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What do I do?

Joanna86

New Member
20200424_130716.jpgIMG_20200604_081732.jpgLong story.... Went on vacation in May and we believe that's when this all started. We have a Argentinean Red Tegu who is about 7 months at this point. We believe while we were gone she ate some substrate (Eco Earth) with the ground turkey we left for her. We got back and it looked like she had a fit in her cage. We cleaned the cage, fed her, soaked her and continued our normal routine. Feeding her about once a day a mix of Chicken liver, Salmon and calcium.

Two weeks passed no bowel movement... we were worried. Went to the vet, she stayed all day, they gave her enemas, vet took an xray, after she got Joanna (our tegu) to poop she said "in her expertise" she didnt believe she needed another xray and passed a good amount of poop. Dr. did examine her poop said she was infested with hook work and some substrate came out as well. Took her home with meds and hoped she was fixed. (The vet did say she is a exotic animal Vet.)

One more week passed... no poop.. we bought our own enema kit and began giving her enemas. We tried mineral oil and sterile warm water. Nothing.... at this point she is still eating but not basking. We tried fruits, such as blackberries and blueberries. She hated them... mixed with tiny bits of cooked salmon to get her to eat.. She still strained with no success.

By week two we brought her back to vet. Xray showed, according to the Dr., she was still heavily impacted and they wanted to keep her overnight. Subque fluid, more enemas and soaks.. That same day... she dropped her tail at the VETs!!15933549489472289650569228777819.jpg Brining her home we are instructed to give her shots of antibiotics AND keep her tail wound clean.

Currently after $700.00 in vet bills we cant afford to keep brining her there and we do not feel they handled her correctly. They said she was mean and when we got her home she was still her sweet self, if not even more so. We have run out of ideas on how to help her. We have tried feeding her olive oil recently and it seemed to push out something (soft, smelly poop). She is now starting to roll on her side while straining and we are SERIOUSLY concerned. She has opened her mouth while straining a few times as well.

What do i do??
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
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5 Year Member
I'm stumped. Seems like proper procedures were done- x-rays, enemas, and deworming. If she eats but doesn't bask, maybe her ambient temp is too high. Must have hot basking, low-mid 80s middle, and hide that's in the 70s.

But she ate. I wonder if the enema was not complete. That there is a partial blockage?
 

Joanna86

New Member
We keep our cool side 75° with 60% humidity. Her hot side is 90° and 60% humidity. Her basking spot is about 100-115°. We have the tank set up as a gradient between hot and cool. Are you suggesting that we lower those numbers? We have a 150w basking lamp in a 40gal. From what I have read, i thought they needed higher temps. We also have a 75w on hand in we need to change it out. We have a massive auto mister for humidity. Should i have a basking lamp in between like a 85w instead?

I am assuming that a partial blockage may be the case because the Vet didnt do a second Xray on the first run she must not have gotten everything out. We have for the most part just been allowing her to relax. We do not feed her in her tank anymore (we have removed the substrate for the time being and are using towels). We still soak her and she looks well, other than some weight loss. She hasnt shed since this started either...

We would hate to lose her. We love her and she has come so far since we first got her. We just ordered a 6ftx6ft for her.
 

rantology

Active Member
Man sorry for the trouble you've been going through. Aside from what Walter has said, the only other thing I would add is the diet: " Chicken liver, Salmon and calcium " - Do you feed her anything else or is this the staple? I'd be concerned about her missing other vitamins and minerals gained through eating whole prey, that is is the issue with only feeding select cuts of meats (if you are not supplementing vitamins elsewhere) .... I also tend to feel like fur/feathers found in whole prey help them regulate bowel movements (though I dont want to suggest that is the issue here, just a personal observation). Also do you feed her fruits ? Reds in particular need a large portion of fruits offered.
 

Joanna86

New Member
The Chicken liver, Salmon and calcium are her staple diet. I do have a multivitamin powder (reptivite) that we have been trying to integrate into her food. She is a picky thing.. She refuses all fruit and veggies. I have tried blackberries and blueberries for the high fiber content but she will not eat them. If I mix some mix some fish in there though, she will try to pick out the fish only but will get some of the berries. I have tried strawberries as well and she turns up her nose to that as well. We bought some baby food hoping the moisture would help (carrots, squash, turkey and chicken) she will not touch it. She knows when we powder the fish and will not eat that either, though with enough coaching she will try some. We were worried that feeding her whole prey like pinkies or fuzzies would make her mean. She is not a fan of wax worms or horn worms. She will eat a large amount of meal worms if we let her but we stopped those once we find out she was impacted.

Should we cook the fish or allow her to eat it raw?? Would have an impact on anything at all? Should we keep feeding her? She is trying to eat but doesn't eat much.

Coming home today she is passing small amounts of poop. No more than a pea size at most. She is still laying her side. We have added a heating pad that sticks to the outside of the tank for night time use only. She seems to like that a lot. Keeps the towels warm. I am so worried about her. When she soaks and is straining she really wants to roll and I'd hate to see her ever go "belly up". The only thing that has seemed to help is the olive oil. She started passing small amounts of poo after we gave her about a 5mls.

How much of the olive oil is it ok to give her on daily bases? I don't want to cause her an more internal distress.

We really appreciate all of the advice everyone has and all of the help offered.
 

rantology

Active Member
Is it possible to find a different exotic vet for a second opinion? laying on her side is very concerning as well as the constant straining with nothing happening. Sounds like something is still very wrong internally.

Unrelated note: whole prey will not make them mean. Feeding *live* whole prey can instill bad habits, but most people do not live feed. It's the same as feeding any other food, just the nutritional content that is different. There is also things like Repti-Links too (I love these personally). If she really likes the fish, maybe try scenting or using fish oil on other foods to start weening her to different things (once she is eating again)

by the way I meant to ask: Was the vet handling her when she dropped her tail ?
 

Walter1

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Staff member
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5 Year Member
Fish oil is alwats a good idea. Rant's suggestion about fruit and fur will help your tegu.

The enclosure is entirely too small, and the temps are stifling. 110f for basking, but a decreasing thermal gradient going to low-mid 80s as ambient, ending in a cool hide.

Perhaps a different vet is in order? Tough, especially on the wallet.

I can only suggest in the meantime, frozen/thawed fuzzies a few at a time and bathed in fish oil. Soaks and massages in warm water, and fix the temps.
 

Joanna86

New Member
I wish we lived closer to another option for a Vet. We did a lot of research and called some places. One of the exotic vets in the area told me we needed to see a zoologist!! Cornell University said they are only taking emergencies and wouldn't see us. (I think this is an emergency). The closest ones that I feel comfortable taking her to are about 3hrs+ away and do not have openings for a while. We have also nearly exhausted our funds in taking her to the Vet she has seen (40min drive). She was in the vets care when she dropped her tail, yes. From what the vet described in her phone call to me, seemed as though one of the techs went to get her ready for a soak and she vet heard a scream and her there was her tail. I am assuming they were afraid of her and grabbed her by her tail instead of at the base of her tail. I am sure she was super stressed there, as I was told she was unhappy and aggressive. Aggression is never some thing she has shown with us even after we brought her home. She allows us to give her the antibiotic shot with no issues... my husband doesn't even have to wrap her in a towel.

I love the idea of the Repti-links. I will definitely invest in those once we can get her to eat regularly. We have been trying to feed her about every 2-3 days, instead of every day, IF she has or shows a desire to eat.

Question: Do you think hook worms are causing her to be so bound? I know they are an intestinal parasite but could they have been THAT bad?

She was about 3months when we bought her. We went to the Retile Expo in NY. I didn't realize parasites were an issue as places like these but, I guess I was wrong...

What does the rolling mean? We can't feel the impaction.. to me she doesn't look bloated. I am at a loss, honestly. I'll post some pictures and please tell me what you think.
 

Walter1

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Staff member
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5 Year Member
Don't know about rolling. Suspect discomfort.

Reptilinks good idea. Keepfood small and sparing for a while.
 

Joanna86

New Member
Fish oil is alwats a good idea. Rant's suggestion about fruit and fur will help your tegu.

The enclosure is entirely too small, and the temps are stifling. 110f for basking, but a decreasing thermal gradient going to low-mid 80s as ambient, ending in a cool hide.

Perhaps a different vet is in order? Tough, especially on the wallet.

I can only suggest in the meantime, frozen/thawed fuzzies a few at a time and bathed in fish oil. Soaks and massages in warm water, and fix the temps.
We are expecting a 6'x6'x39" enclosure for her that should be here next week. She was shedding every 2 weeks which was so much faster than any other reptile we have ever owned. Snakes, Bearded Dragons and Chameleons do not compare at all.

We will change the temps. I will add that she IS still drinking water on her own. Good thing?? We will pick up fish oil tomorrow and some fuzzies. We soak twice a day for about 30mins, that is when I clean her tail up and change her tank. My husband has been rubbing her tummy. I hope she takes to the fuzzy. I am thinking maybe 1 fuzzy? and see how that works?

At this point I am worried we are short of surgery....
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
I went through some of the issues that you're going through, and it's def serious. My male (B/W) was impacted, and I'll tell you what I did, but I know it's not for everyone. I went in through his vent (cloaca) and pulled out some very rock hard urates from inside the cavity. They looked like long ridged tubes that were multiplying like rings on a tree.

While in the tub, I would tell your husband to continue to push/massage the stomach area inward - which will most likely trigger your Tegu to try to poop again. Your Tegu knows that it is still trying to expel something...also, push on each side of the vent. I did this in a very warm tub, and my male tried and tried to push these blockages out, but to no avail. So...seriously, I went in and removed them. My hand is big for a female, but not as big as a man's. I was able to carefully go in with my index finger and get to the other end of the cavity where the urates were stuck. There was no stress on the vent at all. I removed 3-4 tubes and he immediately was able to push a little out. I honestly thought he seemed like there was some immediate relief. I did it again the next day, because I wasn't sure why he wasn't showing a lot of poop. He had also stopped drinking water - so maybe my story is different than yours. His tongue had turned gray instead of it's natural pink color.
(And of course, I sanitized, etc).

I also did see my male try to turn on his side a couple times in the worst moments of the whole thing. Once those rocks were removed, it took him about 3-4 weeks to get back to normal. I watched him VERY closely. So scared.

I agree with Walter1 and Rant about frozen/thawed prey, and everything they said, as far as diet. My male will NOT eat bugs, worms, crickets, or anything but ground raw turkey, whole thawed prey, raw shrimp,raw chicken gizzards and I treat him to fresh salmon because I'm hoping this prob never comes back! All of his meal is doused in fish oil. I also give him raw egg with a thawed mouse doused in fish oil, and heavily powdered in calcium, and multi vitamins.

I don't think anyone here on the forum can actually swear by this, or give you anything with 100% surety, but this just worked for me. It sounds like your vet isn't that experienced or something seems off there. I know this is done by others as well as myself. I am not a vet.

Good luck - please let us know how it goes.
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
Thanks Walter1 - I've said this a lot, but it will never feel like enough. Thanks to those who helped when I really needed the support! Love you guys.:)
 
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