A PSA for beardie owners

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New Member
Sep 1, 2021
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NSW Australia
On wednesday night I lost my 18 month old bearded dragon Kevin.
Just the night before he had been rushed to emergency care after I saw him hock up a lot of brown mucous that COULD have been old blood or just food. He was then seen by the vet at Mount Sugarloaf animal hospital the following morning who did xrays and confirmed a mass in his stomach that they though could be old food as it flowed freely and wasnt showing up on Xray. He was sent home with orders to bump up his heat and check back with us in a week for further testing.
Then on wednesday afternoon I saw that he had spit up a chunk of what was clearly blood and we rushed in again. He was given an ultrasound and bloodwork which confirmed a mass in his gut and his blood was not only super-high in glucose but his hemoglobin had dropped to the point it was practically water.

It was confirmed to be a Gastric Neuroendocrine Tumor by several specialists on staff - rare but becoming more common in young bearded dragons in captivity for unknown reasons. We caught it early enough that he wasnt in pain, and acting mostly normal, but there was no option for treatment and we made the difficult decision to euthanise that night. Operating was off the table entirely with the mass's progression and his anemia.

If you have young beardies please keep an eye on them carefully. This hit us out of the blue and he was acting normally right up until he wasn't. If he wasn't on paper towel I may not have caught that final hock of blood- I still shudder to think I may have gone to work and come back to him in god-knows what state.
The common symptoms include reduced appetite, weight loss, vomiting, lethargy, anemia, bleeding from the cloaca, blood seen in poop, and high blood glucose and prognosis is currently extremely poor. The best bet is to find it early enough to attempt surgery.

Please keep them safe.
WOW, sorry for your loss. I have been keeping beardies (and other dragons) for many years and have never seen or even heard of this.
My oldest central beardy passed recently aged 13 and my oldest pygmy beardy was 12 when she passed

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