Bearded Dragons-General Forum
Introduction and sad story - please help.
I am new here and wanted to introduce myself and also post about our situation to hopefully get some advice and help. It’s a long story so please bear with me. If you make it all the way through then BLESS you. My family (myself, hubby and two daughters ages 5 and 7) adopted a baby bearded dragon from Petco (first mistake) at the end of September 2017. We were sent home with the infamous “bearded dragon kit” (second mistake) and the handouts from the pet store and naively believed everything they told us (third mistake). We brought him home (We call “him” Spike but realize Spike may be a female) and we (myself, hubby and two daughters) all fell in love with him instantly. You’d think he was a newborn baby the way we doted over him. He was so tiny, adorable and the custest creature we had ever seen. He loved his crickets and baths and was a happy little guy. Fast forward three weeks later and our community was devestated by the Northern California/ Wine Country Fires. We had literally minutes to flee from our home at 1:30am when the firemen pounded at our door. They told us to leave immediately, not in 5 minutes, but NOW. My husband and I just looked at eachother and said “if it loves us back, we take it” So it was our kids and our animals and not a thing more that left with us that night. Our neighborhood, home, my workplace and both my daughters schools were all destroyed. Spike escaped in a glass food container that night with us when we fled our home. We took shelter at a friend’s home the next town over. We attempted to keep him warm by taking a wet washcloth and warming it in the microwave and then placing it underneath the glass container. He looked pissed as you can imagine.
At sunrise we went to the only pet store open and were met with a line around the block. Droves of people in line to purchase everything for their animals they had lost in the fires - food, Kennels, birdcages, fish tanks, anything you can think of. It was shocking and devastating to see. We grabbed the only terrarium kit left and left thankful we found something for our baby dragon. Next was finding somewhere for us and for the animals to live, but the animals were more pressing as we knew we could couch surf with friends but that would be more difficult with a dog, two cats and a tiny beardie I tow. As you can imagine, the community was completely overwhelmed with animals in need of foster homes (and people needing places to go too, so many homes were lost that there was an immediate and catastrophic housing shortage), it was a chaotic scramble of the community trying to put roofs over people and animals heads as best they could. We didn’t have a lot of choices and it was hard enough trying to find foster homes for our dog and two cats, let alone a baby beardie. When no one could or was willing to take him, a good friend of mine finally stepped up to the plate and offered to take him in. We were relieved and thankful. We gave her the same instructions we were given for him, set up his terrarium for her and left her with his calcium and some bags of crickets. After two weeks of couch surfing we were finally able to find a fifth wheel trailer to live in. My friend would send me pics and videos of Spike weekly and we even visited him a few times. He looked happy and healthy and was growing like a week. She switched him to Dubia roaches at one point and fed him plenty of fruits and veggies. Then, about three weeks ago, tragedy struck her family and she was no longer able to care for Spike. We had no choice but to take him back even though we are still living in someone else’s trailer. When we got him back he was the same heathy Spike he had been and we were actually very excited to have him home. We continued with the calcium powder on his salads and the dubia roaches. Then, about a week ago, we noticed he didn’t seem right. He wasn’t moving a ton or eating like we was. Then, on Wednesday, we noticed his tail looking crooked and his legs (primarily hind) not working.....you can guess where this is going. I immediately took to the internet and to my horror was sure it was MBD. I made an appt the next day (this last Thursday) with a reptile vet who confirmed it. The vet gave him a shot of vitamin d and oral calcium and sent me home with more oral calcium to administer daily and also antibiotics that I must administer with a needle every three days. The vet said the terrarium and UVB lights that come with these kits are terrible and no doubt to blame. He said the UVB light was probably not giving off UVB anymore despite it still being on. He said Spike was most likely going down hill for quite some time. We are all devastated. We feel horrible this happened. But we are willing to do whatever it takes to help him and to hopefully try and save him. This so what we are doing:
We now have him on a multi as well and a better calcium powder. He is offered a salad of collards, mustard greens and some celery leaves and papaya.
He has a fresh water bowl (which he’s never touched, even when he was healthy)
We are still offering him dubia roaches.
We are bathing him in warm water for 10-15 minutes a day.
He is getting the prescribed oral calcium.
We have a repti-sun 10.0 now and a repti-sun 150w basking bulb (7 inches away from the bottom of the terrarium- vet said to remove all rocks and hides so he could not risk falling or getting stuck. He can easily crawl in and out of his basking spot. (Basking is at 105 and cool is at 80).
We have a heat emmitter for the night time.
He is on reptile turf.
We lay in the sun with him on our chest for about 30 minutes a day.
He has a follow up vet appt this coming Tuesday.
We have purchased him a big wooden terrarium and whole new set up, like the works with new slate tile on the bottom, new thermostat, dimmer switch, two thermometers, new hide and wood log, you name it - it is nicer than the tailor we are living in - cost us almost $700 for everything 😨 but the vet said to hold off as he is stressed enough so we don’t even have him in it.
His appetite is still not great. His beard is black and he puffs up and opens his mouth when we sees us. He just seems pissed at us 😢
He is still lethargic and just plain looks terrible.
What else can we be doing? What are we missing? We are heart sick over this and when I say we will do anything I mean it. We love him so much. We have lost so max already, we can’t bear to lose Spike too. Thank you for any help you can give 🙏
Message To: Licensetolizard In reference to Message Id: 2322237
Introduction and sad story - please help.
Hey there! First off, I know how you feel about getting him from a pet store. I work at a Petco, and the lil babies come from SOUTH AMERICA. They’re always too tiny, and most of the reptiles that we get are horribly skinny and have symptoms of MBD. Because we as a store cannot change who our vendors are, my fellow employees and I do our best to get them back to full health with vet visits and such. The setups are always horrible. I’m known as the ’bearded dragon’ person at work, so I’ll always ALWAYS tell people to steer away from the ’starter kits’. The pamphlets--I’m sure they are the exact same ones--are incorrect in many places. Unfortunately, if the employee does not know much about the specific animal, they probably came up with whatever was on the top of their head, or they followed the manager’s instructions--again, usually misinformed because corporate gives the wrong info as well. He may have had the beginnings of MBD when you got him, depending on how he was kept at the store. Unfortunately, without a lot of handling, beardies can easily become aggressive. Mine, for example, is only territorial inside of the terrarium. Once she’s out, she’s a perfect little angel. Try handling him a bit more. If he’s in shed, he’ll be crankier than usual.
I also give my beardie a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement once a week because if the UVB bulb is on the outside of the screen cage, it prevents some of the helpful rays from getting to your lizard.
Water bowl--a lot of beardies can’t recognize standing water. I have to give mine water by hand. The beardies I work with have never taken a drink from the water bowl either.
All of the moving around and vet visits/medication have probably made him very stressed, so don’t take it personally. He needs time to readjust, and remember, he went a chunk of time hardly even seeing you. He’ll have to readjust to YOU, too.
Good luck, and I hope Spike feels better soon!