Xrays & lab results in comments!

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Hey guys, gonna TRY to keep this as short as possible I've had my hands quite full since being back home from my long trip to Australia this year.

For those who aren't familiar with me... My boy's history is with head tremors and refusing food so I syringe feed him and have been doing it about 2 or 3 years now? Not even sure how long anymore. I have treated the head tremors using CBD oil with success however it's not a permanent fix. I haven't started up the CBD oil again because while I was away, poor Malachi lost some heat bulbs and fell ill.

I wasn't aware of his bulbs not working and do not know how long this was an issue for. Every time I checked in I was told everything was fine and to not worry and even asked to go over his lighting setup several times. While I was away, my family had to prepare for emergency evacuation due to wild fires and his lighting setup was dismantled mostly with only the essentials in case it was time to go straight away. The person taking care of my animals isn't as well versed in how things work as I am for his setup so his lights were no longer on timers but were manually turned on and off for probably 2-3 months so who knows how consistently that was maintained.. I wouldn't have left him had I known this was going to happen. I have fixed everything up and replaced his burnt out bulbs now and his temps are up during his treatment of course. His UVB levels are good too I test with a solarmeter 6.2.

It was really difficult but I did manage to get my vet to squeeze him in by basically pressuring and going there even though they said no because Malachi is like my baby and I was so worried about him getting seen. My vet is only in office over the weekends and it was Sunday. It seemed I was very lucky they seen him as no one in my area is accepting new patients and I've been stuck behind busy signals on phone calls unable to get an answer to make an appointment due to covid. It's ridiculous how hard it is to get a hold of the vet right now. But they saw him between patients and it was kept short.

He is now on antibiotic injections for the next month because I noticed his teeth were looking rather dark and his saliva was thicker than it should be and I was afraid of a potential URI and the onset of mouth rot (since he is fed soft foods by syringe mostly this seemed likely). He also had little bumps on his tongue almost like water blister looking and my vet did not know what it was from and I haven't found anything online that looks like it. He also walked strangely after defecating in his first bath when I got home. It was very wobbly and concerning. He seems to struggle to defecate however his poops are structurally normal looking and no odd discoloration. They are also never dry or hard but just firm.

I've been on the web trying to gather as much information as I can find about these tongue blisters, and the defecating behavior to explain what could be going on. The only thing that actually started to make sense to me with his situation was possibly kidney swelling or a bladder/kidney stone causing him to strain while passing what looks like normal stools and urates. He strains so intensely that one time I could actually hear popping sounds and was afraid of a prolapse from how hard he was trying! I have read that chronic dehydration is a major contributor to bearded dragons having this issue with the kidney or bladder in particular. I can't feel anything abnormal in his abdomen and my vet didn't seem to either. Also, if it was some sort of blockage like a stone, I can't afford surgery to have it removed. I'm still trying to climb out of my own medical debt that I acquired while in Australia. So for now I am just looking for ideas on what can be happening and what others experience is with this while trying to give extra fluids.

I have added a water bowl to his enclosure (raises humidity up to about 75% during the night and goes down to 40-60% depending on time of day because I have a dynamic lighting setup that mimics a high noon) and I've been giving him baths multiple times a week now because he is dehydrated. Like chronically dehydrated I feel like. I'm even thinking of misting him too because he seems to dehydrate quickly. His skin is just wrinkly it makes him look older and doesn't go back to normal when pinch/releasing it. Off and on I feel like his eyes appear sunken in. He looks like he's lost weight and he has! About 40-50ish grams the vet said from last years visit. He now weighs 520grams. Not really alarming but still notable. He looks very different to me compared to the last time I was with him! He's not a healthy plump anymore I feel like.

Now, the reason I'm posting here is because I want to know if anyone is familiar with beardies having problems on their tongue? I almost suspect that he was burned by too hot of food during his last feeding before I came home but his tongue didn't seem sensitive when I fed him myself and it also wasn't red looking like it had been burned so I kind of don't think that could be it but it's the only thing I can think of and I can't find anything online that looks like it.

The second reason is does anyone know of any at home remedies for bladder/kidney stones? I don't know if he does or doesn't have them but would like to just do whatever I can for now that's safe. I've started giving serrapeptase to go along with his antibiotics but I don't know if that would work to dissolve any stones unless the stone is made of protein. I also give him about 1ml of tart cherry juice every feeding and he also gets probiotics.

Another thing that happened this morning with his feeding is I was giving him some fluids via syringe and he was very reluctant to take it. (He's been very accepting of the syringe recently so just something notable to me) Then when I was less than half way through he started to defecate. And the way he was acting reminds me of the way he reacts when taking a syringe which I hadn't done yet when this occurred. He poops on me every time after giving him his injection. I think it's because it stings. But now I'm wondering if the water upsets his tummy? I wouldn't think so normally but if he had a stone then maybe it could stir it up and make him wanna push? Just seems unnatural right now how his bowel movements are. It's the difference between going naturally when it comes on versus just having the sudden urge to go due to something happening and straining. And again, his bowels are 100% normal looking! Not runny, not dry, not super large and not small and they're always complete. Looking for other opinions or maybe someone with experience with kidney/bladder stones in dragons or themselves even so I can get some insight for what to pay attention to.

Anyway that's all! Sorry it was so long, trying to get it all out there. Let me know what you guys think!
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Hi there, welcome back from Australia ! Sorry that Malachi is having trouble, he is a VERY beautiful dragon , looks like a high yellow trans ? Some trans. dragons still have problems if inbred but of course there are many other possible causes. I would not give him antibiotic injections, there is no proof of infection and the reason that Malachi poos when injected is because it hurts and it stresses him. As for his mouth, It would be a shame if someone heated food up too hot so that they caused blisters , hard to believe that could happen but if it did the blisters will go down on their own. You can add a bit of raw [ unpasteurized ] honey mixed with a tiny bit of lukewarm water for him to drink, it's good for every part of the gastro intestinal tract ,as well as the mouth. Constant baths won't help, his wrinkly skin is simply from losing weight. Just like we would have some loose skin if we lost weight.
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Hey AHBD, thanks for the warm welcome! I'm glad to be home to take care of things now.

Malachi is indeed a high yellow partial trans. I have heard about the translucent genetics having health issues which is really unfortunate. I bought him from a breeder thinking I'd have a long term healthy dragon! But then again, it could be something else like you said...

As for his meds, I've already started giving them to him and don't think stopping now would be a good idea. I know he didn't have proper tests/cultures done to be sure on what antibiotics to give and I obviously would have preferred that but honestly, I'm still glad to have the antibiotics and to even have gotten him in to see his usual vet because I could not get through to make an appointment for days and don't know how much worse he would have got by the time I could. It took a lot of convincing to have them see him between patients. My vet agreed he had a mild case of mouth rot AND possibly a URI but maybe just mild case of mouth rot. He was given 14 doses of Ceftazidime injections prescribed for every other day use until they're gone. It is a low dose as well. He has been given 4 doses so far and just for your reassurance I do know how to give injections to beardies and have also been rotating between his two front arms and behind his shoulder pads. I had to do it for a beardie with cancer for the better half of a year or so.

I know that the injections sting and that's why he reacts by defecating. But my post is more so about even when I gave him fluids he reacted by defecating the same way as if I had given him a shot. That makes me think something was going on at that moment but I am not sure of what. And when he defecates, he strains even though his poos are completely 100% what you'd want them to be!

And yes I certainly feel that way too with the blisters on his tongue. I think it's unlikely that was the cause. I don't think they're burns. However, I don't really want to give him honey because of the sugar content. Is there something else you would suggest as a substitute?

He was never obese or chubby and I'm not convinced his wrinkles is from his weight loss. Maybe you can explain this more that would change my mind though? I can see it in his eyes real well. I believe it's dehydration. If I could give him subq fluids I would! He gets fed via syringe though, I would think that would be enough to keep him hydrated. His poos aren't dry but that'd make sense since his food is essentially baby food. The more I look into it I feel like the heat and dryness of his cage really dehydrates him fast.

It's like whatever the issue is it hasn't fully presented itself yet to have an obvious answer and I think it could be a couple things happening not just one maybe. So I'm hoping to get more brains on the case. I don't know when I'll get him in to see the vet again, but I would like to go in with some ideas before hand when the time comes. Thanks!
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Welcome back!

What AHBD is getting at, is that skin is not a good indicator of hydration levels. Neither is the eyes. The poo's are really the biggest and really the only indicator you can do at home to check hydration. And based on what you've described, it sounds like he is very well hydrated.

MissCutiePatootie":3aqh7kpr said:
But my post is more so about even when I gave him fluids he reacted by defecating the same way as if I had given him a shot. That makes me think something was going on at that moment but I am not sure of what.
I agree with AHBD on this too, it's most likely a stress reaction. Even being fed by syringe can be very stressful for them. That's why we recommend that usually as a last ditch effort. Them eating on their own is always going to be better for their health. Even if you just let him lick up his food out of a spoon.
But, is there a reason why he is being fed that liquid diet instead of just his normal diet?

How have his tremors been lately?

MissCutiePatootie":3aqh7kpr said:
However, I don't really want to give him honey because of the sugar content. Is there something else you would suggest as a substitute?
Honey is by far the best thing you can give. And to be specific, raw unpasteurized honey. It has tons of wound healing and antibacterial properties.

-Brandon
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Thanks Claudiusx it's good to be home!

Thanks for clearing up the skin thing. I know their skin is different as in it's not as elastic to snap right back to place as ours to say... The eyes on the other hand I disagree on... But I do agree that if dehydrated the poos should be dryer too. There's just something about it though! Something off.

He will not eat on his own. Ever since he developed intention tremors he just stopped. Before that he was a really good eater. His tremors seem to act up when he is focused on something and/or moving towards a target or stressed out. I'd say they haven't improved or gotten worse as time has gone by. His vet thinks it's just something neurological he will have for the rest of his life and we'll never know what caused it. He suspected a tumor once before and did a ultrasound on him but didn't find anything and doesn't think it is a tumor anymore because of how long it has gone on for and hasn't gotten worse since tumors will progressively grow and cause more symptoms as time went on. He said he could have injured himself somehow when I wasn't around one day and we'll just never know. And the last thing he said was a possible neurodegenerative disease. However it has been stabilized for quite some time now so we don't think it's that most likely either. He's had fecals and lab work and xrays done and everything came back normal. It's not MBD or nothing abnormal popping up from the labs or fecal. I was told due to his neuro symptoms that something is going on but it's stable and has been for a long time now and he could very well live out his life with it so long as I'm willing to care for his special needs but to expect his life expectancy to be shorter than normal. It was explained to me that that's just the way it is with animals who show neurological issues. It's very sad to me. :( I do give extra vitamin b complex though in hopes that it can help whatever neuro thing going on.

Being that I interact with him every day and feed him without this reaction I don't feel confident saying it was a stress reaction from the water I gave to him in the syringe. Not even the needle was in his field of view because it was in my bra underneath my uhhm.. ya, warming up while I was giving him water LOL! (have to keep them frozen until use and it works well mkay!) It's an obvious difference if you were to see it. I also hand feed solid foods to him that are firm enough to get him to open up for but he won't take much of it before he refuses it. He accepts the syringe more readily. Something was happening in that moment and I think it was internal. Like the water was upsetting something inside him. I wish I knew what was happening so I could say!

My dragon is keen to the syringe most of the time too. The most he will do in protest is not open his mouth if he doesn't want something. I raised him up giving supplements via syringe so he's well acquainted and knows what's going on and doesn't really fight it until he is done. A few nose taps with the rubber nipple he starts licking and opening up. But trust me when I say this, I would prefer him to eat on his own.... :banghead: I do not enjoy spending 30-1hr feeding him all the time. But I know it's not stressful for him because it's just a big part of how we interact and he always gets really brightly colored and wants to just chill on my lap while he takes it like a champ. I use a rubber nipple on a syringe that he lets rest right at the front inside of his mouth (I avoid his side teeth so not to be tempted to bite down on the rubber nipple) and will lap it up with his tongue no problems. When he's done feeding he pulls away and walks around. He will usually take roughly 10-20ml this way with lots of breaks for swallowing it down before stopping completely. I go at a slow steady pace for him to make sure he doesn't asphyxiate on his food. I let him choose when he's done because yeah I don't want him thinking it's a negative thing and making it harder for me to care for him effectively.

I'm going to pass on the honey right now because even with the antibacterial properties the sugar isn't worth it to me. He has what looks like tooth decay from all the soft foods he eats (mild mouth rot) and I'm not aiming to make it worse by adding so much sugar but I am fully open to anything else that is healthy. He does get bee pollen(I know not the same as honey) and I do have some maxigel on the way that I plan to use on his teeth.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Poor little guy, it's always difficult when a dragon has neurological problems and then some other unknowns as well. BTW, here are a few short articles, one is from the NIH, that RAW honey actually is good for dental/gum problems because it produces natural hydrogen peroxide. Not that I'm pushing it, but it's so interesting to read this because it would SEEM that honey would be bad for our teeth + gum health but it's actually beneficial because it produces hydrogen peroxide and kills bacteria. Anyway, I know you're trying to do the best you can for your baby !

https://mypenndentist.org/2017/02/27/health-benefits-of-honey/#:~:text=Honey%20has%20been%20useful%20in,%2C%20bleeding%2C%20and%20receding%20gums.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4095052/
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
@AHBD

Yeah it can be quite concerning and confusing at times. Thank you, I am a hypervigilant momma right now!

Thanks for posting the articles! I gave them a read and can definitely see where you're coming from on it and I am impressed by what honey can do! I really like going the natural route if possible for many things. My husband and I love our honey and consume it regularly. We want to have our own beehive some day! :D But we still have had to have our wisdom teeth removed due to infections even with our regular consumption of local honey so I do believe it's benefits have a limit. However, when my old dragon was being treated for cancer I gave her Manuka honey to soothe her tummy and for it's anticancer properties but I really did not witness any benefits to her with it. Each time I gave her some she would have loose stool and eventually it was suggested to me the sugar could be causing the loose stool by my vet. And when I think about the sugar content I don't think that it is very natural for their bodies to take in so much sugar. Maybe as a preventative here and there for certain things it would be great! But I am feeling a bit reserved on the use of honey for his situation currently.
 

Godzillla

New member
Hello all i am MissCutiePatootie's Husband from Australia.

I have noticed this topic is slowly going off course, as stated by MissCutiePatootie the main reason she has posted is she is looking for someone who is familiar with beardies having bumps on their tongue and any home remedies or experience with bladder/kidney stones in bearded dragons.
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Hi people, doesn't seem like anyone had a response for my concerns previously but I'm back because more things have been happening.

Malachi's mouth issues are improving with the MaxiGuard and his antibiotics just so it's known. He is still on antibiotics. I took him to the vet yesterday to have lab work done and xrays to investigate further into why all these things are happening. I won't get my lab results until probably Friday when a reptile specialist is in office but they did send me a copy of his xrays.

Now to the current stuff going on...
Couple days ago Malachi kept sliding off his rock/basking log onto his back in different ways. He was being quite active yet his motor skills seemed weaker like paresis. He was able and did flip himself back upright on his own every single time.
His straining to defecate has been pretty much gone the past 4ish days or so? His bowels are normal as always.
He is almost always vibrant yellow now compared to what it's been since I been home. His eyes are also brighter and fuller looking. I take that as he is overall feeling better than he was. But obviously there's still something going on.

Let me know what you see in these xrays.


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AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Aw, too bad he's sliding/falling off his basking decor. Probably all related to the neurological problems as well. BTW, where do you give the injections ? Good to hear that the mouth situation seems better. The xray looks O.K to me but you can p.m Tracie [ Drache613 ] to have a look as well. When will the vet tell you the results ?
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Hey @AHBD

He just flipped himself over literally 20 minutes ago and did not seem motivated to fix himself so I did... It really looked like he just threw himself down on his back. I'm so scared he's going to die on me. I was able to take a photo for my vet and sent it to them. I'm hoping that they will help me sooner rather than later. I'm so freaking sad seeing him like this... I just want to do something!! :cry:

He is very brightly colored and active recently. He started to mildly black beard when he flipped over but still was very bright and still is.. So I'm not sure the best way to read him right now. Maybe his neurological issues are making things crosswired. Before all this happened he would always brighten up when he was excited. Like for food. Or if I just took him out of his enclosure he would get really vibrant. I've always associated his vibrant colors with him being extra happy. And when he feels crap or is basking he will occasionally look more muddy. Even when he's asleep he's vibrant recently.

I give his injections in his arms and shoulders every other day rotating locations so they don't get really sensitive. I asked my vet if I should stop now and if the antibiotics could be causing him to flip. Their phone lines are always busy so I'm waiting for a text response.

I messaged them to Tracie but she hasn't read my messages yet, I had just sent her my xrays this morning.

I won't get his lab work results until probably Friday when a reptile specialist is back in to go over them with me. I'm hoping in his case though they will have someone come in sooner to help. They just texted me saying they're letting the Dr. know what's going on.

His xrays I was told look well. But I see little freckling spots over his liver area. I don't know what that is but doesn't look right to me. I will ask them next chance I get to talk to someone.
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
The vet is working on getting his lab work back today and are going to call me this afternoon. In the meantime they told me to not give the antibiotics and to keep him as comfortable as possible.

The last part just sounds so grim right now. I hope he can be helped....
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
I'm so sorry that he and your family are going through this. :( You've been taking so many measures to keep him fed and trying to care for him in his condition diligently. I truly hope something can be done or that he recupes a bit . Maybe the meds. were causing a bit more of a neurological problem. t happens in humans so most likely in animals as well, this short article [ there are many others ] talks about that.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306671

Maybe once he's off of those he'll feel a little better and his symptoms will lesson. Best wishes for some relief from this tough situation !
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Thank you @AHBD I appreciate your kind words. I would do anything I had to for him for as long as he doesn't give up. I really hope something can be done too. I actually really hope that once I stop the antibiotics that the flipping will stop. Because then he will be back to what he was before I left in the first place visually/behaviorally speaking. Even his weight is pretty close to what it was now. I still suspect other things happening but right now the flipping is the worst thing I don't want to leave his side for. That article you linked gives me a lot of hope right now, thank you!
 

MissCutiePatootie

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
I just got the call from the vet. This is the update.

They've bumped his case up on the list of priorities now.

I asked about his xrays and pointed out the freckling I see near the bottom of his liver. She said the Dr. looked over it and didn't find anything that really stood out to him but that she sees it too and it's not to say it isn't something abnormal. So we will be investigating that.

I asked about his lab work, she said they haven't received the whole panel back yet but just bits of it and that there is definitely some abnormalities showing up but nothing that points to something specific yet.

She said he posted the xrays, along with the photo of him flipped over on his back with Malachi's case on a large veterinarian database to try and get help from other veterinarians. They're saying he is a really unique case and difficult to diagnose.
 

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