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Any bearded dragon owners able to offer some advice?

(6 Posts)
willowtreeonfire Sun 24-Jul-16 15:05:16

Hi. DP and I got a bearded dragon about a year and a half ago. She has been handled regularly, so doesn't mind being picked up and hand fed, has a 5 foot viv, her temps are currently at 38 degrees in her basking spot (and is on a timer to keep it more or less consistent) and is fed a mix of locusts and greens (mainly kale).

So here's the problem: I have (mild) OCD and health anxiety. Soon after we got her, I heard that all reptiles can carry salmonella. This made me extremely paranoid and I have started washing my hands (with anti bacterial soap and sanitizer) way more than I did before (and that was a lot). They have become extremeley sore - raw and bleeding- but can't heal because whenever I touch anything the dragon has been near I need to wash them about 5 times.

She has also started producing the most horrific fecal matter! I say started, but actually this has been going on for at least 6 months. When we first got her, her poos were dry, small(ish) and solid. Now they are huge, runny and stink. Really, really bad. It actually fills the whole flat with stench and makes me want to vomit. I am too embarrassed to have friends round to our home in case she poos. If she poos when my DP is not around, and I know I will have to clean it up, I actually have a panic attack as I know I will be spending the next hour continually washing my sore hands and getting hysterical that I have contracted some sort of disease or parasite from her.

I know that these poos can be a symptom of parasites, but we have taken her to the vets at least 7 times. They have analysed stool samples but they all came back ordinary. Each time we go, the vet gives her some medication, which sorts it out (kind of) for about 2 weeks and they become a bit more solid and less foul smelling, but then the problem comes back. We have deep cleaned her viv countless times and have got rid of the substrate in case she is getting re-infected but nothing works. It is so frustrating. Is this normal poo for them? The vet has done lots of tests, examinations and x rays etc and he says that she is very healthy. He is a reptile specialist and owns beardies himself...

We were feeding her greens every day and locusts every other day. We read about different beardy diets online and thought maybe she was being fed too much and her water intake was too high so we reduced it to a diet where she has one day greens, one day live food, one day nothing. But this hasn't helped.

Sorry if this is really long. It's just really starting to stress me out and I was wondering if anyone is about who is experienced with these sorts of pets who could offer some advice about how to solve these problems. Or do some of them just have really foul smelling poos?

Flossieflower01 Sun 24-Jul-16 15:12:36

Ours at work has horrible smelling poos. He is fed on locusts, crickets, mario worms and mixed fruit and veg. He gets fed about two or three times per week. The poos vary between totally liquid and semi solid but always smell awful. I get the paranoia about salmonella- I'm immune suppressed- I wear disposable gloves to clean him out, double bag the old newspaper and bark, and use both anti bac soap and water then anti bac gel after handling anything from the tank. I have never been ill from him (or the snake!). I think all you can do is clean them out every time that they poo- I think the horrible poo itself is sadly normal!

TheoriginalLEM Sun 24-Jul-16 15:17:41

I think it is normal too. So long as you wear gloves and wash your hands (in a gentle soap) you will be fine. Leaving the poo would make salmonella infection more likely but you sound really vigilant so i honestly think you are doing all the right things.

willowtreeonfire Sun 24-Jul-16 15:28:32

Thank you for your replies. It's good she isn't sick (my DP really cares about her!). But oh no! I don't know how I will cope with this for another 8 and a half years!

We will be wanting to start a family soon and I know my anxiety will just go through the roof when I'm cleaning it up whilst pregnant!

I feel a bit cross as I did quite a lot of research when getting her (internet, books, spoke to different reptile breaders) and everyone said their poos are solid and don't smell too bad unless they are ill! I wish I had asked people on here. I think the people on reptile forums are very biased to only see the good things about their pets!

reallyneedmoresleep Fri 26-Aug-16 14:38:53

My beardy only does smelly poos if she has somehow picked up a parasite. Try contacting PALs for a fecal sample test - and if the results are positive take your beardy to a specialist reptile vet.
You might also be interested in the Facebook group bearded dragons UK - some super advice from very experienced owners.
Finally, it's really rare to get salmonella from a bearded dragon. The cases I've heard of are when people have done stupid things like kissing their dragon or washing the food bowl in the same sink as the dinner plates!

TrinityForce Fri 26-Aug-16 14:44:46

Runny poop = the high water content from green vegetables.

Give food that contains less water or change up what veg you give them.

This is from my vet, beardie owning, DH. He also says the risk of salmonellosis is low for humans from bearded dragons if they've already been checked from salmonella. It's usually contracted from beardies that are bought straight from a shop.

From me - get rid of the reptile. It's not doing you any good, love.

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