Need Bluey Health Help!

Everything Blue Tongues! Have a question? Just got a BTS and want to introduce yourself? This is the place!
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In this forum all are welcome to ask blue tongue skink-related questions, share information, ideas, tips, experiences, and pictures with fellow BTS enthusiasts.
If you are wondering if your BTS is acting normally or might be sick, this is where you can get help with that.
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kbm
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Need Bluey Health Help!

Postby kbm » Mon May 07, 2007 6:07 pm

Hey guys. Any help you can provide would be fabulous. I'm a worried mom.

I have a 3 year old Gigas Blue tongue named Darwin. Recently, I noticed that he had some dried saliva around his mouth and couldn't open it. I flushed it with water from a syringe and it came unstuck (suspected that it was dried saliva). He couldn't breathe well without opening his mouth. I took him to a vet at my job (unfamiliar with reptiles, for the most part) who was on for the weekend and she helped me put betadine around his mouth (I suspected mouth rot at the time) and gave him a dose of antibiotics (Baytril - the dose given by a call to a semi-knowledgeable reptile vet). His nose looked almost 'burned' and raw, there appear to be either trauma or ulcers at the tip of the inside of his mouth and he is now breathing faster than normal. His x-rays seem to show that his lungs aren't as clear as they were when he was healthy (luckily, had a comparison from when he was healthy). He is on antibiotics currently, but isn't eating very well anymore (a half-interested bite was taken before he moved on).

Has anyone seen this before and could give me some advice? There are no vets around here that are completely comfortable with this species, but my vet can provide some care. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby Lucifer_Spades » Mon May 07, 2007 6:43 pm

sounds like a respitory infection to me though I'm no expert


From CareSheet:
Respiratory Infections
Respiratory infections can occur in BTS, but usually is nothing to worry about if you have a clean terrarium, good diet, and most importantly, correct temperatures and humidity. The basking end should of course be at 100 degrees, with your middle range and cool end in the high 70's to low 80's. Night time temperatures should not fall below 65-70 degrees. Stress can also be a factor with respiratory infections as well as many other complications. Major temperature changes (such as taking your blue tongue from its hot rock, and placing it outdoors when it's cold) can also be a cause, as well as extreme humidity. Try to keep your humidity in the 25-45% range, and never above 50%. Symptoms of a respiratory infection can include gasping, wheezing, coughing, heaving (very heavy breathing), and mucus leaking from the eyes, nose, or mouth. Remember, sneezing is normal unless it's suspiciously excessive (don't be paranoid, they will sneeze more when burrowing in their substrate). Heavy breathing is also normal after a big meal, especially if you have a fat skink. Most infections will require veterinary medicines, and that means a trip to your vet. Be VERY mindful of obvious problems, because often blue tongues will not show excessive symptoms until it is too late.

Do not panic about "frothing" at the mouth. As a blue tongued skink repeatedly shoots his tongue in and out, saliva naturally collects at the corners of the mouth, and eventually bubbles out a little bit. This is especially seen when your animal is moving around and active. Also don't worry about "whistling". Whistling and wheezing are two very different things. Whistling is just ordinary breathing that sometimes generates a "whistle". This usually occurs in an animal that has uniquely shaped nostrils that are shaped in such a way as to create a whistle with each breath.

Vomiting
Don't freak out if your skink throws up once or twice during a two day span. Once in a while, your BTS may have an upset stomach, or didn't digest his food well. This doesn't mean he has an illness that requires treatment. If vomiting continues throughout the course of a week however, and you notice other signs, then seek a veterinarian immediately.

Medications
Here are some known treatments to ask about. These are NOT instructions for a sick skink but more suggestions you might give your vet. Enrofloxacin (Baytril) is a common treatment. Treatment could range from injections daily for a week, to a syrup form being taken orally twice a day. Two other known treatments are Ceftazidime and Metronidazole (Flagyl [used for bacteria, amoebic, and protazoa infrections]). Injections are typically made in the front half of the body in either the leg or shoulder. Remember, never try any experimentation on your own. Use only what your vet prescribes and in the correct dosage.
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Postby Dragontears » Mon May 07, 2007 7:54 pm

I'm sorry to hear your bluey isnt' feeling well. It does sound like a respiratory infection. I'd try to get him checked out (not just a phone call) to another vet that is at least moderately familiar with lizards. What are your temps at? You might want to bump up the basking area a bit more if your current basking area is on the low side.

:goodluck:
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Postby Leigh » Tue May 08, 2007 5:07 am

What part of the world you from, there's great advice to be had from the mob down under
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Postby Autumn » Tue May 08, 2007 9:26 am

Not to diagnose, because I'm definitely not a vet.. But, it does sound similar to pneumonia.. the prominent clinical sign of it is dyspnea (trouble breathing). I don't know if the vet you took Darwin to auscultated his thoracic area, but there would be cracklin/popping noises.. to actually diagnose pneumonia it requires radiographs.. and someone knowledgable of Saurian anatomy to interpret them.
In any case of reptile disease, it is going to take a lot longer for them to recover, it's just the way they are.
I don't know how knowledgable your vet is/was, but I would like to assume that she knows that Reptiles as well as birds have a renal portal system... so if they are given injectable meds in the caudal half of their body (below the kidneys) that the kidneys will take out that antibiotic, and baytril.. I don't know if that's nephrotoxic in lizards or not.
Lastly, not to be accusational whatsoever.. BUT 90% of all reptilian illnesses are due to poor husbandry and I am quoting a veterinarian who has worked with many reptiles in his day.. so maybe you need to rule that out if that's the case and perhaps if it is, fix whatever is wrong.
As for stomatitis (mouth rot) that could be too, the only true way to find out is to get a reputable reptile vet that knows what he/she is doing to diagnose that for you.. Many severe cases of mouth rot can lead to respiratory problems also. Stomatitis can present with mucoid or purulent discharges in the mouth, which could be what you're seeing on the outside, but it doesn't have to.. the aspiration of these exudates can lead to pneumonia.
So, that's the knowledge of the day from me
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kbm
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Postby kbm » Thu May 10, 2007 6:01 pm

Thanks for all the help, guys. I trekked up to the experienced herp vet and it turns out that he's got mouth rot and pnuemonia. Anyone know how he could have gotten such? I'm curious if it was due to me taking him to see kids at a career day. He's doing well, though - eating and taking his medicine like a champ. He's a little touchy about well.. being touched. I think they scarred him up there! :)

Also - he keeps kicking at his ears but there's nothing outside of them to take out. Any idea if I should try to get his earbuds out or just leave them be?
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Postby Lucifer_Spades » Thu May 10, 2007 6:09 pm

if he's scratching at his ears you might want to check for the ear scales CAREFULLY but don't stick any thing in his ear read the care sheet
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Postby kbm » Thu May 10, 2007 6:37 pm

I've checked a few times and I can't see anything at all on the outside. I read the caresheet's advice not to go inside of his ear at all. So should I just leave him to work it out on his own?
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Postby mouseinamilkbottle » Thu May 10, 2007 8:47 pm

kbm wrote:Thanks for all the help, guys. I trekked up to the experienced herp vet and it turns out that he's got mouth rot and pnuemonia. Anyone know how he could have gotten such? I'm curious if it was due to me taking him to see kids at a career day.


I doubt it. Mouth rot, if you look at the caresheet, tends to result from untended mouth injury or unsanitary living conditions.

Pneumonia, as in humans, is probably a respiratory infection that has gone untreated. Check your tank temperatures. Have you got something accurate to measure them with? If you're not checking them frequently, or your measuring equipment is not accurate enough, temperature may have played a role in his illness.


kbm wrote:He's doing well, though - eating and taking his medicine like a champ. He's a little touchy about well.. being touched. I think they scarred him up there! :)


The fact that he's eating well is good. He may be touchy because he is ill. I know when I don't feel well, I'd rather be left alone, too.
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Postby Geoff Gates » Thu May 10, 2007 8:57 pm

mouth rot can also be caused by meals that are too mushy.

Ensure some dry ingredients (mushroom etc) are in his meals along with something that provides a bit of crunch.... apple pieces, eggshell that sort of stuff.

Scrathing at his ears? Off the top, either mites or ear-plugs.
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Postby thesilverbeast » Thu May 10, 2007 9:56 pm

thought i would add this in here...

my one seems to have his eyes shut most of the time. when he walks around he usually has his eyes open but once or twice he hasnt. he usually shuts his eyes within a few seconds of being in my hands or on my shirt or pants.

ive checked for mites, he has some a month ago but im pretty certain theyre all gone, i have even treated him for them when i didnt think he had them just to make sure.

any ideas why he would do this? i would love to think its because he's relaxed around me but i doubt it...
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Postby Autumn » Fri May 11, 2007 7:54 pm

Incorrect husbandry= most probable the cause of the problems..

Pneumonia isn't a respiratory infection left untreated in reptiles..

they have no cilia in their respiratory tract, and cannot cough.. therefore the bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc get in the body and stuff gets in the lungs.. and it sits there.. causing pneumonia.. although I don't actually know, but the mouth rot could've caused the pneumonia.. see earlier post

it might be mites.. try looking for "lifted" scales.. or try lifting one up gently and seeing if there are any black to red colored little bugs under the scales.. and yeah, don't go playing in the ear..
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kbm
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Postby kbm » Sat May 12, 2007 2:26 pm

I believe that he's itching at his face instead. He doesn't like the cream the vet gave me for his mouth rot.
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Postby Zach » Mon May 14, 2007 3:19 am

I've been trying to get a video of the ear kicking forever...if he's doing it often, try to snap a clip! Sounds like ear plugs to me; see if you can rub around the outer ear and shake loose some of the scales that may be connected to the earbag inside. Then just pull it out slowly. He may flinch while doing this.

Good luck; keep us updated.

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