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Thread: Bearded Dragon Skin or Parasite infection?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Bearded Dragon Skin or Parasite infection?

    So after three years of waiting, I decided to purchase another bearded dragon, while I was down at the San Diego Reptile show. I purchased a super cute month old citrus hypo juvie (crossed with a leather back). Near the end of July, I noticed a slight discoloration on almost the middle of the tail, a little higher up toward the base (not at the base). I disinfected the tank, and didn't think much of it, thinking it was shed. At the time I was having some retained shed issues with him. Until he became less active and started losing weight and peaked my concern. The tail discoloration was now moist, and I put a triple antibiotic ointment on it. I was recommended to take him to the vet, which I did. By the vet appointment, he was getting very underweight.

    One look at the tail and he pulled the skin right off him, which I was not expecting. The vet couldn't give me any information of what was causing this, but we put him on oral antibiotics and a topical cream for the tail. I went back and disinfected the tank. The substrate in his 30 gallon is paper towel only. He has not been interested in salads, but was always eating his bugs, crickets and dubia roaches. After his vet appointment he was 13 grams, active and eating bugs and sometimes fruit. However, the tail was not getting better.

    If anything the tail was getting worse. the tail was discolored in a sheen of grey. Not necrotic and black, just gray over the original color. During soakings the scales would come off, and it was just generally irritated. But he was regaining weight, so I figured things look worse before they heal. So far no research could provide any similar cases. So with the improvement of his weight, no signs of lethargy, and daily medications, I wasn't too worried, but still agitated that I was having so many costly issues with a breeder bought beardie.

    The discoloration started spreading through the tail (everything below the initial wound, so down all the way to the tip), and I knew that this wasn't a good sign. This was not the same as what happened with the original wound, nothing festered, or became moist with what I assume to be puss, or something of that ilk. Honestly it's been quite baffling. The tail is soaked everyday and then dried, and just thoroughly kept clean in general. Then literally overnight, he dropped all the weight, his tail completely depleted, and just overall emaciated. The next morning I was shocked to discover this drastic turn in health.

    Made a vet appointment, couldn't get an appointment until three days later. Two days before the appointment (8/23) he was barely eating, and extremely lethargic. Almost thought he wouldn't make it through Sunday. Kept positive, continued to give force feed his medication, CGD, and water to keep him hydrated.

    Day of the vet appointment, once again no answers, being told things I already know. Brought in three different fecal samples, the vet decided that a fecal wasn't necessary. Saturday's fecal was an undigested fecal of perfectly formed dubia roach clumps and Sunday a CGD like fecal. On Monday, the morning of, the fecal was clear liquid. I believe we're basically just trying everything at the moment, since the vet doesn't know what is wrong. Two new oral antibiotics: Panacur and Metronidazole.

    I've been given the "optimistic" assurances before, but I believe that anything can happen. He was given an hydrating shot and an antibiotic shot at the vet, along with his first dosage. And he definitely seems to have gained more energy and is eating. I'm happy with this progress, considering his state on Sunday. He was breathing rather heavily on Monday during the vet appointment, he said possible signs of pneumonia. I even got some betadine, just on the off chance that this is still just a skin issue. He's weighing in at 10 grams.

    I really just want to know what's going on. I would post pictures, but I currently have no pictures, due to camera issues. But will hopefully get some soon, maybe even a vid. Any information of what could be possible causes? Treatments? I've never had any issues with my other beardie, so this has definitely blindsided me. Both beardies have identical setups. It's quite frustrating. I spoke to breeders at the San Jose Reptile fair, I've searched online. I have not contacted the breeder yet, not sure what I will get from them, considering no one else knows what is wrong. I really am just trying to get this little guy healthy. So any help would really be appreciated!

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    Can you get me pics of it if at all possible? I know you said you were having camera issues, but even a phone pic could be helpful. Can you tell me it's setups?

    Most reptiles I have noticed respond better to Fortaz for an antibiotic, unlike most antibiotics it doesnt kill the appetite of the reptile, otherwise the other antibiotic i would suggest would be baytril. Can you se if the vet will give you some nolvasan, this can often be used to help clean open wounds, but I have also found with yellow fungus it kills it off (obviously not from the inside out, just on the surface).
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    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=639AEpZ9izE[/YOUTUBE]

    Okay, finally got the video. Having camera issues is such a pain in the a**, I'm probably going to have to video my new hatchlings at this rate. I suggest watching it all the way through, you can see different details in the tail in different parts of the video. Thanks Melissa for the feedback, I will ask about the Fortaz and Baytril when I make the next appointment. He's kept in a 30 gallon glass tank with paper towel substrate, water basking dish, food dish for dubia roaches or mealworms, separate salad dish (just refuses to eat it). He is misted 2 times a day to frequently (3 - 4 times a day) depending on how he is, due to him lapping the water. The tank has a screen lid, currently in the process of making a plexiglass cover for the cool side. Wood logs, one with a live succulent plant growing out of it. Very very basic setup right now due to trying to keep the tank as clean as possible.

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    Metronidazole and Panacure are not antibiotics, they are anti flagellate/parasite treatments.
    I wish I had answers for you, have they tested your beardie for atadnovirus (spelling?) ?
    Have you contacted the breeder and asked them what could possibly be going on? I wonder if there are some underlying genetic issues here, seeing as its a partial leatherback?
    I have a veterinarian who specializes in beardies, (she even goes to Australia every year and studies them in the wild) I wonder if your vet could contact her for some help/information?
    Is he getting UVB by chance? if so, what kind/how much?
    Help! Crested Geckos! 0.1.Leachie, 2.1.1 Gargs, 1.0 Chahoua, 2.1. Blue Tongue Skinks, 1.1. White Lined Geckos, 1.3. African Fat Tails, 2.2.0 Tokay Geckos, 1.0. Giant Day Gecko, 2 tarantulas

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    Oh, I feel for you. He is so very thin.... I have no clue, just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you and hoping for the very best.

    So very odd. Please keep us up to date. This might help someone in the future. I hope no one needs it though, poor baby

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    My first thought was yellow fungus when you had discribed it as it does have a varient of coloration to it, which I am sure by looking at it, it is a fungal infection, but not 100% that it is yellow fungus. But here are a few things you will need to do/get. Nolvasan, an old toothbrush, and lamisil, grapeseed oil, probiotic. You will want to wash the area daily with the nolvasan, letting the tail and lower limbs soak in it for a min or so, taking the toothbrush and scrubbing it down well. Yes youre beardie is going to start looking like a smurf, but this is by far the best stuff to disinfect the area. I believe Matt sells it already diluted, which will save you the trouble of trying to dilute it yourself. There are also 2 types of nolvasan, a good and a bad, but I honestly dont remember the difference since I just would call up the vets office and get mine from them (I once had a beardie living with cronic fungus infections), so I personally would stick with Matt's product, or get it directly from the vets office unless someone can chime in and tell ya the difference. Be sure to not get the nolvasan in the beardies eyes or mouth. Once you have throughly strubbed, and I would scrub from the back legs and down, give the beardie a rinse, pat dry with a clean towel, the apply lamisil to the area.

    I would also get a probiotic for a few reasons, I find beardies (any species really aside from the rhacs as they hve ti in their food) really do benifit from having this added to their diet. But you will want to offer it daily, then afterwards I normally add it bi-weekly to a beardies diet. But the antibiotics he was on kills off the good and bad bacteria in reptiles, which is why it is so important that while you are using an antibiotic, you are also using a probiotic to replace the good gut flora inside your animal. Beardies are actually prone to fungal infections after being on antibiotics as beardies have a fairly sensitive system, and even a clean keeper can end up with it. This is the one I use
    http://www.reptilesupply.com/product...roducts_id=227
    You can always go to the health food store and buy your probiotic there, but be sure you get one that is sugar free and also artifically sweetened free. I used to get mine from there when I was keeping tons of beardies, now I just get the little bottle since I dont need as much of it, but if you dont want to wait for the shipping by all means hit up the heath food store. And this product should be kept in the fridge, esp the health food store one.

    Grapeseed oil actually treats from the inside out, grapeseed and tea oil are natural antifungals, as is cinninmon (but you dont want to offer that!). I dont know what it is about grapeseed oil but it does work. I dont have an exact measurement on what to give you for it. You could offer something like a drop a week mixed with her greens and see if she will take it that way. Since she doesnt eat her greens, you could also mix it with water, as you continue on with reading this post I will explain about water.

    Another thing you can add to the diet that is also a natural antifungal is alfalfa greens, I normally dont suggest these as a main part of the diet for beardies mearly because I know in many other species of animals they can cause kidney issues, but for a short period, and the occasionally addition into the diet wont cause too much harm. You can do this via alfalfa sprouts as you normaly wont find fresh alfalfa in stores besides that.

    Durring all of this, it is best not to offer any fruits, I personally rarely offer fruits to my beardie anyways, just greens and a variety of veggies, but durring most treatments it is best to stay away from fruit.

    Some other things....Change the paper towels daily and sanitize the tank daily. For now I would get rid of the water dish, you really want to avoid water right now. Instead of misting him, take a dropper and drip water over his nose to lap up, the extra moisture in the infected area is just going to make it spread more. Remove the wood with the live plants growing on it, hopefully the wood hasnt gotten infected with it, myself I would dispose of it, but if you can somehow remove the plants to at least save them into house pants that would be good. Clean everything daily in there, your woods you will want to boil, bake and freeze, and not put them back in there until the fungus is gone. This is one of the many reasons I dont like wood in with beardies, they often get sick easily, rocks and plastic items are easier to clean. To raise her basking area up, try using a hammock and a rock under the hammock for her to climb up onto it.

    How is your beardie eating right now? I know you said she isnt eating her greens, which is fairly normal for a beardie that size they dont eat a ton of them, but how is her cricket/roach intake? I can tell by her tail she has lost alot of weight, beardies have certain fat storage areas, their tail, arms and on the tops of their head is where they store most of their fat. Where on their head you ask? http://www.us1radio.com/images/bizba...%20Dragon1.jpg
    In that picture look on top of the head behind the eyes, on an adult beardie this is easuer to see, they will have 2 rounded buldging areas on top of their head, thats where the fat is stores, in this picture you will see 2 lighter areas on her head, that is about the spot of where it is. When any of the fat storage areas decrease in size (on the head they actually will sink in also), then you know you have a major problem as even fi they are eating, their bodies are not properly converting the food to the nutrition they need. The probiotic will help stimulate the appetite of your beardie, but I really would like to know how much she was eating, and how much she is eating now to get a better idea on which direction to push you to get her to eat more, or other steps that may need to be taken.

    Sorry it is long post....i tend to ramble on beardie issues.
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    I was hoping you would post! I felt if anyone would know what was up, it was you.
    Reptile mag just came yesterday and was talking about sepsis and skin infections and the like...I was wondering

    Thanks for all that great info!

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    quite welcome Cindy Having been working with these guys for as long as I have, I had seen the good, and the bad, I am just glad my obsessiveness with the species helps others..lol
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    Thank you for all the information, I was treating the tail with the recommended treatments, however he just lost his battle tonight. I'm devastated.

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    I am really sorry to hear that Joli. Little ones go down hill quickly compaired to adults, who in them selves can go down hill quickly. But please dont let this discourage you from getting another beardie, they really are wonderful creatures.
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