|| Chinese Water Dragon|
|| Cornwall, England, UK|
Loki came to me under unfortunate circumstances, and he definitely deserved better treatment in life. Loki had a bad case of nose rub, something that will scar him all his life, that had become badly infected. It was red, sore, bled and covered in black scab that often sealed his mouth shut. He was in so much discomfort that he couldn't hunt or drink on his own, and due to this he declined severely in health.
Those who were in charge of his care had given up on him. His bowl was usually dry, and was too small for a lizard that needs to soak itself entirely and even swim. He was never fed, he required handfeeding, and never got this.
He was going be put down by being put in a freezer. There's a myth around that says freezing reptiles is the most humane way to put them down, that they simply go to sleep, this is FALSE. Freezing a reptile is incredibly inhumane - they are cold-blooded and it is painful. It should only be done as a laat resort, if not vet is available. Loki saw a vet months ago, and obviously his medication had not been kept on top of, or he had not been receiving it at all.
I took Loki home the day he was to be killed. Named after the Marvel/Avenger character, in hope that he will trick death and bounce back just like the character did. It was unsure of how well he would do. He was very lethargic and didn't look far away from death, but i still held hope.
He was given three courses of medication to take every day from the vet, he was to have a bath every day, and be kept in a terrestrial vivarium to keep down a minimal risk of injury to him, as he was too weak to cling onto the branches despite being an arboreal species. I was also told he had a chunk of bone sticking out of his jaw, more than likely another reason he wasn't eating, and he was extremely dehydrated.
An adult male Chinese Water Dragon is meant to weight at least 1.7lbs (1-2 pounds), Loki weighed a mere 0.027lbs (124g), he was extremely underweight. Even so, the vet saw no reason why he couldn't pull through.
He started to get fed every day on five to eight locusts or crickets and as many mealworms or morio worms he would take. I would syringe water into his mouth every day, also, and he was given baths every afternoon, sprayed twice a day and given his medication every evening.
The black scabbing started to wear away until there was no scab at all, it began to look less sore, though it bled often whenever he ate.
Within a week in my care he gained 0.6lb (weighing at 364g), that is a good weight gain for an animal we were told was gonna die, his owners were the only ones to think Loki was gonna fail and perish, but everyone else thought otherwise.
Loki's legs, crests and tail started to fatten up, his mouth stopped bleeding, the infection looks all but cleared up and he is much more active.
He now poos on his own before baths, this shows that he is now fully hydrated which is brilliant, he is still given baths everyday, and also uses his tank that is in the vivarium with him. Though he still requires handfeeding he does eat mealworms on his own from a bowl, and i have even caught him drinking on his own.
He is still a bag of bones, every rib can still be felt and his hips still protrude, but great improvement is being made, he can even cling onto the branches on his own now.
He is now also starting to shed, getting rid of all that old skin and all his color is coming back. His throat is now a bright purple, his chest and underparts becoming a bright emerald green, his eyes bright and alert.
Loki has been with us for a mere month from reading everything above you would think he'd have been with me for a much longer time.. He is weighed every Sunday and i hope he has gained more weight this week.
We know he could decline at any given point, but have been assured by professionals that this is a slim case as he is doing so well, he is to go back to the vets next month for another checkup and to talk about getting that bone removed. They see no reason why he won't pull through and live the normal life he should have..
And neither do I.
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