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He is 2.3 months old, he vomited undigested crickets 5 days…

He is 2.3 months...

He is 2.3 months old, he vomited undigested crickets 5 days ago. He has not eaten anything on his own but I gave him papaya twice in the past 12 hours. He does not have any signs of sickness. No dirty fecal matter on his bottom, no wrinkled skin or sunken eyes. He has lost a lot of weight.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What sort of animal are we talking about?

He is a bearded dragon

Veterinarian's Assistant: OK. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the dragon?

Not that I can think of, thank you

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Answered in 11 minutes by:
3/5/2018
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,813
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 20 years of experience keeping reptiles. I'm reviewing your question now,mand will be right back.
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I'm sorry to hear that your baby dragon is having a problem. Sone additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage?What size crickets do you feed? Do you feed him anything else regularly?What substrate do you use on the cage floor?Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Temperature is 94 on floor level of cage. He eats 3/4 crickets plus I give him lettuce and carrots. I gave him papaya last night and this morning. There is dessert sand in his cage. Also he has had three seizures in the past two days. Body stiffens up and last for about 5 minutes.
Thank you for getting back to me. The new information about the seizures rais two more questions.What brand of UVB light do you have?Do you give him a calcium supplement?
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
UVB is "Max Heat Infrared" an yes he has been given "Fluckers" calcium supplement.
Thank you. I'm going to work on some information for you now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I'm not a fast typist, so will appreciate your patience.
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Thank you for waiting.

I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store. Most people do. While we should be able to rely on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After weeks to months of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Some of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why your beardie is having so much trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep him healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong. Based on the symptoms, he has more than one problem.

Seizures are most often caused by Metabolic Bone disease (MBD). Despite its name, it affects everything in the body, not just bones. It is caused by a lack of UVB rays and /or calcium. Your infra red light provides absolutely no UVB. It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays as soon as possible. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they won't be able to produce vitamin D to metabolize calcium. MBD causes a slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out the UVB rays.

I'll give you a first aid measure to take, too.Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). I Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Add a big scoop of calcium powder and mix it in. Soak your dragon for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their skin and vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely. If he were to have a seizure while in the water, he could drown.

I'm going to give you this much now, and will go to work on information concerning the other issues. I'll be back shortly.

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Regurgitation of undigested food is usually caused by one of three problems. Being cold is one of them. A beardie who is cold will be lethargic, not want to eat a lot, and may even try to hide. The very coldest part of his cage should be 85*F to 90*F. For a youngster his age, the basking spot should be 105*F to 110*F. The latest research on bearded dragons has shown that they can't even begin to digest their food properly until their internal body temperature reaches 98*F. Being cold-blooded, the only way for that to happen is for them to lie in a very hot basking area.You can increase the temperature by using a higher wattage bulb in the basking light fixture, lowering t he fixture itself (but not so low that he can be burned on it), or by adding a second fixture. If you need a second fixture, you don't have to buy something expensive from a pet store.If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a clip-on metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. Hardware and home improvement stores sell similar light fixtures as work lights.

Crickets that are too big can also lead to the problem. All food should be smaller than the space between your dragon's eyes.

Something interfering with the passage of food through the intestines can also result in this type of vomiting. A sand substrate is the most common culprit. The pet store calcium sand substrate is not good. Despite the fact that it is highly recommended, more often than not, it leads to eye infections, impaction, and respiratory irritation. A solid substrate, such as reptile carpet or ceramic tile is much better. I recommend getting rid of the sand right away. Until you can get a different substrate, you can use white paper towels. A parasite infestation can also cause blockages. To determine if that is the problem, a vet would need to examine a stool sample under a microscope. Here is a link to a directory of reptile vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

Lettuce and carrots are not good foods for dragons. Lettuce can be sued once in awhile, but not as a basic food. Carrots are too high in sugar and are harder to digest. Collards, turnip greens, green beans, summer squash, and dandelions are better choices. Variety is important. I'm going to give you a link to a reputable and easy to understand site for information on feeding because there is too much for me to explain here:

http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

Syringe-feeding is risky unless a vet has shown you how to do it. Food is easily aspirated into the lungs. Instead, buy some meat baby food. Mix in some calcium powder. Drop a small dollop right on the end of your beardie's snout. Most of the time, reflexes will cause them to lick it off.

If the soaks, warmth, and UVB light don't result in a fast improvement, it would be best to see a reptile vet.

Because pet stores give out so much incorrect information, I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. Joan has many years experience keeping and rescuing beardies.Her care sheet is used on some reputable websites, so you may have even seen it before. I suggest that you use the care sheet as a check list to provide the best possible care for your beardie. If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope your dragon will reach a full recovery.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!

Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
Bearded dragons should be housed alone.
Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:
0-3 months- baby 3-12 months-juvenile 12-18 months- sub adult 18 months + -adult

Bearded dragons live as much as 10-12 years if well cared for properly.
Bearded dragons have a very good temperament as long as they are cared for and handled.
When you bring your baby home, it may be quite stressful to him/her to get use to new home. May not eat well the first 2-3 days. They may not need to be handled the first 2-3 days if skittish and nervous.
Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate: Loose substrates can cause impaction (not being able to go Poop) in all ages of bearded dragons- they lick their environment to explore .It is difficult to keep germ free and clean. Ceramic tile, newspaper, non adhesive shelf liner and reptile carpet is what is most recommended. Use paper towels for the little one and as they get bigger you can change to something else.
Be sure you keep your beardies home as clean as you can. Clean up by spot cleaning when needed. Clean & sanitize entire tank every 10-14 days. A good cleaning solution is a 20% bleach solution. If you choose to use wood climbing branches etc, these should be soaked in the bleach solution and rinsed well. Then bake in 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Need a climbing accessory: to bask and to warm up under basking heat light and lower branches or platforms to come down and cool off.
A hide of some sort like a cave.
A food dish and water dish.
Plastic spray bottle
Can use artificial plants when they get older- 3 months or so.
Digital thermostat and/or temp gun
Tank size: Minimal size tank for this age is 20 gallon long
Minimal size for older beardie: 4 months of age: 40 gallon breeder is the minimal tank size for older dragon. Can divide a 40 gallon breeder for a smaller dragon. Must have two lights for your beardie.

A UVB light source-best is 10.0 Reptisun that runs the length of your tank. Your dragon must have this light to metabolize calcium. If not he will get metabolic bone disease, a serious condition. You can also take your beardie outside to bask in the sun for 15 minutes each day if your temps are 80 degrees or above outside. You can purchase cages or reptariums from your pet store. Never leave a beardie outside unattended.
2. A basking type light that puts out heat and warmth above basking spot. Your beardie must have warmth to digest food & thrive.

Lights should be on for 12-14 hours each day. Follow the seasons and light timers are a great luxury if you can get them. 6 dollars at Lowe's. No lights or warmth needed at night unless your temperatures get below 62 degrees. If they do, there are ceramic heat emitters that put out no light, only heat. Use these at night if temperatures fall below 62 degrees.

Temperatures have to be kept at the following ranges during the day:

Babies: Warm basking log: 105-115* degrees F (40.5 - 46*C)
Cool side: 85-90 (29.5 - 32*C)

Adults: Warm basking spot: 105-110*F (40.5- 43*C)
Cool side: 80-85 (26.6 - 29.5*C)
Measure temperatures with a digital probe type thermometer or a temp gun-these are most accurate. Stick on thermometers unreliable.

Feeding a Beardie: Beardies eat live prey consisting of crickets, roaches and/or silkworms. Never feed any size of mice to your beardie. Never feed meal worms. They also must be given greens/veggies everyday. The younger they are the more live prey they should have. As they grow older the live prey decreases and the veggies/greens should be the major part of diet. Never feed anything bigger, than the space between your beardie's eyes. This includes both live prey and pieces of veggies/greens,.
A chopper or food processor is a huge help when your beardie is small. Always offer greens and veggies: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, red cabbage, fresh green beans, yellow summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, cactus pad. Apricots, strawberries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe- fruits are treats only.

What is live prey? The easiest and less expensive live prey is crickets when you have a young or first beardie. The other live preys you can feed are silkworms, and special types of roaches. You can learn to raise your own live prey. Treats can be wax worms, super worms, and tomato/Goliath worms. You may find that ordering live prey from the internet is the way to go..... Never leave live prey or greens/veggies in tank overnight. . Crickets can bite your beardie when sleeping.

Babies should get 80% live prey, and 20 % greens/veggies. But since the greens/veggies are a must when they are older, get them eating their greens/veggies very early. Give greens/veggies in small pieces everyday. You should eventually start decreasing your older dragon's protein intake when they are about a year to 15 months old. Their protein intake decreases to 20 % live prey and 80% veggies/greens. A baby eats 50-75 crix a day depending on the size of the crickets. Never feed crix or veggies bigger than the space between your beardie's eyes. Use this guide when buying crix or chopping your greens/veggies.
You must provide calcium dust without D3 and multivitamin dust for your beardie. You should dust the live prey with calcium one time a day, and vitamins 3 times a week. Just collect your live prey into baggie and add enough calcium and vitamin to dust them. Then pour a few at a time into your tank. Some people feed their beardie in a separate tank so that no crickets can hide. Or some take out "furniture" from tank and feed this way. As they get older, 4-5 months or so dust live prey with calcium 3 times a week.

Feed the veggies/ greens 1st thing in morning after lights on for one hour at least. Then after 2-3 hours offer crix. Then freshen green/veggies. Then give more crix. Make sure after last crix feeding there is at least 1-2 hours of lights so that they can digest their food before night time.

Beardies over the age of one year old during the winter months will go into a Brumation like most Reptiles and Herps. It is a form of Hibernation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights should be on a shorter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available during this period. Do not feed live prey during Brumation.

Water: Mist your little one with the spray bottle 3-4 times a day. You can also offer a small dish of water in your enclosure but be sure your dragon is not too small to drown in it. It is recommended that when your beardie is 2 months old you can bathe your baby in a small plastic container with warm water- not hot. It will help them to stay hydrated. As they get older you can move up to the bathroom sink and then to the bathtub. Very important for bath enclosure to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to bath time. Clean between dragons too if bathing more than one.

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Hello again,

How is your dragon doing? Have you tried my suggestions? I hope he is fine.

Anna

Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,813
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Anna and 87 other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Anna
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you for everything but he died.
I am so sorry for your loss. You did the best you could. I know that words don't really help, but all I can do now is offer my condolences. I'm sorry.
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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
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