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Respiratory Problems/antibiotics for Alligator Lizard

Discussion in 'Herp Health' started by nitesky, May 9, 2010.

  1. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    OK, I think I have found the right forum for this question......

    I have come here because of my alligator lizard. He was a rescue and Ive had him about three years now. Hes a good lizard but really doesn't like to be touched or held pretty much at all. The most he wlll do is lick babyfood off my fingers but other than that he is quite feisty.

    Last saturday I woke up and heard him making wheezing noises. I have never experienced this before so after looking online found it might be a respiratory problem. I called the emergency vet and they told me since I caught it so early I *might* be able to head it off. So I cleaned his tank VERY thoroughly and paid VERY careful attention to how warm he was all week..... he kept seeming like he was better, he would move and get a drink, and be breathing silently and comfortably for hours at a time...... However, there would then be a slight little wheezing noise again.

    I don't know if this means he is getting better, or, what. It doesn't seem to be getting worse.. but it isn't totally going away. Since it has been a week now, I have decided if it isn't completely gone by monday I must take him to the vet.

    This is my concern. Im imagining he probably will be given antibiotics. I have never needed to do this with a reptile before, but I have with other animals.

    I am very concerned about the stress this will cause him to be handled so much and be given medication several times a day. He bites and thrashes about when he is held, he has always done this, I have to wear gloves to move him to clean his tank.

    I can't imagine him putting up with days of medication....

    I'm really concerned about it. Im calling the vet monday morning no matter what, but I'm trying to find out, are there other options for being given antibiotics than orally for days like that. I thought I heard of some people giving them to their snakes by injection, like a one time treatment?.. is this true? that would be so much easier if it could be done that way.

    If he were one of my tame lizards I wouldn't even be worried about it, (I have had many extremely tame lizards) but this guy just does not like to be held or touched.

    I Hope someone can give me some ideas of maybe what to expect or how to handle this. :< Im quite concerned about him.

    thank you so very much....
  2. LovetheBaruu

    LovetheBaruu Subscribed User Premium Member

    The real problem is that these guys can be ill for days before showing symptoms! The first order of business is to get him to a vet. Worry about administering meds if/when they are prescribed. Your vet will be able to help you decide how best to "dose" your pet -if it is required. Good luck!
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I agree. A vet is going to be your best source of info for this problem.
    How are you keeping it? Usually a RI is brought on by a change in temperatures.
  4. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    And I can't believe the ER vet didn't tell you to get the animal to the vet right away. The ONLY thing that will get an RI better is antibiotics, and because lizards hide illness so well, that's the sort of thing to do sooner rather than later.

    I had to administer meds to a sick frog for 10 days. Antibiotics once a day. He was really skiddish and I got peed on a lot, but the medication was worth the hassle. No medication = death for sure, handling and stressing him out needed to be done.
  5. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    I wish I would only get peed on!! ^^ i am afraid he will hurt himself thrashing about or even god forbid drop his tail.

    i have an appointment today at 2:30, i told the vet how much he dislikes being handled and they said they will deal with it.

    i have done some forensics on his environment, I will write more about his habitat this afternoon....... ive identified some potential recent changes that could have been a problem.. i'm just going to trust this vet, he is good with lizards, and pray a lot.

    thanks for the answers you guys, so much. i will be able to write more when im back from the vet.
  6. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Meh, my frog would thrash around a whole lot. They aren't as fragile as they look! heck, i had to pry his mouth open every time with my finger nail. Talk about taking your toll on him.
  7. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Hope everything turns out for the good, I'll say a prayer for him.
  8. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    ok I'm back from the vet. I feel like kind of an idiot for being so worried, my vet is great with lizards, of course they gave him an injection, they said that might be all he needs. // He kind of tried to escape when I picked him up, but as far as usual when he hisses and bites like crazy, he was actually very cooperative, probably because he isn't feeling well......

    It actually went a whole lot better than I thought it might. my experience with antibiotics is repeated dosing for days and days.. ive never heard of an injection as an option.

    they did give me some drops to put in one of his eyes, i have to do that twice a day, but that will be a lot easier than trying to get anything into his mouth.

    so im just hoping this will be alright and will clear it up. now i have to pay some serious attention to how i am keeping him to make sure this doesn't happen again... :}
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Did you ever get around to checking out the enclosure, temps, etc?
    Normally with RI it is suggested to kick the temps up a few degrees.
  10. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    OK: well, there have been a couple of recent changes in the envirionment.

    the only change in temperature is its actually been a bit -warmer- than usual, especially at night.. because i was acclimating my hermit crabs to a new tank and didn't have the right heat bulbs at first.. so I was keeping the house extra warm at night for a while....... like 75 degrees.. it usually gets much cooler than that here.

    thats the only real change in temperature I could think of.

    as far as heating and envirionment, for all my animals I have always kept them on regular reptile bark from the pet store, and used regular basking lamps, with regular bulbs... i turn them on in the day and off at night. the alligator lizard has a UVB bulb also which is on during the day.

    i used to use a heat rock for my lizards, but quit that several years ago as i heard they were not as healthy as basking lights...

    recently there has been a very big change in their envirionment which I think may be part of the problem here: i had a terrible invasion of small bugs last summer that i had never seen before. i also used to keep potted ivy plants with my animals, and i feel certain these bugs came in with a plant, because I dont think they were any kind of mite, they never climbed on the animals, they were always swarming in the plants....... they were small and black and lived on anything that was made of wood. they never climbed on the animals at all, and once i removed the plants and wood, they went away...

    however, i had to drastically remove all plants, all bark, and anything in any of their tanks that was made of any kind of wood.. and temporarily switched their substrate to sand, hoping to kill of the bugs..... (which worked)

    i hated to use sand for a lot of reasons..

    but that was a big change and I am sure could have possibly been part of the problem..... as even though it was cleaned play sand it was still very dusty......

    after noticing these symptoms, I have switched back to mostly coconut fiber mixed with a little sand, with a layer of washed and dried moss on top.....

    so im hoping this will a good substrate to keep him on from now on.

    when i was trying to take care of him this week, i also added a night bulb and a rheostat, and also a thermometer so i can see what the temp is.

    so now im keeping him at 85 - 88 during the day on the basking side, and leaving the light on at night, but turning it down.

    that's his set up right now...... he also has a big string of fake ivy that i washed very carefully last week in extremely dilute bleach.

    when he got sick i scrubbed everything and replaced everything very thoroughly. please let me know if this sounds like an appropriate set up for him to continue into the future and be healthy.....
  11. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    yup, I just wrote a little more about that just now. right now im keeping him at 85 - 88 on the hot side, and im open to suggestions. its been a little difficult to find many alligator lizard care sheets. :>>
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I forgot to ask, this an animal you purchased or is it something that you caught? There are various species of alligator lizard and some are not native to the US.
  13. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    I am not sure, but I believe this lizard was wild caught.

    I got this lizard in a very strange way: i was in a pet store getting crickets and there were two boys with this lizard in a box, trying to sell him to the petstore for ten dollars.

    He was a beautiful lizard, and I knew the pet store would never buy him that way, and I was concerned what would happen to him if the boys couldn't manage to sell him.. so I bought him... I really, really hope I said something to them at the time about not catching lizards and trying to sell them anymore......

    but that is how i got this lizard. he was extremely wild, making me think that he was caught by these boys. but I don't know for sure.
  14. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    oh also, he very closely matches the pictures of the northern alligator lizard that i have seen.
  15. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Cool. Thats what I needed to know. For the time being at least I would raise the temperature of the basking spot up to 90 degrees. The extra warmth will kick the lizard's immune system up a notch and allow it to better fight off the infection.
  16. nitesky

    nitesky Member

    hey there, i had a followup question..... he seems a lot better and is climbing and more active...... im hoping he will continue improving..

    but, how much should I let the temperature drop at night?

    the room stays 72 or above because i set it to for now, (otherwise it would get a lot colder) but his basking spot still drops at night, I"m not exactly sure how much... when i get up in the morning its at 85 or so.

    then it raises to 88 and 90 during the day. the rheostat is turned up as high as it will go, and the next hottest bulb is too hot.

    is it ok if the temp drops at night like that? and what is the optimum night time temp?

    thanks so much for all your help!
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The night time temps could drop in to the upper 60's so 70-72 should be just fine. A night time drop is to be expected.

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