URI resistant to medications

babybeardie79

Member
Beardie name(s)
Drax
I have struggled from day 1 with recurring URIs in my beardie. She had one when bringing her home from the store, and she's had 3 more in the 16or so months that I have had her. This particular one seems resistant to every medication that my vet has given, first SMZ TMP suspension and now enrofloxacin. Neither has seemed to help at all, only really making her feel more crappy. I've been giving Reptaboost and probiotics and that seems to really help, but she just looks miserable. I plan on taking her back to the vet but I just feel lost, she looks terrible and hasn't eaten any bugs in the last week. She will snack on veggies, which is good, but only a small amount. I just don't know what to do, I hate that it's gone on so long and I keep having to give her antibiotics. I've read about nebulizers and will look into that more, and I plan on taking her back to the vet for X-rays and discussing it with them further, I just didn't know if anyone would have any advice or ideas. My vet has told me many times that my care is perfect, and we're trying to crack down on why she keeps getting them.

Her current symptoms:
Increased respiration rate sometimes (will get up to 16 breaths per minute, but only at a normal rate of 8 right now)
Very deep breathing
Open mouth breathing rare but still noticed (and not when basking)
lethargic (medications are to blame as well)
Lack of appetite (she has NEVER lost her appetite before)
Miserable appearance, just laying down all day with eyes closed. Only saw her black bearding one time, though
Discharge from nostrils
Thick saliva

Husbandry:
Tank: 4x2x2 (120 G) from dubia
UVB: Reptisun t5 10.0 HO tube INSIDE of the tank, basking log is about 8-10 inches. Checked daily with Solarmeter 6.5 and still within optimal range
Heating: Basking bulb on thermostat, her chosen basking spot is at 95, though she has access to warmer and cooler areas on her log. CHE for heat gradient and night time temps (bumped up to upper 75-80 at night right now to help her)
Cool side of tank is mid 70s.
Has a good few hides, used to have a hammock but I took it out awhile ago due to worries about the bacteria.
Humidity: inside of tank 25-30% (taken with 3 monitors: a couple of probes and an Acurite), outside of tank is 40%. I have a dehumidifier for the more humid times and a humidifier for drier times (right now). Her humidity NEVER goes above or below.
Diet: Dubia roaches mainly with BSFL sometimes, hornworms as treats. Veggies are mainly curly mustard, she refuses to eat any other leafy greens most of the time lol, will try to make salads with various squash veggies or bell peppers, etc., but she refuses to eat those too. Will pick around them and eat her curly mustard. Gets fed insects 1 time a day, 5-10bugs, veggies put out in the morning and refreshed throughout the day.
Supplements: Calcium (no D3) given 5 times a week, multivitamin 3x a week, I have a bearded dragon probiotic that she gets too every day.
Cleaning: Daily cleaning of tank and water + veggie bowl with chlorhexidine solution, deeper cleanings every few weeks with ammonia.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Medications are only going to work for a URI if its a bacterial URI. A viral URI isn't going to be touched by the meds. A nebulizer treatment might work. Has any bloodwork been done? If so, please post it.

Your setup sounds fine, but I'd make two quick and easy changes.

Firstly, stop humidifying the tank/room. Especially with a suspected URI. You don't want to be introducing moisture into the environment. Dragons suffer NO health consequences from humidity being low. I'd remove the water bowl too.

Second, I would stop with the daily cleanings. It's possible the chlorhexidine is irritating to the already compromised respiratory system. On that same train of thought, make sure the room your dragon is in doesn't have air fresheners, candles, smoke, etc, as these would all be irritants.

Can you post a picture of your girl? What is her weight and has it been stable?

-Brandon
 

babybeardie79

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Drax
Medications are only going to work for a URI if its a bacterial URI. A viral URI isn't going to be touched by the meds. A nebulizer treatment might work. Has any bloodwork been done? If so, please post it.

Your setup sounds fine, but I'd make two quick and easy changes.

Firstly, stop humidifying the tank/room. Especially with a suspected URI. You don't want to be introducing moisture into the environment. Dragons suffer NO health consequences from humidity being low. I'd remove the water bowl too.

Second, I would stop with the daily cleanings. It's possible the chlorhexidine is irritating to the already compromised respiratory system. On that same train of thought, make sure the room your dragon is in doesn't have air fresheners, candles, smoke, etc, as these would all be irritants.

Can you post a picture of your girl? What is her weight and has it been stable?

-Brandon
That makes sense about the medications. I will find the bloodwork and post it, the dr said it was all within normal values. I will stop using the humidifier asap, I’m sorry I was told that low humidity could cause major health issues. I didn’t start using the humidifier until she got her URI, as her humidity was under10% in her tank, and I worried this was Part of the cause, but I will stop using it. and I apologize about the cleaning, I do not use chlorhex every day, only when needed for spot cleaning. I used it mostly every other day, and only where she poops. I haven’t used it more than once or twice a week since her URI. She does like to use her water bowl sometimes to soak, and it does not raise the humidity at all, should I still take that out? I was mostly worried about the use of her medications on her kidneys, I didn’t want to dehydrate her. I have a lot of pets in this room, I do not use any scented anything or irritants anywhere near this room. Thank you so much for your feedback! I will post a picture
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Medications for respiratory infections can be hard on the system. As Brandon stated, they will only
be effective if it is bacterial. Meds don't really work on viral, it has to run its course otherwise.
Low humidity can cause shedding issues & sometimes other health problems. If too high of humidity
is present too often then that can contribute to a respiratory infection.
There is nothing wrong with using a humidifier from time to time if the humidity is just too low.
Definitely post the blood test results if you have them. Was a respiratory infection confirmed?

Tracie
 

babybeardie79

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Drax
Hello,

Medications for respiratory infections can be hard on the system. As Brandon stated, they will only
be effective if it is bacterial. Meds don't really work on viral, it has to run its course otherwise.
Low humidity can cause shedding issues & sometimes other health problems. If too high of humidity
is present too often then that can contribute to a respiratory infection.
There is nothing wrong with using a humidifier from time to time if the humidity is just too low.
Definitely post the blood test results if you have them. Was a respiratory infection confirmed?

Tracie
A URI was confirmed, yes. Went to my vet again and took some rads and sent off a culture. She did say that the lungs sounded a lot better, but her symptoms have not improved and the xrays showed a film in her lungs (which is why we wanted a culture). She is off of the baytril now, still hasn’t eaten and she really hates the Reptaboost, but it seems to help her, so I give her as much of her dosage as she will take. Her humidity is never more than 30% in her tank, any higher than that and she gets cranky and starts to have issues, I’ve made sure that it stays no more than 25-30%. That definitely makes sense! I’ll post a picture of her, as well as her lab results. Nothing the Dr was concerned about at all, and she said she is really healthy otherwise. She’s just been sick a little over a month, and has never been this bad so I worried! Just seems miserable, she’s not her usual bright and crazy self at all.
 

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Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I hope she is feeling better. I'm glad that she is off of the Baytril because her uric acid readings were
too high. That could be due to dehydration perhaps so I hope that it goes back down to normal. It
doesn't appear that there is any swelling on her hands, fingers, etc.
If she doesn't like the Reptaboost, you can get some probiotics to help with appetite. You can even
try some bee pollen & Blackstrap molasses (a few drops diluted with water) a few times per week to
help with the appetite.
She is beautiful, I hope things are going well for her.
Let us know how she is doing. Be sure to keep us posted on her progress.

Tracie
 

Xjrosie

Hatchling Member
Just an FYI, my guy Thor won't eat reptaboost either. He loves the Oxbow critical care for omnivores. I'm having a hard time finding it right now though. My local reptile store said they'll order some for me, but I just talked to them yesterday so I don't know how long it will take if they can even get some. My vet doesn't have any and told me they've had a hard time procuring it.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Just an FYI, my guy Thor won't eat reptaboost either. He loves the Oxbow critical care for omnivores. I'm having a hard time finding it right now though. My local reptile store said they'll order some for me, but I just talked to them yesterday so I don't know how long it will take if they can even get some. My vet doesn't have any and told me they've had a hard time procuring it.
Try Amazon they carry it
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

How is your girl doing now, is she improving now? Has her respiratory infection improved I hope?
I hope she is eating better & feeling good now. You were able to get hold of the Critical care then?
Keep us posted on her!

Tracie
 

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