We still keep fighting

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Susann
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We still keep fighting

Postby Susann » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:56 am

Things have been so emotional for me that I haven't been able to keep posting, and I appologise for that. There have been so many mornings when I check on him and expect for him to have passed, and then when he hasn't I wonder when and if I should help him with that.
I'm very happy that I havent. Some things have improved to where I don't think he's struggling for each breath. Now he deffinately is in pain, but it's not in vital parts.

Brief summation:
He has been diagnosed with pneumonia a couple of times, has been hospitalized on 3 occations, 2-4 days each time. Oral antibiotics, injectable antibiotics, breathing improves for a while, but at the same he got an infection (?) in his eye that never responded to ANY treatment. Eye got worse to the point that he lost his outer eyelids completely and was a bloody pulp. For months I did all I could think of. Substrate and everything but a smooth glass bowl for water came out, he got just towels to burrow in. Nothing that he could rub his eye on. No improvement. Then his other eye started with the same symptoms.

I thought with all the treatments he'd had with no improvement, I was now going in the direction of his environment.
I bought a new tank. He's by a east facing window so gets indirect natural light, so I decided to go with just a ceramic heater. He was always on the cool side in his previous (bigger) tank, and now I was forcing him to stay warmer with a smaller heat-gradient in the smaller tank (around 90-95 to 80-85 on the cooler). I stayed away from anything artificial (plastic), he has towels to burrow in that I wash and then boil to kill bacteria and remove detergent-remnants/perfumes.
IMMEDIATE improvement.
This is Sept 15:
Image
Image

He went in the new tank on the 16th,
and this is Sept 21st:
Image

Explanation, anyone?

Problem is, at this same time, although he had been treated for vitamin A defficiency, vet decided we had to "rule it out", so he gave Joey another vit A injection.
Now I believe he might be suffering from an overdose. His skin has thickened and hardened and is peeling horribly. No, this is very different from shedding, but this is what my vet assures me it is. His feet are in so much pain! They are swollen, and his digits are ROTTING off one at a time! There is a bad smell that I believe is from his feet.

Sept 15:
Image

Sept 21:
Image

Oct 11:
Image

Sept 15:
Image
Image

Sept 21:
Image

Oct 11:
Image

Sept 21:
Image

Oct 11:
Image

Sept 21:
Image

Oct 11:
Image

I can tell he is in immense pain; he keeps his little hands off the ground pushed up to his cheeks when he's not moving.

WHAT'S HAPPENING??????? Anyone? I don't know what to do anymore for him. I rub his feet with antibiotic ointment to keep inflammation down, and then Emu Oil on top of that to keep them from cracking, but nothing is helping. Now his wrists are starting to crack! Every night it's about a half hour process to soak, rub, clean towels, clean, warm, moist tank, clean waterbowl with distilled water.

It's killing me to see him with his little hands pushed up to his cheeks!
I don't know what to do anymore.
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El Lobo
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Postby El Lobo » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:44 am

I'm really sorry Joey is still struggling. I don't have any specific knowledge of reptile medicine but I hope that a couple of other members will see this and be able to offer some advice.

As an interim step you might be able to discuss with your vet the use of a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to alleviate some of Joey's pain. It would also address some of the inflammation issues. I would suggest meloxicam as it is an effective COX-2 (Cyclo-oxygenase) inhibitor without high inhibition of COX-1 which is needed for proper renal function. It should be noted that if used orally it is preferable to do so with some food in the stomach. There is little research data available for use of NSAID's with reptiles but the link below should be of some value.

I wish you well in having Joey recover, you certainly have put in the hard yards to give him every opportunity.

http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/navc/20 ... 1.pdf?LA=1
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Postby oldnotdead » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:03 am

What a shame that you and Joey have to go through so much. We sure admire your determination and devotion to your pet and wish you the very best outcome possible.
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Postby Alioop » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:14 am

Wish I had more to say here, but all I've got is: best of luck, you're most certainly a guardian angel to that little one. :hug:
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Postby Almostinsane » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:12 am

I am so sorry about whats happening. it sucks when a pet is sick. I don't know much about BTS special care, but could you discuss with your vet about washing his feet maybe? It might be a bit more care, and I know you're going through a lot already, but if it smells like its rotting maybe washing his feet gently could help? I could be ENTIRELY wrong, and I'm sorry if I am, its just a thought that came to mind.
you and Joey will be kept in my thoughts.
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Postby Scotts1au » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:17 pm

There have been several similar cases reported on this site over the last few years. Kat's Nemo was a similar one - they seem to start as an infection somewhere (one I recall started as an infected toe) and progressed to this persistent digital necrosis.

As I discussed with Kat - my theory is that is resident bacterial species and that treatment in the extremities is difficult to achieve fully.

Your best bet is to attempt to isolate the bug, via vet diagnosis and use the blueys own immune system to try to fight it as best it can. That means maintain constant warmth (not turning a light off at night) in combination with appropriate antibiotics and scrupulously clean bedding. Also consider adding reptile multivitamins.

The fact that the bluey got a respiratory infection in the first place points to his evironment being subject to too much temperature variability.

Hope all goes well.
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Postby Hijinks » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:38 pm

I recall reading a similar case on this site but it appears that it was so long ago that the threads on the topic have been purged. The bluey's eyelids wasted away completely and the owner had to wipe crust and fluid from his mouth and eyes every day. Like you, the owner was very mindful of the bluey's hygiene and made regular vet visits, seeing a rollercoaster of improvement and setbacks. Sadly the bluey eventually passed away and a necropsy did not reveal why. But a theory put forward by a member after the bluey's death was that a foreign body (e.g. a piece of substrate) became lodged in the bluey's passages and caused the persistent infection. Perhaps Lea or Zach or another long time member can recall this case and any of the other lessons learned from it...? I believe the bluey's name was Angel.

All you are doing for your little friend is very admirable. :hug:

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Postby Katrina » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:53 pm

Scotts1au wrote:There have been several similar cases reported on this site over the last few years. Kat's Nemo was a similar one - they seem to start as an infection somewhere (one I recall started as an infected toe) and progressed to this persistent digital necrosis.

As I discussed with Kat - my theory is that is resident bacterial species and that treatment in the extremities is difficult to achieve fully.


Yeah - if I can be any help, I would love to. I have detailed records of what we tried with Nemo, so maybe I can help rule out some things. :? I'm really sorry that I can't actually tell you anything that worked, unfortunately Nemo didn't make it. If I could do things over again I would try to treat for a resident bacterial infection while Nemo still had the strength to maybe fight it. We were unsure whether or not he was sick for a while (he kept getting better and then relapsing, but it wasn't too bad until the end so I wasn't sure if we should give abs or if I was over-worrying and being crazy) and we tried various other treatments such as immunosuppressants for the eyes in case it was an allergic reaction, etc.

If you would like any information send me a PM or email and I would be glad to tell you exactly what we tried. Maybe the information will help your vet. Good luck, I'm really, really hoping for you.

:cry:
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Postby Tattoo » Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:36 pm

Your poor little darling. This instantly made me think of Nemo. I would say Kat would be a good bet for direction. I'm very sorry that you find yourself in this place. You are in my thoughts.
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Postby El Lobo » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:28 am

Following on from what Scott has said regarding a resident bacterial species. I don't have any real knowledge of reptile medicine but some treatments are generic to many animals.

I don't recall if the vet has performed a culture to isolate what is causing recurring RTI's and to establish sensitivity to treating antibiotics. Some bacteria establish deeply into soft tissue and even bone, making treatment far more difficult. There are a few antibiotics (mostly off-licence) that have greater penetrative qualities. Do you know which antibiotics have been tried so far?

The link below is to a rather dated (1985) paper on "Progressive Digital Necrosis in the Eastern Blue-tongued Skink". I don't see a direct corelation to the current problem but it does give some findings as to which bacteria etc. were present in this case.

http://www.jwildlifedis.org/cgi/reprint/21/2/186.pdf

In an earlier post I suggested the possibility of pain management. I can't over-emphasise its importance. This link is to a collection of journal abstracts on this subject compiled by Melissa Kaplan.

http://www.anapsid.org/herppain9.html
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Postby girl4jesus83 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:35 am

First off (((HUGS)))!!! Seeing your baby in so much misery for so long is unbelievebly excruciating! A little background, I am currently a senior level Zoology major. In all I have seen so far the first thing that comes to mind is a protozoa/parasite in his feet. The months of meds could have lowered his immune system (since antibiotics kill bad and good). I had a rat that had extremely itchy skin and continually lost hair. All the skin scrapings in the world did not tell what was going on so I treated her with an oral anti-parasite medication and parasite medicated baths that I purcahsed from a feed store. Within a couple days she stopped itching. I know that a rat physiologically is opposite to a bts, but vets can only know what their instruments can tell them.
Another possiblity is that your poor guy has an immunodeficiency that causes him to be hyper sensitive to any situation. Perhaps he is showing an allergy to your detergent or what you are using to clean the cage. If you are using chemicals try using a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water- it is a natural antibacterial (we use it to clean all our specimen cages). Of course make sure the tank is well dry before placing him back in. To test for allergies to your detergents try placing him on plain paper towels for a week and see if he improves.
I remember a sick baby parrot we took care of that could never gain weight, never really moved, and just weakly squaked in misery nonstop. Multiple vets did numerous fecal and blood samples for infections of every spectrum. Nearly a year went by before we found a vet that suggested taking a crop sample, and lo and behold it was found to be a serious/rare yeast infection within the crop. It took another 6 months of treatment, but he fully recovered and is sweet as could be. Never give up and try other opinions - it takes more than one man to raise a barn.
Good luck!! ((hugs)))!!! keep faith!!!! and keep us posted!!!!!
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Postby girl4jesus83 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:43 am

I just found this on another formen of Bearded Dragons. The BD has, what it seems as early symptoms of what your poor guy has in his feet. Thought it might be something to inquire about/try. It is a long post so here is the website:
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Reptiles-704 ... elling.htm

There are some herp specialist in my school. I will try to get ahold of them and ask if they have any suggestions.
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Postby Scotts1au » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:52 am

No.
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Postby Katrina » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:39 pm

girl4jesus83 - I had a BTS with very similar issues. I can tell you for sure that in Nemo's case it was not caused by a cleaner or anything environmental like that. As mentioned earlier, we did try immunosuppressants. The link you posted for Beardies was a case of gout - Nemo's problems were most definitely not gout.

El Lobo - in case this is of any interest to you - my vet did not do any cultures as it would have been too difficult to isolate one according to him. The eyes and nose were the areas we considered trying to get cultures but he thought that there would be too much contamination in the samples. He said that a resident infection in the bones was quite likely but not something he could test for. I'm no expert on this, just trying to describe what he explained to me. As for abs, we tried Baytril twice, Chlor-Palm couple times, Novo-Trimel and injectable Ceftadizime (this was tried the one we tried once we determined it was likely a resident bacterial infection, but it was too late).
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Postby Susann » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:47 pm

Oh my gosh!
First of all, there are no words adequate to thank all those of you who have responded, I am absolutely overwhelmed! I know there are many more who have not written but have sent good thoughts our way; I thank you as well, as I am absolutely positive you have done more to heal Joey than I have during this hectic week!!
My posts tend to get rather long, so I won't bore you with details, and will do my best to keep word content down (...no promises though :? )

El Lobo, you are amazing! :bow2: If I ever meet you I will hug you for an hour :shock: :innocent: I will state here for the record, that I, nor anyone else, will ever replace proffessional care with advice from the forum, but it is because of your knowlege and research that I have so much more to bring when I see my vet --who, as most vets, does not have much BTS experience. :thanks: ...and, also, for the record, I really won't hug you for an hour ...maybe just half...

Almostinsane, thank you for your suggestion, that was exactly my first idea for a remedy. I have been soaking him every night (don't dare put anything in the water 'cause he likes to drink it) and gently rubbing his feet to help the circulation. I have a broad spectrum anti inflammatory cream that I got for his eye that I then rub on his feet, and then put Emu Oil on top of that to help with the drying out and constricting flow to his digits.

Scotts1au, invaluable suggestions, hug for you too. Your advice is very in tune with my thoughts, and why I moved him to a totally different environment. For bedding he now has towels that I wash and boil, he is in a smaller thank with a ceramic heater--so temp stays the same regardless of light. I am a little bit worried about adding multivitamins at this point since I fear his skin and feet issues might be a vitamin A overdose. If I am correct, would a multivitamin still be safe? I'll check on that.

Hijinks, symptoms you describe sound exactly like Joey's, praying outcome doesn't turn out the same though. Wish I could find out more.

Katrina. Thank you for offering to share your experience. (You may get the longest hug of all :bye: ) I hate to know someone else has gone through something similar, but will be greateful to learn all that Nemo can teach us. As I aluded to earlier, life has turned insane (teenagers and OCD foster Husky--need I say more?), but as soon as I can I will be in touch. Why I haven't already is that Joey is doing remarkably better since I posted my plea. (Typical, huh!) I'm only cautiously relieved as Joey has had "miraculous" improvements before, and as you stated, so did Nemo. So I will absolutely want to hear your story. :thanks:

Girl4jesus83, thank you for sharing you amazing knowlege! (I'll stop freaking people out by offering hugs...) I will take your account and suggestions to my vet. As I am trying to eliminate anything artificial from his environment I already have been using vinegar for cleaning his tank, but as 5% strength is the strongest I have been able to find, I have been using it "straight". Do you think I still need to dillute it 50/50? I do wipe the tank down with water after the vinegar has evapporated.

Joey is MUCH better! There have been days when he has almost been back to "normal"; lots more energy when I let him roam a bit, cute little curious head raised, looking around for what to explore next. Still just nibbling (licking, really) at his food, does not take bites, but he does poop about once a week so I know he's getting something.

See! What'd I tell y'all about long posts! Remember though, I made NO promises.

I will keep you updated. Again, THANK YOU seems so lame after everything you have done. My heart swells with eternal gratitude.

Susann & Joey
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Postby Scotts1au » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:59 pm

Take a look at this site - this has been posted a number of times. Relates to potential cause or contributing factors in digital necrosis in blueys. www.jwildlifedis.org/cgi/reprint/21/2/186.pdf

I didn't post it cos I'm not sure it is the problem in this case - however Note that if the problem is fungal - or at least contributed to by fungal problem then soaking etc will make it worse.

A couple of members including myself have had some sucess in treating problems in blueys by the use of antifungal creams which do also impact on bacteria to a degree - one of these is good old Canesten cream you can find information about the actie ingredients here to check. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clotrimazole

I had a couple of blueys that arrived to me with scale rot which this stuff fixed quickly, same for another member that I suggested it to. I discovered it for use on reptiles through a suggestions on a Columbian Customs website :-)
If you wait, all that happens is that you get older. M. Andretti

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