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Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill, Veterinarian
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 601
Experience:  full time veterinarian at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital
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Reptile question...

Customer Question

reptile question...
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

Hi this is Dr. Hill. How can I help you?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Bearded dragon, 2 yrs old. We went out of town Thur morning and returned home Sunday at 4pm. He looked dehydrated and listless, lethargic with dry skin/non-recoiling skin, sunken eyes and near death... When we came home, there were LOTS of feces in the tank which is abnormal since our dragon seem to have constipation issues...Person who was watching her said she turned his basking light off every day, but we don't think so and suspect it got too hot for him. We gave him a few warm baths with electrolyte and he also drank some water last night...Today he was very listless and refuse to eat/drink. We continue to give him baths and he's just very lethagic and an hr ago I tried to used a syringe to give him some 1:1 water/pedialyte but he didn't want to drink... After the bath, he vomitted some brownish liquid out and continuously to sleep. Breathing is slow and rate is maybe 2-3 per min...Please help...
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

I am not sure that leaving his basking light on would cause that much of an issue for such a short period of time. The basking temp can be up to 105 and is typically elevated and off to the side, so that the temp in the remainder of the terrarium is typically in the 90's. What do you feed him? Does he have a hide spot in the cage? Have his stools been completely normal? Has he ever been to a veterinarian or had a fecal exam? do you use a calcium supplement?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Never had fecal exam nor been to vet. He always had issues with constipation and would go days without urinating or stool... He eats mainly crickets, occasional veg, and some water from a shallow bowl. He does have a cave that he hides in. His stool is infrequent and like I said has always been unpredictable. He doesn't use calcium supp.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
he is very pale and dry and he did pass stool today and stool appear drier than normal and dark brown. He was trying to poop more today and I put him in a warm bath and tried to gently massage his abd and his breathing is approx 8 bpm
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Presently his eyes are half opened and lethagic and inactive
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

So there are several husbandry issues. Crickets are not an optimal choice for bearded dragons, they do better with Phoenix worms (order online) or calciworms. You need to add a calcium supplement to their food so that they don't develop bone issues (metabolic bone disease). His diet should also consist of 20-30 % vegetables. His constipation issues are likely due to nutritional deficits. Reptiles can get septic (overwhelming bacterial infections) and get very sick, which is what you are describing. He needs to be seen by a veterinarian in your area who routinely does reptiles. They can rehydrate him and do a blood culture to find out what type of infection and how best to treat. I you tell me where you are located I can look up some names for you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I live in Palm Desert. Due to Labor Day, nobody is open. But any suggestion would help. Anything I can do for him tonight?
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

/the soaks may help. He really is likely going to need intraosseus fluids from what you are describing. they will also likely run some bloodwork and get X-rays to look at bone density. What state is Palm Desert

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

what is a large city near you

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
LA, Orange County
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

okay great. be right back.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
there is someone in Palm Desert here, just needed to wait till tomorrow when they open...
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

Okay. It is good that you have someone. There is not much else that you can do tonight unfortunately. If you don't mind, let me know what you find out. Take care.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
ok thanks will let u know
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 11 months ago.

Take care.