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Thread: Sick beardie

  1. #1
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    Sick beardie

    I've been gone for about 5 weeks on vacation. The first week, I had no one to look after my beardie, but for the rest, I did have a caretaker. The caretaker misted her, fed her veggies, turned the heat and uvb lamps on and off daily, and said she was alert and normal for the time I was gone. When I got back about 3 days ago, I saw that my beardie was skinny and lethargic. She still is skinny and doesn't really open her eyes, and yesterday, I had to assist feed her a few waxworms. Although she doesn't currently have physical symptoms of mbd such as rubbery jaw, bumps from bones, etc, the store owners of the exotic pet shop I got her from immediately said it was mbd, so I've been bathing her in Pedialyte water 2 times daily and threw out the coil uvb, which is what they said caused it, and replaced it with a strip uvb, and purchased a 100 watt desert bulb and a 150 watt desert bulb (and yes, I've had the strip before, but I decided to go with a coil uvb thinking it would be simpler to replace, not knowing they are garbage, and I did have a desert bulb, just not as high). However, I called an exotic vet office, I when I informed her that she hasn't had insects in those 5 weeks, she suggested that the weight loss could be muscle loss from lack of protein since she went a long time with being feed insects. So, could it be mbd that just isn't really showing symptoms, or likelier to be weakness from lack of protein? I tried to put the image below, and I don't know if it'll work, this is my first time on here. Thank you.

    http://20190717_141557.jpg

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    Registered User SilentHill's Avatar
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    Re: Sick beardie

    you could try reptiboost or carnicare...
    dunno about the mbd v. lack of protein but i'm not a vet.

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    I cannot see the picture.

    What are the temps, size of tank, type of substrate (ie tile? Sand?), UVB info on the coil (Is it a 10.0 or 5.0? High Output?), the new UVB info? Do you have a mesh lid for a tank? Pictures will help.

    MBD takes months to show symptoms. Meaning she could have this but did not show problems until now. Coil UVB are the worst, imo, and can blind your beardie as well as not providing enough UVB for most of the area where your lizard is in the tank. However, other problems depends on far is your lizard basking spot to the UVB light. Mesh lids filters out 70% of the rays. So if you was using a regular Reptisun 5.0, and your lizard basks about 12-15 inch from the lid, your lizard is not getting enough rays.

    Another common mistake is to not place the UVB close to the heat source. They need to be on together and placed close together as your lizard needs the heat for the rays to get processed in its body. I had seen owners move the UVB fixture on the opposite side of the tank which is not the correct way to set it up.

    Bad lighting, not hot enough, impaction, egg bound, etc... The list goes on as to why your beardie won't eat. One thing for sure: even though it did not eat insects for 5 weeks, it will eat (With a lot of gusto) if everything else was fine.

    Besides the lighting, does she have a nesting box? Usually you can add it in when you see her scratching the floor. However, with you being gone for 5 weeks, she may had shown signs of laying but did not do so.

    Pick up a timer for your lights. Your beardie needs 10-12 hours of day and night. Avoid relying on memory and pet sitters to do it right.

    Please make an appointment asap with a vet who knows bearded dragons. In the meantime, I can try my best to help you but the vet is the only one who can confirm with bloodwork and physical exam of what is wrong with her.
    Last edited by Cheesenugget; 07-18-2019 at 11:40 AM.

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    Re: Sick beardie

    It's a 40 gallon breeder, substrate is newspaper. The coil was a 10.0, the uvb strip is a Zilla slimline desert fixture, desert 50 uvb T8 flourescent bulb, 18 inches. There is a mesh top. I'll have to get another therometer as the other broke, but right now I have a double sided lamp, one side with the 100 w desert bulb and the other with the 150 w night bulb, both on right now.

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    Re: Sick beardie

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragondinoguy45 View Post
    It's a 40 gallon breeder, substrate is newspaper. The coil was a 10.0, the uvb strip is a Zilla slimline desert fixture, desert 50 uvb T8 flourescent bulb, 18 inches. There is a mesh top. I'll have to get another therometer as the other broke, but right now I have a double sided lamp, one side with the 100 w desert bulb and the other with the 150 w night bulb, both on right now.
    Assuming we are talking about an adult (Over 1.5 years old) beardie, a 40 gallon is a bit small unless you have a small adult. A 75 gallon at minimum for adults is best, not just because of the floor space, but prevents burning your beardie with the UVB strip if it a has nowhere to escape or go under and a better temp gradient.

    Hot spot should be about 90-95F, some people go higher for adults but many including myself stays within this range. Either way, higher than 100F is an overkill.

    Cool side should be no lower than 77F. They can do okay at 75F for a few days but preferred to stay within 77-80F. Room temp usually can cover that.

    STOP using the night bulb. Lizards, including beardies and BTS, can see light even those red light bulbs or other night bulbs. This can stress them out and disturbs their rest. When it is night time, turn all lights off in its tank so it can sleep better. The only time you will turn anything on at sleep time is a CHE for additional heat, usually in the winter. Again, turn off your night bulbs. Ambient light is fine.

    Is it 18 inches from the basking spot to the lid?

    I will tell you more about the UVB later.

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    Re: Sick beardie

    Oh, my fault. I should've been more specific about the lights. I don't know if it makes a difference, but the night heat bulb is a Zilla night black heat bulb, which was recommended to me by the store owner (same guy who sold me the beardie some years ago and just a few days ago said she had mbd). And the uvb is 18 inches long, I was just listing all the uvb's details listed on its box in case someone who knows more about these products had info I may not know on it, and they would know what specific product I was talking about. But while I'm unsure of her age, she is on the smaller side, but isn't a baby, likely still a juvie.

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    Re: Sick beardie

    I echo the person who said you should get your beardie to the vet asap. Also, you don't want to use a mesh lid with the UVB bulb; if your UVB is on top it can block up to 50% of your light.

    You said you got her a few years ago but think she's probably still a juvenile. If she's a few years old she's definitely an adult. How long had you been using the coil bulb? The strip UVB you just installed, is it new? I apologize if you know this, but UVB lights need to be changed every 6-12 months, depending on the brand. If you've been using a coil bulb for a long time it is definitely possible that she has MBD, and insufficient care while you were gone may have caused new problems or exacerbated ones that weren't so obvious before.

    Was your caretaker giving her calcium and vitamin supplements while you were gone? Also, no offense to whomever was the caretaker, but if your beardie was skinny and lethargic when you got home their assessment that she was "alert and normal" is definitely drawn into question (I understand not everyone is familiar with reptiles and it's not easy to get experienced caretakers).
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    Re: Sick beardie

    I've had the coil uvb for almost a year. I used the strip before, but when I started to search for a new uvb, I saw the double sided lamp that comes with the coil uvb, which I thought would be easier to replace and would be as helpful. The strip uvb I now have is a whole new fixture I just purchased a few days ago, and is currently on.

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    Re: Sick beardie

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragondinoguy45 View Post
    I've had the coil uvb for almost a year. I used the strip before, but when I started to search for a new uvb, I saw the double sided lamp that comes with the coil uvb, which I thought would be easier to replace and would be as helpful. The strip uvb I now have is a whole new fixture I just purchased a few days ago, and is currently on.
    All UVB bulbs need to be changed every 6 months (T8) or up to 8 months (T5). Even if it still works, it needs to be changed.

    With mesh lids, you need a T5, not a T8. T5 is stronger and penetrates through the mesh better than T8. If you keep the T8, it needs to be installed inside the tank. The distance between the T5 and basking spot should be about 10 inch. Too close, your beardie will get burned. Too far, she will get less of the rays coming through the mesh. The difference in a T5 and T8 is the size. T5 is stronger because it is slimmer and more concentrated. The brand of bulb I use is the Reptisun High Output or HO 10.0 T5 bulbs. Make sure it says High Output.

    I had seen the Zilla desert UVB fixtures. I have heard that they malfunction a lot. I generally do not use Zilla because their basking bulbs do not last. Whatever fixture you use, keep in mind the above info I gave you. I have the Zoo Med fixture. You cannot use a T8 bulb in a T5 fixture and vice versa. If you switch, you will need to buy the fixture meant for T5. These are not commonly found in stores and that is terrible shame, imo, when T5 works so much better for desert species like beardies. I bought mine from Amazon. It is expensive but worth the long term investment.

    Other brands recommended is the Sunglow which is a mercury vapor bulb that has heat and UV rays. I recommend mercury vapor bulbs only for tanks over 4 feet long as they are pretty strong.

    The fixture should be no longer than 2/3 of the length of the tank if you do not have places for her to hide in or go under.

    Ditch the black light. No lights at night. The black light is controversial and not worth it if you don't need it. Lizards can see light in certain spectrum that we cannot. Beardies do not normally sleep in a hide so this can be bothersome to them.

    Your 100 watts bulb for heat for a 40 gallon breeder is an overkill. Too hot, your beardie may avoid or not bask properly or not as much. Too much heat/unwilling to step closer to the UVB bulb: less UV rays get in her body. A 75 watts should get achieve the temps you need easily, even at 10 inch away from the lid. Always measure your temps when you switch lights and then confirm them every now and then.

    Keep soaking her in Pedialyte. You will need a vet asap for your beardie. If she is not attentive or lays there, that means it is serious.

    To me, it sounds like the lighting may be the main issue, but there may be additional issues. How many times do you supplement Calcium D3 and multivitamin in her food per week from day 1 until now? Make sure it is Calcium with D3, not without D3.

    If she has mbd, it is not the end. Lethargy is a common first sign. Usually, once the lighting is corrected, she will gain a better appetite. But if there is any damage, it is permanent. She may need shots from the vet and other supporting care. Beardies are tough and I had seen much worse. So again, take her to the vet who knows beardies. Fix your lighting in the meantime and get a thermometer for the temps.

    Pick up some wax worms, hornworms and black soldier fly larvae. The last 2 is high in calcium and hornworms is a favorite among lizards. Hornworms have a lot of water too. Don't feed too much in one go though.

    Take her outside sunning (with a leash on her or hold onto her) every day or every week for a few hours at a time. The best UV is the sun. I had seen appetite improvements when the lizards get some sunning.
    Last edited by Cheesenugget; 07-18-2019 at 08:17 PM.

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    Re: Sick beardie

    I supplement her food with calcium every time I feed her. And the calcium does have D3. I do have waxworms and fed her some coated in calcium powder yesterday and I'll see what I can do today. I'll wait for the sun to come out to see if I can get her outside.

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