A website dedicated to Bearded Dragons & their health ...
Sobe's Story by Trisha Johnston


Hi, I'm Sobe's mom, I got Sobe when he was only 3 months old. He was born on February 17th, 2003. I had wanted a Bearded Dragon for some time, but it was a difficult decision because they are so expensive to take care of, but my desire to have one finally took over.

When Sobe first came home he was doing great. He loved to eat as any healthy baby is supposed too. I never had any worries about him until about a month ago. I noticed he was not eating at all, no insects and no veggies. He would just lay there under his basking light and not move. There were times I had to see if he was still breathing. Can you imagine having to go through that?

Being a first time beardie mom, I was very concerned. First I took a fecal sample to the vet's office. Right away we got a call back ... the vet's office told us to bring Sobe in, because his results came back positive. We were told he had a large amount of coccidia. In a way, I felt relieved because it did not sound too serious. The vet put him on some meds for 10 days.

A few weeks later we took another fecal sample to the vet, and once again the results came back positive, but this time a bit more serious. His coccidia levels had gone way down, but now he has a high count of white blood cells. Then the vet fed him some dog food through a tube.

I took Sobe home and he seemed to perk up a little so I watched him closely for a couple of weeks. It was very frustrating because there was still no change in him at all. Still not eating and still just laying there. I called the vet and spoke with the receptionist and I told her that either I'm going to lose Sobe or the doctor is going to have to help him. The vet decided to take a blood test.

Again, we took him back, putting out a lot of money, and the doctor did his thing. He poked Sobe countless times with the needle trying to get blood, he was having a hard time finding a vein. We received a call a few days later with the results and this time it was a lot worse. The vet told me that his calcium was ok, phosphorus was really high, liver count was high, and he was slightly anemic, which all of this combined, causes kidney problems. No wonder Sobe wasn't eating.

I asked the vet, "What can I do?" He said to give Sobe a cat/dog vitamin called Pet-Tinic. I was relieved because I thought this medicine could finally help him. Come to find out that was the worst thing that the vet could have given him.

I have been in touch with the lady at Beautiful Dragons and she told me NOT to give Sobe Pet-Tinic because the main ingredient is beef liver, which is extremely high in phosphorus. By this time, I was tired of trying to figure out what to do. I was desperate and the people at Beautiful Dragons really helped. She told me all the things I should get (including a new vet) to help Sobe, like vitamin-B complex and Acidophilus. I have also been giving him his Parazap, calcium, and a multi-vitamin supplement. He gets nice warm baths everyday, and when it's sunny outside he gets to kick it in the sun. I want to get Sobe to the point where he can enjoy life again. As far as the vet is concerned, he has lost my business.

DON'T ALWAYS TRUST YOUR VET! If you need to, do the research yourself or find people that know their stuff. That is what I did and I feel she was sent from God.

Thank you for reading my story and if you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me. I'm NOT a beardie expert but I will be there for anyone who may need to talk about their beardies.


A note from Veronica (owner of Beautiful Dragons): Trisha and I e-mailed back and forth about Sobe's ordeal with the vet. When Trisha told me that the vet wanted to give Sobe a vitamin that contained an astounding amount of phophorus (beef liver has a calcium phosphorus ratio of 1:83), I got really concerned. What reptile specialist in his right mind would do such a thing to a reptile that was already suffering from extremely dangerous phosphorus levels? Especially when the same vitamins and minerals can be obtained in a formula for reptiles, not cats and dogs.

And on top of that, I advised Trisha to get Sobe on acidophilus, because the sulfa drug that Sobe was given to treat his coccidia infestation depleated his body of good bacteria. The acidophilus could help get Sobe's appetite back. When Trisha inquired with her vet if acidophilus was ok and what kind to get, he said not to give that to Sobe. He told her to give Sobe Lactinex. After researching what Lactinex was, I got back in touch with Trisha and told her that it was a brand name for a product that contains acidophilus. Are we dealing with a smart vet here or what? And what's this about feeding dog food through a tube? I don't recommend that. Dog food contains a lot of meat and protein, which usually means there is a lot of phosphorus in it. Also, if your vet has to poke your beardie all over to find a vein - then there's something wrong! A good reptile vet should know right where to poke to find blood.

Trisha is going to take Sobe to a real reptile vet that a friend with over 300 turtles recommended. Hopefully this new vet will be able to find out what is really troubling Sobe and get him healthy very soon.

Best of luck Trisha! And remember - when in doubt, research it yourself. Never take anyone's word for it.


Update on Sobe 10-10-03:

For everybody who has been keeping up on Sobe's story I have some wonderful news. Sobe went to his new vet on October 7, 2003 to get some blood tests done. The vet told me to call back the next day around mid morning to get the results. Of course I was a bit nervous and hoped that Sobe was doing better. The vet told me that Sobe's phosphorus level was normal and so are his kidneys. There's also no sign of Sobe being anemic. There is still a problem that the vet can't seem to find at this point in time. He said that there is still something in Sobe's white blood cells...

The vet suggested that I keep going with my daily routine (calcium, Pedialyte, and multi-vitamins) and to try feeding Sobe some strained baby food. The awesome thing is he has not lost any weight. He is currently at 190 grams. I am happy I'm on the right track and I will keep going until he is 100% well.

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