Iguana emergency... now, meet Falcore!

ember

Arachnosquire
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Feb 13, 2007
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129
Last week, I was informed of three iguanas in great need.

My family used to do a lot of rescuing and fostering for various animals and shelters, we own rescued herps/reps and inverts (as well as dogs, ferrets, rats, etc). We have snakes, we have tortoises, and we have big enough hearts, homes, and sense of responsibility to do so appropriately. We have made a bit of an impact with the people we know as being animal lovers and good pet owners, and the willingness and wallet for "exotics" in need.

Last week we picked up the three iguanas. The story is tragic and infuriating. I will happily relay to you all the full story if you are interested. The truncated version is there were three beautiful lizards that were very nearly dead. They were starved (seriously), dehydrated, and seem to be riddled with infection and rot (?). I was expecting bad, but this was WAY OVER OUR HEADS and capabilities.

I was expecting to pick up three baby iguanas in need, not three adult iguanas that were dying. I did not have the ability to house all of these kiddos the right way. If not for Google, I would be even more worthless than I already feel...

My stepfather had iguanas while I was growing up, but I was only a passive participant, and those were never rescues (he was a back yard breeder of exotics and birds). The other iguanas that I have been around have all been large adults in healthy and spoiled condition, or tiny "PetCo-ish" babies

I had these three (which were kept in a 20 gallon net cage together with no substrate, lighting, or anything... they had been fed iceburg for the past two years) in glass tanks for one night, separated. The two smaller in smaller tanks and the larger in a larger one, but all tanks far too small for these guys. Well, I say guys, but there were two males and one female.

I had them set up that way for a night, and it was a MILLION TIMES better than they were, but it was not suitable for any sense of long term. It was 2am by the time we got home with them and got them setup in an acceptable way for a night.

The two smaller (younger) lizards were one male, one female. The female seemed to be the most "alive" of the three. The other small one (male) seemed to be rotting. He had a HUGE abscess looking thing on one cheek, and what looked like scale rot/mildew of somesort all down his body. The tip of his tail looked like it may fall off. He is obviously miserable. He, none the less, had some energy. He was totally overpowering the larger male with them.

These two had never been handled. Even still, I was able to manipulate and move them. They were fearful, and acted like they wanted to eat me... and the male threw some really well-meaning threat displays, but neither tried to actually bite me. I had to use a glove and a hand rag to help move them around, but that was due to their nails, their movements in fear, and my aversion to being bitten... It went smooth enough.

The bigger male was a DOLL. A serious doll. He was someone's pet at some point. He acted like a cat, arching himself into a hand, and closing his eyes. He was emaciated. His mouth seems stuck open. He laid his mouth in his water dish to the side and just stayed there... and then lifted up slowly to try and swallow. He cannot stand up at all, too weak. He was gray and blue and DRY as chalk. His eyes seemed deflated. I had him in a larger tank as he is larger; my guess is 5-ish as for age, but that is just an educated guess. Honestly, he seemed a lot worse than the other two.

This is what they were in, and have been for the past year or two



This was how we had them for that first night, just to get them separated and hydrated...









The very next day, I got the two smaller (and more lively) lizards to a "rescue". She was not exactly a rescue as I recognize it, but more of an enthusiastic exotics keeper with an interest in helping rescued animals as well. Her home was CLEAN and nice, there was no oder, and the animals were all in appropriate habitats. She had a tank cage set up for them that was very large, and instantly started giving care to them with ointments, vitamins, etc. She handled them like they had been her pets for years, which helped me feel comfortable with her capabilities. She displayed FAR better knowledge than me concerning iguanas, and I have enough knowledge of other things to see that she was keeping her snakes, tortoise, parrot, etc in premium conditions. She took the two iguanas and said that she was also in contact with another iguana-specializing rescue that would help get them seen by a good vet and get them listed for adoption once they were healthy. The best part? She lives in the same part of town as I do, so I actually CAN go back over and check up on them (and enjoy her other critters, too).

She sent us home with a cool tarantula (that is our hobby), and he is set up nicely on our tarantula bookcase.

So, we kept the large guy for now... he was just too much to send to her (being bigger, and in such bad shape). I moved him over to a larger TEMPORARY setup of a pet cage (my husband is going to take $200 and go to Home Depot and then make a premium ig cage setup). When I moved him over I put him on flat carpet mats (I have enough that I can just thrown them away when they are dirty), with a large soaking pool, and GOOD food. In the water I have reptile electrolytes, and in his food is iguana vitamin B ointment. I have a spray bottle with those two things in (with the warm water) that I am misting him and his cage with like mad. I also have a heater in the room, a humidifier, and the correct UV light above him.


I have been soaking him in the tub with 80F water for about 30 minutes, twice a day. He also LOVES showers.

He was not eating, though...


I thought, hey, here it is day two... Well, since he has made it this far and has started to get better (not worse), he needs a name and thus be christened as part of the family!

So, here is Falcore.

These are pictures of day two. He has already started to get color back... His eyes are now open and vibrant. His mouth can shut now, and he has started moving around (though not standing up).















We are looking for a comprehensive and experienced rescue for Falcore... Something better than we can offer. We are willing to keep him. We can pay for his vetting, buy or build a correct cage, etc. My husband has decided that he wants to try, knowing that this guy just may not make it. My husband thinks that we should just commit to this lizard, no matter the outcome/price/etc... as opposed to anyone (rescue or not) unless they can offer him BETTER than we can. Really, I think that he just fell in love while he fell to his knees in tears holding this listless and dying lizard that just seemed to be happy being held and pet. It was totally heartbreaking.

The day before yesterday, we moved him over to a 60g hex tank, and gave him better UVA/B light and a basking heat light.

Yesterday: A LOT of collard greens. Some snow peas. A tiny bit of apple, strawberry, and buncha bandanna. A dab of plain yogurt. A LOT of warm water. Iguana soup for lunch.

For the past few days I have TRIED and TIRED to get him to eat. Mashing and mincing, putting it right in the mouth; he just could not get his jaw to work the way that he needed it to, and he would finally just give up and go to sleep. He has a bad sore (looks like rot) on one side of the mouth, and the jaw is just not functioning right. He tried for an hour straight to get a bite of food night before last... and finally gave up and laid his head on his food plate and fell asleep.

Yesterday, he LOVED this soup. I fed him SLOWLY, and it was all very well received.








I have been soaking him in the tub daily at water near 80F. I give him warm showers, too. I dump and refill his soaking pool daily with fresh warm water with reptile electrolyte in it. He has good heat and light source. He is getting some green back already!



I am in contact with two actual iguana rescues right now, making arrangements to get him somewhere with people that have more experience, and a far better setup. We are so willing to keep him, but if there is something BETTER available for him, then we will do whatever we can to give him the best. Be we a forever home or just a stop on the way, we want to be of utmost service to him, you know?

With the coming paycheck comes a new project; I am sending my husband to the hardware store with $200 and having him come home with the materials for an iguana cage.
 
Last edited:

pinkzebra

Arachnobaron
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Apr 19, 2006
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435
That is just heartbreaking! I have tears in my eyes. I know nothing about iguanas, so am no help there, but man I hope he pulls through. He seems like such a sweetheart. Best of luck to you and him. Maybe an experienced rescue can take him in, nurse him back to health, and then you can adopt him. Keep us updated!

*My thoughts are with you, Falcore.*

And the others too...

Jen
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
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Oct 14, 2005
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The messed-up jaw sounds like MBD, big time. :(

Two years and no lighting and nothing but worthless lettuce to eat...oh god. :( I hope he makes it, I've always loved iguanas and wanted one of my own, but I know I wouldn't be able to meet their huge space needs and don't trust myself to get everything exactly right. And yet it's always the idiots who don't deserve one who have them. :(

Keep us updated, please.
 

AneesasMuse

Arachnoangel
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Jul 31, 2006
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I am praying this big fella pulls through. It never ceases to amaze me what people will do to an animal... just sickening.

It sounds like the other 2 Iggies found a good place to recover.. that's great! Hopefully, you all will find the support you need with Falcore's care and be able to keep him yourselves. After all, he looks right comfy there with you and the "room service" :D

Good Luck!!

~Aminah
 

bugmankeith

Arachnoking
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Jun 4, 2006
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Another great rescue i'd say! The pictures,story, and info you gave seemed like an article you would read in the paper, it was great! I hope they recover so they can live happy,healthy lives.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Feb 13, 2007
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Thanks for the kind responses.

So today, I thickened up his food a bit with more collard and some applesauce, and he ate a bit from a dish as well as he could, and took another 24CCs via syringe.

I just went to check on him, and he climbed up my arm. He is now on my shoulder. We have formed quite the level of trust, both of us. I am trusting him to not bite my face, and he is totally at ease with me handling him (including his mouth to manipulate the syringe around his sores). This is the first time that I have just sat with him over my shoulder, and we are both rather comfortable.

He is getting color back, every day. It is AMAZING how fast he is getting color back.

He still has not passed any movements. I am going to soak him in warm water a bit later and hope for the best. If he eats daily and still does not pass anything by Friday, I will expedite my intentions on getting him vetted (read: take a draw instead of waiting for paycheck) so that I can make sure he is not dangerously "backed up".
 

Tleilaxu

Arachnoprince
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Again you are doing great I highly recommend you keep him.
 

Natemass

Arachnolord
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Sep 16, 2006
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good luck with him, people always buy iguanas for their 19.99 price and then dont care for them once they reach 2ft very stupid and cruel.
 

AneesasMuse

Arachnoangel
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:clap: :clap: :clap: Good on ya!!! :D

I second the suggestion that you should keep him. He's bonding to you... not biting the face is a sure sign of that ;)

Thank you for updating us, too. I love hearing and reading about the successes, as well.


Oh, and poo.. err, the lack there of... when my Uro wasn't going after a Panacur treatment, I gave him some BeneBac and got him moving right along. I'm guessing here, but it is possible with his history, that his beneficial flora in his gut have also been disrupted and preventing him from being regular. OR.. his body is absolutely absorbing every single nutrient you put in due to that same poor history, and is not quite ready to release any waste just yet. Can you give your vet a call or email? Mine answers emails, fortunately.

Good Luck!


~Aminah
 

TNeal

Arachnoknight
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Dec 11, 2006
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My hats off to you and your husband. I am an animals lover ans are especially fond of reptiles and amphibians. I have kept a few iggys in the past and I also ran a rescue for my local humane society for iguanas. Even I could not keep them properly for long term if they were adults because of their room requirements. It's so easy to give them the proper food and condiitons. I don't understand why people are so darn lazy. Your story made me cry and at the same time made me very very angry.

I want to thank you for doing what you do on behalf of the animals. If there is anything I can do to help you please feel free to ask.

Tom
 

Mina

Arachnoking
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I'm so glad you rescued them!!!!! I may be wrong, but it sounds to me like Falcore is meant to be yours and you are meant to be his.
You do need to get him to a vet though and make sure that sore on his jaw isn't MBD. If very well might be after being kept in the conditions that you described.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed and sending him all of the good energy that I can.
Thank you so much for caring enough to help him and his "friends".
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Feb 13, 2007
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Thanks all for the comments. Yeah, I am pretty sure he has some level of MBD going on. The top of his tail is a zig zag in the bone structure, his toes are hell, and he has a few other indications. He is not the worst I have ever seen (via photos) that still recover well, so I am hopeful that he will recover.

Falcore's meal yesterday





Now he is soaking in hot soup. I figured hey, he drinks while he soaks... may as well add some collard green juice to it!

 

AneesasMuse

Arachnoangel
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Only under these circumstances I think... does that green, murky water look enticing and so inviting. LOL

It makes me smile and cry all the same, every time I look at him eating from that syringe. I can't say it enough... Good on you, ember! :)
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Yeah... If he survives, I better keep him, right?

Okay gang... I am feeling really unsure. Falcore does not seem to be doing well. Okay, well duh... But he seems today to be worse than the past few days. He is MUCH more listless and lethargic. Is he just starting to turn a corner and healing himself...? Or is he dying? This is really scary for me. Is there anything else I can/should be doing? Please think good thoughts at us!
 

Tleilaxu

Arachnoprince
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Off to the vet I think. Sorry I really wish you luck with this.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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It is after 7pm, so really there is not much vetting that I can do tonight. I just spent all of my $ on the right calcium powder without D3, the really good UVB bulb and light (turned out over $100), lizard electrolyte, and $10 on greens and fruits. Now I am broke for a bit until paycheck comes in. I wish I had NOT done all of that and had just taken him to the vet first instead. I was just trying to get him stable first, thinking that to be best. It is all so stressful and scary, but I know that we are doing the best that we can and making the best choices we can in the moment. Sigh... this was why I was looking into rescue as an option, just in hopes that they would know some magical lizard-don't-die formula for doing things that could serve him better than I can. Meh. No matter what he is COMFORTABLE and knows love and kindness. I want him to hold out long enough to get even more than just that, however.
 

Tleilaxu

Arachnoprince
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You are doing the best you can. Don't worry I think he will tough it out until you are able to get to the vet. I think it was best to get him to be stable and calm down before a vet check up.
 

AneesasMuse

Arachnoangel
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Do you have an Emergency Vet there? I know, Exotic Vets are hard enough to come by.. I just thought I would ask anyhow.

If not, can you call your Exotic's tomorrow first thing, and see if they will work with you on his expenses? It is somewhat of an emergency and he obviously needs vet care right now. I dunno.. it doesn't hurt to ask, even if it isn't their normal policy to have payment plans or whatever... they may make an acception for you. Tell them he's a rescue and all of that.

Me and all my ZOO are sending good thoughts and praying for Falcore to pull through. I hope the poor guy just needs to make one big poop and then be fully on the road to recovery.

Hang in there, ember. He knows you are doing everything you can and he is finally feeling cared for. That's what's important for now.

~Aminah
 

Cirith Ungol

Ministry of Fluffy Bunnies
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Very touching tale! Please continue updating (this is worth more than any other soap). Best of luck with him and the rest!
 
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