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Need Help with Severely Dehydrated MHD Rescue!

Discussion in 'Lizards - General' started by Alby, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Alby

    Alby Elite Member

    Hi all! I'm new to this sector of the community and I need some advice concerning my latest rescue. The store I work at received a mountain horned dragon about 3 weeks ago and he was so dehydrated he couldn't move any of his legs, had scales just falling off in patches, and had lock-jaw. I had been rehabilitating him in-store, but all the progress I would make during my shifts would be undone by my talentless co-workers during my days off. I finally took him home today after doing as much research as I could. To my horror, when I went to pick him up he was black, cold, and lifeless. I managed to revive him and he seems to be okay, though he still can't really use his legs. I just want to verify that I've got everything set up correctly and am doing everything I can to make him better.

    I've got him in a tall 30gal viv for now (until I can build a bigger one) with jungle bark and patches of moss as the substrate. He's got a bunch of wood branches, fake plants, a large soaking dish, waterfall, and a 5.0 full spectrum UV light. His temp was sitting at 85 during the day and has dropped to 75 now that I've set him up for the night. The only issue I seem to be having is keeping the humidity up. I can't get it up past 60 even though it feels rather moist in there and I've misted him with warm water 4 times since I brought him home this afternoon. He won't touch live food so I'm syringe feeding for now. I'm also giving him water by syringe, which he seems to like, as well as warm water soaks (I'm planning for 2-3 times a day... he's had 2 today).

    If anyone could offer any critiques/advice on how I can keep the humidity up and/or improve my rehabilitation process it would be much appreciated. I already though I lost the little guy once, I want to make sure he's going to be okay.
     
  2. Renouji

    Renouji Elite Member

    You got lucky with that one, I'm not sure he can be rehabilitated fully, but I will give you all the information I can give. What kind of MHD is he? use this website to try and identify him each species have different environments Mountain Horned Dragon Identification.
    Acanthosaura armata: Thai/Malaysian peninsula (northernmost province of Nakhon Si Thammarat), Pinang and Tioman Islands, and the Indonesian Anamba Islands.
    Acanthosaura capra: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
    Acanthosaura crucigera: Burma, Thailand, northern Malaysian Peninsula, Cambodia, southern Vietnam.
    Acanthosaura lepidogaster: Burma, northern Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, southern China, and the island of Hainan.

    Well he should be 11-12" (Male) or 10-10.5" (female) fully grown. If you meant a 29 gal standard aquarium thats about 30"x12"x18" (LxWxD). If you meant a 30 gal breeder tank then thats 36"x18"x12". Either should be fine for a MHD although I would really recommend the breeder size. Although they are climbers and probably should have 4' height with lots of branches to climb.

    The 5.0 UVB light only has a penetration depth of 10" while the 10.0 has a PD of 20" meaning that the bottom 2-8" of your tank (depending if its the standard or the breeder) is not getting him any UVB. Make sure he has a perch/climbs under the lamp so he can get to the proper height, however if he can't climb then I would go buy the 10.0 bulb.

    The temp should be mid 70s to low 80s during the day and about 72 at night, it should never exceed 84f. You can also choose to cool him during the winter months to as low as 60f.

    The humidity needs to remain at 70-80%. I would replace the moss with something else like coconut husks. someone else could probably give you much better suggestions for this than I can. Also consider a fogger, some site suggest having it mist at dawn and dusk to create humidity and I have seen alot of people suggest using a humidifier, hopefully someone can give you some further suggestions and details here. You can also mist him daily, try misting the sides of the tank a few times a day to increase it. Also don't forget to provide a lot of leaves as they prefer to drink the water off the leaves rather than a water source (another reason to mist regularly or get a fogger/humidifier) and provide a bowl of water large enough for him to soak in.

    The soaks are good since you can't get the humidity high enough, also don't forget to put calcium with d3 (phosphorous free) and multivitamins in his food, this will be crucial to his recovery. Some of us use Repcal Calcium with D3 (Phosphorous free), Repcal Herptivite (Phosphorous free) and repcal Calcium (Phosphorous free & without D3) regularly for our reptiles.

    For when he recovers make sure there are lots of branches and leaves, as well as a moist and a dry hide.
     
  3. bucher70

    bucher70 Elite Member

    Honestly a reptile vet would be able to help you the best. They can give you a diet specifically for recovery, and a prognosis on the animals recovery. It sounds like he is very ill. What are you feeding, how much and how often.
    If it is warm enough, take him out for natural sunlight for about thirty minutes at least. There isnt a bulb out there that can match the sun. This will save you money, and it will gaurentee he is getting enough uvb. It dosent sound like he will be able to seek basking areas on his own.
    Good luck
     
  4. Renouji

    Renouji Elite Member

    Thanks I forgot to mention the bit about the vet!
     
  5. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Poor little guy, best of luck and hope he makes a recovery!

    I agree a vet would definitely be able to help him, offering IV fluids for dehydration would probably be needed!

    Sending you healing thoughts and a prayer for him:)
     
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    If he is in that bad a shape, a reptile vet is the best bet you have for pulling him thru. There is only so much a hobbyist can do.
     
  7. Jem_Scout

    Jem_Scout Elite Member

    I hope he makes it! Let us know what the vet says! :)
     
  8. Alby

    Alby Elite Member

    He's an A. capra, sorry I forgot to mention that bit I was just really freaked out yesterday. We've decided to call him Norbert.

    I had the manager of the store take him to the vet last week. She confirmed the severe dehydration but didn't do much other than prescribe baytril. I'm making an appointment with my herp vet as soon as I can and I replaced the moss with coco husk earlier today. He's got plenty of branches, lots of leaves, and he's been spending most of the day at the top of the tank on a climbing vine. For the syringe feeding I've been using carnivore repti-aid twice a day and I usually add a bit of the rep-cal supplement. For live food I've been trying a variety (wax worms, mealworms, crickets, and earthworms) just to see if anything will get him interested. I always dust them (I already had the supplements for my geckos) and offer the live food first right after his bath when he's most alert. I almost got him to eat an earthworm tonight, but then a storm rolled in and the thunder spooked him.

    For the tank I think it is the breeder size, and I'm planning on building him a much larger one. He can't really climb and isn't using his legs other than to grip my hand when I take him out of the tub. I make sure I place him near the UV lamp on a wide perch I have for him about 5 inches away from the lamp. I also left the blinds open on my window today and the tank is angled so that the light can reach the inside of the tank.

    Thanks Renouji I had a feeling the temp may have been a little high but the humidity wouldn't rise with the lower heat in. I'll reduce it now that its going up.
     
  9. Renouji

    Renouji Elite Member

    Np, just make sure the little guy recovers (^_^)
     
  10. bucher70

    bucher70 Elite Member

    Just fyi. Baytril and severe dehydration should never be in the same sentence. Baytril is relatively nephrotoxic, meaning it damages the kidneys. It should never be given to a severly dehydrated animal. The animals hydration status needs to be monitered closely to ensure that it does not become nephrotoxic.
    You need to take him to the vet sooner than later, for many reasons, but also because of the potential damage the baytril caused.
    This definately did not help his case, and may have done more harm then good.
     
  11. Alby

    Alby Elite Member

    That was my fear. He isn't on the meds anymore, I refused to take them with me when I got him. He seems to have perked up today. He tried really hard to eat a worm but couldn't get it into his mouth. Gobbled up the syringe food though. He's regaining use of his legs too. He actually climbed off my hand up onto my shoulder, then decided that wasn't high enough and climbed up on top of my head all on his own. :) I know we aren't out of the woods by any stretch but that was really encouraging to see.

    The coco husk seems to have helped and, after some adjustments, the temperature has stabilized around 79 and his humidity has jumped up to 75. I do have another question though. Are they known to be really deep sleepers? He slept right through the worst of the storm and my noisy family getting ready in the morning.
     
  12. Renouji

    Renouji Elite Member

    That may not be their nprmal behavior but he is recovering and a body heals best when its at rest.
     
  13. DimitrisDaisy

    DimitrisDaisy Elite Member

    They might be if they're anything like CWDs! Lol my guy can be picked up and handled while sleeping and won't wake up unless you touch hi tail or feet :p
     
  14. Alby

    Alby Elite Member

    He's getting more and more feisty, which is nice. My biggest fear now is kidney failure. If the baytril did what butcher70 pointed out then there may not be a full recovery. He's been either throwing up or having very runny white droppings (not sure which, I'll post a pic when I can), which could be a sign his system isn't improving. What's frightening is I found out the vet that originally prescribed the baytril is the same one I take Toothless and Drizzt to.
     
  15. DimitrisDaisy

    DimitrisDaisy Elite Member

    Oh boy! Is there another vet near by you can start going to?
     
  16. Alby

    Alby Elite Member

    There's a really good one not far, but she's been on maternity leave for a very long time and I'm not sure when she'll be coming back. I finally got the pictures off my camera of Norbert's progress.

    [​IMG]

    This was him when I went to pick him up. I really did think he was dead.


    [​IMG]

    Here he is later that first day after a nice warm bath and a mist.


    [​IMG]

    This is what I've been finding in the tank. It looks like vomit to me but I'm not sure.


    [​IMG]

    To end on a happy note. This is what the little imp got up to last night. He's moving a lot more and he got up there all on his own after jumping headlong into the shower curtain.
     
  17. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    A definite improvement from when you first got him! TLC works wonders!
     
  18. Alby

    Alby Elite Member

    It really does doesn't it? You'd think pet stores would see this kind of evidence and change their policies. But I guess its asking too much to hope logic will prevail.

    He discovered a new game tonight... scare the **** out of mommy. I went up to check on him and he was no where to be found. All the cage openings were securely latched but I couldn't find him. After 15 minutes of frantic searching I found him practically beaming with glee... having partially burrowed under his coco husk at the very front of the tank under a plant.
     
  19. Renouji

    Renouji Elite Member

    lol nice one, cant wait for his next trick :p
     
  20. bucher70

    bucher70 Elite Member

    Glad to hear he is doing better. Get him tested for parasites, this could cause vomiting and diahreea.
    Thats a shame about your vet. I get so angry when vets Rx antibiotics for no real reason, other than they dont know what else to do. I mean, come on, antibiotics are to treat an existing infection, or to prevent one from happening. Unless there was an obvious reason, like a wound, or bloodwork was performed, showing signs of an infection, it should have never been given.
    Too many vets practice shotty medicine, and of course, people trust them, because you SHOULD be able to trust your vet. Unfortunately not all vets are honest with their experience or knowledge with reptiles and amphibians.
    Search around tho, even if you have to drive a ways, it is worth it for good care. I drive an hour and a half to my vet, but I trust him with my herps to whatever end.
    He is board certified in exotics , and also does research at pitt u. Really great guy. He has really taught me alot.
    I wish you good luck, it is a noble cause , the business of animal rescue.
     

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