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Follow-up... [Apr. 11th, 2011|05:15 pm]
Everything Bearded Dragons


[Current Mood |moodyheartbroken]

Well, this is not the follow-up post I had hoped to write... I took Stella to Dr. Mertz, a.k.a. the Odd Pet Vet, in Weymouth MA. He took an x-ray right away, having felt the same lump in her stomach I had felt a month earlier that "Dr." O'Leary in Worcester dismissed as "I don't feel anything." Right away I knew it didn't look good, as his initial diagnosis was that it was likely a small tumor. We opted to do emergency surgery to remove it... but as soon as he was inside, he knew exactly what was happening -- she had a very advanced case of visceral gout. In case you guys don't know about this condition, you should. The causes are more or less unknown - he said it was likely just some bad genes - but once it's taken hold, it affects kidney function and sends urea crystals out into the body, which then latch onto the other internal organs... It's irreversible, and sadly...it's fatal.

The morning of the appointment, Stella had almost no body strength left and wasn't even able to move herself when she defecated. So when the doctor told me what was going on, and that even post-surgery she would likely not get any better than she was that morning, I made hands-down the hardest choice I've ever had to make... I had to let her go. I just could not stand the thought of her suffering any more - this condition can be very painful for beardies, and they have no way to show that to us...

I miss my little girl so much already. I know I made the right decision but that doesn't make it hurt any less.


For anyone out there in the greater Boston area - anyone in New England, really - please, PLEASE avoid the Worcester Cat & Bird Hospital at all costs. Dr. Mertz in Weymouth refuted a number of things that the Worcester vet had told me -- like, did you know that you can't tell if a beardie is dehydrated by pinching its skin and seeing if it 'snaps' back? Doesn't work on reptiles, he said. And, did you know that you can't really give a beardie an enema? Too hard to know which way you're heading (digestive, reproductive, etc.). So glad I paid to have that done in Worcester a month earlier. And he also said to avoid salty drinks like Gatorade to fight dehyrdation, because the saltiness of the drinks actually makes them counter-productive. And finally, he said that the maximum basking temperature for beardies should be 95 F, not the 110-115 you read about online all the time, and their cool side should be closer to 75 F. Sadly, none of this would have helped my poor Stella, but it was revelatory to hear him say these things.

Thank you all for your support over the last few years... if I ever get another beardie, I'll know where to turn.

R.I.P., Stella. <3


[User Picture]From: silver05
2011-04-11 11:07 pm (UTC)
I'm so, so sorry to hear about your beardie. I was so worried when I read your first post, I'm sorry it didn't work out. :(
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[User Picture]From: aimneezy
2011-04-26 09:13 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry about Stella :( We lost our Keisel in the middle of March. It sounds like you put up with a lot of crap that you didn't have to put up with. Our beardie quit eating all together and we thought it might be impaction and they gave him an enema and it was nothing. I hope in time you can get another beardie, they really are great pets. *hug*
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[User Picture]From: migoto_03
2011-06-05 10:45 pm (UTC)
Do you mean gatorade as in...you give it to bearded dragons? o.o Or just as a little tidbit of information for us humans...?

and yes, I full-heartedly agree. Basking temps should not reach 115, at least for my dragon. I admit I have a rather pitiful set up for Damien: a rather loud, buzzing UV light (which probably is due for a replacement--6 months ago...) and an incandescent light bulb for her heat lamp. Yep. Regular 100 watt light bulb. Funny, it gives off nearly as much heat as a 50$ or more basking lamp. So she's gotten accustomed to lower temps, her basking spot is around 80-85 degrees according to the stupid glass thermometer in the cage (never trust those) and her cold side is room temperature at about 70-73.

So when I set her out daily in her basking spot by the living room window, she usually ditches the sunspot after 10 minutes or so and pants in the shadows, then goes back and basks some more. And the sunspot rarely makes it to 95 degrees, so I know if she were ever placed in an environment were the basking spot was 110, she'd surely overheat and die.

Kudos to that doctor, it's a pity he wasn't able to do anything for Stella. I don't know what I'd do if I lost Damien. :(
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[User Picture]From: faerydragonet
2011-09-17 07:23 am (UTC)
Gatorade is too much for a beardie. If you need to give a beardie electrolytes. You can use pedialyte diluted in water.
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