Joey update

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Susann
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Joey update

Postby Susann » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:29 am

It's been a while. But I do have some good news. FINALLY!

Although Joey looks a bit scary, he's doing much better.
I just got everybody out for some pictures, so these are literally minutes old. Just weighed them for the first time on my new home scale!

Image

So, as you can tell, Joey looks kind of bad. But there's no swelling or inflammation, and there hasn't been for several months, so this is the best he's been in a year!
The inflammation comes and goes. But these last few months has been the longest period of doing better since this all started (June 2010).

(I’m going to copy from a previous post where I told of Joey’s progress, so if it seems like you’ve read it before, you might have.)

The only thing that coincided with this improvement and the last, was the vet giving him a vitamin A shot, an antibiotic shot, plus a steroid shot.
I have found that, for Joey, the antibiotic alone does nothing. Or, not much. Certainly not enough. We have had Joey on three different antibiotics, back to back. One of them I had to inject for about a month. No improvement, or minimal at best.

The reason for all three shots this time was the amount of inflammation in eyes and feet. Vitamin A -because we think that this is the underlying issue here; a seemingly poor ability for him to absorb this through natural means. Antibiotic -because we wanted to boost his healing incase he was fighting an infection. Steroid -because he had so much inflammation, eyes very inflamed, feet very puffy and cracked.

Most of his lids are gone on his right eye and he doesn't have very many digits left, on any foot.
In the picture you can also see the crust that builds up along the edge of his upper lip.

Every time I get him up, I have to soak his eyes for him to be able to open them. I use Refresh Optive drops; I like them because they are a bit oily, so the lubricant lasts longer. I also have a "Vetrogen Gentamicin Sulfate" ointment from my veterinarian, it helps when his eyes start to get red and swollen.

Image

As I just got him up for the pictures I noticed that his left eye is unusually crusty, and has a bit of dried blood, as if he's been trying to force it open without anything to soften the crust first.

Joey is exactly 2 years old, is about 17 inches long (43 cm), and weighs 280 g
Image

The biggest improvement, however, is his energy. Before, he hardly ever even moved. Now, he's up and checking things out. Before, when I laid him in the tub to soak, I had to put a folded washcloth under his head in order to keep his nose above water. Now, he keeps traipsing around the tub, walking like an alligator trying to keep his tummy off the bottom--it's the cutest thing EVER!!

I have hope that he might stay better, have longer good periods. I don’t think he’ll ever be a normal healthy skink, but maybe...

Alright. On to even better things.
This is Maddie, Merauke, about 10 1/2 mos. old, 17 inches (43 cm), and weighs 278 g, so nearly EXACTLY the same size as Joey.
Image

We think Maddie is a girl, if anybody thinks differently ...I’ll pound on them! Naah, just kidding. She’s a curious active little sweetheart! Always out ‘n about, more often ON her hide than IN it.
Image

This is Jazz, Merauke, sibling to Maddie, so also 10 1/2 mos, but measures 18 1/2 inches (47 cm), and weighs 320 g.
Image

I used to think Jazz is a girl, but lately I’ve been seeing a few male traits, so I’m open for opinions here.
Image

Jazz is the proverbial reptile, spends all her days doing... absolutely nothing! Hardly ever comes out of her hide (we think this is why the difference in size between her and Maddie), and huffs up a storm when you reach in to get her.

Something that really scares me is that Jazz has shown some of the same inflammation-signs on her feet! I’m really trying to not freak out, yet. She’s lost one toe, and now two more are turning black! I soak her at least once a week and rub her feet to increase circulation and remove any possibility of stuck shed.
I absolutely keep them in separate parts of the house, don’t ever touch the other two after touching Joey without washing my hands. I try to do everything with the other two first, wash and wipe down, then get Joey. If I have Joey anywhere where the others may need to be sometime, like the tub, I sterilize it with a hospital grade spray after removing Joey.

I don't know. Seems silly to think that I have such bad luck that I HAPPEN to get two BTS with the same affliction! But what is it then??!
I really hope I'm just overreacting to a case of shed-restriction.

I'll end this like I usually end my threads: I'll keep you updated.
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Postby xxmonitorlizardxx » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:41 am

thanks they look awesome :D
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Postby BTSspartan » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:00 am

he is still very beautiful
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Postby Katrina » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:20 pm

Poor Joey - so many similarities with Nemo. I really hope it works out for you.

The others are gorgeous and look great!! Lovely Meraukes!! :D
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Postby JoshChimera » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:42 pm

How did this develop on Joey anyway? I am curious. What species is Joey? Nice Merauke skinks.
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Postby missmacabre » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:30 pm

How long has Joey been suffering from this? Is he his normal self otherwise or is he pretty miserable? Sorry but I hate seeing animals suffering and if he's been like this a long time and not improving greatly wouldn't it be kinder to put him to rest?

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Postby JoshChimera » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:03 pm

I think Joey would be far gone in the wild. I bet he can barely track down food such as fast moving insects. You are his savior. I wish his eyes and crust on his mouth would stop. I am sad to hear he cannot open his eyes well. And his lids and toes... Was this a calcium defiency?
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Postby BTSspartan » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:32 pm

please try to keep him alive i dont want him to die like my chinese water dragon did
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Postby Katrina » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:44 pm

JoshChimera wrote:Was this a calcium defiency?


No, calcium deficiency will result in nerve issues and bone deformities over time (amongst other symptoms), but nothing like this. This is something seen in Indonesian skinks - I had one with very similar symptoms that died despite best efforts and I've heard of other cases like this. It seems steriods, anti-inflammatory, antibiotics and fungal meds don't work so right now it is kind of a mystery as to what the cause is (and we don't know for sure that it is all related or the same problem - it just seems to occur only in gigas species). Mine also responded to antibiotics but then relapsed so it seemed likely that it was a resident infection (but again, just a theory).
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Postby Fatal_S » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:52 pm

Glad to hear Joey is doing better!

Is he near to shedding? Is there a reason you leave the crusts on? I don't want to give any advice if there's a good reason to leave it, so consider this an option, but don't do it if it's not right for him. I found with my monkey-tail who had eye-crusts, leaving them left it moist and rotted the skin. So I spent some time removing the crusts daily, keeping it dry (like with human wounds), and now his eye is almost normal. The eyelid that remains is firm and not rotting away anymore, and his eyes open much easier and don't need my help. It still gets a bit off before a shed, but otherwise it's all good for him.

Also, if Jazz is starting to show signs, any chance of starting the vit A right away to see if that improves when caught early?

Lastly, Jazz's legs are absolutely awesome!! God do I love them speckles :cloud9: Your meraukes look great (but by personality the genders are opposite :lol:)! Wishing you and your skinks the best of luck!
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Postby Bird_Brain » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:58 pm

This may be a little extreme and probably unlikely, however, I thought I might mention it. Do you have a furnace/central air? What if this could be spread through the air? If so, could your furnace be spreading whatever is causing this to the other skinks? Only way I could see that could eliminate this possibility (other than not using your HVAC system) would be use a HEPA filter in the unit.

That being said, I know Kat never had any issues with it spreading to any of her other skinks. So could Jazz's issues just be stuck shed?
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Postby Susann » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:40 am

JoshChimera wrote:How did this develop on Joey anyway? What species is Joey?


Joey is IJ. We have no clue as to how it developed.
At the end of May/beginning of June 2010 Joey started to have bubbles at the corners of his mouth, fingers started to swell/turn black and fall off, areas around his eyes became red. Took him to the vet, no signs of RI, otherwise healthy. A month later he developed pneumonia, and from that point on he has struggled with flare-ups of infection in toes and eyes.

missmacabre wrote:How long has Joey been suffering from this? Is he his normal self otherwise or is he pretty miserable? Sorry but I hate seeing animals suffering and if he's been like this a long time and not improving greatly wouldn't it be kinder to put him to rest?


He's been sick a little over a year. Now he is more his normal self than he has been ...but he's been sick so long it's hard to say what his normal self IS?
About his suffering, believe me I have struggled with the issue of putting him to rest. It just hasn't felt like Joey has been at "that" point.
I have also felt that this is an issue that other BTS are struggling with, and since I am stay-at-home and have the time and the money to keep probing as to what might cure this condition, I have strongly felt that Joey and I should not give up yet.
I hope others can understand this, and I appreciate the support I get from so many, but in the end, I care the most about JOEY, and HE will let me know when we quit.

Katrina answered the calcium question.

Fatal_S wrote:Glad to hear Joey is doing better!

Is he near to shedding? Is there a reason you leave the crusts on?

Also, if Jazz is starting to show signs, any chance of starting the vit A right away to see if that improves when caught early?

He IS shedding, yes. But the REAL reason for leaving crust on both eyes and lips was really just to show what it looks like. Right after taking the pictures I soaked all the crusts and wiped them off.
His eyelids have not rotted away, that's not the same as with the feet. The eyelids and the areas around his eyes get super inflamed, red and puffy, and itches him like crazy.
This is from Sept last year:
Image
He has RUBBED the eyelids and other surrounding areas off. This is why he only has towels for substrate and a smooth glass bowl for water, cause he is constantly trying to rub his eyes on stuff. When his eyes are like that I have to use the medicated ointment on them. I think the reason for his eyes being crusty now, is because his eyes are over-compensating with "tears" to keep his eyes lubricated since the eyelids don't quite cover his eyeballs anymore. So not because he's fighting an infection at the moment.

And the point of giving Jazz a vit A shot right away is excellent! I think I will take her in right away and see what the vet says.

ReptileKing wrote:This may be a little extreme and probably unlikely, however, I thought I might mention it. Do you have a furnace/central air? What if this could be spread through the air? If so, could your furnace be spreading whatever is causing this to the other skinks? Only way I could see that could eliminate this possibility (other than not using your HVAC system) would be use a HEPA filter in the unit.

That being said, I know Kat never had any issues with it spreading to any of her other skinks. So could Jazz's issues just be stuck shed?


Yes, furnace/central air. I have thought that thought myself. And I don't think it's extreme. Something's gotta be up!
And, YES, I pray like you wouldn't believe that Jazz's problem is due to stuck shed!
Good thought about the HEPA filter, will be purchasing one today! Any and all precautions to not infect the other two.

Another thing I've mentioned before is the fact that we discovered mold just a few doors down from where Joey was housed. I came to strongly suspect (although two vets strongly doubted) that, even if it wasn't the cause to his problems, the mold absolutely made his lowered immune system unable to handle the mold-spores in the air. And what better place to lodge than Joey's opened "crevices" full of moist infection!?
The mold is gone, and Joey is better. Was it the shots alone, or a combination with mold-removal?

There are so many maybes and uncertainties and possible coincidences here that make it impossible to say what is a cause and what is an effect. The only thing I do know is that right after the shots (and it is pretty immediate) Joey improves. So if anything starts to get red or inflamed, in he goes immediately.
Only problem here is that the symptoms of a vit A overdose are the exact symptoms of a vit A defficiency, so to make sure we aren't CAUSING his illness, I need to wait for the signs of imflammation before taking him in for the shot.

Again I will thank everyone for their thoughts and suggestions, the are all always welcome!
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Postby Linnea » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:10 am

susann, a wild guess, joey isnt allergic to something in your surrounding except the mold? like a furry pet, a certain type of fruit or chemical in dog/cat food? ( i wouldnt guess food as it sounded like his tummy was ok, but the chemicals in some canned food give only outer appearance issues and no tummy issues)

eye crusts and extreme itchiness in the eyes, enough to rub the eyelids off?

could the toe inflammations be eczema like reactions in lizards?

Allergic reactions affect all mucous membranes, and some A vitamin help the mucous membrane to rebuild....


sorry if im being silly.....

oh, and also, even if hes rubbed his eyelids a lot, you sure have been taking good care of his eyes! looks great!
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Postby Susann » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:45 pm

Lightchii wrote:susann, a wild guess, joey isnt allergic to something in your surrounding except the mold? the chemicals in some canned food give only outer appearance issues

eye crusts and extreme itchiness in the eyes, enough to rub the eyelids off?

could the toe inflammations be eczema like reactions in lizards?

Allergic reactions affect all mucous membranes, and some A vitamin help the mucous membrane to rebuild....

sorry if im being silly.....


Oh, believe me, I'm so past thinking anything sounds silly, I'm up for entertaining ANY idea at this point.

Has anyone here ever dealt with, or heard of, a reptile being allergic, or having issues with exema?


And, yes, his eyes have itched him so badly that I'm 99% certain the lids are gone due to him rubbing them on anything and everything! You can see in the picture from Sept last year how the edges are very uneven and raw, but as you can tell, there is no rotting going on.

It is very possible that the inflamed tissue wouldn't have been viable even if he didn't rub it off, it may have died on its own and "rotted" or dried up to fall off, like the toes do. But I am fairly certain that the tissue is gone due to rubbing.

I just finished helping him shed in the tub, so I'm going to put up some pictures here, with the before and after. If for no other reason than to show how he looks at his best. Yesterday's pictures are before I removed crusts, today's are obviously after.

ImageImage
ImageImage
ImageImage
See, I told you he's a cutie pie!
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Postby Fatal_S » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:05 pm

B'aww, he's got such big, curious eyes after the crust is gone :) He's a very handsome fellow.

With the eyelids gone, does that mean he can't close his eyes at all? How long does it take for the crust to come back?
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Postby Susann » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:26 pm

Fatal_S wrote:B'aww, he's got such big, curious eyes after the crust is gone :) He's a very handsome fellow.

With the eyelids gone, does that mean he can't close his eyes at all? How long does it take for the crust to come back?


It's only on the right eye that they are gone to the point where he can't close the eye.
I caught him falling asleep as I was snapping pictures before, and this is what it looks like when the right eye is "closed":
Image

As you may be able to tell, the eyeball has kind of been drawn in and turned towards the back corner. I can't tell for sure if the inner lid is covering it...? When he blinks, it's just the inner lid that moves on that eye.

I believe this is why his eyes produce so much fluid that dries to a "crust"; I think it's nature's way of protecting the eye.

It only takes, maybe, an hour of him sleeping for them to "crust" shut.
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Postby Fatal_S » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:34 pm

Oh wow, an hour. For my monkey-tail it would take half a day even at his worse to get that crusty, for the most part it was several days.

I admit I find Joey's closed-eye to be creepy. It's too much like when a skink passes away :(

He is so lucky to have you for a mom :)
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Postby El Lobo » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:16 pm

I'm sorry Joey has not had a significant breakthrough in his condition with all the care he has been given.

Have the vets considered and/or excluded the possibility of deep tissue resident MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or other such bacterial infection?

This might be of interest:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Conten ... ourceID=62

Corticosteroids are immunosuppressive and if Joey does have an underlying bacterial infection would seem to be counter productive in its treatment. I assume the vets have ruled out any such infection by choosing these steroids. There is another possible option for the treatment of inflammation, NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). This class of drug has been proven relatively safe to use long term in the correct dosage and has the benefit of not suppressing the immune system as well as being analgesic. They are COX-1 and 2 inhibitors, so by definition are not without some risk of renal complications, although reportedly quite low risk.

This may or may not be worth discussing with your vets.

Thinking along the lines of ReptileKing, I recall the problem with mould. Moulds produce mycotoxins which can enter the food chain.

An abstract:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 0507003935
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Postby BTSspartan » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:22 pm

where do you live if you live in united states in va i would consider taking him to here http://www.seavs.com/

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