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Long Term Low Level Dehydration = Terminal Gout

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by Infernalis, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Sadly on January 24 my Savannah monitor of 5 years passed away from errors in husbandry. It has taken me this long to find it in myself to discuss it, But I feel very strongly about getting this paramount information out so that others may benefit from it.

    This particular monitor was raised on a diet of primarily invertebrate foods, so the mythological "fatty liver disease" was not the problem. He was given 40 acres of prime country real estate to roam upon, so he was incredibly well exercised, his cage was located in my reptile room that is environmentally controlled to never fall below 80 degrees (F) and his basking area was maintained at 125-135 at all times except at night.

    We never even knew anything was wrong until one day in November he started coughing, We took him to a vet for a checkup, and unfortunately this vet was not qualified to diagnose yet alone treat reptiles, and he incorrectly assumed that a Baytril regimen would cure this, and I foolishly believed him.

    After 14 days of steady Baytril treatments, my monitor was not improving one bit, so we decided to find a different vet and we found Dr. Sanford who has two masters degrees in zoological medicine, and is reptile certified.

    She did the blood work and found that his uric acid levels were off the charts, she prescribed a treatment for gout but also advised us that his chances for recovery were slim to none, as his internal body chemistry had been so far out of balance for so long that she believed that permanent organ damage had already set in.

    After only three doses of his gout medication he began vomiting blood, then diarrhea set in and it became very clear that he was suffering in ways I hope I never have to witness again as long as I live.

    The decision was made that putting him down was the only humane option available.

    The official post mortem diagnosis was long term low level dehydration, a condition that is brought on by insufficient humidity in the enclosure, a fate that all too many Savannah Monitors suffer when kept in anything but ideal conditions.

    In conclusion, If you have a Savannah Monitor (Or any other monitor lizard) you simply must have at least one accurate digital hygrometer installed in your cage, you must maintain the ideal humidity levels for the species you keep, or the Monitor will eventually die a very ugly death.

    There must be substrate deep enough to support burrowing, if you do not follow this advice, I don't care how "healthy" your lizard may look, they are dying slowly inside. By the time symptoms manifest and become visible it's too late.

    The laws of survival in the wild mandate that they remain vigorous and functional until their final moments or risk falling prey to the next predator up the food chain. Therefore even if you ASSUME your animal is doing fine, the hard cold truth is it may not be so.

    Proper caging and proper humidity levels are the ONLY way to ensure a long and healthy life...

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, and best wishes to all of you and your captive monitors!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2015
  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Very sorry to hear this Wayne! My prayers go out to you and your family
  3. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Starting over, doing it right this time.

    I purchased domain last night and as homage to my departed friend am on a mission to get this data out and hopefully save some lives of these commonly misunderstood monitors.

    The "cheap disposable pet" trade sickens me, I know I can't stop the madness, but I owe it to Chomper to try and help at least some of his brothers and sisters thrive.
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I'm sorry to hear this Wayne. But thank you for having the guts to put this up. Hopefully it will help others.
    If they will listen.
  5. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Sorry to hear this :(
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Wayne, you know how sorry I am, I went through the same agonising time last year with my V. ornatus..
    You make some really important points, the main one being we need to provide conditions that support them 24/7 from the very beginning.
    No matter how healthy they may appear even when the conditions aren`t the best, they WILL develop problems at some stage, though it might take a few years to manifest itself.
    These animals must survive in some of the toughest places on the planet, it takes a lot to kill them, the message to get across should NOT be restricted to diet (or any single parameter) alone, it`s EVERYTHING that needs attention, and everything must be discussed, no "taboo" subjects, because that just adds to the confusion!
    I know you`ve learned from this, and that`s all you can take from it, make the next time work, at least then he didn`t die in vain....
  7. Evozakira

    Evozakira Elite Member

    Sorry about your loss but thanks for putting up such helpful info. I dont have a monitor but im sure others that do will be able to keep them healthy by reading this.
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    That`s all I`ve ever tried to do, it seems quite hopeless at times, and "flogging dead horses" is such a thankless task!

    Still, it stops me geting bored..... :-"
  9. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Sorry to hear about that Wayne. But glad to hear you are talking about it. Too often people brag about their successes but don't speak of their failures. More is to be learned from the latter.
    This quote is paramount. It must be an accurate device. Just because one has just purchased the device means absolutely nothing.
    I suggest having two different brands. Myself I recently purchased another as I didn't trust the one I had. It was reading too low rather than too high. (thank goodness)
    My older one, which was only about 6 months was reading 26% humidity (which I knew was wrong) the new one reads 65%.

    With two you can quickly see there's a difference if one is faulty and then figure out which one it is.

    Again Wayne, I feel for you. I know Chomper was a big part of your lives.
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I think it deserves to be a sticky!;)
  11. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Sorry to hear about the loss--hopefully people take note of this and use it for future reference.
    Good luck with the new site.
  12. jamesw

    jamesw Elite Member

    Sorry to hear about the loss.

    Now to be the bad guy, how reliable is your information when your monitor passed before its time?
  13. ToriH

    ToriH Elite Member

    I'm so sorry for your lost. Chomper was a looker, but I know you did the right thing.
  14. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Thankyou for the courage to further this knowledge. I have also fellen out of favor of the "industrial" pet trade after years making a living off it, something I will never live down but do my best to spread knowledge of what NEEDS to be learned where ever I can.

    I understand how hard it is to recount to others the harsh lessons learned by one of your charges deaths. My condolences to you and those involved.
  15. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    this reliable. ;)

  16. bucher70

    bucher70 Elite Member

    credible and cute!

    All joking aside, very sorry to hear! It really sucks to lose an animal, especially when you really care about thier well being.

    Proper conditions go across the board for all species, Chronic dehydration is often what sends alot of reptiles to an early grave, ie iquanas being the postor child.

    Good luck to you in your future herp keeping.
  17. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Here's the deal, The lessons in life that sink in the deepest, are the ones that sting the most.

    After witnessing this wretched death with my own eyes, I would be absolutely negligent to NOT share what happened.

    If I sit here and start lying and making things up to attempt and "spare my reputation" then my lizard died for nothing, and the cycle continues.

    I decided that I really don't care anymore how many rotten eggs get thrown at me, I owe it to this animal I killed to tell everyone so hopefully anyone, if only one person takes it seriously and seals their enclosure, provides burrows, a range of temps, dammit.. do it right or don't do it at all.

    Dehydration is killing lizards all over the place, why do you think people join forums with a new monitor and six months later they don't post anymore? could it be it's no fun to discuss carcasses?
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

  19. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    I am so sorry for your loss. I want to cry reading this so I can only imagine how you must feel. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have a Savannah monitor I am trying really hard to maintain and your story got me thinking about my own enclosure...Which is not sealed.

    I think it's appropriate to ask... With respect to humidity, what is the goal?

    Of course "high humidity" but how do you operationalize this?

    And further, statements have been made on other threads about the risks of too much humidity... I believe I can safely say that evidence has piled up and there is no such thing as too much humidity.

    Again Wayne, thanks so much for going out on a limb, despite how others might respond to you. I can guarantee you you're making a difference. When I first decided to adopt a Savanna monitor I was all about feeding mice all the way and keeping it in glass tank until it grew to an adult (like that would have even happened with such husbandry). I thought humidity? "Um they live in the Savannah duh! They don't need humidity."

    Then I read and felt like SUCH an idiot.

    I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I am inexperienced when it comes to monitors in every sense of the word but I CARE about learning. And I know there are other responsible people like me out there. This is why it is so important to spread the word about failures and successes and how to properly care for these amazing animals! So I applaud you man.

    If it wasn't for you and other caring keepers (like everyone who actually responds to the monitor posts on this site), I would have monitor jerky in a fish tank right now.
  20. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    This thread has been pruned to keep the topic narrowed down to the original post.
    We do not want to detract anything from the information given and hope to point out several important issues that
    new Savannah owners can learn from.

    If you feel your post brings up any important issues that need to be addressed and should not have been deleted, please start a new thread to bring up the subject again

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