Well, I have bad news; my bearded dragon is not well. It seems that she has a large mass on one side of her body that could be a tumor, an egg sac, or a variety of things. The xrays are not clearly indicative of what it is. As a result, she needs exploratory surgery tomorrow, June 21, 2013, which could also be a fatal event.
Here’s the xray:
Kwayze, our bearded dragon, appears to have a mass on the right side of her body. This mass could be an egg sac or tumor.
So, here’s some background on the situation. We’ve had Beardie (aka Kwayze) for 5 years since she was a baby. She has had the best care possible in terms of husbandry and food. We’ve had our ups and downs with her. Often times, she will refuse to eat a proper percentage of vegetables and will hold out for worms or crickets, for example.
Every year Kwayze lays infertile eggs like most female bearded dragons. Her patterns are as follows: Around the May/June timeframe she eats a lot and then starts getting bigger. It becomes more obvious that she is gravid. After a bit she runs around frantically searching for a place to lay. We provide a laybox, but not being “mother of the year,” she refuses to lay in it and spreads them all over her cage instead. Right before she lays, she stops eating.
This year, she did not show that level of activity. However, her right side kept getting larger and larger and lumpy. I thought that perhaps she was eggbound and took her to a vet. This vet, we will call him “Dr. B” is not her usual vet as “Dr. S” is. Dr.B has a larger facility that is a 24/7 emergency animal hospital. Thinking she was eggbound and that she might need surgery and to stay overnight, I took her to Dr. B.
Yesterday at the vet, Dr. B initially stated that it seemed like eggs and conservatively she could just go home and we could wait it out to give her some additional time. However, another option is to take an xray and go from there. I decided to go with the xray since I knew she was not acting normal and since she was not eating.
The xray results came back as above, with a large mass on one side. Dr. B said that we could do an exploratory surgery with her on Tuesday. The surgeon is experienced with reptiles but is limited on availability. Additionally, Dr. B wanted to take a bloodtest to ensure that she is healthy enough for surgery and was not going through kidney failure.
This morning, Kwayze looked very pale and uncomfortable. She was laying around in unusual ways and I panicked and thought she was dying. To test this, I offered her one of her favorite foods, superworms. She would not chase them but would let me handfeed a couple. After eating a few more, she started gagging like she had a sour stomach and refused any more. Then she looked even weaker.
I decided to call Dr. B up again and ask if we could rush the surgery. I explained that I was worried she would not make it through the night. He noted that we could use a less experienced surgeon but that it would not be as well planned out. Based on his experience with her yesterday, he thought she could make it until Tuesday. However, he recommended that I might want to bring her in for a reassessment today to make sure she is okay. He even said I could take her back to my normal vet, Dr. S. since he is available to do the surgery tomorrow.
That’s what I did. I took her to Dr. S. this morning who gave me a second opinion and feels that it is likely an enlarged egg sac mass. He said that he performs surgeries on exotics all of the time and has done many on beadies with similar situations. He also showed me some pictures of surgeries that he had done. Overall, I felt comfortable that he could do a good job at it.
I think it’s best to have it done sooner than later. She is clearly uncomfortable.
So, right now Beardie is at Dr. S’s office and he actually called me while I was writing this blog. He stated that she is in good condition and even perked up after the fluids and the heat from the incubator. She will go in for surgery tomorrow and we will continue to hope for the best.
I am worried however, that it is one of those things that we don’t want it to be: a tumor wrapped around her intestines, cancer, etc. For her sake, I really want her to survive to continue to live a happy and healthy life. She deserves it and she is like a child to me. I don’t know where I will be tomorrow if it turns out to be unsuccessful. I don’t want to know that this morning was my last time with her; it just may destroy me.
Truthfully, and not to make this into a rant, I don’t handle death well. Chris is much more spiritual than me. I think nature is cruel and that certain things are not fair. -but as Chris or even my mom would say, “why does anything happen? Why are kids born with cancer? Why does anyone or anything get cancer? Why are people killed in accidents?…” You get the idea. It’s completely random in their minds, whereas I tend to look at it as a personal attack against me. I typically find myself to be very unlucky, especially since I used up all my good luck in one shot by meeting Chris and marrying him.
Anyway, if you read this, please pray for Kwayze for her sake, as ironic as it may sound after reading the past paragraph.
For an update, please see:
R.I.P. Kwayze and Sloan, My Sweet Angel Beardies