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What am I doing wrong?

gone_awry

New Member
I have had my tegu for 3 weeks, and she is not a good eater. I can’t get her to eat anything other than pinky mice and canned chicken cat food - and even at that, she eats inconsistently. She will look like she wants to eat, but ultimately does not most of the time. The only food she’ll consistently eat are pinky mice. She won’t eat the canned cat food if it’s been refrigerated and warmed to room temp. She’ll only eat if it’s fresh, but even when it is fresh she often refuses.

I’m an experienced reptile keeper - I have all of her habitat conditions set up exactly as the Reptifiles site says to (cross-referenced with other care guides). I have a humidifier keeping her humidity at 75%, basking spot at 110 (she’s a baby), warm side 90f, cool side 75f. She’s in a 50 gallon right now.

She seems to be losing weight. Not much, but some. I am worried! Is this normal and she could still be adjusting? At what point do I worry it’s a medical condition and take her to the vet?
 

rantology

Member
Hm, at this point it may not be a bad idea to have her checked at the vet for general health & parasites, if you are able. That would at least rule some things out. Not eating is worrying but not bad in itself. Weight lost in a baby is concerning though, especially since brumation is unlikely this time of year. They should be chowing down and hitting growth spurts.
 

gone_awry

New Member
Hm, at this point it may not be a bad idea to have her checked at the vet for general health & parasites, if you are able. That would at least rule some things out. Not eating is worrying but not bad in itself. Weight lost in a baby is concerning though, especially since brumation is unlikely this time of year. They should be chowing down and hitting growth spurts.
That’s my thought too. Ugh. Thanks for replying. I think I will call my vet.
 

gone_awry

New Member
So I gave her fresh cat food today. She sniffed around it but didn’t touch it. I took it out and put a pinky in. She ate it immediately.
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
First, lower the ambie t from 90 to 80. Tough in a 55 gal. Next, give him as many pinks dusted in calcium powder he'll take a once and see what happens. My first thought is he's burning energey to fast and not being fed what he sees as food.
 

gone_awry

New Member
Thanks - I also can’t get her to eat anything if she sees the calcium dust. I have to dissolve it or she won’t touch her food. I’m going to attach some files of her enclosure so you can tell me if it’s not correct.

The portion of the bamboo bridge near the top is around 110, the top of her mossy hide on the left is 90, middle of cage is 80, and cool cave on right is about 75 inside. She has about 4-5” of substrate to burrow in.

52EB1D37-E92C-4E2C-AF24-9265D7928DBC.jpeg

Also including a pic of her close up so you can see how her weight looks.

C06BBE5C-1731-4D61-840A-A058C0944EFC.jpeg
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Set up is acceptable for now, and she looks healthy, well-fed.

So, try my suggestion again wothout calcium after she poops or maybe tomorrow. I think she's picky. I want to know if she'll eat heartily.
 

rantology

Member
Does she easily get up the bridge to the basking spot? Tegus can climb but are not particularly graceful or considered arboreal - she may be having trouble reaching that 110 sweet spot up there.
 

gone_awry

New Member
Okay, I’ll do it the day after tomorrow. Thank you. When she eats a pinky, she usually doesn’t come out the next day.

She does get up to the top of the bridge. She loves that thing. It’s still >105 well down from the top. The bamboo absorbs heat really well without baking the reptile. I plan to put some shale over the part of the top of the mossy hide. She won’t be in this enclosure all that much longer though.
 
First thing I think of is hydration. Is she drinking and If that has slowed down too then I would check her mouth. She may have an issue going on with her mouth rather its abscess, a bad tooth, scratch that is irritated ect.
If a animal is dehydrated it wont eat or eat very little. Canned cat food is very rich and maybe why she wants a pinkie they really are just little water balloons. Have you tried bumping up the whole pray to a fuzzy or hopper so she gets more nutrition in her whole pray
 

gone_awry

New Member
She does drink regularly, and is also very particular about her water dish. I tried a decorative dish and the only thing she will drink out of is clear plastic.

I have tried twice now to feed her since the pinky she ate mid week and she is not eating. I’m going to take her to the vet.
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
What a beautiful Tegu! I've never heard of feeding cat food. Have you tried ground turkey at all yet? Are there insects in the enclosure? She looks healthy to me. Is she pooping every other day or so? I'd be looking for that. Not just urates either. When my male was impacted, he'd want the food, walk up to it but then walk away (similar to what Buckner said) . His eyes dulled, and his tongue went grayish. He wouldn't even drink as it progressed. Good luck with this, and let us know how it goes.
 

gone_awry

New Member
Ugh, we can’t get into the vet until mid-week next week. I got a good look inside her mouth today and she looks healthy and normal to me. I also gave her some shale for a basking spot that is more terrestrial than her bridge. She seemed to enjoy basking on it intermittently.

Debita - that’s exactly what she does! She walks up to the food like she wants it. She tastes it, but she won’t eat. Her eyes do look dull to me, and I haven’t noticed recent poop. She still hides a lot, so I can’t tell if I’m just missing it. I do think she’s impacted now that I read up on it. How did you help your little guy? I read baths and cod oil? If I can do anything between now and next week that could help her I want to try.
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
Oh boy.... it wasn't easy. Will she drink if you sprinkle the water so it falls on her nose? The simplest answer is that I went in through his vent and pulled the hardened urates out. (super carefully with a finger) I did this several days in a row, and forced water drinking by dripping it (he prob was annoyed with it) on his nose, letting it fall toward his mouth. At first he didn't want anything, but he couldn't stop licking at the water just out of instinct, to get it off his face. My male was 2 yrs old when this happened and I believe it did save him.

Once inside the vent area, you will feel the limits of that part of her anatomy. I used my finger to scrape the urates that were like rocks at that point, just to break them loose, then I worked them back toward the vent, and out.
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
At one point Skully actually drank from a bottle of water when he started to recuperate. He was so thirsty. I remember thinking he would be OK when it was 3 weeks later.

One obvious way to also tell if this is her problem, is to put her in a warm tub that covers most of her back. Trickle warm water into the tub. Massage the base of her tail, stomach and near and around her vent. Doing that triggers a poop response. Maybe she'll go, and she doesn't have this problem. I really pushed inward on his sides and especially down just above his vent. Every time I did that, he would try to go, and strain. He just had nothing coming out, with his best efforts. I knew then that he was impacted and in trouble. If she strains and very little happens, and she keeps straining - I'd say she's def impacted and needs to be flushed by a vet, or you have to do what I did.

So - what do you think?
 
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gone_awry

New Member
At one point Skully actually drank from a bottle of water when he started to recuperate. He was so thirsty. I remember thinking he would be OK when it was 3 weeks later.

One obvious way to also tell if this is her problem, is to put her in a warm tub that covers most of her back. Trickle warm water into the tub. Massage the base of her tail, stomach and near and around her vent. Doing that triggers a poop response. Maybe she'll go, and she doesn't have this problem. I really pushed inward on his sides and especially down just above his vent. Every time I did that, he would try to go, and strain. He just had nothing coming out, with his best efforts. I knew then that he was impacted and in trouble. If she strains and very little happens, and she keeps straining - I'd say she's def impacted and needs to be flushed by a vet, or you have to do what I did.

So - what do you think?
She is still very scared of me, but I will try the bath suggestion tomorrow. At least that should help me narrow down the problem. Thank you for the advice!
 
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