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 Post subject: Real poorly dragon...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:24 pm 
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EGG
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We picked up Spike almost two weeks ago after noticing an advert with him for sale, looking a bit on the skinny side. To cut a long story short, he was housed in a pretty small viv with no heat lamp at all, just a low energy light-bulb, and a completely burnt out UV light that we believe had not been replaced at all in the three years the previous owner had him.

We've put him in a new viv with all the right lights and temps etc. and we've taken him to the vets - we're waiting on blood and faecal test results to see if and how we can treat him for whatever problems he has. While we were there she removed an enormous plug and cleaned up the abscess he had just under his vent. We'd already cleaned off his clogged and dirty pores ourselves when we brought him home.

He hasn't eaten a thing since he came home and barely moves at all - he doesn't hold his own head up in the bath and he literally will just go to the toilet and then lay in it all day if we aren't there, though luckily this has only happened once.

We're tube feeding him critical care formula and liquid calcium and are bathing him twice a day in Repti-Boost to rehydrate him. We have also been managing to chuck some greens in his mouth every now and then which he does eat albeit not exactly willingly.
Despite this he is still steadily losing weight, dropping a gram or so every day.

He has little raw red patches on his skin which the vet thinks may be septicemia related and she also thinks he's probably got some parasites and that the blood test may indicate a kidney problem. He's definitely got some MBD, his spine is curved and his back legs can't support his weight - when we first brought him home he was exploring his new tank and just kept flipping on his back, tripping over his own feet - now he has just given up and doesn't move at all - he'll literally just sit in the same place all day.

It's really sad and I don't think there's much more we can do at this point - I really just wondered if anyone has been through anything similar? The vet has said that if nothing shows up in the blood and faecal tests then the next step would be an endoscopy but I'm wondering how much more to put this little guy through and if the kindest thing is to let him go peacefully?

He isn't responding to what we've done so far - he's still very dehydrated despite the repti-boost baths twice a day. I am really hoping that it is just parasites and that some meds and the corrected heat and lights will turn him around - although, my husband and I both think he's getting steadily worse really - it's almost like the proper care has had a negative effect on him.

The person we bought him from was lovely and she really believed that Spike was the picture of health (although how on earth she could think this is beyond me) so I think his problems are a lack of proper knowledge really. She had that week bought a snake though so I have reluctantly reported her to the RSPCA - they haven't been much help though - really they've given me a bit of a ticking off for taking Spike - I think they would have preferred us to leave him there and call them but we really didn't realise how bad he was until we got him home.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:02 pm 
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Sounds like really bad MBD possibly combined with intestinal parasites. If so there's little you can do other than maintain the calcium dosing and UV light. Too cold for him to go outside (natural UV is vastly better) - personally rather than daily baths (which can cause respiratory problems) I'd use an eye dropper or syringe and drip a little water in his mouth daily but be very careful as his jaw is probably very soft and could break.
At this stage it's basically up to your care and a prayer offered to which ever deity you may believe in. :(

Rick

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:35 am 
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We tend to prop him up in the bath on a cloth and then he sometimes has a little drink himself, but we'll have a go with a dropper for a while - we're pretty adept at gently getting his little maw open now - he is fighting me a bit more on it which is hopefully a good sign, he seems a bit stronger.

The other reason for the baths is that he's really struggling to pass anything as he's obviously very weak and his vent is very inflamed and red and obviously causing him some discomfort when he tries - the baths do seem to be helping him a little with that and also with keeping him clean. The day we picked him up his vent was clogged with dried faeces and when we got home the other day he had been in his viv and just sort of lay there in his own mess and hadn't quite managed to get everything out. Would you think it okay to carry on bathing him and be extra vigilant on keeping his head out or are the respiratory problems more of a humidity issue?

Unfortunately I noticed this morning that he has more of these little skin lesions appearing which is obviously not great though his weight is up since yesterday morning. I spoke with the vet last night and the blood test results showed bugger all really. His white cell count is a little low and there was maybe a bit of an indication that he could maybe have something viral but nothing glaringly obvious. We should get the results of his faecal back tonight so I'm hoping that there's an obvious problem there and that it's treatable.

Thanks so much for your reply.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:12 am 
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In this instance the bathing is needed - usually it's the humidity that gets them in trouble. Any sign of mites? These will cause lesions but I would have expected the vet to spot them. Is there anything he can scratch himself on? He may well have thin damaged skin that gets abraded when he moves. It's all really guesswork but if nothing else he needs a simple enclosure at this time, somewhere to hide a good temp gradient 39C down to 28C (give or take) and something like kitchen paper or similar as substrate. All easily cleanable and nothing to cause further injury.

Rick

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:06 pm 
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We've (us and the vet) checked thoroughly for mites as that was our first thought but no sign. His scales are very flaky though - especially on his beard - not like a shed, just very thin, individual scales seem to flake off him.

The parasite tests all came back negative except for a small trace of worms - nothing they want to treat wile he's so ill already.

We have a ten day course of antibiotics to try him on to try to perk him up and address the possible virus and the skin problem. They've also given us some Emeraid to try alongside the CCF and liquid calcium - hopefully this will see some improvement.

He's on vinyl and besides a water and food dish there is just a low-ish bamboo root in there - so he can scratch on that if he wants but he really just lays motionless 24/7 t the moment.

If the course of antibiotics don't improve him then I think we're unfortunately going to have to consider having him put to rest.
We don't want to force feed him indefinitely as it obviously distresses him. He's really just sleeping constantly and if awake he just lays in the same spot - we've put a webcam on him now to keep an eye on him throughout the day - he hasn't moved at all in the last six hours and I doubt he will until we get home and medicate/bathe him.

So ho-hum really. We'll plough on with the pampering and medication for now and just continue to hope for the best!

Thanks again for your thoughts and advice,


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:10 am 
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The other thing that is working against you is a natural need to brumate at this time of year. With this even lifting temps doesn't break the cycle so it's quite possible that this needs to be taken into account when considering his lethargy as well.

Rick

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:39 am 
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Yes I did wonder about that but I doubt he'd survive a brumation unfortunately so we've just tried to keep him comfortable and quiet.

His beard is very black all the time - a lot of it is that he is pretty mad with the tube feeding and now injections, but I'm sure he's uncomfortable in general and in some pain too. He vomited yesterday though I believe that is largely down to the fact that he has just been sat wherever we put him - we were worried about him overheating so haven't been leaving him in the basking end while we're out, just popping him there for a spell in the evenings so I guess he maybe hasn't been warm enough for long enough to digest.

We're going to finish the antibiotics course - at least we'll know we've done our best to save him and have given him a chance at survival. It's very upsetting to watch him though - we've another 12 days until the course is finished so I hope we're doing the right thing.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:06 am 
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What's his weight? Has he enough to carry him a few days without food? Less stress if you're not force feeding at the moment.

Rick

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