Super worm KILLED my lizard

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Brimw234
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Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby Brimw234 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:23 am

Ok so im new to blue tongues but have bread bearded dragons and have a 4 year old female. Im want to get a blue tongue after working with one at a reptile breeder's store. I have spent about three months now reading on proper care and have a few questions but that isn't main reason for this particular topic.

The bts care sheet on this site said that worms/larva, particularly super-worms, eating the insides of a lizard is false. I dispute that on grounds that it actually happened to me, my mom fed super-worms to my male beardie and he died 24 hours later, we knew something was wrong almost an hour after feeding, we drove for an hour to get Tourin(the beardies name) to an exotic vet. X-ray showed that the super worm breached the intestines and later autopsy showed that the super worm was completely outside of the intestines and had bitten the inferior vena-cava(cause of death).
Last edited by Brimw234 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Miss information in care sheet

Postby jdheff1982 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:51 pm

That is a rare case you have there. In fact, I think theses cases are so rare, that most herpetologists believe that it never happens.
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Re: Miss information in care sheet

Postby Jbolar » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:55 pm

that is a highly unusual set of events to occur, and more than likely super rare.
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Re: Miss information in care sheet

Postby Susann » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:29 pm

Thank you for telling us your experience, and I'm sorry you had to go through that, that must have been horrific.

There is information in the Caresheet that not everybody agrees with. Even though the Caresheet may be a collaboration of information from several keepers, it is written by one guy; much of it is his personal opinion, and only he can change the information in it. Obviously you have a first person experience where, no matter how rare of an occurrence, you have proof that it can happen.
Nobody here has the "power" to change what's in the Caresheet, but if I were you, I might change the title of this thread, to something like "A super-worm DID kill my reptile", just so that in the future someone who is doing research on it can, at a glance, see what the thread is about. That's just a suggestion though.

Welcome to the site, and I hope your search for a BTS is fruitful soon!
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Re: Miss information in care sheet

Postby xxmonitorlizardxx » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:11 pm

I have lost two animals from feeding superworms/mealworms, a leopard gecko and a a bearded dragon. I had fed the leopard gecko too many superworms at one time and it was unable to digest them fast enough so one superworm was able to bite it a little before dying from digestion. Now the superworm didn't eat the insides and chew its way out, it only bit it. Over the next two days the gecko defecated blood and then perished. The bearded dragon I lost because I was unaware that bearded dragons were not supposed to eat too many mealworms and it was unable to digest them and died the next day. Neither animals were eaten from the inside-out by the worms. I suspect something similar happened to your dragon.
The caresheet is also VERY old and has not been updated in quite a while, and like Susann said, it was made by one person who is not a herpetologist but he rather shared his personal experience.
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Re: Super worm KILLED my beardie!

Postby Brimw234 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:43 pm

Tourin was a 2 year old beardie, and I only fed super worms as a treat. I have a regular feeding schedual, when my mom fed tourin she only put 3 super worms in as a treat, he normal gets 5-6 as a treat so I know it wasn't a quantity issue it was just a fluke incident where the beardie didn't crush the super worm's head while chewing.
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby donkeybuff » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:46 pm

The insides of insectivorous animals are literally built to prevent this exact thing from happening. What happened to your beardie was definitely a fluke case. I still consider it safe to feed live superworms, just because the things like this almost never happen.
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby saisaac » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:58 pm

Care to share the vet record/xrays? I'm no radeologist, but I was under the impression that X-rays are not detailed enough to show specific internal organ damage.

I had a beardie that ate a great number of superworms and other insects throughout her lifetime without any issues as have thousands of other blueys and reptiles.

Is it possible that another issue such as impaction may have caused damage to the intestinal track and then the partially digested worm was pushed through the rupture?
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby Susann » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:29 pm

I'm sure an X-ray would've picked up an impaction.
We would love to see X-rays and necropsy reports, but there is no need to question what Brimw234 is telling us happened. Even if it were just his opinion, which it sounds like it's not. Not even he is disputing that this was probably an extremely rare occurrence if a superworm did in fact cause internal damage.
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby Brimw234 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:35 pm

I am aware of how rare of an occurrence this is but I'm also making the point that it can happen. I will have the x-rays and autopsy report posted as-soon-as I can get them. I saw the x-ray, haven't received copy or the actual film, been told cause of death found by autopsy, never seen any actual paper report. Didn't think to ask at time to get copies, now 8 months later vet wont release the records.

We were actually in the process of fighting the runs with him when this happened, and yes normally x-rays can't show organ damage but we could see that the super worm was intact beyond the stomach. Thanks to use of intravenous contrast could identify the rough outline of the stomach and a pool of blood around the head of the super worm, the vet told us that the pool of blood means either that the intestines were severely damaged or actually breached, only thing certain with x-ray is the exo-skeleton of the super worm, and the pool of blood.
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby Tom » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:05 pm

Forgive my skepticism. I'm not saying this didn't happen the way you think it did, but given the literally BILLIONS of super worms consumed by reptiles all over the planet every year, It seems very unlikely that an insect larvae chewed through the stomach of an insectivore, migrated through the interior of its body, and just happened to come across that vein and still had the wherewithal and ability to chew it. I won't go so far as to say its physically impossible, but I don't see this as a reason to not feed super worms. Personally I don't feed them anyway, because I think other insects (mainly roaches for me) are better for them anyway.

I'm sorry you lost your beardie, whatever the cause, and I hope you find and enjoy a new BTS!
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby Brimw234 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:27 pm

I am aware of how rare this is and I personally after this event have moved away from all worms/larvae just due to fact of, I raise my own dubai roaches as feeder insects now, there was a combination of many events that lead to this, but the saying goes, hind sight is 20-20.

And I am looking forward to adding a bluetongue to the family I just can't find a reliable breeder near me, I personally want to go to the breeder and see the conditions of all the animals and hold the different babies to get the first hand experience about the animal I'm adopting
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby Tom » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:45 pm

No harm in asking, but most breeders are not going to let people they don't know come to their houses and view their collections. Too many weirdos in the world unfortunately, and no way to tell ahead of time which ones are nice people who like reptiles and which ones are the weirdos.

Its pretty easy to find a good reputable breeder here on this forum, and overnight shipping makes things pretty easy.
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby saisaac » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:28 am

I do apologize for being rather insensitive. It would just help to understand how such a death could happen especially given the false rumors that abound across the web when it comes to superworms. As you and others have pointed out, superworms are not an ideal feeder nutritionally to begin with, so it is likely best to opt for roaches, silk worms, and other higher quality feeders. I lost my bearded dragon a few years back, and I still mourn her loss. She had serious health issues when I got her and suffered from various shedding and skin issues on her tail for a long time due to past injuries. Only getting Chewy (my first BTS) helped me get over her loss though I do still miss her antics.

You should be able to find a great bluey from this forums classifieds in early summer, otherwise you can often find animals that are in fair shape that are in need of a loving home on Craigslist, but be aware that many of these animals will have not received ideal care previously.
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Re: Super worm KILLED my lizard

Postby Sebastian » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:57 pm

If you have a local reptile show I would look to see whose coming and then ask around to see if there are any blue breeders and if they are reputable. That's what I did with Gideon and I could not be happier. I didn't have to bleed money to get him either. As far as the worms go, I have nothing to say on the topic other than I am sorry for your loss.
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