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Help me to help my vet on Friday.

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Posted by: JackAsp at Tue May 10 23:58:42 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by JackAsp ]  

It's often mentioned that when a collard's health goes south, they sink FAST. Sadly, I observed that first-hand last September. Chica died slowly and painfully of an impaction that even I, with no medical training whatsoever, was able to identify when I did the biopsy. (I'd experimented briefly, some time, earlier, with those Exo Terra fake rock backgrounds. I got tied of constantly sifting the styrafoamy dust out of the sand, so I got rid of the things. But Chica apparently had a taste for it. There was a small but very, very tightly packed ball of it built up in her, so close to the vent that it could probably have been removed without even cutting her.)
But she didn't really SEEM any worse than "just not hungry for some reason, probably because the temperatures are bouncing around so much this month," until maybe two weeks before she died, or less than one week before a local vet poked her belly, said there was no impaction, and prescribed a probably unnecessary antiprotozoic. Need to edit my pet profile, I guess, but honestly that's the least of my worries.
Well, this April it was Lupe's turn to be the one to be "just not hungry, probably because temperatures are bouncing around so much this month." There cage is huge, though(50X28X28,) with a lot of three-dimensional surface useage and crossways and multiple lights to offer all kinds of temperature conditions. Plus, Lupe's always been pretty easy-going as far as seasonal variations go. Her boyfriend Pancho is the wimpy one, and after a predictable "feed me early because by 2 PM I'm going back to bed" winter, he's been quite hungry and playful all spring.
I have not seen full breeding colors. She looked like they might be about to start in April, then her color faded. Also, she was digging around very actively for a couple weks, then pretty much stopped. Her skin is dry and dull. Her eyes open and close fine, but the eylids seem kind of dried out and/or clogged. She spends more time than usual hiding, but can still run, climb, and jump. She does move around to thermoregulate, even climbing the foot-and-a-half-tall basking towers.
When placed in the bath tub, she drinks very enthusiastically. Water is always available in the cage, always has been, and she's never had any trouble hydrating before this. A few times after her bath, she's shown signs that make me think "rsspiratory." On two occasions she made a squeaking noise. Today she made a clicking noise. On all of these "noise" occasions, as well as a few others, she hung her mouth slightly open. I have not seen a normal basking gape during this time. And, since her appetite just gets worse and worse (Nothing yet this week, one mealworm last week, and not a full belly since early April) I haven't been able to get a decisive stool from her.
So there could be all kinds of things going on with her. And the most obvious problem might not even be the cause of the others, but only an obvious symptom. On Friday (soonest I could get an appointment) I'm taking her on a road trip to see an excellant vet with a much better staff and lab than anybody up here has. But I still need to not only ask the right questions, but be able to answer the right questions. I don't want to be standing there saying "Duh... you know, I never noticed if she does that or not.. I have no idea."
So any advice anyone has about making this examination as productive as possible... let me have it. I'm also open to hypotheses about what's going on, especially if those hypotheses come with advice about what questions to ask or procedures to encourage.
0.1 2006 Western Hognose (Bebe)
0.1 age unknown Cane Toad (Hengo)
1.0 2006 Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Queequeg)
1.0 2006 Madagascan Speckled "Hognose" (Sigmund)
1.0 2008 Bullsnake (Winkle)
1.2 2008 Eastern Collared Lizards (Pancho, Lupe, and Chica)
2.0 2009 Eastern Collared Lizards (Cesar and Nino)


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