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Ask Anna Your Own Question
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11457
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Very black neck. Poop was very small and hard. Not like

Customer Question

Very black neck. Poop was very small and hard. Not like usual. Just changed from crickets to mega worms and he loves them but maybe he ate too much too fast.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The Veterinarian will know if the cricket will be able to digest that. What is the cricket's name and age?
Customer: Hunter. He is about 8 months
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Hunter?
Customer: I don't think so. Just that the worms are a new food. He eats a lot of dandelion as well. But not today.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear Hunter is having a problem. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.What kind of reptile is he?By mega worms, do you mean super worms - they look like giant meal worms?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage?What substrate do you use on the cage floor?What brand of UVB light do you have?Thank you.
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
I see on your duplicate question that Hunter is a bearded dragon. Those worms contain a lot of chitin, which beardies can't digest well. I would not feed any more of them. If Hunter were impacted, he would not poop at all, or would pass only watery droppings. However, it does sound like he is constipated, and he is obviously stressed. I'll give you a first aid measure.Buy some baby food prunes and some Pedialyte. Drop a small dollop right on the end of Hunter's snout. Most of the time, reflexes will cause them to lick it off. Wait about 45 minutes. Then prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 Pedialyte and 1/2 water at about 100*F. The water should be deep enough to cover his vent (where droppings pass out). Soak Hunter for 20 to 30 minutes. After the first ten minutes, with him still in the water, massage his underside from front to back for ten minutes. That will often help them pass droppings.The black color is a result of stress. That could be because his stomach hurts, but we have no way to know for sure. The Pedialyte soak can also help with stress.Next, check your temperatures. Hunter's digestive system will function best if his basking area is 105*F to 110* F, and the cool side 85*F to 90*F.If you use a loose substrate, such as sand or crushed walnut, get rid of it. It can also contribute to impaction and constipation. Reptile carpet or ceramic/slate tiles are better choices.If the prunes, soak, and massage don't help, it would be best to see a reptile vet. If you need one, this site has a directory. you have more questions, just let me know. I hope Hunter will be fine.Anna
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Ok. I will try all of this now. I'll run out for pedialyte. I have dried prunes in fridge. Can I purée them for him!

Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
if you can purée them to a smooth consistency.
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Crickets are an excellent food. Silk worms, Dubias, and Phienix worms are also good.Let me know if you need anything else.
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
That should be Phoenix worms.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

He ate plenty of the prune purée. Still bathing him. Waiting for the pedialytE. hopefully this will all work. He def loved the prunes.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Trying to send u a picture

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Glad to hear he ate the prunes. That and the soak with massage should help him poop. To send a picture, click on the paper clip icon in the tool bar at the top of the space where you type. Instructions will pop up.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
For some reason, I'm still not able to access your pictures.Has there been any change in Hunter's condition - able to poop, less black, etc.?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Last night nothing changed. I thought it would take a while. I warmed up his area for him. i let him be for the night she decided I would take him to the vet after work today.

I just got home From work. He died. my family is so so upset. I don't know what we did wrong. we killed Him. I'm so so upset.

Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Oh, no. I am so sorry to hear that. You were trying to help him, and I don't think any of the things you did last night, or eating the mega worms was the cause. If he had been impacted, he wouldn't have wanted to eat, but he ate the prunes. He was constipated, but that doesn't cause death. You did not kill him. The black coloring only tells us that he was stressed, and that can be caused by many different things. We don't really have any good clues about what went wrong. The only way to be certain would be to have a vet do a necropsy, but that is quite expensive, and doesn't always give certain results.He may have been born with a genetic defect that took this long to cause problems. That does happen. He may have contracted a bacterial or viral illness. Or, it may have been a freak accident - a piece of worm could have been accidental aspirated into his lungs. None of these things would have been your fault. Please don't blame yourself. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to help.If you have kids, you'll want to help them deal with this as best as possible. You can hold a memorial service for Hunter and let them share their memories of him and their feelings now. Depending on their ages, they may want to write a poem, draw pictures, make a scrapbook. There is nothing wrong with letting them stay home from school for a day if they aren't up to going. That confirms to them that an animal's life is important, and it gives them time to process the sudden loss. I taught middle school science for a number of years, and dealt with kids who couldn't function in school after the death of a pet. They would have been better off at home for a couple of days.This is also difficult for adults, and it's normal for us to feel guilty about the death of an animal we are responsible for, even when it wasn't our fault. Only time will help with that.If you think you'll get another dragon at a future time, let me know and I'll send along a good care sheet for you.I know that words don't really help, but all I can do now is offer my condolences. I'm so sorry for your loss.Anna