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Sudden loss

Ashley Clifford

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
16
I feel I did everything right, but one day my 18 month old beardie woke up with a black beard and seemed almost puffed up. I took her out when she didn’t budge at the sight of her morning salad topped with a couple dusted superworms. I gave her a warm bath because she had been pooping weekly lately, so I thought maybe an upset stomach from having a big poo built up. She pooped a small amount but she remained lethargic basically laying down flat for the black beard and her eyes almost had a slightly sunken look although she was looking very good up until the night before with zero sunken look (I thought maybe she was wincing causing the sunken look as if may be constipated or in some sort of pain because actual synchronize would not just happen immediately, or overnight in this case). Up until the day before, she was taken out daily and just the day before she was very spunky wanted to Climb up and on my shoulder and continuously insist on climbing my hair to the top of my head,(of course I always kept a harness on her for safety in case she ever jumped). I called my regular Exotic Vet but of course realized it was Sunday and they were closed and I did not know of an emergency vet that would see exotics and after calling around to everyone, realized that I would have to travel to Boston Massachusetts but luckily it’s only a 3 Hour Drive, so I am mediately left with her. About an hour and a half into our drive she started arching her neck almost as if gasping but wiggling her body a little at the same time making me think maybe she was struggling to poop, but after doing that was much more lifeless and so I believe it could have been a seizure of some kind. Her breathing became shallow as we got closer and when we arrived I was not positive if she was still alive. They immediately rushed her out back where they hooked her up to a Doppler to detect her heart rate in which they were unable to find and declared her deceased on arrival. This all happened a couple of weeks ago and I am struggling with it because I absolutely love caring for and attending to a bearded dragon and without knowing what happened or why she passed away at such a young age hesitates me greatly on getting a new baby. Her vivarium is a 4 x 2 x 2 from Dubia roaches her lighting is an inside mounted 34 inch 12% Arcadia UV bulb ( scheduled to be replaced in December ) and a clear basking bulb mounted on the inside on one side of the tank with a basking rock just below it. Her substrate was tile with hides on both side of the tank and a hemp hammock on one side which was the cool side. I had two digital probes one on each side as well as an ambient and humidity reader in the middle the temps ranged from 95 to 105 on average on the warm side and around 75 on the cool side. Her diet was mostly kale topped with bell peppers and occasionally raspberry or blueberry and super worms dusted with calcium and vitamins twice per week. She was a very active dragon even when just basking she would sit above my chair in the living room in a big window and stand up tall in the sunshine while watching TV pretty much every morning. There were never any signs that I saw that indicated anything was wrong. I am asking this community because of the experience with these creatures to see if there’s anything I may have done wrong or if it’s possible this was a freak thing I just don’t know and it breaks my heart but if I did do anything wrong or could do anything better I would want to know before getting a new dragon.
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
7,820
I feel I did everything right, but one day my 18 month old beardie woke up with a black beard and seemed almost puffed up. I took her out when she didn’t budge at the sight of her morning salad topped with a couple dusted superworms. I gave her a warm bath because she had been pooping weekly lately, so I thought maybe an upset stomach from having a big poo built up. She pooped a small amount but she remained lethargic basically laying down flat for the black beard and her eyes almost had a slightly sunken look although she was looking very good up until the night before with zero sunken look (I thought maybe she was wincing causing the sunken look as if may be constipated or in some sort of pain because actual synchronize would not just happen immediately, or overnight in this case). Up until the day before, she was taken out daily and just the day before she was very spunky wanted to Climb up and on my shoulder and continuously insist on climbing my hair to the top of my head,(of course I always kept a harness on her for safety in case she ever jumped). I called my regular Exotic Vet but of course realized it was Sunday and they were closed and I did not know of an emergency vet that would see exotics and after calling around to everyone, realized that I would have to travel to Boston Massachusetts but luckily it’s only a 3 Hour Drive, so I am mediately left with her. About an hour and a half into our drive she started arching her neck almost as if gasping but wiggling her body a little at the same time making me think maybe she was struggling to poop, but after doing that was much more lifeless and so I believe it could have been a seizure of some kind. Her breathing became shallow as we got closer and when we arrived I was not positive if she was still alive. They immediately rushed her out back where they hooked her up to a Doppler to detect her heart rate in which they were unable to find and declared her deceased on arrival. This all happened a couple of weeks ago and I am struggling with it because I absolutely love caring for and attending to a bearded dragon and without knowing what happened or why she passed away at such a young age hesitates me greatly on getting a new baby. Her vivarium is a 4 x 2 x 2 from Dubia roaches her lighting is an inside mounted 34 inch 12% Arcadia UV bulb ( scheduled to be replaced in December ) and a clear basking bulb mounted on the inside on one side of the tank with a basking rock just below it. Her substrate was tile with hides on both side of the tank and a hemp hammock on one side which was the cool side. I had two digital probes one on each side as well as an ambient and humidity reader in the middle the temps ranged from 95 to 105 on average on the warm side and around 75 on the cool side. Her diet was mostly kale topped with bell peppers and occasionally raspberry or blueberry and super worms dusted with calcium and vitamins twice per week. She was a very active dragon even when just basking she would sit above my chair in the living room in a big window and stand up tall in the sunshine while watching TV pretty much every morning. There were never any signs that I saw that indicated anything was wrong. I am asking this community because of the experience with these creatures to see if there’s anything I may have done wrong or if it’s possible this was a freak thing I just don’t know and it breaks my heart but if I did do anything wrong or could do anything better I would want to know before getting a new dragon.
I am so sorry for your loss-- it is always a shocker when something like this happens - and we are then questioning ourselves as to what happened--- I am going to have the vet tech mod on here see if she might have some answers for you - it sounds like everything was good for her husbandry --
@Drache613
 

Drache613

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
23
Hello,

I am so sorry for your loss, that is absolutely horrible when it is so sudden like that. They are very good at
hiding illness or disease. Is there any way she could have ingested anything toxic, or gotten bitten by a
poisonous spider possibly?
It is hard to know cause of death without an autopsy. Had she ever had any egg issues?

My condolences for your loss of your girl.

Tracie
 

Ashley Clifford

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
16
She never showed signs of egg laying. I suppose anything’s possible as far as ingesting something or being bit by an insect but if she injested anything I would think it would be a spider or small bug that possibly got in her tank because it is fall and getting colder outside and spiders are starting to appear inside like crazy. The only thing is I don’t really know if they’d harm her there aren’t venomous spiders in maine. Other than a passing insect that she may have quickly eaten , she was very supervised so when I say it’s possible it’s not likely. I never saw any bugs in her enclosure and I wiped it out regularly.

I’m very confused and feel I can’t justify even thinking about getting a new dragon without knowing what went wrong.
I have a hole in my heart and a giant beautiful empty enclosure staring back at me every day.
I know they’re good at hiding illness but can they really be completely normal and when I say normal I mean she has this cute attitude and would snuggle into my chest and would cock her head at me and then run across the couch when I pretended to be watching tv. (This little routine happened the day before I found her in the morning with a black beard.)

Thank you guys for responding, I know I’m grasping at straws. I just wish I knew what went wrong and if it could have been prevented.
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
7,820
She never showed signs of egg laying. I suppose anything’s possible as far as ingesting something or being bit by an insect but if she injested anything I would think it would be a spider or small bug that possibly got in her tank because it is fall and getting colder outside and spiders are starting to appear inside like crazy. The only thing is I don’t really know if they’d harm her there aren’t venomous spiders in maine. Other than a passing insect that she may have quickly eaten , she was very supervised so when I say it’s possible it’s not likely. I never saw any bugs in her enclosure and I wiped it out regularly.

I’m very confused and feel I can’t justify even thinking about getting a new dragon without knowing what went wrong.
I have a hole in my heart and a giant beautiful empty enclosure staring back at me every day.
I know they’re good at hiding illness but can they really be completely normal and when I say normal I mean she has this cute attitude and would snuggle into my chest and would cock her head at me and then run across the couch when I pretended to be watching tv. (This little routine happened the day before I found her in the morning with a black beard.)

Thank you guys for responding, I know I’m grasping at straws. I just wish I knew what went wrong and if it could have been prevented.
Again I am so sorry and I know the feeling of that loss--- and looking at a empty dark tank is a horrible feeling as well - as Tracie said it is hard to know exactly what the cause was w/ out doing the necropsy as she stated - and the unknown is a horrible feeling to add to the sense of loss-- give yourself time to grieve and in the mean time I would sanitize your tank real good since we dont exactly what the cause was --- some F10 would be a good disinfectant to have on hand - you can find that on Ebay or Amazon --- its a vet disinfectant and concentrate so it will last a long time - good for deep cleaning tanks --
 

Drache613

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
23
Hello,

I know exactly how you feel, as do a lot of others, the horrible empty feeling of loss & pain. Somehow,
these beautiful souls bond with us so strongly that it leaves an imprint on our souls, forever. I don't think
this is your fault at all, likely something for some reason, there must have been something else going on
that you couldn't see. Unfortunately, this happens somewhat often.
Take your time, & if you do decide to get another one, the next one will be very lucky.

I hope eventually you are able to find some peace.

Tracie
 
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