Would you do surgery on an old bearded dragon?

Metric

New member
Beardie name(s)
Lizzy
Hello all,

I have a bearded dragon who is somewhere between 9 and 10 years old. Exact age unknown but I have had her more than 9 years now. Last year an eye infection nearly killed her, thanks to my veterinarian she pulled through. It was quite strange because we could not determine the cause and it initially did not respond to medication. They told me to expect improvement within a week, when it got worse we added in an anti-inflammatory medication on top of the oral antibiotic and eye drops. She kept her eye and her vision but lost a significant amount of weight and developed a tremble when moving her head and neck. It took about 3 months for her eye to look normal again. She slowly gained weight back and the tremble improved but didn't go away completely. Then she developed a bump on her back about the size of a pea. I took her back to my veterinarian. We opted to not biopsy the lump because regardless of what it was she would need to have it surgically removed to get rid of it. It was not causing pain and my veterinarian did not feel she was in acceptable condition to remove it. She told me if I wanted to remove it she would consider that route if a blood test came back good, but she also told me that perhaps at her age that simply wasn't the best thing to do. We agreed on palliative care. I also asked for some prescription calcium to see if the tremble could improve. Since then the bump has at least tripled in size. She has also gained so much weight back that she now has little fat pads on her head again. I have only seen a slight shakiness in her once in the past month, perhaps it is gone for good now. She is active, and loves to eat. She is hand fed since her eye issue so no hunting down food anymore. Despite this she still moves across her tank and has no issues climbing on top of her rock or up her lizard hammock. Now that she is in better shape I am wondering what everyone else would do if they were in this position? Would you try to have it surgically removed? Further testing? Back to the vet? Ignore it while her quality of life seems good? I am very concerned that if we try to remove it I will accidentally kill her. I am also very concerned about letting it be because at some point I assume it will be big enough to cause harm? Has anyone had surgery on a beardie her age and had it go well?
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
I have not, but at 10ish y.o. i doubt i would put her through it personally. I would monitor it and if becomes painfull or hinders her quality of life, then i might would consider it.
 

RangoRocky

Juvie Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Rango Rocky Balboa
I maybe would see if we could biopsy it but if she has improved and it’s not hindering her personally I wouldn’t do surgery unless it was absolutely necessary. @AHBD @Drache613 what you think
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
It's a hard call but a few things to really consider is that she is a healthy weight and seems stable except for the slight tremor. If left alone it seems almost certain that the bump will continue to grow and will potentially cause serious problems or even death. If you have the money and your vet feels competent to do it this might save her life and give her a few more years. I'm sorry you have to make this difficult decision, think about it and see what others think.
 

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