I took our bearded dragon to the vet yesterday. Since last Thursday his eyes are extremely swollen and his throat a

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Customer: I took our bearded dragon to the vet yesterday. Since last Thursday his eyes are extremely swollen and his throat a little swollen. The vet gave us critical care formula to feed him and an antibiotic and wants to do bloodwork in 10-14 days. This morning he looks worse. The vet never called me back and is now closed, and my son just called to say that he was almost convulsing. What do I do? I'm at work.
Answered by Jav917 in 4 hours 7 years ago
Pet Specialist

27,324 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Thank-you for requesting me. I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in Reptiles and Reptile Rescue.
Can you tell me about the set up?
Diet veggies/prey?
UVB light, how old,linear tube or compactcoil, strength and brand?
Basking light?
Was the Vet a Herp Vet you had seen?
What medication did he give?
He is in a 40-gallon tank. He eats vegetables, fruits, crickets, and loves canned grasshoppers. He gets Exoterra calcuim/D3 supplement. He has crushed walnut substrate. He has a Zilla Desert Series 50 T8 bulb (new two months ago) and a heat lamp. His hot spot is 100 degrees and his cage is 80 to 85 degrees. He has now been to two different vets that both specialize in exotic animal care. I was upset about the potential diagnosis from the first vet and symptoms worsened (thrashing around and flipping over yesterday, in addition to severe swelling of the eyes and throat since last week), so I went for a second opinion. The second opinion is that it could be a systemic infection, or the first vet's opinion that it is likely heart disease or kidney disease. The second vet took an x-ray and confirmed there are no signs of bone disease, but said his heart looked a little small. Today he is at the first vet's office getting fluid drained from his throat to hopefully alleviate some of the pressure from his eyes. He is getting Oxbow critical care formula food and 0.2 mL of an antibiotic daily (can't remember the name of it). The second vet said she has never seen eyes so swollen in a bearded dragon. They are almost swollen shut now. What's your opinion?
The second vet also said he had a lot of popping in his joints, and that his x-ray showed air pockets, which she said is often a sign of infection.
Thank-you for the information. I have seen issues like this with Kidney issues, but also seen eyes swell seriously from a Vitamin A overdose. We may be dealing with a combination of things.
Below is from the link above
Too Much Vitamin A (Hypervitaminosis A)
Bearded dragons can easily get too much vitamins, and vitamin A is one of the most common vitamins that bearded dragons overdose on. The signs of vitamin A overdose are swelling of the eyes, throat, body, and lack of energy.
Bearded dragons usually only get Hypervitaminosis A when they consume artificial vitamin A from reptile supplements. This is why its important to only use multivitamins that contain natural vitamin A, which is why we recommend Herptivite Multivitamin for Reptiles.
If Blood work has not been done, I suggest that it be done. You may see an elevated calcium, but that will happen when stressed.
First I would get rid of the Walnut substrate. It is deadly and may be contributing to the the other problems. It can perforate the esophagus and intestinal tract if ingested. These pictures give you an idea of what walnut shell can do: Walnut shell Graphic: http://mrskingsbioweb.com/beardeddragngrossanatomy.htm
The T 8 bulb is not my favorite. I like the Reptisun 10.0 Linear UVB tube. I find it most effective and one of the best bulbs, but needs to be replaced every 6 months.
I would like to suggest a conference call with Dr Douglas Mader who is a Bearded Dragon authority and one of the Vets who are treating the Dragon. I think he may be a good source to review the case and give his input into what may be happening. He may suggest special tests or treatment that would not be thought about by your Vets. He is well known within the Reptile Community. This is a link to Dr. Mader's site and how to reach him:
Without blood work and a hands on exam it is hard to tell you what exactly is going on, but I feel that the consult with Dr Mader may help get down to the bottom of the problem. I would also make sure the test for parasites and the Vitamin A overdose.
As for the substrate, he is not impacted. I have never given him vitamin supplements, so Vitamin A toxicity is not likely either. You have not told me anything I didn't already know from research I've already done. If anything, I am worried about a vitamin deficiency. The first vet is waiting to do bloodwork. He says he would rather take blood once the dragon's condition improves a bit, from the critical care food and maybe the antibiotic. The second vet also suggested given the antibiotic time to work, if it is an infection. I told you he does not have bone disease, which was confirmed by an x-ray, so my lighting has not been an issue. I feel like all you've done is go over everything that is already out there on the internet. I'm not satisfied with your answer, nor was it helpful.
I am opting out and seeing if someone else can assist you.
Please do not rate me so another Expert can assist you and be rated.
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