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mystery diarrhea from a parasite-free dragon

venatosapiens

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
2
Hi, all! For three years, I've been battling a somewhat odd diarrhea problem in my bearded dragon, and after a couple of different vet visits have failed to address the issue, I thought I'd check in here and see what y'all thought.

The basics: Arroyo is a roughly five year old female dragon. She came to me as a rehome in late 2020, and has been alert and feisty. She's had a few health scares but generally has gotten a clean bill of health at most of her vet visits. She's kept in a 4x2x2 bioactive vivarium with an active microfaunal population that's spot cleaned regularly, with a hot temperature of 105-107 and a cool temperature of around 85-88 on hot days. (The only space to keep her is a side-room with poor insulation, so managing heat here in Texas during summers is sometimes an issue.) She , eats pretty well (though she's picky about her greens) and receives a base diet of collared, mustard and turnip greens, with accents of bell pepper, carrot and yellow squash, and occasionally okra, parsley, and kale. Plus dusted dubia roaches (fed on vegetable scraps and dubia feed) and mealworms. She flatly refuses to drink standing water in her bath, though she will (very occasionally!) condescend to lap up water if she's misted.

The issue: my gal has never once, in the three years that I've had her, taken a proper bearded dragon-shaped poop. Her stools are loose at the best of times, and are often war crimes -- vast, liquid diarrhea explosions. I've had them tested for parasites, and she did once have coccidia that required a full rebuild of her enclosure, but she's tested negative for that multiple times this year, including stuff like cryptosporidium. A vet suggested probiotics might be the answer; I gave her a full course, and it didn't help. Her bloodwork's clean. She doesn't seem to be in particular distress around all this, but it's tough to keep her fully hydrated because (again!) she's dumping big quantities of liquid every time she poops. This problem has persisted even in the period when I had her in a more traditional, regularly cleaned set up while I was waiting for her bioactive rebuild to cycle up.

So, to sum up: a largely healthy, totally parasite-free bearded dragon who nonetheless is afflicted by constant loose bowels. Anybody ever seen something like this? One of the vets I saw suggested that she might just have a very sensitive stomach, but I'm not sure how to deal with that if that's the case. Any other options I'm missing?
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
3 Year Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
10,948
Hi, all! For three years, I've been battling a somewhat odd diarrhea problem in my bearded dragon, and after a couple of different vet visits have failed to address the issue, I thought I'd check in here and see what y'all thought.

The basics: Arroyo is a roughly five year old female dragon. She came to me as a rehome in late 2020, and has been alert and feisty. She's had a few health scares but generally has gotten a clean bill of health at most of her vet visits. She's kept in a 4x2x2 bioactive vivarium with an active microfaunal population that's spot cleaned regularly, with a hot temperature of 105-107 and a cool temperature of around 85-88 on hot days. (The only space to keep her is a side-room with poor insulation, so managing heat here in Texas during summers is sometimes an issue.) She , eats pretty well (though she's picky about her greens) and receives a base diet of collared, mustard and turnip greens, with accents of bell pepper, carrot and yellow squash, and occasionally okra, parsley, and kale. Plus dusted dubia roaches (fed on vegetable scraps and dubia feed) and mealworms. She flatly refuses to drink standing water in her bath, though she will (very occasionally!) condescend to lap up water if she's misted.

The issue: my gal has never once, in the three years that I've had her, taken a proper bearded dragon-shaped poop. Her stools are loose at the best of times, and are often war crimes -- vast, liquid diarrhea explosions. I've had them tested for parasites, and she did once have coccidia that required a full rebuild of her enclosure, but she's tested negative for that multiple times this year, including stuff like cryptosporidium. A vet suggested probiotics might be the answer; I gave her a full course, and it didn't help. Her bloodwork's clean. She doesn't seem to be in particular distress around all this, but it's tough to keep her fully hydrated because (again!) she's dumping big quantities of liquid every time she poops. This problem has persisted even in the period when I had her in a more traditional, regularly cleaned set up while I was waiting for her bioactive rebuild to cycle up.

So, to sum up: a largely healthy, totally parasite-free bearded dragon who nonetheless is afflicted by constant loose bowels. Anybody ever seen something like this? One of the vets I saw suggested that she might just have a very sensitive stomach, but I'm not sure how to deal with that if that's the case. Any other options I'm missing?
Try cutting out the squash bell pepper and carrot- feed some raw shredded sweet potato and see if that will firm it up -- what kind of UVB are you using? and where it is at ? I would lower the surface basking temp to 95-100 and lower the cool side to 80ish or so -- so w/ the poor insulated room how are you getting those temps? Analogs are inaccurate so you want a digital probe thermometer for the surface basking temps- if shes dumping large amounts of liquid when she poops shes losing water and will become dehydrated - so its a fine line between cutting out the veggies giving the liquid poop and her becoming dehdyrated -- a full coarse of the probiotics means?????????? You may haft to keep giving it to her - did the bowels change w/ her being on it?
 

venatosapiens

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
2
Never tried her on raw shredded sweet potato, so I'll start her on that today. Regarding the full course of probiotics, I was told explicitly to only give her probiotics for two weeks, and I didn't see any change. (That vet hasn't been super communicative when I tried to reach back out and see if I should continue, so I decided to error on the side of caution and stop. I'm reaching back out to that office to try and get some further clarity on this.)

Regarding UVB + heating: I'm using an ARCADIA 14% UVB T5 HO that's 18 inches over her basking spot at its highest point, and I have both a digital probe thermometer and temperature gun, which is how I'm getting the temperature readings. Keeping the room a steady temperature that doesn't overheat is a lot easier in fall, spring and winter than it is in summer -- maintaining a hot spot that doesn't overheat the whole tank has been a consistent issue.
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
3 Year Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
10,948
Never tried her on raw shredded sweet potato, so I'll start her on that today. Regarding the full course of probiotics, I was told explicitly to only give her probiotics for two weeks, and I didn't see any change. (That vet hasn't been super communicative when I tried to reach back out and see if I should continue, so I decided to error on the side of caution and stop. I'm reaching back out to that office to try and get some further clarity on this.)

Regarding UVB + heating: I'm using an ARCADIA 14% UVB T5 HO that's 18 inches over her basking spot at its highest point, and I have both a digital probe thermometer and temperature gun, which is how I'm getting the temperature readings. Keeping the room a steady temperature that doesn't overheat is a lot easier in fall, spring and winter than it is in summer -- maintaining a hot spot that doesn't overheat the whole tank has been a consistent issue.
We can ask Tracie about the probiotics shes a vet tech on here
@Drache613
 

Drache613

Hatchling Dragon
Messages
257
Hello,

How is your dragon doing?
I have worked with a few people who had a bearded dragon with digestive issues.
I agree with Sadie, to try the shredded sweet potato. It may help add some bulk & fiber to the
system & may soak up excess fluids.
Probiotics might help if there is an intestinal imbalance for some reason. Bromelain enzyme is
very effective for digestive disturbances.
Let us know how things are going.

Tracie
 

Jackie_NYC

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
19
Never tried her on raw shredded sweet potato, so I'll start her on that today. Regarding the full course of probiotics, I was told explicitly to only give her probiotics for two weeks, and I didn't see any change. (That vet hasn't been super communicative when I tried to reach back out and see if I should continue, so I decided to error on the side of caution and stop. I'm reaching back out to that office to try and get some further clarity on this.)

Regarding UVB + heating: I'm using an ARCADIA 14% UVB T5 HO that's 18 inches over her basking spot at its highest point, and I have both a digital probe thermometer and temperature gun, which is how I'm getting the temperature readings. Keeping the room a steady temperature that doesn't overheat is a lot easier in fall, spring and winter than it is in summer -- maintaining a hot spot that doesn't overheat the whole tank has been a consistent issue.
Hi, I have the same problem with my beardie girl. Once she's turn 5 month old and now she's 8-9 months old. For those 3 months she had maybe 5 normal poops. I changed her basking spot, changed the temperature and nothing help. Checked for parasites and it's negative. I am giving sweet potato every day and at first seems to be a little more firm and than come back to her regular wattery stool. I don't feed any fruits and don't feed any other veg and never gave her any water. Regardless every day that she poops it's a lot of watter in there. Only thing that get the poop better i noticed if she basking more than usual. But I can't put her basking against her will every day. I'll attach some photos of her poop so you can compare with what you have. Pretty sure it will be the same. I was trying to find answers for 3 month now but I couldn't. May be it's some sort of genetic trait in some beardies.
 

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Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
3 Year Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
10,948
Hi, I have the same problem with my beardie girl. Once she's turn 5 month old and now she's 8-9 months old. For those 3 months she had maybe 5 normal poops. I changed her basking spot, changed the temperature and nothing help. Checked for parasites and it's negative. I am giving sweet potato every day and at first seems to be a little more firm and than come back to her regular wattery stool. I don't feed any fruits and don't feed any other veg and never gave her any water. Regardless every day that she poops it's a lot of watter in there. Only thing that get the poop better i noticed if she basking more than usual. But I can't put her basking against her will every day. I'll attach some photos of her poop so you can compare with what you have. Pretty sure it will be the same. I was trying to find answers for 3 month now but I couldn't. May be it's some sort of genetic trait in some beardies.
@jackie are you feeding squash?
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
3 Year Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
10,948
I have that problem for 3 months. I cut any veggies and fruits. Only sweet potato and carrots once in month. Greens (collard,turnip,escarole,mustard,dandeloin)
Try feeding raw shredded sweet potato daily see if that helps
 

Jackie_NYC

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
19
Try feeding raw shredded sweet potato daily see if that helps
I'm doing it for about month now. Doesn't really help unfortunately. May be in general with the beardie that's occasionally have wattery stool it will help. But here we deal with something else.
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
3 Year Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
10,948
I'm doing it for about month now. Doesn't really help unfortunately. May be in general with the beardie that's occasionally have wattery stool it will help. But here we deal with something else.
It could be just the way she is- I know of another person that has the same issue
 

Drache613

Hatchling Dragon
Messages
257
Hello,

How are things going?
Have you tried Bromelain to help with digestive issues? Dragons are very individual so some may just have
a looser stool than others. You could also add some canned pumpkin to give some fiber which may be helpful
in soaking up some excess hydration internally.


Tracie
 
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