Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Janella » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:01 pm

Yeah! Wonderful news!
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Kitiara » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:30 pm

Some pics of post shed-her eyes look so much better to me, but I can still hear her wheezing. I was told by a coworker the vet would give me a script (they spoke last night) so waiting to get that filled so we can get that RI knocked out!
https://ibb.co/RgkJhjZ
https://ibb.co/9n1DZ8N
https://ibb.co/KGw9s5j
https://ibb.co/gD9pCtK

Someone was grumpy I took her out and promptly gave me a skink eye-
https://ibb.co/NxQH9pc
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby mb606587 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:38 pm

That eye does seem to have improved. You've got yourself a beauty! I'm glad he or she will now get the care it deserves.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby splashy07 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:15 pm

Awesome! Just made my day! Once this is over with your new pet will bring you nothing but joy. And you'll probably want another. And another.... !!
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Kitiara » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:14 pm

Still haven’t heard back from this vet about the injections. Taking her in for second opinion with a vet a local wildlife and reptile rescue recommended. I am irritated that the original vet knows her condition and hasn’t gotten back to me.

On a more positive note, I caught her basking just now. She is acting pretty shy, she backed up when I walked past the room so I quickly hid and she went back to basking. I know that’s normal behavior in a new environment, but it cheered me up to see her out of her hide.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Kitiara » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:17 pm

So I took my rescue to a new vet, and they had me drop her off and then wanted to keep her till Saturday. She’s on a Ceftaz injection every 72 hours and they gave her a vitamin shot. Now I’m curious what you guys think-they want me to redo her lighting to a naked UV bulb that stretches the whole tank on the inside. And no calcium with D3, just plain calcium. And no dog food.

Doesn’t sound completely opposite of what I’ve learned about Meraukes, but I’m curious to those of you that have kept them for years. Does the UV really need to be available across the entire cage?

And I don’t want to argue with the vet about dog food. With her being a rescue I’m just happy she’s eating right now.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby mb606587 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:27 pm

Kitiara wrote:So I took my rescue to a new vet, and they had me drop her off and then wanted to keep her till Saturday. She’s on a Ceftaz injection every 72 hours and they gave her a vitamin shot. Now I’m curious what you guys think-they want me to redo her lighting to a naked UV bulb that stretches the whole tank on the inside. And no calcium with D3, just plain calcium. And no dog food.

Doesn’t sound completely opposite of what I’ve learned about Meraukes, but I’m curious to those of you that have kept them for years. Does the UV really need to be available across the entire cage?


Short answer, NO you don't NEED to use the long tube UVB bulbs. Some people use the coil UVB bulbs in dome fixtures, some people use Mercury Vapor bulbs, some don't even use UVB lighting at all. If you are using UVB lighting, your vet is correct in saying that you don't need to use vitamin d3 powder as the UV light will naturally produce vitamin D3, which helps your skink absorb the calcium from its diet. If you aren't using UVB lighting, then yes you need to supplement calcium WITH d3, otherwise your skink will not be able to as efficiently process the calcium, which in turn can potentially lead to bone disorders or MBD.

It's important to be aware that not all veterinarians are experienced with treating reptiles. Even the ones that do have experience with reptiles, may not necessarily be very knowledgeable about the care of Blue Tongue Skinks. Every vet in the world is going to recommend UVB lighting in some form. Every vet I've ever seen has told me I need it. I do not use it for all of my skinks. Some lizards do require it, are very sensitive to their needs, and will quickly deteriorate if not used in the proper fashion. BTS do not fall into that category. My vet also advised that I stop feeding my then 15 year old BTS dog food, which it had been eating for 13 years prior to that, and provide a more "natural" diet. I continued feeding dog food and my BTS is now over 20 years old. Here is a bit of testimony from some other keepers regarding that topic.

Susan wrote:Here are some old quotes I dug up; there are lots out there to be found as this discussion has been had many times on our forums. Unfortunately the people I'm quoting are no longer active here, but their advice and opinions are still solid as nothing has yet disproven what they said.




Katrina wrote:
I think the main reasons dog food is still recommended here is because a lot of the biggest BTS breeders still use is as a staple and have for many, many years. It is easy to use because it has a decent Ca:P ratio and has a lot more vitamins and nutrients than muscle meat and is cost effective and convenient.

I'd love to know why the beardie pellets would be better than dog food for blueys. In my opinion, a diet of a variety of well gut loaded feeders would be ideal, but it isn't something that most keepers will be able to offer. If there is a good reason why people should pay more for beardie pellets over dog food then I would definitely recommend the pelleted diet instead.

I didn't believe in feeding dog food because it wasn't something they would find in the wild and it was full of who knows what. It just seemed wrong. This forum actually recommended a different diet, with emphasis on variety and things like boiled chicken breast and collards etc. Chicken breast seemed like the perfect, lean protein - simple and they loved it. And it wasn't so bad if you were careful and bought lots of greens and veggies and fed tons of variety. But we started seeing cases of MBD and other problems - the diet was over-complicated and when people cut corners there were huge issues. Not everyone has the time or desire to source out all kinds of variety. Fatal_S on here had lots of issues with the diet and even lost some BTS - luckily she shared all this and everyone learned from it.

That really changed my mind on the dog food thing - dog food is something experts have been using for decades with minimal extra ingredients added and they have great success. It isn't the other things they feed - they might add frozen veggies, but the diet is pretty much dog food. It works.

I now recommend it highly to beginners because even if they don't stick around and post and learn Ca:P ratios, oxalates, goitrogens, the merit of various veggies and the best and worst fruits to feed - even if they buy the BTS on a whim and don't really learn enough to care for it properly, if they feed a diet based on dog food the BTS will get decent Ca:P ratio, it will get lots of various vitamins and nutrients and it will be the simplest diet I can recommend that will have the most success. I recommend dog food because from what I have seen it is idiot proof - keep it simple and most people will be able to do it, even if they don't research or grate up squashes.




kingofnobbys wrote:
4) my reptile vet advised strongly against giving my water skinks and later my blue tongue skinks these foods, her experience was that she regularly saw pet skinks who had serious obesity issues , mouth problems, MBD and fatty liver decease who were fed cat and dog foods as their main or only source of protein , she suggested I stick with boiled lean chicken / turkey mince , live snails and live insects for my skinks' protein sources.




Fatal_S wrote:
I used to be against dogfood & supplements (in general the whole forum was). I spent all my time and effort and money buying human-grade foods to make meals with variety. I felt I was giving great care.

Then my skinks started showing signs of MBD. I tried altering the diet, adding more high-calcium greens. I was still avoiding dogfood/supplements. MBD kept getting worse. I went to the vet, and was recommended to avoid dogfood, but to give calcium w/o D3. So I did. It kept getting worse. At this point my tannies were in very bad shape and my Northerns were getting bumpy. Little Cloud the silver tanny had it worst. His bones were so deformed he couldn't grow.

It was Brad who pointed out to me that my human-grade meats (esp chicken breast) were terrible for calcium. No matter how much I added the meats were just sapping it all. I found out the big breeders tended to use dogfood/veggies/calcium w/ D3. I switched.

Very quickly the skinks started to show improvement. They began growing again, and the lumps they'd had evened out. Cloud was too badly damaged, as he grew his body couldn't handle it, and he passed away. That was probably one of the worst moment of my life; I knew I'd caused that with my narrow-minded thinking and refusal to see I had a big problem.




Jeff wrote:
I don't think anyone here is trying to convince you that you should feed your skinks dog food. It just continuously sounds like you are saying that it is an inferior diet to what you choose to feed.

The fact is, people have fed largely the way you do, and people have fed mostly dog food to their skinks. Not for a few months, but for a few DECADES. The conclusion of these people is that dog food produces the healthiest skinks. You have the right to ignore that experience if you want to, and you can feed your skinks whatever you feel is best. The truth is though, both ways have already been tried, and the data is in.

I still keep hearing over and over that dog food is bad for skinks. Based on what evidence? I know it may be disgusting to look at or smell, and that it has things in it that I would never want to eat, but I am not a skink! I could not disagree more with comparing dog food in the diet of a BTS to fast food in the diet of a human. I agree that fast food has been proven to be unhealthy for humans if eaten in large quantities. I not only disagree that the same can be said for dog food and skinks, but the OPPOSITE has been PROVEN.

The thing I like most about a dog food based diet is that it is the one that people are the least likely to screw up. Nothing has been found that results in healthier skinks. This is not a theory. This has been tested over time. The belief that dog food is not healthy for BTS however IS a theory. One that has been proven false. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but the only way it can be denied is to completely discount the people who have spent the last three decades proving it.

I freely admit that it is possible to meet all of a bts's dietary needs without using dog food. My question is "why?". Why go to all the trouble to prepare food that MAY meet your animals needs as well as dog food, IF you do it exactly right? We KNOW that we can give them the best diet by simply starting with a dog food base. It has just never made sense to me why people resist so hard what has been proven. I realize that for some people it just makes them feel better to spend more time and effort on their animals, but I also know that others truly believe there is something wrong with dog food. My point is, if you can't support that claim with some kind of evidence (like some unhealthy blueys that can not be explained by other factors), then I don't think the claim should be made.]
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Kitiara » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:47 am

Thank you for your reply! That sums up about how I feel. I have taken animals to very clueless vets before, I think I maybe had too high hopes for this one since they see a lot of reptiles. Very thorough on their end-they had me take pictures of her enclosure and of the temps on cool/hot sides, what her diet was, etc.
I definitely felt like they were quick to jump on me over the dog food thing though. I feel like if something’s been successful for 20+ years maybe they should look into it more instead of dismissing it.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby mb606587 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:48 pm

Yeah a lot of reptile vets are used to dealing with some of the more common species of lizard, Green Iguanas, Bearded Dragons, etc. I wouldn't say that a Blue Tongue Skink is a very common pet lizard due to the higher price (starting to become moreso in recent years) and they are generally pretty hardy animals so its likely the people that do keep them don't often take them in for care. Bearded dragons and green iguanas especially are both hypersensitive to their UVB requirements (both species frequently suffer from MBD) so I can understand why your vet is recommending full spectrum UVB across the enclosure. Not a bad suggestion, but evidence shows not completely necessary for the Blue Tongue Skink. And as for the dog food debate, its been ongoing for years. Even the best reptile vets aren't going to advocate for it because this diet simply isn't effective, if not outright detrimental, for most reptiles, and its been used for decades with many other species. Blue Tongue Skinks are probably the only reptile species, off the top of my head, that can thrive solely on a dog food diet, and still there are many people that prefer not to feed it. It's been used for many years because of convenience with various species of varanids (monitor lizards), especially the Savannahs, and it does not produce long lived animals in that species. So, again I can understand why many vets are wary about recommending it for the Blue Tongue Skink. But while the veterinarians will not advocate for it, most long time keepers, who have kept Blue Tongues healthy for 25+ years, over several generations, rave about it, so you can decide for yourself which source you'd rather heed advice from. I do think its interesting to note that most sources will tell you the lifespan of a BTS is 15-20 years. The breeders and keepers who feed dog food, oftentimes will tell you 25-30 years for theirs. As I stated before, I'm already past the 20 year mark with one of mine with no signs of slowing down. She should be on borrowed time according to the experts.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby splashy07 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:53 am

The great dog food debate has worn me out and I've been avoiding it, so in closing, I'd like to add that experienced breeders and keepers know thousands of times more than veterinarians about blue tongue skinks. As stated above, it is not an animal that is commonly taken to one. We focus on one particular type of animal. And that's all I have to say about that.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Kitiara » Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:14 pm

Phone call from the vet just now-they completed her fecal and it came back positive for trichomonas and oxyurids, so now she’s also on Panacur and Flagyll on top of Ceftaz injections. Seems like a lot, Two antibiotics and a dewormer all at once. They didn’t call me before administering them either so now she’s already on them all. I’m picking her up in the morning.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby mb606587 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:26 pm

Panacur and Flagyll are both pretty common treatments that have a long history of use and deemed safe. I don't think there will be any issue using both together and my opinion on that matters much less than the vet's opinion who obviously has more experience administering those treatments.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Kitiara » Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:03 pm

Yeah, I am coming off kind of complaining, sorry! I was sad they didn’t call me earlier, they phoned me at 7pm and then when I asked what all they had done/added to the bill she said it was still the same, they had included all those treatments. Then called me back half an hour later to tell me it was going to be $70 more. It’s fine, I do want her treated, but would have been nice to know what they were tacking on to my bill ahead of time.

I’ll be most happy once I have her back home!!!
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:17 am

Kitiara wrote:Phone call from the vet just now-they completed her fecal and it came back positive for trichomonas and oxyurids, so now she’s also on Panacur and Flagyll on top of Ceftaz injections. Seems like a lot, Two antibiotics and a dewormer all at once. They didn’t call me before administering them either so now she’s already on them all. I’m picking her up in the morning.


That's a thorough vet …. the reason for paracitidal meds and antibiotics is two fold, the trichomonas and oxyurids (parasites) attack the lower GIT and this gives gut bacteria who are usually present and harmless the opportunity to cause inflammation and in extreme cases can result in a hard to treat systemic infection (blood poisoning).

Some information lifted from
Parasites and Parasitic Diseases of Domestic Animals
Dr. Colin Johnstone
However, the main pathogenic effects appear to be related to the egg-laying habits of the female worms. Fertilized females travel down to the rectum and extrude their anterior end through the host's anal opening. They lay eggs on the peritoneum in clumps contained in a greyish-yellow gelatinous material. This causes an irritation resulting in anal and perineal pruritis


and from J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis vol.9 no.1 Botucatu 2003
In reptiles, the most common genera of flagellates include Hexamita, Trichomonas, Giardia, and Leptomonas. These flagellates have been identified in the digestive and urogenital systems of lizards,


The 3rd often forgotten prong of effective treatment is sterilization (everytime the skink poos) .
Strongly suggest you get hold of some F10sc and a spray bottle (1 Litre works well) and make a solution of 2ml to 4ml F10sc in water for sterilizing all the non-porous materials in the BT's tank.
20min of contact and allowed to air dry is sufficient to kill off most germs , fungi and spores.

Some people also use a Steamer to sterilize when a fecal came back positive. I was involved in a discussion where we were discussing best way to sterilse a lizard's tank on another board. PM me if you want the link to the discussion (was targeted at coccidia but is likely useful for trichomonas and oxyurids).

I think it would be very wise to remove the existing substrate and ditch it as it's impossible to sterilize , I'd have the BT on a few layers of kitchen grade paper toweling (you will find this in the pantry in most homes) until the vet tells you the BT is clear of paracites and the secondary bacterial inflammation of it's lower GIT , else you risk never being able to get rid of the paracites and you'll be on literally endless cycle of medications which is great for the vet ($ lots of $) but going to be hard on the skink and on your bankbalance.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:21 am

Kitiara wrote:Yeah, I am coming off kind of complaining, sorry! I was sad they didn’t call me earlier, they phoned me at 7pm and then when I asked what all they had done/added to the bill she said it was still the same, they had included all those treatments. Then called me back half an hour later to tell me it was going to be $70 more. It’s fine, I do want her treated, but would have been nice to know what they were tacking on to my bill ahead of time.

I’ll be most happy once I have her back home!!!


Better off knowing now , before collecting her , than getting a financial shock when you arrived.
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Kitiara » Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:13 pm

Thank you kingofnobbys for that information. I tried looking up some of that on my own but we left to go get her this morning. I feel much better now that I got to actually meet the vet in person (I had only spoken to the techs when dropping off). He is a really amazing vet.

The vet clinic I worked at, we had a lot of senior clients and we had to call and give updates constantly and email and text and coddle. This is not a vet that has time for that, and rightly so. They are busy because they are good, and have a larger variety of patients than what I am used to. I needed to be a lot more forgiving of what they have time for in a day.

On that note, I’m going to order some of that F10 and deep clean her enclosure and keep her on paper towels for now. Her recheck app is in 6 weeks, so my goal is set on how to handle her housing, medications, diet. I have my work cut out for me but we are happy to have her!
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Re: Adopting a sick blue tongue, also hi!

Postby Janella » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:47 pm

Wonderful news!!!

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