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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18343
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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Impaction, not pooping. We have fed m a mixture of prune

Customer Question

impaction, not pooping. We have fed him a mixture of prune juice (organic) and olive oil with little molasses. Mixed 1 tsp juice, 1 /2 tsp olive oil, 1/4 molasses. Then warm bath and massaging gently his tummy. He is pooping little white but nothing more solid and he has a solid area on his abdomen.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the reptile's name and age?
Customer: Scorch, 1 year
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Scorch?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.


My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in Reptiles and Reptile Rescue.

1sr No more oil and the Mixture you have given. It can be as be aspirated into the lungs causing aspiration Pneumonia.

Can you tell me about the set up?

Age of Dragon?


Diet prey Veggies?

UVB light, linear tube or compact coil, strength age of bulb, and brand?

Basking light?

Temps in basking area, warm side and cool side?

How measured?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we are newbies.
I can't take the dragon to the vet here. Ofc charge , xray charge, plus procedure charges!
we were told to expect about $500! So we researched and came across the homeopathic method (we used a syringe and carefully put in his mouth and he licked most of it.
Age: bought in October 2015
substrate: Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber Expandable Substrate
diet: crickets (PetSmart) and finely chopped veggies (though he does not eat much of these) we looked up list of things he can eat and things he cannot
Basking light: neodymium basking bulb UVA 75 Watt light and radiant heat (we have 2 bulbs - one for day one for night)
temps unknown - just the basking light.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh, and we have fed him a few meal worms = though we read they should be considered "treats"
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Can you be specific on Veggies?


Need to know if you actually have a UVB bulb, so is it a linear tube or compact coil, is it a 5.0, 8.0 or 10.0?

The two bulbs mentioned are not UVB light.

Do not go with Homeopathic garbage written. Only what is explained by someone who knows what they are talkng about.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
veggies: red leaf or romaine, snap peas, carrot (some), peppers (whatever I have - red, yellow, orange), peeled cucumber, (basically whatever I put in my salad I eat each day) I chop his finely.supplements: calcium powder on the crickets
the bulbs we have were recommended at PetSmart by the representative there. We have a 2 fixture set (not linear or compact coil)Box says bulb provides UVA and visible light ideal for daytime basking area. Depending on the needs of your reptile you may also need a bulb to provide UVB and infrared nighttime heating.I don't have the box for the nighttime bulb to tell you what it says.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
substrate material was also recommended over the sand by the PetSmart Rep
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have to go to work . . . I will check the email for additional answers
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

You were ill advised on what you need. The diet of veggies is all wrong I will go over the diet with you. We never feed meal worms or super worms to Dragons, due to the fact the are high in chitin the hard outer shell. hard to digest and high in fat that over time causes liver disease. The Light you have are not UVB lights You should have a Reptisun 10.0 linear tube. The UVB bulb supplies UVB rays to work with calcium to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease. The Night bulb is not needed unless temps drop below 70's. The basking bulb is for heat and light.

The temps are another issue. You need to have a good digital thermometer or temp gun. If the temps are too cool, then the dragon cannot digest food and will not be able to pass stool. The temps in basking area should be 105-110, the warm side 90's and the cool side should be 80's. This is extremely important.

Now for diet. We feed collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens and flowers, Butternut squash, escarole and curly endives. The pepper is fine, but snap peas are sugar, carrots can actually cause vision issues and cucumbers, are only water and seeds can lodge in the intestinal tract.

You need to update the veggie diet. The pry should be crickets, dubia roaches , silk worms, phoenix worms and as a treat goliath worms.

The bedding needs to be disposed of immediately.We never use loose substrates, they are deadly. Use paper, ceramic tile, or cage carpet.

No what we need to do to try and help the dragon is feed a little Plain baby food prunes, since they are the right consistency so as not to be aspirated into the lungs. Once you have fed the prunes, please wait an hour and then place in a warm soak at about 90*F. When in the soak gently massage the abdomen from snout to vent. do this for 10 mins. This should promote a stool. You can repeat this daily.

You need to properly update husbandry. A Herp Vet visit should not be that much. If this is a blackage due to parasites, then all we do will not help and may need a Herp Vet visit. I cna locate some with a State.


Diet sheet color coded:


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well.... Pet Smart is not so smart!
What's a pet owner to do who wants to own such a beautiful little creature and does all that they are told to do only to be told that they have basically done everything wrong!I will print your information and go to the links for diet update.
If this precious little fella is not able to poo I will not be able to take him to a Herp Vet. Unfortunately vet fees can add up astronomically! (Such as the $2000 I paid for a dog that ran in front of our vehicle years ago)
I do NOT have money to spend in that way.
I will update the things you have advised and wait it out.
If that is not enough then I'm going to have to sadly say good-bye and move on.
You might suggest to Corporations like PetSmart that they should have updated information to give to their new owners!
It is very hard to do the right things when all information seems to conflict or is hard to come across.Thanks!
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Petsmart and Petco and I have gone round and round. I have reported conditions tried to educate employees, and they still fall back into the same issues. It is a shame, but employees performance is based on ability to sell and not knowledge. I have been doing this close to 40 years. I see this on a daily basis. Hopefully if we can get the temps right with the digital thermometer, get the lighting right change the substrate and diet, we can help your little one. Husbandry is so important. If I have addressed your concerns, please take a moment to rate my service 5 stars. Also please come back and let me know progress. We have a lot of success with the swimming, massage and baby food prunes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The beard on my dragon is turning black....what does this mean?!I am angry at PetSmart - I was told meal worms were the best! Crickets - the best! They didn't tell me what size - I had to figure that out myself.
I took the substrate out and for now put a towel on the bottom of the glass tank and paper on top of that. (Should I take the towel out and have just paper?) I used typing paper as I didn't want the ink from newspaper in there and I don't have any other uninked paper.
I will get baby food tonight. Do I feed it with a eye dropper? syringe? food bowl?
I will get the updated "greens" too.
I will get the light he needs - IF - however, I am really concerned for him and don't want to invest in more things at the moment.
Go ahead and send Herp Vet info for my area . . . I'll call for prices.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my bearded dragon just puked i am really sad i do not want him to die please text back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Calm down and relax. It is not unusual with the mixture you gave him. The Black beard is stress. We need to get the temps up to par. basking area 105-110*F. Next the soak will relax the Dragon. Please get some Pedialyte to mix 50/50 in with the water for the soak. Massage the abdomen in the soak. Hopefully we can get a stool passed. News paper is even fine. They are made with soy based inks. Paper towels are great too. Drop the prunes on the snout and allow the dragon to lick it off it is very well accepted we only want to use 1cc. Please supply a State and we can locate a Herp Vet for you.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
north carolina - eastern side
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

This is a link for NC: Sorry had a loss of power and just back on. How is the Dragon doing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he is still puking, he is weak and sleepy, now i am just making his life as comfortable as possible when he passes.
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

If you can get into the Vet they can give fluids and medication for nausea. That is the only option right now to help him.


Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?