Spike & Puff (an example of how improper care vs good care affects beardies)

Here I’m going to talk about my two rescue dragons Spike and Puff.
Now I don’t know much about their background save for the fact that they were both kept in the same enclosure and their original owners realised at some point they didn’t know how to properly look after beardies and surrendered them to a pet store.
The pet store put out an advert for them as they weren’t equipped for reptiles and I ended up taking in both dragons back in 2018.
Both of them were in pretty bad shape at this point.
Puff was overweight, had very clogged femoral pores, a lip deformity likely from a calcium deficiency, hydration problems as a result of this lip deformity and was also incredibly anxious and depressed. On top of that he was missing all but one toe in on of his back feet, the end of his tail had been nipped and the row of spines across the back of his head was entirely gone.
He also wouldn’t eat anything that wasn’t a live insect and even with live insects it wasn’t a guarantee that he would eat them.
He’d spend literally all of his time sitting in his hide not moving which was what had caused his femoral pore issue.
Dietary wise I started him out by introducing him to non insect flavours by giving him teaspoonfuls of an organic baby food which he gradually learned to eat.
At that point I started giving him grated or thinly sliced vegetables and leafy greens but I still had to hand feed him anything that wasn’t an insect.
I also introduced a liquid calcium supplement into his diet which over time noticeably addressed his lip deformity and by extension his hydration issues.
Daily soaks and some gentle scrubbing with a soft toothbrush sorted out the clogged up pores.
Now that he was feeling not so bad health wise his depression seemed to improve and he gradually started spending more and more time out of his hide.
I found he very much enjoyed looking at my fish and still does. They seemed to really calm him down when he got worked up over something and they still have this effect on him today. I joke that they’re not MY fish but are instead Puff’s emotional support therapy fish.
Puff layer had a general checkup at a reptile vets and I pointed out a firm lump on the underside of his jaw I’d noticed alongside my impression that there was something visually off about his head.
The vet took X-Rays and they showed that the lump on his lower jaw was an old fracture that had healed over and the appearance suggested it had occurred from biting down on something hard.
That made sense as I had noted that he seemed reluctant to eat things that were firmer or had crunchy seeds like berry seeds.
The x-rays also showed that his entire skull was asymmetrical and the theory for that was that at some point as a hatchling he’s suffered at least one unknown head injury that had left him with this misshapen skull. It’s not that bad you can immediately tell but if you look at him front on for long enough you get the sense that there’s something vaguely off about him.
In September this year he made a huge improvement diet wise and started to eat some non insect food entirely on his own. He will now eat mostly on his own and really only needs some help with foods that are a bit slippery.
With appropriate care adjusted to his unique needs and patience for him to make improvements when he felt comfortable to he’s gone from a scared unhealthy dragon to an energetic and sociable little man.
89AF62C4-36B6-452B-AAB4-2CB46972DC1E.jpg
EDF021A9-045E-4ED0-B855-ED1F3A997B27.jpg
C03142D5-B32D-433A-B655-0E5A2A61450A.jpg
4CE96726-3A8F-4666-BE94-0A81D2D9A8C6.jpg
BFA25D51-DABE-4646-B7C2-8EAAF2D0AC57.jpeg


Spike on the other hand was considerably worse off than Puff. He was severely underweight and malnourished, had a mangled finger on one of his front hands, an over abundance of coccidia, an old puncture wound to one of his rear toes, osteomyelitis and calculus buildup in his jaw and was incredibly filthy. I suspect he’d never been bathed once in his life.
Needless to say he was also scared and very weak given his condition. I doubt he’d have lasted much longer if he hadn’t gotten rescued when he did.
For him the first thing to address was cleaning him up and sorting out the coccidia issue so that was anti parasitic medicine and VERY frequent bathing.
Diet wise I fed him on a more juvenile dragon diet of primarily insects despite him being an adult dragon because the goal was to help him to gain a lot of weight as he was only 143 grams back then.
Once his weight was stabilised and he was doing well I took him in to a reptile vet for a dental cleanup where they were able to remove a decent amount of the built up calculus.
His mangled toe I was aware would likely need to be amputated at some point in the future as subsequent sheds occurred. That toe ended up going toward the end of 2020.
Finally it was the osteomyelitis to address. This is the issue that took the longest and was done via a LOT of antibiotic injections and anti inflammatory painkiller medication.
It took him about a year of this treatment to sort the osteo out.
His dental health will never be that great because the pre-existing situation was so bad so this means I have to brush his teeth twice weekly and it also means he can’t eat ANY fruit at all because of the sugar content.
Much like Puff did Spike has vastly improved since I got him. He’s now clocking in at around 560 grams, he’s a sucker for any sort of affection, especially cuddles and he LOVES the camera (which coincidently the vets he sees also love so he gets a lot of photos taken when he visits)
Spike and Puff’s story just goes to show how important it is to do your research and make sure you have the knowledge, financial ability and resources to provide the appropriate care for an animal BEFORE you get the animal. It’s not just as simple as sticking them in an enclosure and leaving them to it and in cases of poor care reptiles in particular can go downhill VERY fast and often by the time you can visually see somethings not right whatever the issue is has often been going on for quite a while.
With Spike in particular his story also goes to show that even in cases where a dragon is in such bad condition health wise with proper care and management of the issues there is hope for recovery and rehabilitation.
I hope by sharing their stories and photos comparing their before and after more people will be able to see and understand just how important it is to ensure you can provide appropriate housing, diet and nutrition, supplements, healthcare and interaction.
1AE575B2-F240-4A17-9CAF-E4FEEBF87ABC.jpg
0C43EB45-EBC6-4A30-A7C7-2AF24ED45205.jpeg
BB4A1EFA-8E50-49A9-8800-0BBADBA69B87.jpeg
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 5 and Blaze is 3
Here I’m going to talk about my two rescue dragons Spike and Puff.
Now I don’t know much about their background save for the fact that they were both kept in the same enclosure and their original owners realised at some point they didn’t know how to properly look after beardies and surrendered them to a pet store.
The pet store put out an advert for them as they weren’t equipped for reptiles and I ended up taking in both dragons back in 2018.
Both of them were in pretty bad shape at this point.
Puff was overweight, had very clogged femoral pores, a lip deformity likely from a calcium deficiency, hydration problems as a result of this lip deformity and was also incredibly anxious and depressed. On top of that he was missing all but one toe in on of his back feet, the end of his tail had been nipped and the row of spines across the back of his head was entirely gone.
He also wouldn’t eat anything that wasn’t a live insect and even with live insects it wasn’t a guarantee that he would eat them.
He’d spend literally all of his time sitting in his hide not moving which was what had caused his femoral pore issue.
Dietary wise I started him out by introducing him to non insect flavours by giving him teaspoonfuls of an organic baby food which he gradually learned to eat.
At that point I started giving him grated or thinly sliced vegetables and leafy greens but I still had to hand feed him anything that wasn’t an insect.
I also introduced a liquid calcium supplement into his diet which over time noticeably addressed his lip deformity and by extension his hydration issues.
Daily soaks and some gentle scrubbing with a soft toothbrush sorted out the clogged up pores.
Now that he was feeling not so bad health wise his depression seemed to improve and he gradually started spending more and more time out of his hide.
I found he very much enjoyed looking at my fish and still does. They seemed to really calm him down when he got worked up over something and they still have this effect on him today. I joke that they’re not MY fish but are instead Puff’s emotional support therapy fish.
Puff layer had a general checkup at a reptile vets and I pointed out a firm lump on the underside of his jaw I’d noticed alongside my impression that there was something visually off about his head.
The vet took X-Rays and they showed that the lump on his lower jaw was an old fracture that had healed over and the appearance suggested it had occurred from biting down on something hard.
That made sense as I had noted that he seemed reluctant to eat things that were firmer or had crunchy seeds like berry seeds.
The x-rays also showed that his entire skull was asymmetrical and the theory for that was that at some point as a hatchling he’s suffered at least one unknown head injury that had left him with this misshapen skull. It’s not that bad you can immediately tell but if you look at him front on for long enough you get the sense that there’s something vaguely off about him.
In September this year he made a huge improvement diet wise and started to eat some non insect food entirely on his own. He will now eat mostly on his own and really only needs some help with foods that are a bit slippery.
With appropriate care adjusted to his unique needs and patience for him to make improvements when he felt comfortable to he’s gone from a scared unhealthy dragon to an energetic and sociable little man.
View attachment 76351 View attachment 76352 View attachment 76353 View attachment 76354 View attachment 76355

Spike on the other hand was considerably worse off than Puff. He was severely underweight and malnourished, had a mangled finger on one of his front hands, an over abundance of coccidia, an old puncture wound to one of his rear toes, osteomyelitis and calculus buildup in his jaw and was incredibly filthy. I suspect he’d never been bathed once in his life.
Needless to say he was also scared and very weak given his condition. I doubt he’d have lasted much longer if he hadn’t gotten rescued when he did.
For him the first thing to address was cleaning him up and sorting out the coccidia issue so that was anti parasitic medicine and VERY frequent bathing.
Diet wise I fed him on a more juvenile dragon diet of primarily insects despite him being an adult dragon because the goal was to help him to gain a lot of weight as he was only 143 grams back then.
Once his weight was stabilised and he was doing well I took him in to a reptile vet for a dental cleanup where they were able to remove a decent amount of the built up calculus.
His mangled toe I was aware would likely need to be amputated at some point in the future as subsequent sheds occurred. That toe ended up going toward the end of 2020.
Finally it was the osteomyelitis to address. This is the issue that took the longest and was done via a LOT of antibiotic injections and anti inflammatory painkiller medication.
It took him about a year of this treatment to sort the osteo out.
His dental health will never be that great because the pre-existing situation was so bad so this means I have to brush his teeth twice weekly and it also means he can’t eat ANY fruit at all because of the sugar content.
Much like Puff did Spike has vastly improved since I got him. He’s now clocking in at around 560 grams, he’s a sucker for any sort of affection, especially cuddles and he LOVES the camera (which coincidently the vets he sees also love so he gets a lot of photos taken when he visits)
Spike and Puff’s story just goes to show how important it is to do your research and make sure you have the knowledge, financial ability and resources to provide the appropriate care for an animal BEFORE you get the animal. It’s not just as simple as sticking them in an enclosure and leaving them to it and in cases of poor care reptiles in particular can go downhill VERY fast and often by the time you can visually see somethings not right whatever the issue is has often been going on for quite a while.
With Spike in particular his story also goes to show that even in cases where a dragon is in such bad condition health wise with proper care and management of the issues there is hope for recovery and rehabilitation.
I hope by sharing their stories and photos comparing their before and after more people will be able to see and understand just how important it is to ensure you can provide appropriate housing, diet and nutrition, supplements, healthcare and interaction.
View attachment 76356 View attachment 76357 View attachment 76358
Wow great story--- thanks for sharing! You have done a great job and its amazing what time love and proper care can do for these reptiles! I hope they continue to prosper under your care and they live long lives -:)
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Omg what a heart warming story. I have 2 rescues also, they weren't no where near as bad as Puff and Spike, but they are hands down more loving and cuddly than my dragons that have alway been treated well. To me mine and stories like yours just prove to me they appreciate and reciprocate being loved.
Every time I read a story like this I'm inclined to point out, folk like you are REAL heroes.
The world needs more people like you!
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Great job getting these buggers healthy, they look great ! The story about Puff and his fish would make a nice children's book. :)
I told my girlfriend about his story, she got all teared up.
 

Spider8ait1994

Member
Original Poster
I told my girlfriend about his story, she got all teared up.
He’s got some more fish now as I got a big 130 Litre tank this Christmas that’s set up right across from his enclosure so he pretty much sits and watches the bigger fish for most of the day now.
I’d never have thought a lizard would be so into fish before but it’s great to have something that can calm Puff down quickly when he gets worked up over something.
354BDB42-A62F-4052-9D43-05602C876B1D.jpg
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
This thread makes me happy. 🙂
 
Beardie name(s)
Franklin
I am super impressed with your care of these poor animals. My bearded dragon was similarly given to a pet store after inappropriate care. It has been a great challenge trying to build trust with her while also taking care of her ailments. Way to go making these guys happy and healthy. They look fantastic!
 

Spider8ait1994

Member
Original Poster
I am super impressed with your care of these poor animals. My bearded dragon was similarly given to a pet store after inappropriate care. It has been a great challenge trying to build trust with her while also taking care of her ailments. Way to go making these guys happy and healthy. They look fantastic!
Thankyou! It’s definitely been a lot of time and patience to get them to where they are now but I can say that once you start to get them feeling good and healthy again they’ll often realise that you’re helping them and start to trust you more.
It’s often beneficial to have a think about their health condition and consider what sort of effects they could have or what may have caused the issue in the first place.
For example my younger dragon Puff had a dehydration problem and by observing him and thinking on possible causes I was able to determine that the root cause was his lip deformity which was causing his mouth and tongue to dry out constantly which in turn resulted in him drinking excessive amounts of water to the point his body couldn’t handle it all and would be expelling the excess water every few hours leading to the dehydration.
By knowing the root cause of this issue I was able to efficiently address the problem by focusing on treating the lip deformity alongside temporarily limiting how much water he had access to each day.
Sometimes you also have to work out a plan for their medicine. My eldest at one point needed intramuscular injections of an antibiotic and also oral anti-inflammatory pain relief so what I’d do was give him the oral pain relief first thing then about 10-20 minutes later I’d give his injection because that way the pain relief would have kicked in and the injection as a result wouldn’t have been so unpleasant for him.
Rehabilitating a dragon is often a process of time, patience and consideration (not to mention $$$)
It’s been 5 years now since these two were rescued and really it took around 4 and a half years to get them both to the point where all their issues were either solved or managed as best they can be.
But it’s well worth the effort because they both have such a bond with me now and it’s definitely clear that they know I helped them to feel better. They both went from sick and scared to actively seeking affection and adventurous and I’m just glad that I was able to give them the chance at a decent comfortable life.
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
I hate what they went through, but i love their story once you got them.
 

Members online

Latest resources

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

you know that feeling when you want to change your profile picture, but like you don’t want to lose the good one you have? That’s me, right now
HELP WITH MY BEARDIE EGGS DONT WANT THEM TO DIE
lol i feel like i ask so many questions on this site but i just love it here!
so many questions & not enough days

Forum statistics

Threads
153,007
Messages
1,228,351
Members
74,847
Latest member
Stephnee508
Top Bottom