive ordeal & is still improving.
He may never have anymore problems at all. You could consider adding in some CBD oil a few
times per week as a cancer preventative. Or even Grapeseed extract, which has had success
with warding off cancer, too.
He is such a lucky fellow to have you helping him through it all & to have had a few great vets
actually care enough to help a dragon. Most are not near that fortunate!
Please keep us updated with his progress with pictures, or anything else. Feel free to start a
thread & you can keep it running as long as you would like, kind of like a blog, if you would like.

Tracie
 

Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
So unfortunately as far as I’m aware CBD oil likely isn’t an option where I am because here in Australia that kinda stuff is still illegal but hopefully that’ll chance in the future.
I’ll definitely look into the grape seed oil though.
I do plan to use this thread as an ongoing update ‘journal’ for spike to document how he’s going post-tumor since it seems his recovery has surprised everyone it would probably be helpful to have an ongoing documentation of his condition and maybe it’ll provide others in a similar situation with a bit of a best case outcome reference to help them decide what option to go with for their dragon.
For now here I have some new photos of Spike from this morning. He’s a bit sleepy because it’s summer over here so we have the AC on but you can get an idea of his physical condition and how things are healing up.
In the pic of him on my arm his spine does look a bit ‘wiggly’ but that’s just due to him bunching himself up a bit to cling on.
He’s been doing a bit of shedding lately and has shed one ear the other day and has a bit of flaking around his lips at the moment.
With his shedding I’m specifically monitoring his tail tip, hands and feet and the main surgical incision to help him out with any pieces that get caught up in the crevices of on the very end.
The container with liquid in his enclosure is a dilution of F10 and water as reccomended by his regular vet because back in early January he developed a bit of a cough but that’s all cleared up now with this trick.

1: perked up a bit when I greeted him.
2: top down full body condition.
3: how the lost end of his tail is healing up.
4: Feeding tube insertion site healing progress.
5: surgical incision site healing progress.
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Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
@Drache613
Just thought to ask do you have some info about the grape seed extract in this context for bearded dragons?
Since you’re recommending it I’d assume it’s safe but I would definitely rather double check as I do vaguely recall coming across a couple sources a while ago that mentioned grape seeds being not great for dragons hence why you should remove them when you give them grapes but I can’t recall whether that was due to impaction risk or some component in the seeds themselves that has a potentially negative effect on them.
I’ve had a quick google and the only results I’m getting is grape seed extract for human use or the safety of feeding actual grapes to dragons.
Looking into the extract it looks like it would be the antioxidants in it that would provide the most benefit for Spike’s context so I would also assume that if I opt not to go for the grape seed extract for whatever reason or if I just can’t find it available here I could reasonably substitute with other antioxidant rich foods like blending some berries into his smoothies etc which would also give the benefit of the red compounds which I know are also said to be beneficial to cancer fighting (I think it’s the lycopene specifically)
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
So unfortunately as far as I’m aware CBD oil likely isn’t an option where I am because here in Australia that kinda stuff is still illegal but hopefully that’ll chance in the future.
I’ll definitely look into the grape seed oil though.
I do plan to use this thread as an ongoing update ‘journal’ for spike to document how he’s going post-tumor since it seems his recovery has surprised everyone it would probably be helpful to have an ongoing documentation of his condition and maybe it’ll provide others in a similar situation with a bit of a best case outcome reference to help them decide what option to go with for their dragon.
For now here I have some new photos of Spike from this morning. He’s a bit sleepy because it’s summer over here so we have the AC on but you can get an idea of his physical condition and how things are healing up.
In the pic of him on my arm his spine does look a bit ‘wiggly’ but that’s just due to him bunching himself up a bit to cling on.
He’s been doing a bit of shedding lately and has shed one ear the other day and has a bit of flaking around his lips at the moment.
With his shedding I’m specifically monitoring his tail tip, hands and feet and the main surgical incision to help him out with any pieces that get caught up in the crevices of on the very end.
The container with liquid in his enclosure is a dilution of F10 and water as reccomended by his regular vet because back in early January he developed a bit of a cough but that’s all cleared up now with this trick.

1: perked up a bit when I greeted him.
2: top down full body condition.
3: how the lost end of his tail is healing up.
4: Feeding tube insertion site healing progress.
5: surgical incision site healing progress.
View attachment 87024 View attachment 87025 View attachment 87026 View attachment 87027 View attachment 87028
Man I just want to give spike a big ole hug!!!
His story is amazing, he is lucky to have someone that cares so much for him.
 

Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Man I just want to give spike a big ole hug!!!
His story is amazing, he is lucky to have someone that cares so much for him.
@xp29
He’d definitely love a hug. Despite all he’s been through he hasn’t let that stop him from being affectionate, gentle and loving attention.
Doesn’t matter is you’re someone he knows or not as far as he’s concerned a hug is a hug no matter who’s giving it.
That’s actually a big reason why of my two dragons he’s the one I bring out if someone wants to pet or hold one but hasn’t had experience with lizards before because he’s just so calm he’ll happily sit there and be touched, picked up and held.
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Ambassador Spike!!!!! 🙂
My guy Zen was like that, I love the look of amazement that comes over people who haven't been around reptiles when a beardie is friendly and snugglely.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I will try to find some documentation on the Grapeseed extract. In the meantime you can look into
Lauric acid which is an active ingredient from coconut oil & Monolaurin is a chemical derived from
it. They are effective against fungus, bacteria, virus' etc & in some cases has shown effectiveness
against cancer. Really, cancer is just caused by bacteria & an imbalance in the system so maybe
you can keep it from coming back.
Give me some time & I'll see if I can find some documented cases.
He looks magnificent really, I am so happy for you both! He is a very spirited dragon & looks so
happy!
I hope that he continues to thrive for you.

Tracie
 

Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Just found this short video my cousin took the day Spike and Puff were rescued. She collected them both for me since she lived closer to where they were rescued from while I travelled to meet up back at her place.
Glad she took this video as it’s a good reference to their initial condition. Posting it here as I figure it may interest some to see where they started va where they are now.

 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Wow, those poor babies, it infuriates me what people do to these animals. It's amazing that you were abke to bring them back a good quality of life.
 

Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Wow, those poor babies, it infuriates me what people do to these animals. It's amazing that you were abke to bring them back a good quality of life.
Oh yeah I agree. I think most of the issue stems from the concept that they’re a good ‘beginner’ reptile so people see that and think they won’t have to do too much with them and also paired with the whole stereotype of reptiles being non-interactive and something you can just put in a tank and leave to do their thing.
At the very least nowdays it seems there’s more of an understanding about how complex they are as they’re becoming a more popular pet choice. I’ve definitely seen more awareness about their needs and more people asking questions.
In fact in the past 2 years I’ve answered questions for people asking while I’m out at my local pet store if I’ve heard them asking about dragons and the staff don’t know so I’ll explain what they need and point them to where they can get good quality supplies.
I often actually give them a link to this site because of the helpful community and range of information here.
Even the vet Spike sees on the regular has noticed in recent years that the dragons they see are improving in lifespan and general condition so they’ve told me the oldest dragon they regularly see is a 15 year old male which is pretty good given last I heard the captive average lifespan is 10-12 years.
Additionally I’ve actually just recently put together a PDF file I can print as a booklet for people interested in a bearded dragon but unsure about what they need and such like a basic guide to bearded dragons as pets so if the forum lets me I wouldn’t mind providing that file if anyone’s interested.
 

hdochow

Sub-Adult Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Sir Henry of Scales
Additionally I’ve actually just recently put together a PDF file I can print as a booklet for people interested in a bearded dragon but unsure about what they need and such like a basic guide to bearded dragons as pets so if the forum lets me I wouldn’t mind providing that file if anyone’s interested.
I would be interested in seeing that.
 

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