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Osteomyelitis

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:56 pm
by spotlizard
Hi,

I'm relatively new to BTS but have been keeping and breeding lizards for about 13 years now.

I have what I believe to be a female Merauke. She's about 6 months old and I've had her for about 2 weeks now. She's been doing very well in her new home, is active and alert, eats and poops as she should. A few days ago I noticed a 'lump' on her right side. It's about 1.5 inches back from her front leg. I tried to palpate it but it was quite hard. Fearing that she may have somehow broken a rib I took her straight to the vet and got an X-Ray and bloodwork. The X-Ray showed that her ribs were intact and that there was no evidence of any mass. It looked like her ribcage was deformed. I didn't see any evidence of this when we got her and I have followed the caresheet to make sure my husbandry is as good as I can provide. She has a custom built oak enclosure with a ReptiSun 5.0 UVB light and a 50W basking light. Basking temps and cool zones are all where they should be and are thermostatically controlled. She is on a substrate of CareFresh (the non-colored variety) and has a varied diet that meets the meat/fruit/veggie ratio. A dish of fresh water, sufficient for her to drink/bathe is provided daily.

My vet got back to me today with the results of her bloodwork. Her white cell count is way up and evidence of infection is present. The vet thinks that the 'lump' may actually be Osteomyelitis, a bone infection and has prescribed some antibiotics (that I will pick up tomorrow).

Does anyone here have any experience treating this in BTS? If so, could you share with me what you learned? What treatments worked best? Did you offer probiotics? What are the things I should be watching for during the course of treatment?

My sincere thanks in advance,
Mark

Re: Osteomyelitis

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:19 pm
by El Lobo
Hi Mark

I notice there has been no reply to your question and that is probably because none of us have had any experience with osteomyelitis in a BTS. I had very limited experience with a rabbit with the condition and can't really offer any advice as the species are so different. If, when you have the abx you post what has been prescribed and the administration protocol we may be able to discuss it further. In the meantime be guided by your vet and good luck with resolving the issue.

Re: Osteomyelitis

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:47 am
by Lea
Norm is right. I had read this, but all of my experience is with people. What I do know, is that, in people at least, it can be excruciatingly painful and While it would be hard to judge in a skink, the systemic symptoms may give you an idea of the effect this is having on your animal. For example, lethargy, malaise, anorexia or disinterest in food, a general deterioration in condition (changes in behaviour that would make you suspect illness, perhaps an increase in defensive behaviour, hissing, displaying etc). Local swelling with or without a pus/ weeping discharge can also be an indicator, since there is often a sinus formation near the site of infection that may have tracked from both internal or external locations, thus causing the bone infection.

In people, there are so many causes, although osteomyelitis is often found to be the secondary infection to a primary cause, such as poor immune system or brittle bones/ fractures. It's worth bearing this in mind when treating with antibiotics, since the infection may reoccur if the primary cause has not been recognised and resolved. I'll also stress that prognosis is poor in this situation.

The treatment is also lengthy, with antibiotics usually used for a minimum of six weeks, to ensure complete recovery from infection. The long term antibiotic use can also have a detrimental effect on the kidneys and liver, as well as other organs and this is definitely something to be aware of when you consider future treatment. Many people lose limbs to these infections, too- not always due to necrosis, which can be econdary to the infection, but due to the extreme pain that is hard to control.

On the positive side! Your skink appears not to be displaying these systemic symptoms and has not lost his appetite. While I don't want to lay down false confidence, I think you should be reassured that if this is osteomyelitis, hopefully you caught it in the early stages, before your skink has had a chance to deteriorate and succumb to the nuisances of what can be an overwhelming infection.

I have emailed my vet regarding up to date information on reptiles/ bts and osteomyelitis. I'm not sure if he's around right now, but if he knows anything, he'll usually write back within a week. I hope this "people" information helps a little though.