Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I would like to help you today. Some additional information will be useful.
Is this a new behavior, or has it been going on for a long time?
How often does this happen? What is he doing when it happens - basking, sitting on the cage floor, etc.?
Is he eating well?
Does he have normal energy?
What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage?
Thank you for getting back to me. It is very difficult to tell a brumating dragon from a sick dragon. This sounds like a respiratory infection. Even if you think he may have passed away, go ahead and do a soak for a longer time period - about 20 minutes. If you can get some Pedialyte, make the bath half Pedialyte and half water at about 100*F. Since he is weak, hold his head up so his nostrils are out of the water.
After the soak, place him in his basking area. Make sure it is 105*F to 110*F. After about an hour, let me know if there have been any signs of life.
I'm so sorry. It does sound like he is gone. Gaping can mean one of two things. It's normal for it to occur once in awhile when basking. It's a way of cooling. It also indicates that a dragon isn't getting enough air. It's possible some water got into his lungs while struggling in the water. Or, he may have had lung congestion from an infection. Either way, gaping would occur.
Yes, it is possible he had a respiratory infection for some time. In the beginning, there may be few symptoms. A beardie may simply be a little less active than usual, and perhaps not eat as much. As it progresses, you may (or may not) see discharge from the eyes or nose. The eyes may stay shut a lot. Eventually there will be breathing problems, and that's when frequent gaping occurs.
If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. Again, I am so sorry this happened to you. You did all you could, even taking him to a vet.
You did everything right with the bath. There is no way water would have gotten into his lungs under those circumstances. You are also absolutely correct that they need to be kept hydrated during brumation. It's also important when they are sick. The fact that the water soaked in quickly tells us that he did need it. You've done everything right. This is just one of those sad, unavoidable things that happens. It wasn't your fault in any way. It's just so very sad.
I understand. It's so hard when a loved pet suddenly becomes critically ill. I know that words don't really help, but all I can do now is offer my sympathy. I'm so sorry.
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