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Stubborn URI, how long is too long on antibiotics?

Hello! I'm new here. Looking for some input. I'm in the UK so cannot get antibs without a prescription just for an FYI.

I adopted a beardie about a month ago and at the last minute was told he had the beginnings of an RI. Kind of on the spot I took him on anyway. I think it was actually more advanced than that. We are now 3 weeks, one emergency vet and one regular vet appointment in, two rounds of ceftz and whilst I think he's doing much better with only 6 days left of this course (jab today, one more to go) and I'm not sure we're going to be free and clear.

I've also switched from a temperamental to turn on T8 to a T5 with 12% and about to put in a DHP for overnight heat to make sure he's warm enough overnight with the temperature drops whilst sick (I don't think my flat actually ever gets properly cold and I have the central heating on overnigyht currently to make sure temperature is maintained but I've never had to monitor before so better erring on the side of caution and stopping cooking myself in bed!) and a stronger basking bulb as I'm not sure it was getting hot enough with the previous ones. I think a major cause was small husbandry issues compounding and I hope I've fixed all that now. Basking spot 44 (with a gun), ambient 33 on hot end, 27ish cool, humidity 30% warm-40% cool during the day. Measured using digital thermometers/hygrometers on back wall of wooden viv.

He's also very not about his veg but we are also making progress there!

But back to the main issue. Is a third round of antibiotics appropriate? Do we take a break? I'm worried about relapse and it costing even more in the long run. Whilst I'm happy to do my best for him my resources are somewhat limited especially having already spent so much and would like to get this nipped in the bud ASAP.

He is also currently still on paper towel and I am desperate to move him to lose substrate as he absolutely loves his dig box. Completely trashed his viv throwing dirt about and digging up paper towel yesterday.

He's active, eats well, poops fine, super chill, grey beards when having a breathing episode, only black beards if it's very bad. We're just having trouble shaking this RI. He'd been improving all week and then today and yesterday seemed to have a bad day "coughing" wise as if he's made no improvement hence my now worrying. Stress was probably a contributing factor too to no progress being made the first two weeks due to moving but he's a lovely colour nearly all the time now.

Thanks for reading my essay!


BD.org Sicko
Staff member
I think the biggest factor here will be the improvement in lighting that you've put in place. The illness is likely due to habitat issues as you mentioned, so fixing that should go a long way. I probably wouldn't rush into another round of antibiotics unless the vet really urges it for a specific reason. Since the meds can be harsh on them, it might be a good idea to take a break from it and offer a lot of hydrating foods like squash, gutloaded bugs, hornworms, etc. so that his kidneys can recover a bit from treatment. I'd give the lighting and environmental improvements some time to take effect and hopefully he will be able to bounce back on his own. If he does start to get worse, you might consider discussing nebulizer treatments with your vet. I've read about administering the meds via nebulizer being effective against RI in some cases. Certainly worth investigating further if needed. Please do keep us up to date on his progress, and thank you for taking him in and giving him a good home!


Original Poster
Thanks for that feedback.

When he came to me he wouldn't entertain a vegetable :lol: Then i did some reading around and saw pumpkin baby food as a suggestion in rehab. Well I had some tinned pumpkin so added a little water and probiotics and voila! We were off with syringing this soup to him. Now he doesn't even need a bug bribe to start eating. And the last few days I've been able to hand feed some raw pumpkin, greens (still very not a fan of greens) and courgette whilst he's chomping on his soup. so he's well hydrated too and the bugs are gutloaded as I have a couple of leos so keep them well fed for them. He'' even turn his nose up at bugs in favour of his soup some days now which feels like a massive triumph.

I'll finish his antibiotics and take a break while closely monitoring. I have seen the nebuliser chat and I guess if he doesn't improve I can ask if that's an option for another round of antibs instead of injections.


BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Great, it sounds like he's responding well, and I'm glad the pumpkin is a hit. The fact that he is starting to eat more is a good sign. Greens can be a tougher sell, but keep trying different options. Sometimes they're in the mood for it, and sometimes not. I've noticed that my dragon will sometimes prefer greens at the end of the day when they are a little bit drier/crunchier. Since it sounds like you're giving plenty of hydrating foods, this may be worth a shot to see how it goes.
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