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My vet asked me to rehab a bearded dragon that was released to the clinic when the owner couldn't afford to pay for its surgery. He had a rectal prolapse, and the surgery took place on Tuesday. He hadn't had anything to eat or drink since then, although it had been offered. I force fed him, bathed him, and put him in a makeshift home for the time being. Wish me luck..



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Good luck!!

I'm sure you're going to have fun with this rehabing.

Keep us posted on how this are going.
Good luck.
That is very kind of you to help him out.
I would love to get a bearder dragon on day.
Heika, I just thought I would post in public that I have had INCREDIBLE success with using Mercury vapor bulbs with bearded dragons. I had a female that was on her last legs. Emaciated and anorexic. I had always had UV bulbs for them, but after adding the Trex Powersun bulb she did a huge flip and because healthy as a bee.

I highly recommend you pick one of these bulb types up.
Thanks everyone for the kind comments. Hopefully he will pull out of this.

Hey Matthew, I have a question for you if you are around... maybe a stupid one... my vet took off for the weekend and is unavailable, and so I haven't been able to ask him about this. When I asked the vet tech yesterday, she didn't know the answer. When a reptile has a rectal prolapse, how does the vet sew them up? Is there room left for the animal to defecate, or do the sutures hold everything in place for a few days, effectively sealing them up so they can heal? The reason I ask is because I am not sure how aggressively I should be forcefeeding this guy. I don't want him to start regurgitating...

Thanks for the advice on the light, Will. I will order one today. What wattage did you choose?

I take it back... It wasnt the powersun.

It was a "100W FLOOD Active UV Heat"

The 100 Watt flood is meant for animals basking at about 6" from the bulb. The 160 Watt is meant for 18". I never used their "SPot Focus" bulbs
rectal prolapse

Hey there,

Usually I'll use some sugar solution to reduce the swelling and then use petroleum jelly to re insert the prolapse. After this a purse string suture is placed (just like an actual purse string in function.)

The tricky part is having it tight enough that the prolapse doesn't happen again, but big enough to still allow passage of fecal material.

Something that may help would be a daily 5 minute soak of warm water. I put them in a cool whip container(with top) with water up to their chin. They should be able to get completely dry with a heat bulb after the soak. This not only helps with hydration, the fecal material is softened to allow passage.

The purse string usually comes out after a week or two. Make sure that the beardie is eatting and defecating. If not, you need to talk to the vet about loosening the suture.

Write if you have more questions.
Oh yeah,
Look to see how tight he closed the cloacal opening. I think you'll be able to see if there is enough room.

I'd make sure that he is eatting daily regardless. And I know that you know this, but keep him in the high range of the preferred optimal temperature zone for beardies. I'd have to go look, but I think this is high eighties ambient and a hot spot around 95-100 (maybe hotter.) This will speed up healing time.

Do you get to keep him once he's all better?
Hi Matthew,

He managed to pass a small amount of fecal material today, so I guess that answers the question of whether there is an opening or not. I am afraid there is a problem of some sort, and I suppose it could just be irritation of the opening... he is "clenching" like he needs to poop all the time. It could be that the purse is a bit too tight, too. Or, whatever caused the original prolapse is still a problem...

I have put him in the sink for a half an hour the last couple days so that he can soak. He appears to be dehydrated to me, but I don't know beardy..?!? I will continue to force feed him then... he is showing no interest in eating on his own. I have him at the highest temps recommended for a bearded dragon. Right under the heat emittor it is 110 degrees. Let me tell you, after keeping chameleons for a long time, it went against my grain to run a temperature that high!

Do you get to keep him once he's all better?

I actually hope that I don't get attached enough to want to keep him, but if it happens, it happens. I think he would probably be better off in a regular pet home after he heals up, with someone who will dedicate a lot of time to *just* him. Even though he is not feeling well, he is a charming fellow... :(

Thanks Will and Matthew for the help and advice with this guy.
As long as he is pooping, I think your golden. The clenching is normal because the prolapse feels like he needs to poop it out. The purse string is doing the job.
Keep up the soaking. I'm sure he's not as dehydrated as you think (if you're comparing them to a cham)
What are you force-feeding? Ox-bow critical care? Just curious?...

I am not familiar with Ox-Bow critical care. I am using a critical care formula made by Fluker's for insectivores. It comes as a powder, and I have been mixing it with organic squash baby food and water. He seems to like it alright once I get it into his mouth.

At one time, I had a different critical care formula made for birds that is only available by prescription. Unfortunately, my puppy got ahold of it. That said, this Fluker's stuff has been very helpful in the past with sick chameleons.

Glad to hear that the clenching is normal.. it seems painful for him. I will continue with the soakings... he is pretty inactive, I hope it is because he is still healing.

Heika you may also want to offer him greens. I have a baby beardie and from what I understand they pretty much stop eating insects when they reach about a year old. I currently offer mine blaptica roaches, crickets, silkies and always keep a bowl of shredded kale, collards and romain lettuce with a bit of yellow and green squash. She loves it and is quite the plump little gal.

As for personality .... beardies get an A+. They are quite friendly and actually enjoy interacting with people.
Thanks, Scrappy. I plan to give him some greens eventually, but right now I believe they may be a bit hard for him to digest and pass. From what I understand, they eat about 75% vegetables and 25% insects and meat. Is this about right?

Here are a few updated photos of the wonder dragon.. he is a real trooper. My vet told me the whole story on this guy today.. the owner called him 10 days before she brought him into the vet, saying he had a prolapse. 10 days later, the prolapse was covered in sand and very swollen. It is amazing this guy is still alive. He is pooping a LOT now, and seems to be doing better overall. He still has a ways to go, but I think his chances of survival are becoming better every day.



That’s great news, he looks so much better already. I applaud your effort, time and love for reptiles.
Hey Heika....he looks great considering what that poor fella has been through. Keep up the good work with his rehab. And yes you are correct they eat about 75% veggies and 25% insects. There is also a pellet food you can feed them. I haven't tried that with mine because I gut load her crickets, silkies and roaches and i put a fresh bowl of shredded greens and squash in there everyday. One thing I have heard and read is to not offer them carrots because they have a difficult time digesting them.

He's a pretty big boy, and like
I said keep up the great work....he's looking good. I'll try to get a pic up of my little gal. Lights out now so she's down for the night, but I'll try to get one tomorrow. It's amazing how fast they grow and how much they can eat, especially when they are little. :D
He looks slightly dehydrated and his fat reserves look to be low. But he is in good hands and those issues are to be expected when you drag your insides on the sand for 10 days...

Is that unshed skin on the tail?
I am working on both the dehydration and the fact that he is a bit skinny.. he is getting 2 baths a day for a half an hour at a time, and he is being force fed once a day. Hopefully, he will want to eat on his own shortly.

Yes, one of the many problems this poor animal has is several layers of retained sheds. They are slowly coming off in the baths. He will have a home here until he is 100% recovered. Then, I will probably find him a good home.

Well, so much for recovery.

This morning when I got up, he appeared to be fine. An hour later, he had died. :(

Ahhhh....the life of a rehaber for exotics.:(

I'm sorry the beardie didn't make it. You probably know that a lot of animals, right before they take that final nose dive, seem to perk up. It's really hard because you think they've made it through the worst.

My guess is that there was necrosis of rectum (since it was untreated so long ) and sepsis (blood infection) there after. This little guy had quite a barrier to get past to live. At least you gave him a shot.

My condolences,
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