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Neglected Alligator Update

Discussion in 'Crocodilians - General' started by Schwing, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Hey everyone! Just wanted to post a quick update on Rex, the 25 year old alligator that was kept in a 3' box his entire life before we rescued him. He is doing GREAT! He has gained weight, length and strength. He prowls around his room, basks, swims, and just loves his pool! I swear it seems like he never leaves it.

    He has grown about 3-4 inches since we got him back in March, and his mouth rot seems to have gone away about 90%.

    He is also target trained now! He has learned to follow a small target on the end of a pole, which is very helpful when I'm changing bulbs, bedding, etc. in his enclosure.

    My only concern is that he still has glassy teeth; a sign of osteomalacia or calcium deficiency. I've been dusting his food (fish, rats, chicken, whatever it may be) with calcium powder every meal and sneaking a vitamin B pill into every other meal, but it just doesn't seem to be enough. Does anyone know if it would be safe to sneak a calcium pill into his food too? Can you overdose on calcium?

    Oh, and he loves head scritches :)

    PS. Sorry the pictures are sideways! They somehow turned during the upload onto the forum.
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    While it is possible to overdose reptiles on calcium, I dont think anyone on here will be able to advise you on how much to be giving him for sure. Best thing would be to have a vet do some blood work, to see where his levels are and then figure out how much to give. As for the teeth, not sure if there is anything to be done. I can't remember if they lose and regrow them at all or not, and I'm wondering if there can be any effect on the existing teeth.
  3. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Thanks Darkbird! He does drop and regrow his teeth regularly, so I think they have the possibility of improving. Unfortunately, I've called all the vets in the area and none of them are willing to work with crocodilians. I even tried the University's vet program (you know, for some exotic animal experience I figured) and no luck. :/
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    You might have some luck contacting a local zoo, and asking who services their crocodilians, they might be able to refer you to a vet or vet school that will see your alligator. It also might be a bit of a drive...

    It IS possible for most animals to overdose on calcium.

    If he is shedding and re-growing his teeth, I would just give it time.

    Is he getting UVB? Given adequate exposure to UVB, he should produce enough D3 to absorb all the calcium he needs.
  5. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Thanks Dragoness- I've contacted the zoos and they have internal vets who don't work with the public :( I'm really on my own with this little guy. But yes he's getting UVB 12 hours a day directly over his pool (where he spends most of his time). Maybe I'll just give it a few more months and see how it goes.
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    It can take months/years for animals to recover from that kind of neglect. He may just need more time. He seems to be improving in all other ways, though.

    Would the existing reptile vets be willing to run a blood sample for you, if you brought in just a vial of blood, but not the alligator? That might be one way of getting the info you need.

    Kinda surprised the local vet schools won't take a look. When I took a dead python in for necropsy at a local vet school, they were very excited. They get tons of cows, horses, cats, and dogs, even the receptionist was excited to see something new.
  7. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Big difference between a dead python needing a necropsy and a live crocodilian that will need ongoing care as time goes on. It might possibly be an issue of no one wanting to get stuck treating the animal when it starts getting bigger. But Jen has a good idea in seiing if someone will let you bring in the blood sample yourself for analysis. No idea how you'll get it though.
  8. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    I am interested in this little guy and how he is doing now?

    Surprising about the refusal of the vets to see him - I guess. If I was a vet I would enjoy the challenge if there was no-one else interested.

    Good for you for taking care of him. He is a lucky little fellow. Let us know what happens.
  9. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    Good job rescuing that little gator. Just checked out your original thread and now this's incredible to me that he lived that long in those conditions.

    Too bad you can't get a vet to look at him, agreed drawing the blood yourself might be an option.

    The only other suggestion I can make is, is it possible to keep him outside when the weather permits? Up north I'd guess we're talking about 3 months maybe? Really nothing better than natural sunlight for making D3 and calcium absorption.

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