Strategies to get beardie to eat again after syringe feeding

mactac

Member
Beardie name(s)
Gary, Nari
One of our juvenile (about 3 months old) bearded dragons got very sick with a respiratory infection and stopped eating. She lost so much weight that the vet was all but assuming that she would not make it. On the advice of the vet, we started syringe feeding her. After a round of antibiotics, she seems to be much more healthy. She does have a weird eye issue where she closes one eye almost all the time, but the vet didn't seem to worried about that.

Before all of this, she was a really good eater. But now after 2 weeks of syringe feeding, it's like she has forgotten how to hunt/eat without the syringe. She seems completely uninterested in food, even if we do not feed her for a few days.

Her tank is set up well, 105 in the basking spot, a good T5 UV light, she still drinks water in the bath.

We have tried a variety of her favorite foods, and we even try to sneak small crickets or soldier fly larvae in her mouth when the syringe is in there just to get her to remember what eating live food is like, but to no avail. The most she ever does is lick food that we put in front of her, but never tries to bite it. When she is really hungry, she will even open and close her mouth like she is chewing, expecting food to just show up.

Is there a good procedure/strategy to gradually get a beardie eating on its own again? I feel like the longer this goes on, the harder it's going to be to the point where this might be a lifelong thing soon.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
One of our juvenile (about 3 months old) bearded dragons got very sick with a respiratory infection and stopped eating. She lost so much weight that the vet was all but assuming that she would not make it. On the advice of the vet, we started syringe feeding her. After a round of antibiotics, she seems to be much more healthy. She does have a weird eye issue where she closes one eye almost all the time, but the vet didn't seem to worried about that.

Before all of this, she was a really good eater. But now after 2 weeks of syringe feeding, it's like she has forgotten how to hunt/eat without the syringe. She seems completely uninterested in food, even if we do not feed her for a few days.

Her tank is set up well, 105 in the basking spot, a good T5 UV light, she still drinks water in the bath.

We have tried a variety of her favorite foods, and we even try to sneak small crickets or soldier fly larvae in her mouth when the syringe is in there just to get her to remember what eating live food is like, but to no avail. The most she ever does is lick food that we put in front of her, but never tries to bite it. When she is really hungry, she will even open and close her mouth like she is chewing, expecting food to just show up.

Is there a good procedure/strategy to gradually get a beardie eating on its own again? I feel like the longer this goes on, the harder it's going to be to the point where this might be a lifelong thing soon.
Where do you have your T 5 and what kind of screen is on the tank? She could just be being lazy but we need to make sure its not a lighting issue- are you taking your temp w/ a digital probe thermometer? How long has she been of the meds?
 

mactac

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Gary, Nari
Where do you have your T 5 and what kind of screen is on the tank? She could just be being lazy but we need to make sure its not a lighting issue- are you taking your temp w/ a digital probe thermometer? How long has she been of the meds?
It's a 12% "desert" light in a proper fixture. It's above one of those black screens, about 8-10 inches from her basking spot. I have a UV meter, it's 1600 uW/cm2 at her basking spot- this measures mostly UVA (320-400), but as a proxy for UVB - in other words, I use it as a relative measurement instead of an absolute. I have measured it at the same distance without the screen, and it's about 20% higher or so.
I do see her move in more and out of the UV sometimes, so it seems that she is regulating UV well, though that might just be her moving around. We have a mercury vapor lamp as well, and have tried to add that in, but it seems like too much UV for her.
we have actually wondered if she is getting too much UV sometimes, as she does have that issue with her eye being closed most of the time.
Temp is with a digital probe thermometer for the ambient temp/humidity and a handheld laser spot for basking spot. We keep the humidity between 20-30%.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
It's a 12% "desert" light in a proper fixture. It's above one of those black screens, about 8-10 inches from her basking spot. I have a UV meter, it's 1600 uW/cm2 at her basking spot- this measures mostly UVA (320-400), but as a proxy for UVB - in other words, I use it as a relative measurement instead of an absolute. I have measured it at the same distance without the screen, and it's about 20% higher or so.
I do see her move in more and out of the UV sometimes, so it seems that she is regulating UV well, though that might just be her moving around. We have a mercury vapor lamp as well, and have tried to add that in, but it seems like too much UV for her.
we have actually wondered if she is getting too much UV sometimes, as she does have that issue with her eye being closed most of the time.
Temp is with a digital probe thermometer for the ambient temp/humidity and a handheld laser spot for basking spot. We keep the humidity between 20-30%.
What brand of MVB? they can cause eye issues --
 

mactac

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Gary, Nari
is this the UVB? what about the mercury vapor bulb
Oops sorry I read your question wrong. It's a Reptisun 160W. We do not have it going right now, we just had it going for a few days in addition to the tube as an experiment. Her eye issue was already present before we were using the MVB. We were also using it to bring up the basking temp, but decided it was not needed after we started using the temperature gun.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Oops sorry I read your question wrong. It's a Reptisun 160W. We do not have it going right now, we just had it going for a few days in addition to the tube as an experiment. Her eye issue was already present before we were using the MVB. We were also using it to bring up the basking temp, but decided it was not needed after we started using the temperature gun.
What kind of substrate? The IR guns can be off - you want 2 digital probe thermometers they are the most accurate - certain materials can throw the guns off- can you post a pic of her eye please
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Oops sorry I read your question wrong. It's a Reptisun 160W. We do not have it going right now, we just had it going for a few days in addition to the tube as an experiment. Her eye issue was already present before we were using the MVB. We were also using it to bring up the basking temp, but decided it was not needed after we started using the temperature gun.
What kind of substrate? The IR guns can be off - you want 2 digital probe thermometers they are the most accurate - certain materials can throw the guns off- can you post a pic of her what are you using for a basking bulb?
 

mactac

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Gary, Nari
What kind of substrate? The IR guns can be off - you want 2 digital probe thermometers they are the most accurate - certain materials can throw the guns off- can you post a pic of her what are you using for a basking bulb?
Substrate is paper towel/paper until we get everything worked out, then we will go to sand/soil when we know it is safe. We have the one digital probe, and have moved it to make sure temps are good on both sides from what we can tell. The basking bulb is a 150W Exo-terra "intense".
I will post a pic shortly (she is still sleeping).
She has gone through a lot lately. We had only had her for a few days before we noticed the RI and the eye issue. It seems like either the RI or the antibiotics is what put the downward spiral into motion. She dropped from 30g to 27g in a day and was looking almost skeletal. That is when we started force feeding her. She is 42g now after 2-3 weeks, and looking much healthier. We requested a fecal sample (even though the vet said it wasn't necessary,) and are awaiting the results.
 

mactac

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Gary, Nari
What kind of substrate? The IR guns can be off - you want 2 digital probe thermometers they are the most accurate - certain materials can throw the guns off- can you post a pic of her what are you using for a basking bulb?
And thank you SO much for the time you're taking to rely to me, I so truly appreciate it. It's a Sunday, and I'm sure you have other things to do. You are so kind.
 

mactac

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Gary, Nari
Here is her setup, the fixture on the right is a ceramic heater for night time:
side.jpg


Here is top view:
top.jpg


Here are a couple of pictures (her name is Nari):

nari2.jpg

nari1.jpg


Here is what she looked like 3 weeks ago:

nari-old.jpg
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Substrate is paper towel/paper until we get everything worked out, then we will go to sand/soil when we know it is safe. We have the one digital probe, and have moved it to make sure temps are good on both sides from what we can tell. The basking bulb is a 150W Exo-terra "intense".
I will post a pic shortly (she is still sleeping).
She has gone through a lot lately. We had only had her for a few days before we noticed the RI and the eye issue. It seems like either the RI or the antibiotics is what put the downward spiral into motion. She dropped from 30g to 27g in a day and was looking almost skeletal. That is when we started force feeding her. She is 42g now after 2-3 weeks, and looking much healthier. We requested a fecal sample (even though the vet said it wasn't necessary,) and are awaiting the results.
Ok the basking bulb is good - substrate would not be causing the eye issues- I don't see a uvb can you post a pic of the eye please
 

mactac

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Gary, Nari
Ok the basking bulb is good - substrate would not be causing the eye issues- I don't see a uvb can you post a pic of the eye please

Here is another shot of the top of the tank, the UVB is the silver fixture:

ter.jpg


Here are a couple of shots of her eye:

eye1.jpg


eye2.jpg


Here is a video - shoe does this sometimes, I've wondered if she has something in her eye. I've been told to get eye saline solution, but I cannot actually find it without a lubricant in it. I'm unsure if it's OK to use this, and can't get a good answer. Do you think the eye issue could be the reason she is not eating? As she has gotten healthier, she closes her eye less, but it clearly still has something going on.

 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Here is another shot of the top of the tank, the UVB is the silver fixture:

View attachment 77462

Here are a couple of shots of her eye:

View attachment 77463

View attachment 77464

Here is a video - shoe does this sometimes, I've wondered if she has something in her eye. I've been told to get eye saline solution, but I cannot actually find it without a lubricant in it. I'm unsure if it's OK to use this, and can't get a good answer. Do you think the eye issue could be the reason she is not eating? As she has gotten healthier, she closes her eye less, but it clearly still has something going on.

Ok so you have good UVB -- 8-10 inches directly above the basking decor piece please
No I dont think the eye issue would cause her not to be eating- is she eating at all ? Please take the probe thermometer and place on the hammock under the basking light- get the surface basking temp from there- it should be 105-110- how long has she been off the meds? This could be effecting the appetite- are you still force feeding her or is she eating anything on her own?
 

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