November 13, 2007

Tycho: The Final Diagnosis

We've gotten the test results back from the second veterinarian. And the verdict?

There's nothing at all wrong with Tycho aside from constipation. He doesn't even have a respiratory infection; his white cell count is normal. His kidney function is perfect. His calcium level, his weight, his electrolytes... everything checks out perfect. Let me rephrase that; everything checks out perfect for a bearded dragon half of his age. Tycho is 11 and in as good shape as a six year old member of his species.

The reason Tycho was acting weird was that he was beginning to go into brumation, which is a minor form of hibernation. His cage had gotten a bit too cold so his metabolism slowed down a bit. What looked like heavy breathing was probably just an attempt to go to the bathroom. As far as why he appeared to be dying on Halloween, we're not really sure. It may be that he got extremely stressed out because Nancy O'Leary, the first veterinarian we took him to, didn't know what she was doing with him and neither did her staff. LL and I suspect that there may have been something given to him to make him appear worse than he was, too, although we have no way of investigating that so it will remain just a bad hunch. There really is no good reason that he should have gotten so sick that night because there simply isn't anything at all wrong with him. He just needed the heat in his cage turned up a few degrees and to be soaked in some warm water for awhile to help his intestinal difficulty.

LL will be going back to the vet's office to get copies of all of Tycho's test results. We will then be filing complaints with both the State Licensing Board for veterinarians and with the Better Business Bureau. What Nancy O'Leary of Worcester Cat, Bird and Dog Clinic pulled is utterly inexcusable, and clearly some combination of incompetence and extortion.

Tycho, it seems, is going to be just fine and very likely has years, not months, left in him. I believe the longest-lived bearded dragon on record was a specimen kept in an Australian zoo that made it to the very, very ripe old age of 20. Tycho might just give that lizard a run for his money yet.

Once again, to any reptile owners in the Worcester, MA area who might come across this entry at some point in the future... do not take your reptile to Nancy O'Leary/Worcester Bird, Cat and Dog clinic at 347 Park Ave. in Worcester. Go wherever else you have to, but avoid this place like the plague. They're bad news. If you find this message first and need to find out why, click on the "veterinarian" tag to see all of my entries related to this situation.

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