Weird noises and breathing, nostril bubbles after bath

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DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Hey all, I'm hoping someone can give me some sense of whether I'm overly concerned, or if this a real problem.

The Bath

My fiance and I gave Dovah, a ~3-month-old, a bath last night in the tub. The water was shallow enough that his feet could touch bottom throughout, though it was up to his neck at the very deepest. The water started out at about 100 F. After doing his usual "standing motionless" routine he's done whenever we've bathed him in a small tub, he began running/swimming around.

At one point he put his mouth in the water and appeared to drink several gulps.

He resumed running around, went to the deep end, and tried to run up the wall for several seconds (getting nowhere of course). After this he froze and pooped, and stayed motionless for a long time with his stomach very wide and flat. We got the poop out and then took him out as well.

When I took him out I noticed the water was quite a bit cooler than I expected. He was in there for up to 15 minutes tops.

The Problems

After we took him out, I first noticed he was making some odd noises - like small gurgling sounds. We then noticed one of his nostrils would periodically seem to fill or be plugged by something white - about every 15 seconds - and bubbles came out each time. He also kept opening his mouth like he was breathing hard, and sometimes made a sort of "coughing" sound.

At this point we were kind of freaking out. We dried him thoroughly and wiped his nose each time it bubbled. He did his usual climbing around on us, and actually climbed to the top of my head, which was a first. I did some Googling and suspected he had too much water in his stomach/lungs, and we put him under his basking lamp on a log, angled with his head downward, hoping to help drain the water. The IR thermometer said he was 100.5 degrees F on the log, and it was 24% humidity on that end of the cage.

He kept up his nose issues and occasional weird mouth-opening at least until we all went to bed.

I checked on him this morning and his one nostril is still periodically "filling" or "plugging" with something white for a few seconds, though there are no bubbles. He is still opening his mouth more than usual. He did eat 4 phoenix worms, which is a pretty normal amount for him, and he appears as active as he usually is.

So I guess it's just the odd white thing that periodically fills his nostril and the mouth opening that's still concerning. Do you think he's got a problem, like a respiratory infection? Or is he just recovering from his bath problems?

Thanks in advance for any responses. I hope we haven't gotten him sick!
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
UPDATE: I just spent about 15 minutes with him on lunch, and he no longer seems to be breathing strangely or opening his mouth for unusual amounts of time. No weird noises either.

However, the little bit of white is still in his right nostril, and seems to move from further down in his nostril up to the edge as he breathes in and out. It looks kind of moist, so I'm thinking it may be snot/mucus. It's been there since right after the bath, and I don't see any in his left.

His appetite, coloring, and activity level are normal. Any thoughts on his nose mucus?
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
UPDATE: He appears to be back to normal. No strange breathing, noises, mouth-opening, or nostril stuff. He's back to his old self.

Lesson learned - I will keep the bath shallower and make sure it stays warm enough. Also if he starts thrashing around too much I'll take him out - no sense letting him breathe in a bunch of water.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I just came across this post, sorry for not seeing it earlier. You've come to the correct conclusions about keeping the bath warm and a bit shallower. It sounds like he just inhaled some water. If this kind of thing happens again, dry him off as much as possible and you may want to boost the nighttime temperatures a bit to help him fight off any infection. If the bubbling/loud breathing persists for a while, it's best to get him checked by a vet for a respiratory infection which is the big risk from water inhalation as far as I know.
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I was concerned his symptoms would persist, which based on what I read would definitely suggest a respiratory infection. Fortunately he's gone back to normal. I did keep the heat emitter on at night, and even plugged in the heat mat (there's repti-carpet and tank floor between it and him, and I usually keep it off for safety reasons) to help up the temp. If he was getting an infection, he valiantly fought it off! :)
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
So it turns out I was wrong that he was totally back to normal. I noticed yesterday that he was still making little coughing noises every few minutes, opening his mouth wide while breathing hard, and occasionally blows a clear bubble out the side of his mouth. Fortunately he is still alert, active, and has a normal appetite.

Last night I took the advice I've frequently been seeing and raised the ambient temp of the cage. Nowhere have I seen how much to raise it, however. It's up to about 95-96 - it's usually around 84 ambient. Is 95-96 too hot, or is this even warm enough to help him fight an infection?

I'm also considering trying to pick up some baytril/enrofloxacin to treat him. I'll go to the vet if I absolutely have to, but I'd much rather spend less and dose him with baytril myself. I've ordered a nebulizer and would like to learn how to give him a baytril nebulizer treatment if he does not improve. Does anyone have any insight on nebulizer treatments, and where to get baytril/enro? Thanks!
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
UPDATE: I found out the local vet's prices are reasonable ($55 for a visit, not including antibiotics), so I'm actually taking him to the vet today in less than an hour! I'll let you know how it goes.
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
Good luck be sure to mention your thoughts and concerns with the vet, including the nebulizer. Some vets are more thorough or have certain preferences for medicating, but a good one would be open to discussion with you. If the vet thinks it's an RI it might be worth getting it cultured to be certain (though it's somewhat costly). They may or may not also prescribe antibiotics as the same time but it would be good to know what (if anything) is being treated.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Please do let us know how it goes. Most folks recommend increasing the nighttime temps to about 80 or so to keep the systems of a sick dragon from being taxed as much with a significant nighttime drop. The daytime temps can remain the same as long as there is a good gradient.

I just had a culture taken for my dragon's RI and it cost $183.25 for the "Aerobic Culture and Sensitivity" and $33.20 for the exam. $32.62 for Cytology done during the exam. Prices seem to vary quite a bit depending on where you are, but that at least provides a reference point for you.
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Thanks for the responses. The vet confirmed it is an RI and prescribed generic baytril. The whole thing was $67. Hopefully he'll respond to the baytril!
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Anyone have any tips for getting the medicine into his mouth? I tried prying his mouth open with a spatula like the vet did to inspect his mouth, but he thrashes around too much. I think I'll have to wait until my fiancee comes home and gang up on him.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
You can try dropping a little on his nose to see if he'll lick it. If you need to get more forceful and pry his mouth then you hold his head just forward of his ear on the bone on both sides, then you can pull on the thick part of his beard and his mouth will open eventually. Apply persistent pressure, but don't be too forceful. He'll likely squirm a lot so it's a 2 person job and kind of a last resort. I also suggest feeding some probiotic while he's on Baytril. I've used bene-bac gel for birds/reptiles and it works pretty well. 1 dose (notch on the big syringes) every couple of days does the trick. There are some other good ones available too, but I haven't used them.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
^Scratch the previous. I wouldn't pull on the beard of a 3mo old - too small. What you can try instead is to plug his nose to try and get him to open his mouth. He'll wriggle around a lot in protest but it eventually works. Still a last resort and I'd try drops on his nose first though.
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
I have had luck sitting the dragon in my leg, holding one hand firmly on the his back and pulling down on the lower jaw (at the tip with a finger or thumb, or a finger and thumb to gently pinch the lower snout) and getting it open just enough for the syringe tip. Both my guys were chill about this but isn't very restraining for a squirmy lizard.

You can also put the edge of the tip of the syringe on the side of the mouth and gently wedge open the mouth - I don't like this method as much as it seems like it must hurt more.

Dripping may or may not work depending on the flavor. If he likes it go for it - it's the least stressful.
 

DovahDad

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Good suggestions, thanks. He did seem to like the flavor, as I got him to lick a drop off the syringe a couple times, and the vet said it's a sweet syrup. He wouldn't eat enough though, but he may be hungry enough now to lick all 0.1 cc's off his nose. If not we'll have to try the nose plugging or mouth prying.
 
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