Bearded Notes Friday 12/8/2000
What is the difference between gapping and just letting off heat? Also are diary products ok to give? Like cheese and such? -posted by EverDark

Reply by Mark:
Gaping may occur for a number of reasons :
1. The lizard is thermoregulating (adjusting its body temperature). This behavior is to be expected in basking areas and may be accompanied by a widening/flattening of the body.
2. Defense. If the animal feels threatened, it will darken and puff out its beard, gaping at the potential attacker. There may also be an audible hiss and widening of the body to give an impression of size. This can occur anywhere or any time the animal feels it is in danger.
3. Illness. Often a sign of respiratory problems (and occasionally parasitic infestation) this is most noticeable as it occurs without any presence of a threat and away from hot/basking areas.
In general, I would avoid giving dairy products (lactose and cholesterol). The one exception is yoghurt which contains acidophilus. This is extremely good for any animal that has been on medication such as Albon (or other coccidia drugs). These meds kill good bacteria in the gut in addition to the parasites. A small amount given by syringe every few days greatly improves the regeneration of good bacteria.

The cages are kept pretty clean. I think this bout is due to a stressful move to another town. I was given a different medicine by the vet and would like to know if anyone has heard of this. I always like to double check on meds and doses from people that may have used it before.
Med-Sulfadimethoxine Doseage-.13ml once a day for 5 days then every other day for 21 days. Dragon weight-135 grams. He said I may not need to complete the 21 days, just see what his poop looks like after awhile and go from there.
Do you think it matters weather it is given in the morning or night? Empty stomach or not? Thank you. -Posted by Kim

Reply by Mark: Kim, I have used this drug to treat one of our Rankins Dragons. It is a little more powerful than Albon and is often used when Albon fails to treat the Coccidia.
Personally, I favor giving the drug about one hour after feeding in the morning. Yes, it does reduce the effectiveness of the drug but it also reduces the drug's side effects on the animal. The doseage seems a little high for the body weight, but maybe the vet figures that a higher dose is required to kill the parasite.
As with any Sulfur drug, remember to keep up the hydration levels. He should be just fine.

Reply by Scott: Question for you.. do you have anything in your cage that increases stress?.. or.. has there been anything stressfull happeninig to your beardie? Alot of people believe that coccidda is found naturally in bearded dragons. Since it seems like coccidda has come.. maybe look at what might be adding to the stress of the dragon.. The only time my female gets it if she is really stressed.. usually following a bad shed ..only happened once.. but.. I can see it happening beforehand, now that I know what to look for... I probably have stopped 3 attacks by noticing signs beforehand.
Reply by Kim: I think it was the move. I had to make a quick move into my mothers house. Wont go into detail but it was a very stressful situation for me and I think my dragons picked this up. My dragons move was last minute and at night. He had the same tank with the same basking branches. 2 weeks after the move I then moved him into a bigger tank, with all of the same basking branches he had before, arranged the same way, plus a couple extras. I took him out a few times to let him get used to his new surroundings and he didnt take it well. He ran scared. I am not taking him out for awhile until things calm down more. I clean the tanks daily. I am fortunate enough right now to spend most of the days with them. When I see they have pooped, its cleaned out right away, all layers of paper towels and newspaper down to the glass bottom of the tank. I wash my hands in between handling the others I have to keep from spreading anything. Other than this, his appetite is extremely good. He gets alot of veggies and greens along with alot of crickets. He just had a shed but I dont think it was a stressful one. It all came off fairly quick. I will start meds tomorrow an hour after they eat breakfast. I am always scared to start new meds, I am afraid they will hurt them. Thank you for your help.
Mark's Reply to Scott: Scott, Coccidia is present in the gut fauna of Bearded Dragons. Most of the time there is a "balance point" where the parasite exists at reasonable/minimal levels without causing harm to the animal.
Stress, exposure to contaminated fecal matter or food sources that may contain the parasite(crickets and mealworms) can cause the levels to change.
If the enclosure is being cleaned and fecal matter removed regularly, then, stress aside, it may be worth considering purchasing insects from another source. I know of several owners whose lizards have developed nematode problems due to contamination by crickets.

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