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Unexplained Twitching

Salemon3

Member
Hello! I am stumped. My bearded dragon Fredbert is having these muscle twitches. They happen on her tail, back, vent, neck, beard. I have been to several vets and none knew what it could be. I have another vet appointment next week on Oct 19.

Tank Setup Information:
- I have a T5 12% that is 12" away from the basking spot (my setup was confirmed to be good by the reptile lighting group on FB)
- I have 2 90 W halogen par 38 flood lights. My basking temp gets up between 97-100. Hot side is roughly 93-95. Cool side is roughly 75 (all in Fahrenheit)

Diet Information:
- Fredbert is over 3 years old roughly. She gets bugs 2x a week. Bugs consist of dubias, BSFL, silkworms. Hornworms as treats
- Salad daily. I have a large variety of staple greens and veggies
- I used to use repashy calcium plus 3x a week. I have switched to the Arcadia EarthPro-A and CalciumMg supplements recently (I have only used the earthpro twice). I follow the dusting guide provided on the arcadia website.
- Fredbert has not willingly eaten salad on her own since early september. I have tried witholding bugs but nothing. Slurry feeding, reptaboost, pedialyte all nothing. With the twitching, I feel that she needs to get her vitamins in which is why I started giving her dusted bugs 2x a week again.

Medical History
- Fredbert had a lot of problems early 2021. She was on panacur, and albon for about 3 months with parasite problems. This is when the twitching started.
- Eventually in April/May I went to a different vet and got ponazuril. This cleared up her parasites pdq. Vet couldn't explain twitching. Assumed it was from prolonged heavy medication.
- Moved and got a different vet (August) who specialized in reptiles/exotics. Bert had a leaky gut bc of the meds. Got that fixed with slippery elm bark and bene-back probiotic gel. This vet still cannot explain the twitching
- Bad bacteria came back in September. Got some metronidazole to fix that. I also got some anti-inflammatory medication to try to help the twitching. It did not work.
- Have had 3 bloodwork panels, 2 x-rays and an ADV test. Everything looks good. X-rays are all bright and healthy, bloodwork was perfect and ADV was negative.

All in all, I have no idea what is wrong. I am certain it is not MBD. I don't know if it is a vitamin deficiency especially since bloodwork came back stellar.

Anyone experience similar things? Know what else it could possibly be?
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I've seen them have muscle spasms/twitches from time to time, but they tend to be minor and short lived. Can you post some video of the twitching you see? You can upload video to a host site like vimeo or youtube and post a link here.

Diet and setup sound good to me. This is possibly related to medications, but not necessarily. If the twitching is minor, it may just be brief muscle spasms which don't seem to be much of a problem. If they are more severe, then the issue could be neurological or perhaps a problem in the muscles themselves.
 

Salemon3

Member
Original Poster
CooperDragon, thank you for responding. Here is a bunch of vidoes. Its hard to catch on camera so its not the best, but I try! https://m.imgur.com/a/OSnAewj

It happens more when she is stressed too I think (not 100% sure). But as of late, she has constant stress marks and a blackbeard. Outside and inside the tank, during bathtime, feedings, everything. And her beard always goes away if I give her bugs usually.

I wouldn't be too concerned but it happens all the time. I don't know if it happens in her sleep (she sleeps in her cave) but its pretty consistent throughout the day. I have a feeling its super irritating and bordering on painful to her (that's how I feel when I have muscle spasms lol).

In addition to all of this, she has been acting psycho. Excessive glass surfing and energy. If I take her out she runs around my room like a lunatic and tries to climb the walls. Last time this happened in January 2021-Feb 2021. Turns out she had really bad parasites. Already did a fecal last week and she doesn't have high enough levels to warrant medication. Starting up on probiotics today to help.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Based on the videos, those don't look too severe. I see similar with my guy pretty often along his jawline. I'd probably ask the vet about possible vitamin or mineral imbalance that might affect muscles the way that can happen with us. That might be fixable with some small dietary changes. It does sound like there may be a few different issues at play. She looks healthy which is good. Since she is energetic rather than lethargic, that tends to be good as well. The black beard and energy levels may be due to hormones - just one possibility. If that's the case, it tends to calm down after a while (sometimes weeks, sometimes months). I probably wouldn't get too aggressive with medications unless something is specifically identified and targeted since meds can sometimes do more harm than good.
 

Salemon3

Member
Original Poster
CooperDragon,

I did not think about hormone levels. I swear to god if shes going nuts because shes horny imma lose it haha! It was around this time last year she started acting nuts too... I will keep that in mind. And I will definitely ask about vitamin imbalance. Would they have to test that with a blood work panel of some kind? And I agree with you 100% on the meds. Thank you!
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Bloodwork is probably how they'd determine a nutritional deficiency, but it would have probably stood out on the previous tests if there was an issue so a new test is probably not needed. Since she doesn't appear to be losing much weight (monitor this) and looks healthy in the photos, and since the behavior seems consistent with seasonal hormones, I'd probably take more of an observational/wait and see approach for the time being. When her behavior starts to calm back down and the black beards become less frequent, then I'd keep an eye on the muscle twitching to see if that was related and subsiding, or if that continues. Not necessarily a problem either way, but would be interesting to know if the issues are related or not.
 

Salemon3

Member
Original Poster
Awesome thank you.

Do you have any suggestions to get her to eat some salad? 9/22 she weighed 613 g. 10/10 she is down to 591 g. She has not eaten salad in that time period. I was trying to slurry feed and withhold bugs during this time. I'm worried that if she doesn't eat salad the vitamin imbalance will get worse.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
That's not a huge drop in weight so far, but keep an eye on it. She is at a good weight for an adult, so there is some flexibility available. My guy typically drops from around 530g to around 480 or so when he is super active, then gains it back when his appetite returns as he calms down.

For salads, I've had good luck with hand feeding. That allows me to create some movement with the food which tends to grab their attention. Cutting squash into worm shapes has also helped (But my guy LOVES his squash, so it's a fairly easy sell). I wouldn't worry too much about a nutrient imbalance yet. It's a possibility, but not a certainty. Especially if the prior blood tests looked normal. Adults can go for a while without needing much food, so keep offering but don't worry too much if she refuses for now.
 
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