Steppe Runner seems to be struggling, what should I do? - Reptile Forums

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 21-09-2016, 09:25 AM
Egg
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 5
Default Steppe Runner seems to be struggling, what should I do?

I had acquired lately two Captive-bred Steppe Runners as my first lizard about two weeks ago. Both looked healthy, and while shy, did not seem to have any problems. I am keeping them currently in an exo-terra 24x18x18, with excavator and reptisand and a few hiding spaces, with an exo terra compact fluorescent terrarium canopy that contains a 60 watt heat bulb, a night bulb, and an exa terra UVB 100 bulb. They've got a log to bask on with a watering dish, and are fed a mix of crickets and mealworms.
One seemed shy, while the other was more bold. However, I've noticed numerous problems with the bolder one lately. He despised being held, unlike the shy one, and acted extremely aggressive, and started to stop eating a few days ago.
But the main problem came today. I noticed more activity with him lately from the corner of my eye when I worked, so I was largely happy. I thought he was chasing crickets, which made me glad as I never noticed him eating lately. However, after coming back later, I come to see him upside down on the substrate and squirming around. He had a long, red stringy piece of feces on his tail, and wasn't able to get up. I quickly turned him around with my tong, and while the feces came off, he wasn't moving. I tried to touch him, and he tried to move. He tried to claw away from me, but was clearly struggling, wobbling back and forth with his front legs. His back legs did not move at all.
I eventually decided to hold him and put him under the UVB lamp. He tried to resist, and I could see him try to squirm. He was too weak to do anything. When I placed him on a rock, I could see him try to get back down. His back legs were not doing anything either to get down — they looked as if they were frozen, as he pulled himself down. While the other one looks fine, I'm extremely worried on them. I did notice him wobbling before when I got near him, and spending almost whole days under his heat lamp on the log, but I never thought it was this severe.
What should I do? He looks in perpetual pain right now, and I'm wondering whether the fact that I only had a UVB bulb on one side had anything to do with it. I'm extremely worried on the little guy's health, and thought that any of you could give me some advice on what this could mean. Thanks.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 21-09-2016, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueScones View Post
I had acquired lately two Captive-bred Steppe Runners as my first lizard about two weeks ago. Both looked healthy, and while shy, did not seem to have any problems. I am keeping them currently in an exo-terra 24x18x18, with excavator and reptisand and a few hiding spaces, with an exo terra compact fluorescent terrarium canopy that contains a 60 watt heat bulb, a night bulb, and an exa terra UVB 100 bulb. They've got a log to bask on with a watering dish, and are fed a mix of crickets and mealworms.
One seemed shy, while the other was more bold. However, I've noticed numerous problems with the bolder one lately. He despised being held, unlike the shy one, and acted extremely aggressive, and started to stop eating a few days ago.
But the main problem came today. I noticed more activity with him lately from the corner of my eye when I worked, so I was largely happy. I thought he was chasing crickets, which made me glad as I never noticed him eating lately. However, after coming back later, I come to see him upside down on the substrate and squirming around. He had a long, red stringy piece of feces on his tail, and wasn't able to get up. I quickly turned him around with my tong, and while the feces came off, he wasn't moving. I tried to touch him, and he tried to move. He tried to claw away from me, but was clearly struggling, wobbling back and forth with his front legs. His back legs did not move at all.
I eventually decided to hold him and put him under the UVB lamp. He tried to resist, and I could see him try to squirm. He was too weak to do anything. When I placed him on a rock, I could see him try to get back down. His back legs were not doing anything either to get down — they looked as if they were frozen, as he pulled himself down. While the other one looks fine, I'm extremely worried on them. I did notice him wobbling before when I got near him, and spending almost whole days under his heat lamp on the log, but I never thought it was this severe.
What should I do? He looks in perpetual pain right now, and I'm wondering whether the fact that I only had a UVB bulb on one side had anything to do with it. I'm extremely worried on the little guy's health, and thought that any of you could give me some advice on what this could mean. Thanks.
Vet, asap.
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Old 21-09-2016, 11:49 AM
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The best thing you can do right now is take him to the vet!!
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Old 21-09-2016, 02:18 PM
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Vet and a decent reptile vet.
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Old 21-09-2016, 02:26 PM
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Vet Now.
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Old 23-09-2016, 09:13 AM
Egg
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Alright, so I took him to an exotic animal vet and showed him my post. Like I worried, he had a sort of Metabolic bone disease that causes calcium deficiency, which would not only explain his backless not working, but his refusal to eat and him being upside down and shaking (either could have been a mini seizure or him simply falling backwards). He also had a fractured spine apparently, and his red, stringy feces seemed to have been caused by excavator impaction as the vet says, and if I was to feed the lizards I'd have to do it in a separate container to prevent ingestion.
The good news was, he could still be saved and had a 70% chance of survival. Unfortunately, the cost was too high, and many of the actions like force-feeding and medication regularly, I don't think I could've kept up with for the 3 months it would've taken for him to recover. In the end, I decided to give him up for adoption and give him away to the nurse, which I firmly believe was the right choice as he will be in good hands. While it's saddening to see him go, he will in no doubt be in better hands like this.
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Old 23-09-2016, 03:07 PM
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Thank you for the update! I think what you did was a tremendous act of selflessness.

Can I ask if you still have the other lizard? If so are you going to make the necessary changes to your enclosure so that this won't happen to the other lizard?
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:01 AM
Egg
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Yeah I still have him and I've made some changes. As the pet store near me is going out of business I was able to get a nice cricket pen with crickets, and I fed her two large ones today which he ate, after refusing to eat for a while after her friend's disappearance. I was given a calcium carbonate supplement without D3 (the supplement I gave him apparently had it) by the doctor for me to feed him with, and he seems to have no signs of what the other had. I've added a basking light, and am planning on getting another UVB/UVA light and rescaping his tank from excavator and sand to just topsoil and sand.
I still see some weird behavior, though. A few days ago while I was in my room I heard a thump as I saw him jump from his log down to the window, and digging in the corners and following the glass. I'm guessing maybe he is not satisfied with the enclosure and wants more hiding spaces or room (I cannot give him more room — the 24x18x18 is the max I can have, and he's a small lizard), so I am considering getting him maybe some more hiding places while I'm at it. Maybe I'll start giving him waxworms too. Either way, he's looking a lot more healthier and active than the other, so I think it is good where he'll be soon.
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueScones View Post
Yeah I still have him and I've made some changes. As the pet store near me is going out of business I was able to get a nice cricket pen with crickets, and I fed her two large ones today which he ate, after refusing to eat for a while after her friend's disappearance. I was given a calcium carbonate supplement without D3 (the supplement I gave him apparently had it) by the doctor for me to feed him with, and he seems to have no signs of what the other had. I've added a basking light, and am planning on getting another UVB/UVA light and rescaping his tank from excavator and sand to just topsoil and sand.
I still see some weird behavior, though. A few days ago while I was in my room I heard a thump as I saw him jump from his log down to the window, and digging in the corners and following the glass. I'm guessing maybe he is not satisfied with the enclosure and wants more hiding spaces or room (I cannot give him more room — the 24x18x18 is the max I can have, and he's a small lizard), so I am considering getting him maybe some more hiding places while I'm at it. Maybe I'll start giving him waxworms too. Either way, he's looking a lot more healthier and active than the other, so I think it is good where he'll be soon.
Get him sexed & try to get another of the opposite sex if you can- steppe runners are communal as far I know & are best kept as a pair or trio of 1 male, 2 females.
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:23 AM
Egg
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Ok I think it's a female (but there's little info on sexing steppe runners, so i'm having to only assume it's the same as sexing a bearded dragon), so I'll look for some captive bred males.
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