Princess Meat Bunny, Esquire (meatbunny) wrote in pogonavitticeps,
Princess Meat Bunny, Esquire

So, I've got this bearded dragon. His name is Oolong. My fiance found him on the side of the road, fighting a cat. We couldn't locate his original owner, & since one of my roomies always wanted a beardie, we kept Oolong rather than finding a nice reptile rescue to take him in.

Now, of course, the roomie who always wanted a beardie barely ever spares a glance for Oolong, & he's pretty much my lizard, w/ help from my fiance.

My best guess is that Oolong is about 2 years old, now, probably a sandfire/red-gold cross (or something similar). He's about 18" nose-to-tail (up from about 14" when we found him) & is what our vet calls "a chunker" (ie, he's far from thin ;D ). He seems to be about as happy & healthy as a lizard can get, except that he's got chronic abscesses.

See, remember how I said he was fighting a cat? Well, the cat scratched him just a little bit over one eye. We didn't think it was a big deal, & it seemed to be getting better for a few days. Then one day we woke up & Oolong's right eye (the one w/ the scratch above it) was hugely swollen & leaking clear yellow fluid. We rushed him to the vet & got him patched up (luckily, his eye wasn't prolapsed as the vet initially feared). Of course "patched up" is relative in Oolong's case.

Since that day, Oolong developed an abscess directly in front of & slightly below that right eye (between the eye & nostril), then a larger abscess on each side of his bottom jaw. Eventually, he developed an abscess in front of his left eye, too. He's gone through 3 surgeries under 3 different vets, courses of pretty much every antibiotic/sulfa drug known to vets, 2 abscess drainings by the current vet (who discovered that since Oolong's abscesses are strangely liquid-y rather than thickly cheesy like normal reptile abscesses, he really doesn't need to be anesthetized in order to drain them), & countless at-home drainings & dressing w/ neobacimyx ointment.

The abscesses have been cultured, before, & everything that showed up should have been killed off by any one of the various medications Oolong's been on. The abscesses aren't attached to any bone, and don't have any apparent openings like abscesses usually do... and like I said, they're much more liquid than lizard abscesses should be. Every time they're drained, they'll stay small for a bit, then eventually grow bigger, and once they reach a point where they seem to be uncomfortable and/or one of Oolong's eyes is getting to be swollen shut again, we have the vet "drain the lizard". The last time we did this (couple of weeks ago), I asked if we shouldn't consider maybe putting Oolong back on some sort of medication. The vet explained that since Oolong's pretty much been on everything, there's really not much likelihood of further antibiotics doing any good... especially since the abscesses don't seem to have much of a blood supply (when they're drained, there's tons of pussy liquid, & little if any blood). No blood supply means that no antibiotics are going to get to the abscesses, unless we apply them directly. This is where the neobacimyx ointment comes in... it's not a terribly strong antibiotic, but since the abscesses in front of Oolong's eyes are *so* close to his eyes, & actually involve his eye cavities when they get large, it wouldn't be good to use a caustic chemical in that area. The vet explained it thusly: we don't want to blind the poor guy trying to cure him.

So, it looks like Oolong is just going to be rather lumpier than other lizards, & require some special handling as well as more than the usual amount of regular vet care. We've had him a little less than a year & a half, now, & we've spent about $2,500 on his vet care. Also, since the abscesses in front of his eyes block his line of sight in front of his face, he has a difficult time catching prey... he'll see something beside his head, then turn his head & lose it... he can't quite figure out that something next to his head will probably still be there after he turns his head, whether or not he can see it. Because of this, we've pretty much given up feeding him live prey, & he's gotten progressively moodier about accepting greens (he was never particularly enamoured of them). Nowadays, he only eats soggy Rep-Cal pellets, which we have to stack up "just so" on the edge of his bowl, tipped sideways, then hold them next to his head & try to move them to where he can grab them when he tries to "strike".

I love Oolong. I had no idea how awesome beardies were till I met him. He's just a great little guy, no matter how strange his head looks. Unfortunately, I've somehow gotten it into my head that I shouldn't post pix of Oolong, anywhere... like, I should be ashamed of our poor monster-lizard... like it's his or our fault that he looks the way he does. Even when I'm in a very good, proud-lizard-mommy mood, I hesitate to post pix of Oolong, because I get tired of explaining that he's got abscesses that we've tried to treat, that usually don't bother him, but definitely aren't normal.

But you know what? I'm tired of being that person. I'm proud of my lumpy lizard, I think he's still gorgeous, and I refuse to pretend that he's anything than what he is... which is Oolong, the bestest lizard that ever struck out by himself searching for a new family of suckers to call his own. ;D

Therefore, I give you pix of Oolong, taken a few days ago in the sun-drenched "herp pool" (hooray for living in Florida, where it's still in the upper 80's outside ;D )!

So, anyway... I've posted a few times to some beardie comms, before, under my other LJ, zoloft. This is my pet-specific LJ, though, so I'm likely to be much more active w/ it. :} Always good to chat w/ other beardie lovers, & I'd be especially interested to hear if anyone else has had experiences w/ beardie abscesses.

X-posted to a couple of beardie comms
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