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  • Reptile Forums 1 Post By Thalatte
  • Reptile Forums 1 Post By bucher70

How Do I Get a Sick Water Dragon to Eat??

  1. #1
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    How Do I Get a Sick Water Dragon to Eat??

    Rex has been going through some issues lately, we've seen a vet and determined the problem and the cause of everything- enclosure is being worked on to fix humidity probs and the temporary enclosure has perfect temps and humidity. It is lacking in things to climb on, but he doesn't seem up to climbing much anyhow.

    Ok, well my huge question here is HOW do I get some nutrients into Rex so that he can get healthy again!?!?
    He had a calcium injection yesterday, so hopefully that is a start, but he is showing no interest in any food.
    I made him a mixture of crushed fruit and calcium powder (to the consistency of baby food) and put some on his mouth and nose... I got about 3 licks out of him.
    I know that he is probably SO stressed out what with the vet visit and smaller home and my constant attention. I want so bad to leave him alone, but he won't eat anything!! I also need to help him finish shedding, but am trying to minimize handling as much as possible bc he hates baths. Help!






  2. #2
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    So for the eating of he isn't eating on his own then you need to get a organic baby food with no preservatives, onion, or garlic and that IS a meat veggie mix as he needs the protein. Also pick up some pedialyte and pipettes. Then mix the two together till you have a runny soup that is easily sucked up by a pippette. Then gently squeeze it onto his nose and have him lock it off. It will need to be done several times a day as he won't eat that much right now. If he doesn't lick it off your gonna have to open his mouth and force it down, this shouldn't be done as often maybe twice a day. And while he is sick just resign yourself to stressing him out. It's gonna happen but it's for his own good.

    Ps. After a few days of force feeding leave some waxworms or Phoenixworms or butterworms in a bowl in his enclosure and once they start disappearing stop the force feeding. You want something without a chitin shell to make it easier for him to chew and digest while he is still recovering so no crickets mealworms or roaches for the next few weeks.
    n0wuseeme likes this.

  3. #3
    Subscribed User cassicat4's Avatar
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    Re: How Do I Get a Sick Water Dragon to Eat??

    If you find the mixture isn't working on its own (i.e. it's not prompting your dragon to eat on its own) I would try using some Reptaid/Reptaboost as well (can be found at pet stores). You can mix it in with the baby food, and it's intended to be an appetite stimulant. Some people have success with baby food only, others require the Reptaid.

  4. #4
    Elite Member bucher70's Avatar
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    Re: How Do I Get a Sick Water Dragon to Eat??

    What exactly are your temps and humidty? Telling us they are perfect dosent help us, there may be some tweaking needed. Does he have any places to hide, like foilage , hide boxes ect? An exposed dragon will not eat if they feel unsecured/vulnerable.
    Another option is to as your vet about critcal/carnivore care or emeraid critical care. THese are veterinary labeled products that are nutritionally complete and meant to be fed through syringes/feeding tubes. Much better for a recovering animal than anything you can make at home. I assum since he is getting calcium injections that he has MBD. Did your vet give you oral calcium as wel? Does he have unfiltered exposure to uvb lights or natural sunlight? These are all important for treatment and recovery. If its warm out, take him out in the sun for about 15 to 30 min at a time, this will help tremendously!

    Good luck!

    I also wanted to mention that you should take great care with him, especially when opening his mouth, it is very easy to fracture his jaw if his bone density isnt normal.
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    Moderator mshrmheadcharge's Avatar
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    Re: How Do I Get a Sick Water Dragon to Eat??

    Can you give a detailed run down of how this temporary enclosure is set up? Exact temps/humidity, substrate, number of hides, enclosure size and is it a high or low traffic area that he is being kept in? How are you measuring the temps (digital or analog)? Force feeding may not be necessary, and honestly I suggest holding off on it in case it's a husbandry/stress issue

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thalatte View Post
    Ps. After a few days of force feeding leave some waxworms or Phoenixworms or butterworms in a bowl in his enclosure and once they start disappearing stop the force feeding. You want something without a chitin shell to make it easier for him to chew and digest while he is still recovering so no crickets mealworms or roaches for the next few weeks.
    Thanks so much for the good info! Unfortunately it will take a little while to get phoenix worms delivered, as I have no idea where they sell them locally. Petco had only mealworms and superworms.

    Quote Originally Posted by cassicat4 View Post
    If you find the mixture isn't working on its own (i.e. it's not prompting your dragon to eat on its own) I would try using some Reptaid/Reptaboost as well (can be found at pet stores). You can mix it in with the baby food, and it's intended to be an appetite stimulant. Some people have success with baby food only, others require the Reptaid.
    I just found Reptaboost at the petstore today (before I read this) and was so happy to have found it. Probably could have saved myself a bunch of money at the vet... I just fed him some just now. I took it very slow at first, as he is So small and it was the first time I ever had to open his mouth for him, and he gets so skittish about it all, but he did lap it up. I love that the product included a syringe, measuring spoons and cup.
    Anyway, so I still need babyfood in addition to that right?

    Well bucher and mshrmheadcharge, he stopped eating way before he was moved to the temporary enclosure. We had him in a large wooden enclosure with foliage, things to climb on, live plants, UVB, heat lighting, water, moss, etc... However I've determined that the humidity was fluctuating too much and when our fogger broke, we couldn't keep it up to a proper level. He stopped eating crickets and would only eat mealworms, so I suspect that's the cause of his MBD. (I'm assuming it's MBD because an x-ray showed a decline in bone density, however the Vet never mentioned that term as I'm not sure she'd ever even heard of it. She Ran out of Time to do her research before my appointment. : |
    Sorry, back to the point. I've moved him into a plastic bin, with repti-carpet on the bottom, as well as a small green hand towel under one water bowl (I figure he's used to that color... can reptiles even see color??) He's got his favorite potted potho plant in there, which he basks on and his favorite water dish/toilet. There's also a big water bowl with a lip that he can hide behind and I also added just a bent piece of cardboard to hide under. There are some sticks and fake foliage coming out of the water bowl for him to climb on as well. The bin is one of those with the folding lids, so that I can keep one side shut and the other open for the lights to hang through. The plastic keeps the humidity nice and high and constant at 82-84 %. The temps are around 75 at night and 90 during the day.
    I actually do have him still in the living room though, and while it's just my fiance and I here I probably should move him upstairs where it's quieter. We are both gone during the day though and it's quiet down here at night. It's just that upstairs is cooler since we sleep with windows open. I chose warmth over quiet...

    PS, he's definitely not exposed as I have to look for him from 3 different angles every morning and every time I get home from work. He is often well hidden : )

    Quote Originally Posted by bucher70 View Post

    I also wanted to mention that you should take great care with him, especially when opening his mouth, it is very easy to fracture his jaw if his bone density isnt normal.
    I was So nervous to do this! I only opened it just slightly because I was afraid of hurting him, but do you have any good tips about how to do it? I used the tip of the syringe to sort of pry his little mouth open, from the side. I wonder if there's any videos on it. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Thalatte View Post
    So for the eating of he isn't eating on his own then you need to get a organic baby food with no preservatives, onion, or garlic and that IS a meat veggie mix as he needs the protein.
    What fruit/veggies do you recommend as far as baby food?

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    NO NO NO! The humidity is WAY To high. It should never get above 80 for an extended period of time as this will cause respiratory infections! Humidity should never be below 50% or above 80%. 60-76% is a good range though I divide up they year so that from oct-march is a dry season wih humidity in the 55-67% and from apr-sept it is about 65-78%. This is closer to what India would be. You don't have to do the dry and wet season that is just how I like to do it.

    I used a chicken or turkey with mixed vegetables flavor mixed with mango pedialyte. Just read the infredients and make sure there is no onion or garlic. As far as opening the jaw I used the thin tip of the pippette from the side like you did but you can also take a cleaned credit card and gently wiggle it between his lips from the front. Though after awhile I found that after the first drop she would lick the rest off her jaw.

  8. #8
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    Hi. Can you give exact temperature readings please and tell me what you are using to measure them?

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