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Wrath 08-16-03 10:09 PM

How long can a lizard go without eating?
I need a reply to this! I know that snakes can go months without eating, but my lizard <i>has not eaten</i> and it's been at least two weeks. I'm taking him to the vet, but I'm afraid that he's going to die on me!! He seems fine, but I don't know! Is this ok? Am I going to have to take drastic measures?

Oliverian 08-16-03 10:16 PM

... I don't know much about lizards... as soon as you get a chance, take him to the vet. Good luck. Sorry I couldn't be more help.. :( ~TR~

eyespy 08-16-03 10:17 PM

We need a lot more info to go on before we can really help you here.

What species of lizard is it? Is it a hatchling, adult, or somewhere in between?

Is there a decent amount of fat in the tail base, belly, upper arms and thighs?

Has he been drinking water?

Have you noticed any other changes in his behavior or is he acting otherwise normal?

Is he a species that brumates/hibernates and if so is he acting sleepy and avoiding his basking area? If so he might just be shutting down for a bit of a nap.

What is his cage setup like? Substrate, size of cage, temperatures at warm, cool and basking areas, what type of lighting, etc.

Are there any recent changes to his environment? New cage, new cagemate, new animal that he can see/hear/smell?

Does his poop look normal if/when he goes or is it too runny? Too small and dry?

The vet trip is definitely a good idea. But we'd be happy to try and help you figure out what is going on while you are waiting for your appointment, as best as people can over the net and without having gone to vet school, that is. ;)

Wrath 08-16-03 10:26 PM

I just got him a few weeks ago, he's a sudan plated lizard. The guy I sold him from was very sketchy and said he was a captive bred baby, but I think he may be a juvenile and is wild caught. I think he drinks, because every once in a while I see yellow slimy looking stuff that I can only assume is pee. I never see him do anything.

To my untrained eye I would not know if he has enough fat on his body and legs, but he does not look emaciated, he seems normal. His tail is rail thin (but I think that's what they're supposed to look like).

Ever since I got him he has hidden in his hide box, he's very shy. I take him out every other day or so to get him used to me, and when I put him back in his tank, he just runs to his hide box and ignores the food and water :(

I've put crickets, lettuce, and mealworms in for him, and he hasn't touched them. I have to take out the uneaten or dead food the next day if he doesnt eat it to avoid ants. I am having an ant problem in my house that I think is just getting under control right now.

I have a vet appointment for Tuesday, maybe he can tell me if he seems ok, but I'm really really starting to get concerned. Oh and when I hold him he seems alert, and ready to bolt, but he doesnt.

Pia 08-16-03 10:47 PM

I'm not very knowledgeable about plated lizards but the lizards I am familiar with all "pee" in the form of white urate crystals to conserve moisture. That yellow slimy stuff doesn't sound right at all, nor does a rail thin tail. The plated lizards I have seen all had some flesh on the tail. Taking it to the vet is definitely a good idea and maybe take some of that slimy yellow stuff for analysis if you can't get a stool sample. Let us know what happens.

reptilesalonica 08-16-03 10:58 PM

Since the lizard is not eating i suggest you NOT to handle it before this lizard is probably WC and is highly stressed.
If the lizard eats, then, the next day you can start handle it slowly and gently.
Your first priority is to take it to a vet. Until then don't handle it and provide small quantities of live food. Try alive pinkies or silkworms or even better waxworms because waxworms are hugh in fat. Many insects will frustrate the lizard. Put small quantities and from a distance, see it's reaction. If eats them, put more.
Keep us informed and good luck~Greg

Wrath 08-16-03 11:01 PM

Ok, well I'm trying something new in the meantime. Yeah, you're right, I'm sure his tail should be much fatter. I can't wait to get to the vet. I'll try to get a sample of whatever that is....

Think these are ok? Strawberry, tomato, and bell pepper.

Maybe he'll like one of those. He is just standing over the food bowl. At least he's not running to hide.....(I peek in my bedroom every five minutes and it looks like he's still contemplating). Maybe I just have a very picky eater here. Here's hoping...

Greg: Thanks, I will also try waxworms, and I'll stop handling him. (ALthough I'm going to have to on Tuesday to take him to the vet). How do I travel with a lizard? A bag or a rubbermaid box, or both?

LurkerAccount 08-16-03 11:11 PM

I have a fat-tail thats went for 8 weeks without eating, but I dunno about plated lizards...

eyespy 08-16-03 11:29 PM

A vet trip is a definite priority, that yellow stuff you are seeing isn't normal and might be diarrhea. So parasites or other digestive system infections are a strong possibility.

I would avoid any high sugar or acid foods that might upset that poor little tummy but a little bit of strawberry should be okay. Peaches and pears are often well-accepted by plated lizards that aren't feeling too well, but just give a tiny bit so the sugar won't trigger more diarrhea as well as the waxworms. The moisture in the fruit will help to keep him from dehydrating.

A rubbermaid with some airholes drilled into it is an excellent travel crate for a lizard. Good luck at the vet on Tuesday and please let us know how he makes out.

Wrath 08-19-03 08:28 PM

Ok, I just got back from the vet. He said that he is dehydrated and getting way too thin. Well, duh, he's not eating and I'm sure that he's not drinking either! He checked his mouth, and let me tell you he put up quite a fight (a good sign I'm sure). Said the inside of the mouth was pale, and not pink as it should be. But he did not say anything about any visible infection.

The vet said he's pretty much just terrified. He injected him with some fluid and gave me some calcium and vit B drops to give him orally daily (the bottle says 'val drops'?).

He instructed me to force feed him waxworms every other day and give him the drops daily until next week and see if we can produce some fecals by then. Said at that point we will worry about parasites. Oh and also to mist him for now until he drinks and eats regularly.

He asked me if I had talked to the guy who sold it to me about his apetite, and I said that I did not want to call him because everything that he says is a lie, but that he had said he was eating 10 crickets a week (I don't believe that). The vet says that he is most likely almost an adult, and not a few months old, and he's not sure if he's WC. We'll probably know more after some fecals.

After the vet gave him the drops though, he seemed much more, let's say, 'personable' (or maybe just more interactive). Maybe it was just because we had totally crossed the line with his personal space and decided, WTF. I'm glad he's gonna get his vitamins, and I'm also glad to get the go-ahead to get some food in his belly, even if it is forced. I just hope he doesnt become more reclusive. Hopefully if his health improves, so will his personality.

Does this sound like good advice?

Samba 08-20-03 11:17 AM

I have a Gerrhosaurus nigrolineatus and he has never gone without food voluntarily! They can be such insatiable animals! How long have you had this lizard? If he's fairly new it could be that he's still just getting accustomed to his surroundings. EyeSpy gave some good pointers above to watch for...

I wouldn't trust the guy you got him from... 10 crickets a week? Even if that is true, that is not a lot for these guys!

Your vet only wants you to feed your lizard wax worms? They are hardly nutritional... like a human eating only lettuce! For the first few days this is a good idea, then I'd introduce mealworms, and maybe supers. To make the animals more managable, put them in the freezer for about 2 minutes... they won't wiggle as much when assist-feeding your lizard. I have written assist-feeding instructions on the thread listed below.

For baby foods, syringe-feeding chicken baby food mixed with rep-cal and a multivitamin should get him going. If Meg was here, she'd recommend Enteral Insectivore... a product I used myself...

Good to hear that he's gone to the vet... hope he improves!

Wrath 08-20-03 12:24 PM

Wow, thanks for the advice! I think he said waxworms so that he can get some fat on him, but if he starts eating I'm going to feed him everything I can! Yeah, I was wondering how I was going to manage to manually feed him, I will have to look at your post.

He seems better for having gotten some fluid in him. BUT THIS IS THE WEIRDEST THING: I put him in his tank after the vets and he hung out on his rock. This morning, he was still out, looks like he's basking. I've never in the three weeks I've had him seen him not in his hide box. Weird. I hope he's ok, I'm only a little concerned because he has never not run and hid. He still did not eat the fruit that I left overnight just in case though.

eyespy 08-20-03 01:39 PM

The basking is probably a very good sign, Wrath. When reptiles feel very ill, they will refuse to bask because that lowers their metabolic rate and so they feel less bad, kind of the human equivalent of taking a pain or sleeping pill and just trying to sleep it off. Those injected fluids work nearly instantly and can make a huge difference. I'll bet his belly feels much better now.

Waxworms are fairly mild on a digestive system that's been plagued by dehydration so they are a good starter food but I do think that more nutritious foods need to be added once he's passing nicely formed and solid poop. Giving too much protein while the digestive system is low on fluids will just challenge it so wait until the poop normalizes some and don't introduce new foods too quickly or he might have a setback in the diarrhea.

Wrath 08-20-03 01:51 PM

Yay! I'm glad to see him out. I was just hoping he was not too ill to run away, lol. Ok, I have another question. I'm not entirely sure about this force feeding. The vet told me to just open his mouth and stuff a worm in there. But everyone else on the forums write about feeding mashed matter with a syringe. If do I mash them? I know that this is a really stupid question, but I cannot imagine how. Put mealies and wax worms in a plastic bag and crush with something?? Ick, I'll do it, but ick!

eyespy 08-20-03 02:09 PM

I'd try the vet's suggestion first, mashed worms lose a lot of moisture during the "squishing" and he needs his fluids right now.

If you need to mash, I bought a cheap blender at a yard sale for "bug use" only. :D

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