Spike’s Progress

xp29

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Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
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.
I agree whole heartedly.
I do the same thing 🙂 I've actually been offered jobs several times from managers at pet stores over hearing me give advice lol.
Working in a reptile store will probably be what I do after I retire from my real job.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Bless them, I am so happy you rescued those two. I hope they do well & improve for you.
Petstores really do need to have more educational classes for people so that the knowledge
base improves.

Tracie
 

Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Spike is still going well and is steadily gaining back weight he lost. I’m also finding a few more food items he doesn’t have any difficulty chewing up and swallowing so he can happily eat dandelion flowers and the local pet supply store recently bought out a new insect product which is little packs of hermetically sealed shelf stable insects (options of grasshoppers, BSFL, mealworms, crickets or rice worms) I got the BSFL as they were the more nutritionally balanced of the range and tried him with that today. He loved them and didn’t have any issues so there’s another food option for him.
He did also have some gut motility issues after his big surgery late last year but at this stage that also seems to be resolving now so he’s continuing to make improvements.
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xp29

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Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Spike is still going well and is steadily gaining back weight he lost. I’m also finding a few more food items he doesn’t have any difficulty chewing up and swallowing so he can happily eat dandelion flowers and the local pet supply store recently bought out a new insect product which is little packs of hermetically sealed shelf stable insects (options of grasshoppers, BSFL, mealworms, crickets or rice worms) I got the BSFL as they were the more nutritionally balanced of the range and tried him with that today. He loved them and didn’t have any issues so there’s another food option for him.
He did also have some gut motility issues after his big surgery late last year but at this stage that also seems to be resolving now so he’s continuing to make improvements. View attachment 88177 View attachment 88178 View attachment 88179 View attachment 88180
He is so adorable and sweet 😍
I always love seeing his updates. It's inspiring the care you have given him, and the progress he has made!!! 🙂
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

He looks so happy, I am glad to see he is doing
better! Keep up the great work with him!
They definitely become very attached to you.

Tracie
 

ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
Great :) So happy to see that.

the local pet supply store recently bought out a new insect product which is little packs of hermetically sealed shelf stable insects
Are they dried or are they "wet" (dead but like they had been alive a moment ago)?
Are you feeding this kind of food as Spike would have problems with live insects due to his conditions (oesophagos/throat), or is it as it's just easier when you just need insects just once in a while?
(Absolutely no criticism is intended! You're caring so well for Spike. I'm just curious :) )
 
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Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Great :) So happy to see that.


Are they dried or are they "wet" (dead but like they had been alive a moment ago)?
Are you feeding this kind of food as Spike would have problems with live insects due to his conditions (oesophagos/throat), or is it as it's just easier when you just need insects just once in a while?
(Absolutely no criticism is intended! You're caring so well for Spike. I'm just curious :) )
They’re moist so not dried. I’ll see if I can find a link to the product as it may be easier to see the product rather than try and decipher any explanation I can give 😂.
I’ve never fed my dragons dried insects as I feel the fresher the better.
This product is specifically marketed as something of an emergency backup insect option if you find yourself without insects and can’t get to a store to restock/your local store is out of live insects etc so now I know my dragons like these I will keep some packs on hand but for Spike I would use these as something of a main insect source for him just due to his unique situation with having had that oesophagus reconstruction and with his older age as something like this is easier for him than a live insect that’s wriggling around or something with a harder shell.
His main struggle is with actually getting food into his mouth as his short range vision is very poor due to age so when he’s close enough to food to be in grabbing range he just can’t see it and thinks it’s gone.
Sometimes he’ll have a go but left unassisted he’ll strike at where he thinks the food is and will either have 0% success rate or succeed maybe 1 in every 10 attempts and it takes him a LONG time so he may take a half hour to eat maybe 8-10 insects.
I use feeding tweezers with his food to assist him so I’ve taught him that when I have food I’ll tap the floor twice then tap the food to the side of his mouth and he knows to open up and grab it on that side so with that process he has a lot more success eating and can get a good 30 insects in maybe 8-10 minutes max.
He also has some issues with moving food around his mouth mainly on the left size so I try to feed him on his right side. This difficulty he has seems to be as a result of the surgery he had for his tumor as they did have to cut through muscle to get to the tumor so it is possible that would have affected how much he may be able to move his tongue on that left side. He is slowly improving with that as he’s re-learning how to use his tongue on that side with his situation.
I try to keep him to his usual food ratio so he’ll have insects twice a week and I try to give him some sort of vegetation 3-4 times a week so that’s usually softer veggies like steamed pumpkin or I’ll blend up some pak Choy or something of the sort as a ‘smoothie’ for him since leafy greens as is are too difficult for him nowdays and once a week I’ll supplement that with some Emeraid formula just to ensure he’s really getting the nutrients he needs so for that I do one small scoop of the omnivore formula with 1 small scoop of the carnivore formula and 14ml water to mix it up.

 

ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco


Thanks for explaining :)
It's really good that such a product exists, so you won't have to give him dried insects :)
I'm pretty sure getting insects that way is a great help for him with his disabilities. I could imagine this product also being helpful if it's impossible to bring live insects somewhere.

Btw.:

I also don't feed dried insects for the same reason you mention, fresh is better (I was also never feeding pellets to pets that could get pellets, always only fresh food; my dragon Taco only gets live insects and fresh greens).
I think what's especially important is also that fresh insects hydrate them. In addition, I'm pretty sure my Taco won't eat dried insects. He only eats insects that move quite a lot - if one doesn't, he's ignoring it, which totally makes sense (insect not moving = not healthy = better don't eat it).
So I was just asking which kind of product this is, in case I'm ever in a similar situation which I of course hope not, but if, I will care for him :)
(And I also had assumed, just based on how well you care for him, that you, as far as possible, feed live insects but can't give them to Spike because his health reasons.)
 
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Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Thanks for explaining :)
It's really good that such a product exists, so you won't have to give him dried insects :)
I'm pretty sure getting insects that way is a great help for him with his disabilities. I could imagine this product also being helpful if it's impossible to bring live insects somewhere.

Btw.:

I also don't feed dried insects for the same reason you mention, fresh is better (I was also never feeding pellets to pets that could get pellets, always only fresh food; my dragon Taco only gets live insects and fresh greens).
I think what's especially important is also that fresh insects hydrate them. In addition, I'm pretty sure my Taco won't eat dried insects. He only eats insects that move quite a lot - if one doesn't, he's ignoring it, which totally makes sense (insect not moving = not healthy = better don't eat it).
So I was just asking which kind of product this is, in case I'm ever in a similar situation which I of course hope not, but if, I will care for him :)
(And I also had assumed, just based on how well you care for him, that you, as far as possible, feed live insects but can't give them to Spike because his health reasons.)
Yeah this product is great for that. They seemed to be packed with a little bit of something moist that I’m wondering whether it’s a bit of peanut oil because it does have a peanut sort of smell.
The pack of the packs also has a chart that shows you the percentages of each nutrient in the insect so that’s great for choosing something that’s well balanced.
They are a newer released thing over here in Australia so I’m not sure how commonly the product can be found elsewhere but I know ExoTerra does canned insects that from what I remember were moist rather than dried but the downside of the cans is they’re not transparent so you can’t see the size of the insects in there.
I also agree with you about the pellets. Just because you can feed pellets doesn’t mean you should because the animal is definitely going to enjoy actual recognisable food items more.
I do also have a pack of reptile pellets made by Vetafarmbut I don’t feed those as pellets. I soak some in a bit of water to soften up and add that to the blended mixtures I give to spike to add a better blend of nutrients and protein and bulk up mixtures that are particularly watery.
As for greens I usually grow most of what I give my dragons myself because that way I can know they’re fresh and pesticide free. Things like alfalfa and mustard greens are great because you can grow those in a shallow tray and they sprout very quickly so if you need greens fast they’re a good option.
 

ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
They are a newer released thing over here in Australia so I’m not sure how commonly the product can be found elsewhere but I know ExoTerra does canned insects that from what I remember were moist rather than dried but the downside of the cans is they’re not transparent so you can’t see the size of the insects in there.

Things are a bit hard to get here in Chile, but I don't need anything like that right now happily.
I have seen that canned insects are available here.
I also agree with you about the pellets. Just because you can feed pellets doesn’t mean you should because the animal is definitely going to enjoy actual recognisable food items more.
I had land hermit crabs. There are pellets available, but I fed them fresh veggies, pieces of shellfish/ sea food what is their natural diet. Big plus: "real food" keeps them busy.
So I think: I would not want a daily pound of "human all-in-one slurp" instead of a real meal (except for a medical emergency), why should I give this my pet (except for a medical emergency)?

I do also have a pack of reptile pellets made by Vetafarmbut I don’t feed those as pellets. I soak some in a bit of water to soften up and add that to the blended mixtures I give to spike to add a better blend of nutrients and protein and bulk up mixtures that are particularly watery.

This also makes totally sense for Spike.

As for greens I usually grow most of what I give my dragons myself because that way I can know they’re fresh and pesticide free. Things like alfalfa and mustard greens are great because you can grow those in a shallow tray and they sprout very quickly so if you need greens fast they’re a good option.
That's what I also plan - I myself am very much into organic food, gardening and such. (Grew up on a homestead! Always of the type "growing is easier than buying".)
Currently it's "I try" as we are here in the Atacama desert and due to the high UV index (I guess also missing microbes is an issue here), even potted plants struggle except for succulents. I'm currently trying mustard greens under foil in a pot on the balcony after the first batch died off likely due to too high UV exposure. Same is for a bunch of common kitchen herbs (which I also would love to use for my meals :D)
 
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Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Found a dandelion in the yard this afternoon for spike and took a video since I figured someone may be interested in seeing what feeding him is like with his vision issues.
I try to find that sweet spot where he can see the food item and that gets his attention which is why I’m moving the flower around for a bit.
Once he sees and recognises it as something he wants he’ll move himself like he’s starting to go for it but loses sight of it. He knows now that when that happens if he opens his mouth I’ll help by placing the food there for him to grab.
Dandelion flowers are one of his favourites so he hardly ever turns one down when I have them for him.
Hopefully the quality of the video isn’t too bad as I had to compress is like crazy to get it within the size limit for upload here.
 

Drache613

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Staff member
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Hello,

That is really very sweet. He does look very happy & colorful there, too. So many of them love the
dandelion flowers, so that was a treat for him!

Tracie
 

Spider8ait1994

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Spike continues to do well, the weather has been good lately so he’s been having some time outside and enjoying the sunshine and soaking in his paddling pool.
Still loving his dandelion flowers.
I was clearing shed scales out of the little crevice where his surgical incision was two days ago and discovered he had one single little stitch that hadn’t dissolved or come out and was able to carefully remove that. Seemed like he felt a lot better with that out and he’s been nice and active after soaking up the sun.
His digestion seems to be sorted out now after having slowed down after his surgery for a bit but he’s back to regular passing of waste with everything looking good and healthy.
Movement wise he’s definitely not as fast as he once was but he’s still able to get around.
I’m now using one of his spare blankets to roll up and place next to him when he goes to sleep as a ‘barrier’ because I found some nights he was waking up and moving around resulting in falling off his ledge he sleeps on because with his vision loss and in the dark he’s not seeing the edge of the ledge and stepping over so with his rolled blanket parried he has a physical object there to tell him no further and that’s definitely helped him avoid further tumbles.
His breathing still sounds nice and normal and likewise his heart is sounding healthy and consistent with no abnormalities in pace or sound.
It’s been 7 months since his diagnosis now and there’s no signs of the tumor returning anywhere at the moment.
That brings me to a question: does anyone know of any other dragon who’s had a Chromatophoroma tumor and lasted for this long after diagnosis? I’ve been looking around about this and haven’t come across anything that seems to indicate dragons last more than 2-3 months and likewise his vets don’t seem to have come across any either so we’re wondering if he’s possibly the longest known survival time after such a diagnosis?
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

That is terrific news, very positive! Cases like these greatly vary because it depends on the severity of
the tumor initially on the system & at what point it was caught & then treated. I personally don't know of
any cases of that specifically but there have been others who have survived cancers & tumors for a long
period of time.
That's good you got a single stitch out to help him feel better, it probably was bothering him some. It definitely sounds like he has really imiproved & is healthy right now. Continue with your wonderful
care for him & just monitor him as time goes along. He is on the mend, bless him. He has been through
a lot!
I'm glad to hear he loves his dandelion flowers!

Tracie
 

xp29

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Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Every time I read an update, I just won't pick him up and give him a big ole hug and tell him what a good boy he is. You done such a fantastic job with your guys, I'd give you a hug to 🙂
 

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