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Ruptured Ovarian Follicles/ovarian Cyst?

Discussion in 'Water Dragons' started by SpidaFly, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    As I've posted a few weeks back, my AWD (Jefe) has been having some rough times. She still exhibits no change in behavior, energy, etc. I've been giving her oral calcium gluconate supplement daily, ordered by vet. Three weeks ago the vet said he could feel ovarian follicle development, but no proper eggs yet.

    But in the last 3 weeks her eating has slowed even more. It also concerned me that during daily calcium dosage, I could not feel any eggs. It probably shouldn't be taking that long for eggs to be palpable, so I decided to call off sick and get her into the vet. He did some feeling around and another radiograph and said things don't look good. Radiograph indicated that there is no egg development. He said the belly feels entirely too hard/stiff, and suspects ovarian follicle rupture or ovarian cyst.

    So... yeah. At this point my options don't look good. A scope is possible, or an ultrasound. He said he would prefer to just do an exploratory surgery. Unfortunately this means that if the ovaries are the problem, they would have to be removed - killing my dream of eventually breeding this reptile.

    I pressed him for any aspects of my care that could have caused this, and he couldn't figure out what might have been the cause. I'm just waiting for my wife to get home so we can figure out what we should do.

    Anyone have experience with ovarian disease in agamids?
  2. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    A friend of mine had a chinese dragon with ruptured ovaries. Her vet couldn't say what caused it but after the removal surgery and recovery the dragon was able to make a full recovery and seems to be doing fine.
    On a side note even in humans it has not been determined what causes the ruptures and cysts so it is even harder to determine in a lizard. Some doctors say it is due to an overactive night life, others say diet, and yet others genetics.

    The best thing for your dragon would be to get the surgery. You can always get another one to breed.
  3. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    Unfortunately, the radiograph was a poor diagnostic. I couldn't see it with my own eyes because I'm not experienced with radiographs - but he says abdominal fluid was obstructing a clear view of what was going on down there. Since she has defecated twice since eating a recent bug, it is unlikely that intestinal impaction is the culprit.

    So basically - any surgery is exploratory. He admits that he can't be certain what's wrong. He just knows that something IS wrong. (But hey I already know THAT. ~_~)

    I know I COULD always get another female breed (though they're a bit hard to come by in the USA), but - I'm not sure how to explain it. I saw a AWD for the first time, and I knew I had to breed them. She has been quite a difficult specimen, and I've still taken as much effort as possible to care for her. This will probably delay "the dream" by years, if not indefinitely. I'm feeling very crushed right now. And can't help feeling a little scared that I DID this to her.
  4. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    Vet is operating on her tomorrow morning.

    Oddly enough, she ate more today than she has at any one time in the last couple weeks. Makes me think I'm doing the wrong thing by allowing the surgery. Maybe she has started to turn her health around, and now the vet is going to make a huge mistake... I don't know...

    This has been very depressing. No idea whether this is caused by something I did, or what. Also, the thought of breeding gave me a lot of hope for my future, which is something I've lacked for a long time.
  5. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    I wish you and your dragon luck tomorrow.

    When is the surgery tomorrow? What you could do is call the vet and ask what he thinks you should do. If it is exploratory and she is eating, he might want to hold off as well. However, if her belly is still stiff, and if he really believes something is wrong, then surgery could be the best option anyway. Even if it's not a ruptured follicle or cyst, it could be anything such as a tumor or other growth, or possibly eggs that began growing but never passed to where they needed to.

    I knew of a beardie who had a ruptured follicle and cysts...the vet for that one said these things often come about on their own, usually from poor genetics. In the wild, a parent with a bad gene passes it on to their offspring. In captivity, with reptiles such as bearded dragons and leopard geckos where there is lack of diversity in genes due to inbreeding or breeding within the same bloodlines, the poor genes are often passed around to many offspring. She noticed the problem becoming more prevalent in these two species (and others that are highly bred in captivity), hence her theory.
  6. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Best of luck tomorrow, sending prayers your way!
    Keep us posted on what happens
  7. Spyral

    Spyral Elite Member

    Good luck! I hope the vet can find out and fix what's wrong!
  8. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    Jefe survived the surgery. I anticipated her coming home without ovaries... but such is not the case. Vet is pretty blown away, and I am as well.

    Upon opening her up, he immediately saw that her liver wasn't in good shape (inflamed, redder in color than a healthy liver), and a fat pad was inflamed/rigid. He said the ovaries actually look just fine. I'm a bit fuzzy on some of the details, because I learned about everything he said second-hand through my wife (she picked Jefe up as I was at work)... so I haven't got a chance to get super clear on all the details directly from the vet.

    So... he sutured her up. He said he believes the ovaries are reabsorbing the follicles, and should return to health. He seems to believe that the liver issue is from malnutrition (as pointed out earlier, she has lost quite a bit of weight and been putting in a lot of days between bugs). His orders are to give her a special cat food he gave me through a syringe, 3mL per day. He believes the nutrition will get her liver back to working order, he ovaries will finish reabsorbing the follicles, and she'll start eating on her own.

    I am a bit confused by the nutritional ratios of this cat food though. It is quite low in protein compared to a water dragon's normal diet, and has quite a bit less calories. It was my understanding that a liver requires lots of calories to recover on its own. I'll follow his instructions for now, I'm hoping it works, because I really hate stressing her out like this. ON TOP of a surgery... yeah.

    I'm confused as **** right now. He wasn't even willing to point to husbandry as a cause for these problems... honestly, I think he is baffled.

    PS - he said that his ultrasound tech happened to be visiting right after the surgery. Since he was so astounded by what he found, out of curiosity he had his ultrasound guy look at Jefe. Guess what? Of course, the ultrasound showed nothing - ultrasound guy saw no indications of illness with that diagnostic.
  9. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Maybe your dragon is getting too much protein in his diet? Do you feed your feeders dog or cat food?
  10. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    Usually the feeders are getting Mazuri gutload, and a mixture of good greens. Sometimes use a lower-protein rodent pellet diet.

    But anyway, the vet's contention is that the liver inflammation is due to the use of body fat to sustain, as a result of not eating. Then liver gets some inflammation going on, and its a vicious circle... from my vet's email to me this morning:

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  11. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

  12. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I just want to wish the dragon well (and you), I know how hard you`ve tried to provide her with the best conditions, I hope she recovers quickly.
  13. Spyral

    Spyral Elite Member

    Wow sorry to hear about the inflamed liver. :(

    I've read reports of other liver issues killing female lizards at a young age, including water dragons due to Xanthomatosis (the deposition of yellowish cholesterol-rich material inside the body or in skin cells) as well as yolk coelomitis (where egg yolk is present in the body cavity). Since an important phase in follicle development in reptiles is vitellogenesis (formation of yolk in the liver, with subsequent deposition around the ova within each follicle), there might be a very important link between liver function and egg development that is leading to these problems. Not saying this is what's happening with your dragon, but it's something to consider if there are treatments for these biological processes. From what I've read though, this was all discovered post-mortem and no treatments were mentioned, if known.

    For your reference:
    Cerebral xanthomatosis in three green water ... [J Zoo Wildl Med. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI
    Xanthomatosis in geckos: five cases. [J Zoo Wildl Med. 1999] - PubMed - NCBI
  14. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    A little update...

    Jefe is doing (apparently) just fine. Sutures came out yesterday. Scar is nasty looking, but she has been behaving normally. She's eating on her own (can't hand feed her anymore though, she is far more defensive than ever before).

    Strangest thing has happened though. Pre-illness/surgery, she refused crickets, would only eat dubia nymphs. She now refuses dubia nymphs and will eat only crickets. Lizards can be so strange, eh? Well, she's mean, flighty... I don't care, she's looking and acting great, I leave her alone and let her be happy (I hope). That's all I really want, just want her to be happy.
  15. bucher70

    bucher70 Elite Member

    Glad she is doing well! What your vet described is hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. It happens quite commonly in animals that stop eating for long periods of time. The treatment is always to get them eating again. Good luck!
  16. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Now you have to start over on taming but after a few months of you not overly stressing her with vet visits and such she will come around.

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