Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

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Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Lizard Mama » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:41 pm

Hi Everyone, I am new here so hopefully I am posting in the right place (I've read all the rules).

I have rescued a wild Alpine Blotched BTS. First saw him in one of our horse paddocks and left him alone. The next night he was in a closer paddock in a horse shelter, closer to the house. It has been unseasonably cold and snowing (it's summer) and he was freezing rain so we brought him into the stables for shelter but still left him alone. The next night he hadn't moved so we brought him into the house. Gave him a warm bath, put him into the reptile enclosure with heat lamp intending to release him back after warming him up and after the weather improved. He was lethargic and would not eat or drink and I could not see his tongue. The next morning, looked closer at him and spotted some dried blood on the left side of his mouth, in his left nostril and under his left eye. Also what looked like a bite wound in front of his left rear leg.

Took him to the vet the next day and found he had a fractured hard palate (among a couple of minor bites injuries we think he received in a fight with another lizard). It is impossible to know what the fight was about, we have at least 4 wild colonies of Cunningham Lizards on our place as well as a few blue tongues, but not sure where his BTS colony is to release him or if he got kicked out after a fight with another BTS. I am pretty sure he's a male.

The worst of it is that whatever attacked him wedged his tongue up INSIDE THE FRACTURE. Awful. The vet extracted his tongue from the fracture which was really stuck hard up there (lack of blood supply for a few days so it must be pretty sore - we thought he may lose part of his tongue but for now he looks good) and gave him an antibiotic shot. Now he's back in his enclosure recovering. Vet said to hang on to him for about 2 weeks to give the palate a chance to heal. I take him outside to roam and bask a few times a day. He is moving well.

Question is, he is active and today drank a little out of a puddle (won't eat or drink in captivity - yet) he is not able to (or won't) eat. I have noticed a little weight loss. Should I keep him in a cooler environment to keep him less active and try to bring about brumation or should I encourage him to warm up and be active (and possibly hungry and frustrated).

If I can't find his BTS colony nearby, I may have to purchase him a wife to release him with, or send him to a licensed breeder. I am a licensed owner, not a breeder. I don't want to put him back into danger if he got kicked out either. That and the fact that we have apex predators like feral cats, foxes and even Eastern Brown Snakes nearby at this time of year.

I welcome any advice you can give me to make his stay with me as comfortable as possible. BTW I am in Australia, the Alpine BTS ancestral home :ohyes:

Thanks!

Picture of the tongue stuck in the palate
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby mb606587 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:05 am

I don't think I would lower temperatures with that injury. Warmer temperatures are generally required to promote blood flow and healing. As for him not eating, he may be stressed now being injured AND in captivity or he may not physically be able to eat with that injury. The good news is that these guys can go a looong time without eating, not so much drinking. A vet can make the determination whether to administer critical care formula through syringe feeding if the skink is truly emaciated or cannot physically eat at this time..
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Susann » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:09 am

What a beautiful boy!! And bless your heart for helping him out. :hug:

I agree with mb, I would not lower his temps. I wish the vet would've maybe done a tube-feed while he had that sore jaw wedged open, but a few weeks without eating will hopefully still leave him in good enough shape to wander off when time comes.
What I might suggest is getting a can of wet dog or cat food, add a bit of warm water to it so it's runny, and place it outside somewhere he likes to roam when you take him out; then get him out there aimed in the right direction, and see if he doesn't take the opportunity to lap up some of that after he "discovers" it :wink:

Please keep us updated! Hopefully this ends up a beautiful story for both of you, but I'm very interested in knowing how it goes.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Janella » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:20 am

Awe, what a handsome boy and thank you for helping him. Poor thing has to be stressed out and probably painful as well. I completely agree with both mb and Susann. Keep the temps warm and as for feeding see if what Susann says works or even call the vet and see what they say about force feeding. Also I would ask the vet about pain meds. He has to be hurting. Keep us posted. I also am curious how this all turns out. Good luck!
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Susann » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:23 am

Thank you Janella, pain meds was the other thing I was supposed to meniton!
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby splashy07 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:24 am

Had to wait till my eyes cleared up for this one....
Agree with all above, and God bless you, I'm sure you saved his precious life.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:42 am

Kudos to you rescuing him and taking on responsibility for his care and recovery.

Warmth and keeping his injuries clean , along with time and patience on your part will be keys to his recovery.

Is he on a course of antibiotics and pain relief injections for now ?
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Susann » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:46 am

kingofnobbys wrote:Is he on a course of antibiotics and pain relief injections for now ?
Lizard Mama wrote:The vet gave him an antibiotic shot.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:48 am

Susann wrote:
kingofnobbys wrote:Is he on a course of antibiotics and pain relief injections for now ?
Lizard Mama wrote:The vet gave him an antibiotic shot.


Missed that , it is 5am here and my eyes are very tired. (Been up with my astrocamera all night and now it's too light to image so it's bed time).
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby mb606587 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:21 am

Canned wet dog food would be an excellent choice to offer as Susann recommended. I would even offer commercial baby food in a separate bowl in addition. Most are just pureed vegetables and fruit with no additives so safe for skinks but double check ingredients. Give him some options and he might prefer one to the other and both should be easier to lap up with an injury.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Richard.C » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:12 pm

Yep try some wet dog food,my blotchies love pedigree 5 kinds of meat in the loaf,he may just be a bit stressed and sore,also this time of year in aus they can still be in repro ductive mode which tends to lower there food interest to

You wont be able to find its colony,as they arent a colony occuring species like cunninghams
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Lizard Mama » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:47 pm

I want to thank everyone for your advice. I really appreciate it! This is my first lizard rescue - I have rescued wildlife from joeys to falcons but never a BTS. And we have at least 8 identified species of skink on our place.

No he’s not on a course of antibiotic, just a single injection. Took two tries and he blew out the syringe twice from backpressure.

No painkillers. Vet doesn’t believe in administering them unless absolutely necessary. Wants the fracture to heal naturally and says the pain is there for a reason. To stop him doing something he shouldn’t be doing. The Alpine BTS around here are legendary tough. We’re at 1200M in snow country.

Thank you for the advice about heat, feeding etc. I will get some good dog food and see how he goes. Maybe some canned snails too. He found a little snail but he wasn’t interested. Tried earthworms too, not interested.

I’ll give him a warm bath tonight to help with hydration.

Good new is he hissed at me for the first time when I disturbed his basking this morning by picking him up so he must be improving :lol: Will keep everyone posted on his progress. Thanks again!!
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Janella » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:45 pm

Thanks for the update. Prayers he keeps moving in the right direction of health. Good luck.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:01 pm

Richard.C wrote:You wont be able to find its colony,as they arent a colony occuring species like cunninghams


How's he doing today ?

When does the vet want to see him again for a followup examination ? (in a week or two ?)

Males are much more itinerant than females (who will have individual territories) , the males have a very large range (aka territory especially the alpha males) , chances are if he is the alpha male in your location , he wont be by the time he is fit enough to fend for himself and no longer needing human assistance , it may take a few months for him to heal and be able to handle solid foods , another male will soon take over his harem of females .

A female will have a territory of about an acre , the males control the mating rights for all the females in an area of maybe 1/2 square mile. Size of the territories is governed mostly by availability of water and food in each skinks range especially in a rural or bushland setting. In urban areas where there is available food you can often have a 2 or 3 females sharing an average 1/4 acre suburbian block (I've had this happen in my yard a few times, but usually it's just one adult BT).
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Lizard Mama » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:26 pm

Thank you for all the info! HIs body injuries are healing FAST. In fact you can hardly see them anymore. Amazing. He is definitely improving. He is determined to be outside now and is feeling much stronger to me. He is also faster and goes for longer when he's out for his free exercise. When I approach his enclosure in the morning (he stays in the house at night) he climbs up on the glass to be taken out. He is still not eating but doesn't seem any worse for wear because of it. He may be eating when I'm not looking since his outside shelter is on the ground where bugs often wander through. He had a drink yesterday from a puddle so he prefers that to anytihing unnatural.

He does seem to be looking for a female, just a hunch. It is illegal to release captive breds into the wild since they may introduce disease into the population, so hopefully I will spot a female before I release him and try to grab her for him and release them together closer to the house.

His follow up is in 10 days now - but honestly I don't think he will need that long. His recovery has been swift since his tongue was freed up. He seems to have retained his full tongue, he is using it all the time.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:21 am

That's a good sign.

You're in a rural / farm setting, he may not be recognizing dog food as a food , having never seen it before. Maybe get some blowfly gents and add them to the meat , the gents moving about on and through the meat might tweek his interest if he's hungry and ready to eat.
I've seen wild skinks visit road kill , not to take the rotting meat from the roadkill, but to feast on the maggots they find on it. The maggots are very nutritious food for a skink.

An alternative SOFT food with very good nutritional value is silkworms , they also contain natural anti-inflammatory enzymes and most lizards can't resist them when you deposit a worm where they can get it.
Silkworms are soft and slow and my BTs and beardies love them. (nothing hard in silkworms so it may be worth getting a dozen large or a couple of dozen medium size silkworms) , they wont hurt his mouth , he's likely to hoover down a few medium (up to 2" long) in a sitting.

Bogong Moth lavae and moths may be good to try too. You're in their natural range too. Info https://animalsake.com/bogong-moth-facts , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogong_moth these will be a food he is familiar with.

I know of a few places who sell live (clean) garden and food snails ( think snails might be a bit risky for him with his still injured soft pallet )

PM me if you need to find a source for live snails or silkworms or blowfly gents.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Lizard Mama » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:32 am

Hey thank you very much for the excellent advice.

I think he would be very interested in blowfly gents. My husband can collect some because that’s beyond my gag reflex :dead: . The silkworms sound like something great. If you could let me know where I can get some that would be much appreciated.

I am sure his mouth is still sore and that is preventing him from eating. If he sees something irresistible to him that may give him some confidence.

The Bogongs fly through here every year. Get stuck everywhere and into everything. I know he’d enjoy their larvae. But it’s not an easy meal to find. Thanks again.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:29 am

See PM.

I know lots of bait shops in your area will have live maggots , used as bait for trout, yellowbelly, perch , murray cod, and bass.

I don't recommend buying maggots from a bait shop ( nasty stuff in these that act as fish attractants ). Frog Arcade is where I bought blowfly gents when my beardies were hatchlings.
Since it's now summer, it wont take long for wild blow flies to find some dogfood left out somewhere for them to "blow" it.... a week or two and it'll be wriggling with nice juicy maggots big enough to be interesting to you blotchie…. all you need a couple weeks of dry hot weather.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby Lizard Mama » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:46 pm

Thank you very much! I'm on it.
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Re: Fractured Hard Palate, Injured BTS

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:12 pm

You are welcome.

If you've ordered from Frog Arcade , my orders usually arrived here (Newcastle) on a Wednesday or Thursday , their deadline is 10am Tuesday for orders.
If you've order from LiveFoods Unlimited , my orders (usually crickets or BSFL) arrive on Wednesday , their deadline for midnight Sundays.
BioSupplies ship next day.

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