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 Post subject: Rescued dragons
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:05 pm
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Good morning.
Thanks to Mike for sorting out my account registration, although it looks like Im not going to be a long term member after all.

Im an experienced snake keeper with a really bad tempered corn snake, a beautiful 7 foot carpet python and a really chilled out 6 and a half foot Brazilian Rainbow Boa .
However I know next to nothing about Bearded Dragons.

So a few days ago I was approached by one of my neighbors had a friend whose daughter has just recently split from her husband and the inevitable casualties were the pets.
Two Rankins dragons and a Bearded dragon.
They had apparently been moved into a pub about six months ago as a temporary home and they werent being looked after properly as I knew about reptiles could I help.

So the next thing I know, Im spending an evening as the Chichester Herp rescue squad and driving home in my packed Zafira with three vivs and two lizards.

Sadly one of the two Rankins dragons died before I got to them.

Much of this post that follows is to explain the sad situation out of courtesy for Mike for going out of his way yesterday in creating my logon so that he knows it wasnt a wasted exercise :-) as to some extent much of this is now resolved as far as it can me at the moment.

So...

I set up two new vivs in my back room. One three foot vivexotic melamine viv and one monstrosity of a four and a half foot by two foot by three foot home made viv thats been made from 25mm thick MDF with non removable duel ply 10mm glass... I cant think what sort of monster the builder thought he was going to house... It took three of us to lift it and Im not a small bloke...

Anyway.
The living conditions were poor to say the least.

In the large viv there were two 17inch heatmats and a 150 watt heat bulb. There was no thermostat on the heat mats which were under six inches of what looks like some kind of crushed coral substrate, each particle around 3 to 4mm. The kind of thing you might find in the bottom of a fish tank. And the substrate was crawling. Literally. It was alive. There were so many mealworms and beetles and larger larvae that if you sat and looked at it, it was all moving, and you could hear it too. And it stunk.
I wouldn't like to have to guess at when the last time they were cleaned out was but im going to guess not for at least the six months they have been at the pub, maybe longer.
There is a full length UV lamp but if the rest of the set up is anything to go by, and knowing they have been in the pub for at least six months, Id lay money on it that the lamp is at least 12 months old and so as far as UV goes is next to useless.

The small viv with the Rankins dragon was in much the same state but with one heat mat and a heat rock, again both of which with no thermostats.

That night I was up until 2.30 in the morning sifting through the substrate to remove all the wildlife and washing it off, ripping out the heatmats and heat rocks, and rewiring everything to try and improve things for them. About 2 thirds of the substrate I binned, just put back a little of it so they arent on bare wood and what I did use is spotless.
(I didnt have any suitable substrate I could swap it for, my snakes use Lignocel for the snakes who like it dry, and coco fibre mixed with orchid bark for the snakes who like it wet, neither of which are any good for the dragons.)

I swapped the thermostats for some spare dimming stats I had so the heat bulbs werent constantly on and off and I managed to get the hotspot and cold ends more or less the right temps before I finally went to bed.

So the dragons...
The Rankins dragon seems very weak. I dont know how old he is, hes about nine inches long. He lays rather than stands and doesnt make any attempt to hold his body weight on his legs. The first night he took a whole small syringe of water. I know dragons dont drink normally but he clearly perked up after taking in some water.
Over the next 48 hours, Ive tried him with mealworms, small and large, silkworms, crickets, peeled carrot and cucumber and some other greens listed as good for him. The only thing hes eaten are about ten small mealworms, and those were in a feeding dish I put right under his front feet, and he only took ones that he didnt have to move his feet for.
Hes very lethargic and even with 10 small crickets in with him, he doesnt eat. He sort of makes an effort to walk towards them, but he slinks low on his belly and doesnt lift his body up. At one point he had two crickets sitting on him, one walked right over his head and sat on his nose.

The beardie is more or less the same, hes an adult and is about 16 to 18 inches long. He took some water but only a bit but hasnt taken any food at all.
Hes been tried with crickets, mealworms, silk worms, chunked stawberries, halved blueberries, peeled cucumber... nothing.
He does take his weight on his legs, but he is very lethargic and once he is left alone he just slumps and will spend most of his time at the cool end rather than the basking spot. His eyes are alert, and he will watch you, but if you move him to the warm spot, he will walk slowly back to the cold end almost straight away.
This morning when I opened his viv, he sat up and the whole underside of his mouth, throat and neck had gone black, half an hour later it was back to its normal colour.

I was going to post a whole load of HELP questions last night because 1. Ive reached the limit of my knowledge on dragons and 2. I was originally planning on keeping them, but over the last five days, Ive realised that Ive taken on something out of kindness that I dont really have the time or the resources for and nor do I have the money for what it seems may be some very sick dragons :-(

After work yesterday I got a friend to come and have a look at them who is not a vet, but is a very very experienced reptile keeper and runs a reptile food supply business as well as having a house thats not unlike the reptile house at London zoo.

After having a good look over them, he says that he is certain that they have fairly advanced metabolic bone disease and the beardie is also possibly bound or blocked and its almost 100% certain that MBD is what killed other rankins dragon.

Hes clearing two spare quarantine vivs today and is going to collect both the dragons from me early tomorrow morning and is going to get his vet to have a look at them.
Its likely that the little rankins is too ill to be saved. Hes certainly very unhappy.

The beardy he thinks has a far brighter future with some care and if he responds in the quarantine viv and gets better, then there is a home lined up already once its healthy again. Hes going to let me know if hes on the mark once the vet has looked at them.

So thats it really.
Very sad for the little rankins, hopefully less so for the beardy.

Actually, having said that I knew nothing about beardy's, I surprised myself how much I did know when on the spot. I guess you pick things up through being around reptiles a lot.
Im sad that it looks like the little rankins is likely too poorly to survive, and Im sad that I dont have the time and money to care for the sick beardy myself.
But Im happy that I did at least rescue him and when he does get better hes going to go to a good home.

So thats the end of my rambling post.
Quite a long one for a first post and possibly one of the shortest stays on the forum, although I will keep an eye on this post for a while and let you know the outcome of the vets inspection and diagnosis etc.

Nick

=====================================================
"You know, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don't help."
-Calvin


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 Post subject: Re: Rescued dragons
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 8:04 pm
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Location: Essex
As soon as I read a bit of your post I was going to say MBD. With an ancient UV light, and probably no calcium supplements or the right food it sounded that way.

If so, they'll be better of going to a vet and getting a calcium shot - presumably your friend can sort that out?

Good on you for trying to help. Heat mats are a big no no for a beardie, as well as any loose substrate that they can swallow. Which is the other worry - if they've been trying to get food from the substrate they might have swallowed some of the coral which would cause obstruction.

It sounds like it will be a miracle if they pull through.

Keep us posted if you hear an update?

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Trish

Bearded Dragon: Fiona
R.I.P Shrek and Stumpy - you are sadly missed.

For articles and useful information about how to care for Bearded Dragons visit the main site: http://www.mybeardeddragons.co.uk


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 Post subject: Re: Rescued dragons
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:59 am 
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 10:13 am
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Location: Victoria Australia
MBD almost certainly - it is possible that the Rankins may pick up with calcium injections and supplements plus some protein rich feeding although he does sound under size for his age. Likewise with the Central - it' surprising how hardy these guys are. The blockage can be a problem but it definitely needs veterinary intervention at this stage and doesn't mean he's a lost cause.
Good on you for the rescue job - I just wish the UK would get it's act together and do something positive about licensing to prevent this sort of thing happening!!

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: Rescued dragons
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:11 pm 
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EGG
EGG

Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:05 pm
Posts: 3
Good evening.
Just a quick update on the dragons, the little rankins it turned out was quite poorly.
He did have mdb and his front legs were very weak, but he also had a broken back leg which was why he wasn't supporting himself properly and obviously why he wasn't chasing down his food.

He's going to be ok though, he's had some calcium injections and is now in a quarantine vivarium with proper heating and lighting. He's going to be treated for his broken back leg and he is expected to recover, although he's never going to be strong on his back legs again so he's always going to need a little bit extra care and he's probably going to stay he is he's well to back into a permanent vivarium of his own again.

The beardy has a better immediate future.
He has mbd and also has had a calcium shot, and is in a quarantine viv.
But apart from that he's quite strong and is going to recover hopefully fairly quickly.
He has a home lined up when he's ready to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Rescued dragons
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:45 am 
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Location: Victoria Australia
Good news! They are hardy little creatures and it's surprising how well they bounce back, I've seen dragons missing two legs happily hammer around a viv so the Black Soil dragon (Rankins to you) should come good fairly quickly.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: Rescued dragons
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:02 pm 
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EGG
EGG

Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:19 pm
Posts: 27
Wow those poor dragons! Good on you for steeping up and doing what you could, no doubt saving their lives & ending their suffering. Really pleased to hear they are going to be ok and more importantly properly cared for now :D

Rick I couldn't agree more about licensing for a nation of supposed animal lovers we do very little to ensure they live in quality homes if only the government would step up and tackle the real issues we have :x


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