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My 18 Month Old Bearded Dragon Has a Serious Eye Problem

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by Jon2683, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Jon2683

    Jon2683 Member

    Hi my name is Jon, I have a couple of issues with my bearded dragon and need help! He is about 18 months old and has a serious eye problem which the vet can't seem to sort out. He developed it about 6 months after I got him. We've tried eye drops and antibiotics, she thinks he is dehydrated and not able to fight it off, so for the past 3 months I have been hand feeding him water and giving him more baths. The other thing the vet thought might be the problem was the viv, so I changed it about 3 weeks ago to a 4ft wooden one which seemed to help the issue a little at first (the old one was glass which was hard to keep the temps right) About 1 week ago just after we stopped the meds he stopped eating too - veg and bugs altogether. So I don't know if stopping the antibiotics has caused him to stop eating or getting the new viv, bare in mind there was no change in him for 2 weeks after getting it.

    The old viv temps ran between 95 and 105 in the basking spot and 75-85 in the cold spot and 60 at night but as I said before these changed a lot, due to the ambient temp of the room. It had 2 daylight and 2 uvb bulbs that had to penetrate through wire mesh. I did use sand for a few weeks but changed to newspaper after reading the issues sand can have.

    The new viv is one from pets at home, the one with the 2 shelves in it- if that helps! It runs between 105 and 110 in the basking spot and 80-85 in the cool area and about 70 at night, these temps are now constant. I have 1 uvb strip light about 12inches from the bearded dragon and 1 daylight striplight - both run the length of the tank. He usually eats a mix of veg recommended on many websites and about 5 bugs twice a week- but as I said before he stopped eating altogether about a week ago (2 weeks after I got the new viv) I bath him twice a day and even syringe 3mls of water twice a day (advised by the vet)

    I am lost on what the problem might be, I was hoping by upgrading the viv it would sort the temps out enough to fix his problems as the vet thinks his eye problem is down to having the wrong setup. He has already spent 2 nights at the vets because he suddenly dropped in weight, a blood test was taken but came back ok. She swabbed his eye but hasn't sent that off yet because of what is happening now.

    Has anyone had a similar issue?

    Thanks in advance, if I've left anything out that might help just let me know

  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Are you using particulate substrate?
    Do you leave live crickets in the enclosure?
    Were the drop Vitamin A Drops?
    What is the brand and wattage of your UVB?
    What are you using for vitamins and minerals and how often of each type?
    Do you have a photo?
    How are you measuring his temperatures?
    Does he have a large shallow water dish that he can go in?
    What are the veggies and greens are you feeding?

    Also how often do you have a fecal done to check for parasites?
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    What kind of lighting did you have in the old viv?
  4. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    A photo would be helpful.
    I've had my bearded dragon to the vet for an eye condition when he was younger too, although I don't know if it's the same thing you're experiencing.
    He has droopy eyelids, which is often a sign of dehydration, but in my case, it was an inherited genetic condition. The problem with his eyelids is that they are constantly prone to infection, which makes them worse.
    He ended up getting an infection which caused him to stop eating. He was given meds to fight off the infection, and once they were done, all that was prescribed are eye drops which I have to give him once a week and flush his eyes out several times a week.
    If stopping the meds caused your beardie to stop eating, it's possible that what they were treating hasn't been completely taken care of - an internal infection perhaps.

    But yes, answers to the above poster's questions will help greatly.
  5. Jon2683

    Jon2683 Member

    Hi, thanks for replying

    I'm using newspaper, I did use sand when I first got him but stopped after reading the issues around it.
    No I don't leave crickets in the viv, he generally snaps them up straight away
    The drops the vet gave me was called tiacil, not sure if they were vitamin a though. It was to treat conjunctivitis- the vet thought it might have been that.
    The ubv light is exo terra repti-glo 10.0 30 watts (same as make and wattage as the old one in the last viva I had, but this time it covers the length of the viv where the old one didn't)
    I am using calci-dust made by vetark professional. I dust his veg and crickets, but to be honest I didn't do it as much when I first got him, I now dust everytime
    I have 3 digital thermometers, basking spot, cool area and in the middle for a overall ambient temp
    Yes I have a large water bowl but he has never drank on his own or even bathed in it
    I feed him spring greens and parsley daily, butternut swash, peppers, green peas from the pod every few days
    He passes normal feces about twice a week, I've not had them checked for parasites. It can be watery at times though, at the moment he isn't really going because he isn't eating.
    I will upload some photos later, my phone isn't uploading them! To give you an idea though, his eye crusts over and when I clean it loads of clear gooey stuff come out of it.

  6. Jon2683

    Jon2683 Member

    Hi, the lighting in the old viv was 2 daylight coil bulbs on 1 side and 2 uvb coil bulbs on the other, they were housed in a canopy above his viva. The basking bulb was about 12 inches from a log he used to climb.

    They were repti-glo 10.0 and 2.0 and the basking was a exo 100 watt bulb

  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

  8. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    So you haven't been using a multi vitamin? This should be dusted on your feeders once a week, sometimes a vitamin A deficiency will cause eye problems.
    Dust 3 times a week with the pure calcium powder
    Dust once a week with the multi vitamin
    Dust once a wee with Calcium with D3

    You can try some turtle eye drops and see if this improves his eyes.

    Also like merlin mentioned the Compact fluorescent (coil) can cause eye problems.
    Glad that you removed the sand.
    Make sure that the probe of the digital thermometer is touching the basking area to get a proper reading, if it isn't touching something it will only read the air temperature.
    It's important to try to get him to drink some water, you can place him in a warm bath 85 degrees F, and drip some water on his nose, this may get him to start drinking.
    If he does have a poop, bring it in while fresh for testing, this will rule out parasites.
  9. Jon2683

    Jon2683 Member

    IMAG0269.jpg IMAG0275.jpg IMAG0273.jpg IMAG0272.jpg IMAG0268.jpg IMAG0294.jpg IMAG0293.jpg IMAG0299.jpg

    These are the photos of his eye which I took when he was in his old viv. I have also uploaded some pictures of his new viv.

    Thanks once again
  10. Jon2683

    Jon2683 Member

    No I havn't used multi vitamin, I have always thought calcium powder was enough - makes sense though!

    The eye drops the vet gave me say on the side 'for dogs, cats and rabbits' do you think she gave me the wrong drops? I did ask her at the time but she said they were ok....I'll try the drops you said.

    Just so you know at the moment his basking spot temp (which i have moved the probe of the thermometer onto the rock he basks on) is reading 112 and the his cool area is reading 85.6 Are those temps ok?

    I wasn't aware that the coil bulbs could be harmful, I'm starting to get the idea that his old vivarium was definitely set up wrong (it was one of those starter packs from pets at home)

    I have started bathing him more (three times a day) just so I can get him re- hydrated but I'm still having problems getting him to eat, the crickets won't even make him interested like they used too.....he hasn't eaten anything for about a week now and I have noticed he is burrowing under the newspaper ever now and again (mainly at night) have you got any ideas on what I can do there? I think he did this last year, is this normal?
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, it looks more like a problem with the eyelid rather than the eye, which seems quite clear and bright, what exactly did the vet think? The problems with at least some of the coil bulbs is that they were placed too close to the animal/s.
    The basking surface temp is o.k, but the probe must touch the surface of the basking object, is that how you take the reading?
    The cool side ambient (air) is too warm, you only need it around 24c (75f) during the day, no lower than approx 20c (68f) at night.
    Bathing the dragon will not hydrate it unless the lizard actually drinks the water, they cannot absorb fluid through the skin.
    You do not need to offer supplementary D3 if you`re using good quality UVB bulbs/tubes.
  12. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    It does look like the eyelid like murrindindi mentioned and ditto on the cool side temps being too warm.
    What wattage and brand of light are you using for heat.
  13. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Hi, two things I must respectfully disagree on - I've had my beardie to two different herp vets and they both said the same thing:

    1 - bathing does hydrate them (as it does with many reptiles) as they will absorb water through their vent. Ideally, if he is dehydrated, a bath in 1/2 Pedialyte 1/2 water will help give them much needed electrolytes. If you have a dehydrated dragon, bathing them daily, sometimes twice daily, along with giving them fluids orally is the best means of getting them rehydrated once again. It is especially important for dragons that will not drink on their own.

    2 - bearded dragons do need supplementary D3 as they will not get enough from UVB bulbs alone. As it was mentioned, dusting once a week with D3 will suffice or, if the multivitamin itself contains D3, dusting with that once a week is fine. D3 deficiency can actually cause many symptoms similar to that of MBD.
  14. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I in turn respectfully disagree with your two vets, maybe they can show the evidence that Bearded dragons do absorb water through the cloaca? (I could be wrong)!
    And if good quality UVB bulbs/tubes are being used there`s no need for supplementary D3. ;)
  15. lulubelle

    lulubelle Well-Known Member

    I've read that oral D3 is less effective than having the proper UVB bulbs. The study showed that a group of juveniles weren't given any D3 supplement and didn't show any sort of deficiency. I have to agree with murrindindi and that you'll just need proper UVB.

    EDIT: I do agree with you on the 1st point. Beardies can absorb water through their vent. :)
  16. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Haha, point taken. ;) Well I never did ask the vets to provide evidence, as what they said made sense to me at the time, plus numerous searches from numerous other forums (bearded dragon forums in particular) confirmed what they had said. But, I know enough not to believe everything (or sometimes anything) you read on the internet, so I'm more than willing to defer to someone more knowledgeable. That being said, beyond their words and what I've read online, I really don't have any tangible evidence to provide.

    If you have something that explains that they don't absorb water through their cloaca though, I would love to read about it so I can learn, and I'd be more than willing to pass it on to the other forums I frequent that share my same beliefs. :)
  17. lulubelle

    lulubelle Well-Known Member

    Here you go, taken from someone on another forum:

    "Mader's Reptile Medicine and Surgery, 2ed, states that the vent "plays an important role in the active absorption of electrolytes and the passive absorption of fluids" (148)."

  18. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    We don`t want to detract from the OP`s questions/worries, but I`d just like to see some evidence in the form of carefully controlled (scientific) results showing Bearded dragons can and do absorb water through the cloaca, I have heard this claim before with some species of saurian, but nothing in the form of actual tests. Just as some people believe they can absorb water through their skin (not proven as far as I`m aware)!?
  19. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    True, but if there really is no answer that everyone can agree on, then would it not be better to err on the side of caution when giving advice? As there's no harm in giving baths, if it is indeed rehydrating them at the same time, then great! If not, at the very least, it will aid in shedding and some beardies genuinely seem to enjoy baths.

    I, too, found some info regarding this in an Irish Veterinary Journal

    My concern is this - now I know all herp vets are different, but generally, when you find one that you trust and is highly reputable, it's disconcerting to forward on their advice only to have it shot down on the premise that it doesn't make sense. If the OP's beardie isn't eating or drinking, he will get dehydrated. Force-drinking is an option, but it's stressful for both the owner and the reptile. I would encourage the OP, if dehydration is a concern, to speak with his vet about what he should do. But if the vet suggests baths for rehydration, then what? I know of many vets and vet techs who firmly believe this is accurate, so the chances are there that a vet the OP chooses will suggest the same.

    After hearing both sides, what I'm inclined to do for the future if people ask is to say that some people believe baths will rehydrate their dragon, whereas other people don't. I will encourage them to use their best judgment and instincts and do their research to make a decision for themselves, but I won't definitely say that baths will or won't help. I don't think it's fair for new or inexperienced owners to be given a definitive yes or no on any subject matter when there's obviously so much debate on the issue.

    Sorry, not trying to be off-topic, I've just seen it too many times where people have sought answers that differ so much from what they've been led to believe, and it's really not fair to say anyone is wrong, just that there is a variety of opinion. ;)
  20. Jon2683

    Jon2683 Member

    I was thinking that myself, the vet said that it looks like he has a scratch on his eye which got infected but he isn't fighting it off himself of with anything they've tried. The one thing she is not sure about is the liquid come from his eye. After posting on here and reading all your feedback I think he's been unable to heal himself because his old viv wasn't right for him.

    Yeah the thermometer probe is on the rock directly under the basking light.

    I'm using a exo terra 100 watt bulb - I tried a lower wattage bulb but it seemed to make his basking temp drop to much. What would you recommend?

    Yeah I agree with you there, my vet did actually say there isn't enough evidence to point either way and at the very least the bearded dragon will enjoy himself. She did say because they use there tongue to taste the environment he will hopefully take up some water at the same time the bath, which he does.

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