Zeke Fatty Live Disease - Update w/ Pics

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Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
First thing Saturday morning I wound up rushing Zeke to the vet because, somehow, he managed to get a piece of paper towel out from under his tile and was choking on it. The vet was able to remove the paper towel, but in the process gouged the side of Zeke's throat (Zeke bit down on the tongs). They watched him for a few hours before sending him home. Unfortunately, about three hours later, Zeke developed a blood clot in his throat that blocked off his windpipe almost entirely. It was a frantic car ride yet again. The vets were able to wash out his throat and get rid of that clot. At that point I opted to leave Zeke in their care since the car ride is minutes and far too long if Zeke were unable to breathe again. Zeke was stabalized and remained there for the rest of the weekend.

The specialist was finally able to get a look at Zeke this morning. The trauma from Saturday seems to be healing and while there is still a clot, they aren't concerned about it blocking his airway. However, in doing the X-ray to determine the damage to his throat they discover something that has been troubling us for over a month. Some of you may have seen my posts in the last few weeks about Zeke not eating and having no parasites. Turns out he is EXTREMELY constipated. The vet doesn't want to call it an obstruction just yet, but it is severe. We're talking to the point where the constipation is slighly obstructing his lung space. The vet is doing a short course of antibiotics to prevent infection from the wound in his throat and is pushing fluids. However, Zeke will be coming home in the next two hours.

Has anyone ever dealt with constipation this severe? The vet has me giving Zeke mineral oil on top of his bath water, but it was his only suggestion. He says that it could take 3+ weeks to clear Zeke out. What can I do to make this process more comfortable for Zeke? Specific foods? Especially with the damage to his throat?

I also know Zeke's mouth is sore. While I was trying to remove Zeke from his tank to take him the vet while he was choking initially, I slipped up with where my fingers were and he managed to latch on to my finger. It took close to two minutes to pry his mouth off and he had managed to bite down close to my bone. No teeth were broken, but prying him off was not a gentle process. So even without the whole constipation issue, he is sore in both his mouth and throat. I imagine he certainly won't be eating for a few days, but do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Wow, first off, I'm so sorry for this freak accident + impaction trouble. Is there any way that you can post a pic of the Xray of this plugged up digestive system ? I've never heard of an impaction so severe. When was the last time he had a regular b.m ? Anyway, for nutrition, I would go with baby food chicken, turkey, squash and peas. You can add the mineral or veggie oil to the baby food or Critical care food supplement from the vet. You might also try making slurries of bugs, greens, etc. if you have a spare blender/ food processer. Another thing you might use to help his throat and constipation is add some raw, unpasteurized honey. It's also a natural antibiotic / antibacterial. But it MUST be raw, there's a difference from regular honey because once it's pasteurized it loses the antibacterial/biotic properties. To use the honey, add an equal part of warm water, or a little more to make it easier to work with and add it to any food if he doesn't take it by itself. I hope you both recover !
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
I don't have a copy of the X-ray, but the vet went over it with me and it is very clear that my little guy is absolutely full to the brim. It definately explains why the back portion of his beard has been dark for the past two or three months. As for his last regular b.m., I'm not entirely sure. Zeke went off food quite some time ago and has been passing only small amounts of feces. Before that I can't think of a considerably sized poo for several months. I just didn't think anything of it since what poo he did have was well formed with a good urate.

Constipation has been a reoccuring problem with Zeke. Looking back at some of the posts I've made, the last bout of constipation was sometime in January. The best I can recall, his last big poop was probably early March. I just didn't think anything of it since he was passing small poos every day or two.

Zeke is now home and the poor guy just looks so worn out. His color is good considering, but his beard is almost completely black and he really struggles to walk properly. I called the vet back and was told that he is probably cramping something fierce since they pumped him full of fluids to get things moving. Since coming home just a few hours ago he has passed one small watery stool and one large (and I mean large) watery stool. It isn't like diarhea. It is literally like a bunch of water was pushed in and broke up what he has in him. I'd imagine I have some big clean ups ahead of me. I feel terrible.

Since he looks so worn down I am going to give him a day or two before I start trying to get him to eat. The vet said I should start seeing his own appetite return in roughly two weeks and just get him to eat what I can in the meanwhile. I just know he is in agony and I'd imagine handling him is only making the cramping worse.

Does anyone have any ideas on why we could be having such chronic issues with constipation? I'm venturing a guess that the back-up in January was never fully cleared out and things continued to get worse since then, but I don't want to put all my stock in that. I really want to hear any ideas as well as any suggestions you all have on how to prevent constipation in the future!
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Poor Zeke....I'm not familiar with your other thread or what your temps., feeding etc. were like. Sometimes giving too much calcium causes constipation. At any rate, most beardies don't have extreme issues with impaction. The things that are important to help keep the bowels moving are proper temps., hydration [ oral , not just soaking for some dragons ] and nutrition. In his situation now though, try the watered down honey, baby food, [ including prunes ] canned pumpkin, and the oils.
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
I can do a quick run down of what my care is like. Let me know if you see any red flags.

Age: 2 years
Basking temp: 100-103 F
Warm Side: 90-93 F
Cool Side: 80-83 F
Baths: 3x per week; 15-20 min soak; he drinks from the bath about once a week and doesn't orally take water otherwise
Leafy greens (offered daily): Mustard, Collards, Turnip, Endive, Escarole
Salad toppings (fruit 1x per week): Okra, butternut squash, papaya, mango, parsnip, bell pepper (occasional treat)
Live feeders: Hornworms, silkworms, butterworms, waxworms (occasional treat)
Clacium: 4x per week - light dusting
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Zeke is still black bearding this morning, so I rang up the vet again. He is going to have me bring in Zeke later today to give him an anti-inflammatory to see if that can dull his cramping. Otherwise, he still isn't keen on the idea of walking and is trying to sleep away most of the day. On the good side, he is alert if I wake him up and the coloring of his body is good-- he's not pale. And whatever pain he is in isn't enough to provoke another bite, so I'm taking that as a good sign.
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
I hate to say it, but after watching Zeke for two days, I'm not really sure if he can pull through this. He sleeps all day, is barely able to move if he wants to, and his breathing is slow. He goes a while in between breaths. I put him in the bath today and he didn't even have the strength to hold himself up. At one point he went entirely limp in my hands. I lifted him up and he seemed to "wake up"; however, after seeing that, I'm wondering if it might just be a matter of time.
 

RockHound

Hatchling Member
What a bummer. Sometimes things like this happen that were not necessarily caused by errors in husbandry or anything you did. The accident didn't help things any, but a faulty digestive system could alone do a dragon in at a young age. I never advocate to just give up, but nor do I let my pets suffer. He is very likely in great pain (think IBD). It's up to you and your vet to weigh his prognosis with his current qualify of life.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I am so sorry about your dragon.
I am not sure why he would have such severe constipation. Which calcium brand do you use & do you also use vitamins?
Did he ever have any trouble with parasites when he was younger that could have damaged his GI tract?
Try giving more oral fluids for him, daily to see if that helps. It does sound like he does not feel well, with his beard being chronically black.
Are you using any UVB lighting at all? If so, what type & brand do you use?

Tracie
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
@Tracie

We've always used the repti-cal brand. The calcium has D3. He also gets the multivitamin 2x per week.

I didn't get Zeke until he was 1 year old. His first year of life he was provided awful care. When he finally came to me was had to deal with four bouts of parasites. He has been parasite free for close to six months, but that also lines up pretty well for the first thing of constipation.

I'll definately try more fluids.

I use the Reptisun 10.0 mounted inside the tank. However, like I mentioned, the first year he was alive he was poorly cared for and that includes having no UVB.
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Zeke is pretty much the same again today. He hasn't moved, his beard is black, and he is trying his hardest to sleep through the day. While he did poo today, it appeared to be very watery again; the color has me concerned as it is a very dark brown, almost black, and when I wipe it up it is noticably red. Next time it happens I will try and get a picture. I didn't actually see him poo so I don't know if he is straining to go, but I know he simply sits in it after he's gone.

As for bath time, he slept through the whole thing. He seemed entirely uninterested in taking a drink when I sloshed it around. Zeke also has not passed a stool in the bath.

I've been thinking, and I'm not sure if I'm being overly pessimistic. Prior to this whole ordeal Zeke has always been able to stand and get around him tank just fine. Ever since bringing home he has been unable to get his feet under him. He scoots around with leg motions almost as if he is swimming. The vet told me it is probably just all the poo in him, but he didn't have this problem before Saturday. Is it possible he has brain damage from the lack of oxygen Saturday?
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
I'm not sure if anyone is still reading, but I'm going to keep updating.

I called the vet today and explained how Zeke seems to be getting worse. The vet agreed that I have a right to be concerned and invited me in to give him more details about Zeke and talk to me in person. My boy stayed home as we both agree there is no reason to put him through the stress of two 20 min car rides. Anyways, after talking to the vet at length, my vet came to the same conclusion as Tracy. There is probably a portion of his GI tract that isn't functioning right. He says that it explains some of the things he hasn't been understanding. Tonight he is going to review Zeke's X-ray once more and see if he can see anything (he wasn't looking the first time for something like that). If that ends up being the case, I will be putting Zeke down.

He was also able to confirm that Zeke is passing a lot of blood in his stool. The vet's best guess is that Zeke tore something from straining and that is where the blood is coming from.

The vet has also given me some medicine for Zeke. Since I can't afford more tests and this is sort of a last ditch effort to save Zeke. I believe it is Trimeth/Sulfa. The vet is trying to see if we're dealing with Coccidia, though after talking today, he doubts that is the case. He is hoping that we'll see Zeke perk up some, but the hopes aren't that high.

As for Zeke, he is still black-bearding and sleeping. I tried some baby food with him and he took two small licks of some squash babyfood, but downright refused anything else.

Oh, and the vet did say that in the x-ray he noticed some hints that Zeke may have the beginnings of MBD. He said it is likely from his first year of life, before he came to me, when Zeke was getting absolutely no UVB. He said all of the major bones looked fine, but the bones in his toes were "lighter".

Unfortunately I am pretty much at the point where I can't do much else with him. In the last week I've spent $500 on him and it is just unrealistic for me to spend much more, especially with Zeke declining pretty steadily. I'll be calling the vet again tomorrow to let him know how my guy is doing and see if he was able to see anything in the X-ray (he wasn't sure if he'd be able to find anything, even if his tract isn't functioning). The vet really is leaning towards the idea that we're dealing with some underlying issues that have been building up since his rough start in life and there probably won't be much else we can do.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Don't give up quite yet!
Since he is over one year of age, I would recommend changing his supplementation.
I would give calcium just 3 times per week with vitamins maybe one time per week. Maybe consider switching to a liquid calcium. In some cases, the powdered calcium tends to dry them up or not be absorbed in some as easily as the liquid.
Also, talk to the vet about using lactulose for a short term, to help with constipation, etc for him. It is pretty well tolerated.
If he did at one point tear an area in his GI tract, that can heal but he may need to be switched to a softer food diet for a period of time to allow food to pass easier for him.
Let us know how Zeke is doing.

Tracie
 

Mirrorakay

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
If I can get him to the point he'll eat, I'll definately switch to liquid calcium and change how often he is getting his supplements.

I was able to catch Zeke trying to poo today. No wonder there is blood in his stool. His beard goes completely black (most of the time it is just mostly black) and he starts thrashing around like crazy. There is a mess a good foot up the walls of his tank. Unfortunately he seemed unable to pass anything today and the bath did nothing to help; in fact he slept through his bath again.

I also tried to get him to eat again. This time he just let it run out of his mouth and fell asleep in my hands.

So far he hasn't had any more of those limp, not-breathing spells, but I also work 10 hour days so I don't get to see him as much as I'd like.

Thank you though! I really hope Zeke can get through this!
 
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