Sand monitor, possible MBD, what are my short-term options?

Discussion in 'Herp Help' started by Smittiferous, Oct 27, 2015.

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  1. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    Yesterday my little sandy was all fine and dandy, monkeying about the place as he usually does. Got home from work today to find the poor feller suffering serious lethargy and obvious muscle spasms. Searching here, and googling seems to point to MBD.

    List of observed symptoms are as follows:

    *Lethargy
    *Weakness
    *Muscle spasms in legs and base of tail
    *Poor motor control
    *Curved spine on occasion during motion
    *Total disinterest in food

    Diet is as follows:

    *Crickets
    *Lean beef mince
    *Chicken mince
    *Supplemented twice a week with calcium
    *Tried to start him on pinkie mice today but he wasn't interested in food at all, which made me look closer, and now here we are...

    I believe this is the result of a failure of my own husbandry, either not enough calcium and/or the UV bulb I had fitted was a spare that had been used in another enclosure previously then put into storage, I suspect it's no good and it has now been replaced.

    What are my options in the short-term for trying to help him recover? I've never experienced this before with my dragons so I have no real clue. Google Vet mostly says "correct the husbandry errors and observe" but if he's not eating at all, how can I boost his calcium intake? If I can't induce some kind of improvement soon he'll be off to KVH, of course.

    Thankyou kindly in advance for anything anyone can recommend.
     
  2. imported-varanus

    imported-varanus Active Member

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    I wasn't aware the onset of MBD was that quick, one day fine, next day, MBD? Off to the vet for a diagnosis imo, sounds like some kind of poisoning at a guess? In any case, stay away from meat products with monitors, get it onto whole vertebrate food items and try to get it outside for some sun on suitable days. A small aviary would do as opposed to the stress of you holding while outside.
     
  3. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    Poisoning? Christ, I'd love to know what from, he's been in there for over a month with no ill-effects prior, no new furniture and nothing in there is artificial except the water bowl: real rocks etc. I've arranged for him to be taken to the vet first thing tomorrow as I'll be unable to do so due to work.

    If he's not taking food, I assume force-feeding would be the only option, so how would I force-feed him the pinkies I bought without choking him?
     
  4. imported-varanus

    imported-varanus Active Member

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    Don't panic, just a guess, it doesn't sound like mbd to me though with such a quick onset, unless it's gone un noticed for a while? See your vet for educated advice, then work from there. Force feeding is never a good idea with monitors and wont solve the underlying problem (which is why it's not eating in the first place). It would only cause further stress imo. What's your set up like? Any pics??

    - - - Updated - - -

    try chopped , whole rodents as opposed to pinkies.
     
  5. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    I pay a fair amount of attention to him as he lives in my office, where I often am when I'm home (can hear him scurrying about and digging), I'm not saying it's not possible that I didn't notice the onset earlier but I'd like to think I am more observant than that...

    No pics as it's a fairly bland white melamine box, he's only living in it until he grows some, starting a new, bigger build next week.

    1000Wx450Lx450H (bear in mind he's not even 250mm from nose to tail yet)
    Sand substrate
    Multiple rocks and hides all over
    33-35 degree ambient daytime temp (warm end) with basking spot at 45-50 degrees and mid to high 20s ambient temp during night time.
     
  6. 5hane

    5hane Not so new Member

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    could quite possibly be mbd. I recall a post on the reptile quarantine and virus awareness page on fb, were a monitor was supposedly fine one night and the next it had lost all function in its back legs, turned out to be mbd. the monitor was only 6 months old.
     
  7. mummabear

    mummabear Well-Known Member

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    The fact that it is not getting anything with bone in it could point to MBD. If he has it you will need to go to a vet for treatment plan. This will most like involve daily liquid calcium for many months and obviously a change in diet. But a vet for a correct diagnosis is what is best at this stage.
     
  8. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    He's been taken to the vet this morning by a family member. Their reptile guy wasn't in today so they're keeping him overnight. In his absence I'll be giving his enclosure a thorough clean out/inspection in case it is in fact something in there making him sick.

    Neither my family member nor the veterinary nurse observed any tremors/spasms this morning, the only indication he gave that something was off was the lack of protest at being picked up.
     
  9. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    The loss of leg movement could come on quickly, but the lethargy and not eating would be more gradual, as Richard (Imported-Varanus) has said above. The case you refer to doesn't say anything about other symptoms. It is possible, given the unknown quality of the original UV globe, and the lack of whole prey items. [MENTION=32194]Smittiferous[/MENTION], is the chicken mince pet food or is it from the supermarket? The reason I ask, apparently pet chicken mince is the only mince that has bones crushed/minced up in it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    When Richard mentioned something making him sick, I think he meant the mince.
     
  10. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    The mince was regular lean beef and chicken mince from the supermarket. He didn't actually start exhibiting any symptoms until the day after his first feed from a new packet of mince, oddly enough. It's been thrown out now...
     
  11. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    As much as our sandy's will eat anything, no matter how it smells, with no ill effects, that may be the cause. The vet may treat your monitor with liquid calcium as Mummabear suggested, and/or a dose of antibiotics. If it is just a case of bad mince, he should come good fairly quickly.
     
  12. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    Given that medium to large monitors eat carrion as a large part of their diet, it's unlikely that "off" mince would be a problem. If the mince had added chemicals that could possibly cause illness, but that's unlikely too. As Mummabear says, if the diet isn't mostly made up of whole animals - mice, preferably with fur, or insects (woodies would be good for a monitor baby of this size), you'll end up with serious digestion/absorption problems, particularly from lack of calcium, although to me the sudden onset and the tender age of the animal don't seem to point to MBD (happy to be proven wrong here...). They do need bulk - fur, exoskeletons etc, in their diet - mince alone is totally unsuitable, even in the short-term. Is it a possibility that, if you have been feeding only wet, sticky mince on a sand substrate, that it is ingesting large amounts of sand with its food? They often rub their food around to shape it for swallowing, so it could collect a coating of sand with each mouthful. Given that young monitors are usually voracious feeders, this could easily cause impaction, with symptoms such as you describe. Could it have swallowed something obstructive along with its food, such as a stone or piece of bark, that could block the digestive tract?

    If the animal was behaving normally and feeding as usual until a day or two ago, there is no need to even consider force feeding at this point in time.

    Jamie
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  13. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    Good thinking Jamie. Hadn't even considered impaction.
     
  14. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    I feel I should elaborate on his diet a little...

    -Handful of crickets daily, large size, sourced from my local aquarium.
    -Every second or third day I'd provide a small amount of whatever minced had purchased, dusted with calcium supplement.

    He does indeed often end up rolling the mince in a coating of sand as you describe, the only larger particles he could possibly have ingested would be the odd stray bit of vermiculite that would have fallen out of the container the crickets are supplied in. I had also considered impaction but there hasn't been an obvious shortage of scat in his preferred toilet spot in the enclose (always poops in the same corner for some reason, makes it easy to clean up though so I don't question it...) and I did witness him defacate last night, while suffering these spasms/tremors. It was far less than the usual amount however, but I had attributed that to his apparent lack of interest in food, that he simply didn't have much to poop out.

    Would a partial blockage be able to cause this perhaps?
     
  15. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    From what you have described, it is possible he might have a blockage of some kind. When will you hear from the vet?
     
  16. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    Their reptile specialist wasn't in today, he will be in tomorrow though. All I have heard was that my little guy was stable, that's about it.
     
  17. imported-varanus

    imported-varanus Active Member

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    A friend today mentioned an animal that presented with some similar symptoms due to a damaged vertebrae perhaps from a fall of somekind> Just a thought. Good luck with the diagnosis anyway.
     
  18. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    Update: One of the nurses called to arrange for me to come collect the little guy tomorrow. She didn't know what was actually wrong, so I guess I'll find out when I pick him up.
     
  19. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    The sudden onset of such severe symptoms would seem to indicate trauma as a likely cause. If the spine has been weakened due to underlying MBD, then a fall that would not normally cause any injury may result in the spine being dislocated to some degree, which would account for the described changes.

    Internal organs of vertebrates contain minerals and vitamins not found in muscle and fat tissue (mince). In particular, the liver stores vitamin D in inactive form. Monitors are able to absorb and make use of this vitamin source, which is why they do not required UVB exposure when fed whole vertebrates.

    As you are no doubt aware, vit D is required for vertebrates to be able to absorb calcium from their gut into their bodies (and also to make use of it in their metabolic processes). Without it, no matter how much calcium is present in their food, they can digest it but not absorb it. It simply all passes out with the wastes.

    The mechanism that produces UVB light in lamps degrades with use. Unfortunately the only way to accurately determine how much UVB a light is still putting out is to use a UVB meter. With the wisdom of hindsight, a brand new globe would have been a much better option. Alternatively, a diet of whole vertebrates, which can be chopped up to facilitate ingestion, obviates the need for any UVB.

    PS: Good luck with the little guy when you do pick him up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  20. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    Had a family member collect him today for me. The vet (Shane Simpson I believe?) diagnosed it with MBD. So liquid calcium daily for three months, and an adjustment in diet also.
     
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