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Thread: Red tegu full of fluid

  1. #1

    Default Red tegu full of fluid

    I took my red tegu to the vet on Monday. I was taking her in for a check up. I didn't think anything was wrong with her except for being fat. My hope was to get some advice from the vet on bringing her weight down. Instead, what they found was that she isn't fat at all, she's full of fluid. So much fluid it was compressing her lungs and intestines, approximately 500ml. We brought her back yesterday and they drained about 300ml of the fluid. Her behavior in no way indicated anything was wrong.

    In addition to the fluid, the ultrasound revealed numerous cysts on the abdominal wall. They're running cytology on the fluid in the abdominal cavity and fluid drawn directly from the cysts. I should get the results back today. They have a couple theories as to what may be going on, but hopefully they'll have something definitive when the test results come back. Their theories as to what it may be are a.) parasite b.) problem with ovaries c.) cancer.

    Below are the ultrasound images. If anyone has any ideas, or has seen this before, let me know.

    Liver 1
    GB
    Liver 2
    Liver 3
    Liver 4
    Liver 5
    Celomic Cavity 1
    Celomic Cavity 2
    Celomic Cavity 3
    Celomic Cavity 4
    Left Ovary
    SI 1
    SI 2
    Spleen
    Abdomen 1
    Abdomen 2

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    San Antonio,TX
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    I'm sorry that she has to go through this. I wish I would know things about ultrasound images. But I don't. Hopefully they will find out soon what is wrong with her so she can get better soon. Thank you for taking the time to keep us posted on her and for the images. I wish you two the best.
    Rich is not how much you have, or where you are going, or what you are.Rich is who you have beside you.

    Our videos :

    http://www.youtube.com/user/txrepgirl

  3. #3

    Default

    The cysts can be seen in the Celomic Cavity and Abdomen images.

  4. #4

    Default

    Vet called. They never seem to be sure of their diagnosis, a lot of hedging in their language. Anyway, he's pretty sure it's egg yolk coelomitis. Basically the ovaries release follicles into the body cavity which then implant in the abdominal wall causing inflammation and in this case, fluid production. They know the fluid does not contain urine and the cytology report did not indicate anything cancerous.

    He offered two options. One option is to use drugs to treat the condition. In this case a hormone producing implant is placed under the skin which would prevent ovulation. Kind of a lizard equivalent of an IUD. It's a bit of a wild card though. The implant is called Desnorelin and is usually used in mammals. However, a researcher in California used it on iguanas. The results of the study have not been published yet and the vet has emailed the researcher to ask about the results. Even if the results are positive, an iguana is not a tegu so there's still no guarantee. It's also difficult to verify if it's working. It took two years for my lizard to build up that much fluid. So it'd probably take months to notice if fluid production was still occurring. I also asked if the follicles presented any kind of danger besides fluid production. If not, could we just drain the fluid once a year? It's not ideal, but it's minimally invasive and her demeanor has changed dramatically since the 300ml drain from yesterday. Improved appetite and feisty instead of lethargic. However he couldn't provide a definitive risk assessment for leaving the follicles in place and not using the implant. Cost for the implant procedure is ~$200.

    The second option is surgery. They'd open the abdomen, remove the fluid and the follicle cysts and remove the ovaries. He indicated that he thought this was the best option for eliminating the issue. However it's still not a guarantee. If part of the ovary is missed it could continue to produce new follicles. If a cyst isn't completely removed it could break off and implant elsewhere or continue producing fluid. The surgery worries me since so much can go wrong. She could die on the table or later due to infection. These are the most qualified lizard vets I've met, but it gives me pause that even for them it's a lot of guess work. "It worked in an iguana. Should work in a tegu." I keep thinking if I went to the doctor's office and he said "It worked on a chimp, but you'll be my first human." I may not be inclined to proceed. Cost for the surgery is ~$1200, plus any post-operative care we may need to administer when she gets home.

    I haven't made a decision yet. Any advice is appreciated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Legion, this is amazingly similar to a case that happened very recently to a lady here in town. I encourage you to read the whole link before you make your decision.
    http://www.tegutalk.com/threads/tia-...-monday.14790/

    (txrepgirl, I hope you don't mind the cross post from the other site)

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for the link tupinambis. I wish it had a happy ending. My tegu's been building up fluid for nearly two years. Because the fluid build up is so gradual it appeared like weight gain. The thing is she responded very well to the fluid draining. The recovery time is almost zero. She was fully recovered by the time we got home from the vet. If the only threat the cysts represent is fluid production, could it be safer to just get her drained every 6 months? Hardly ideal, but the surgery seems as big or bigger a threat than the disease.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    This is a hard decision to make. I would be very worried about the surgery, too.


    tupinambis. I don't mind at all . The more information we can get on here about anything that can help the better. I don't care where it comes from. I posted some information on here from the other from, too . But thank you for asking. I appreciate it.
    Rich is not how much you have, or where you are going, or what you are.Rich is who you have beside you.

    Our videos :

    http://www.youtube.com/user/txrepgirl

  8. #8
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    The problem you're facing here is multifaceted and there is little advantage one way or another. You not only have a choice of whether to go with surgery or a hormone therapy, but I'd also warn that you have to make a choice in whether the veterinarian you'll be dealing with is really qualified to do either procedure. Veterinarians are regular people, and like regular people, there are those that know what they're doing, and there are those that don't - and unfortunately among those that don't, there's unfortunately way more not willing to admit their limitations than the other way around. However, I'd point out that the one you're dealing with seems to have figured out the situation better and sooner than the ones involved in the case I linked did - this is a good indication and would give me better faith in your veterinarian. It sounds like your tegu is seeing a good vet, so really listen to what they have to say.

  9. #9

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    I trust this vet as much as I can. By which I mean, it would seem that there's no such thing as a tegu expert vet. The closest I can find is a vet that specializes in reptiles. I've been to two other vets and this one is by far the best. The limitation seems to be a general lack of tegu-specific knowledge in the veterinary discipline, so a lot of what I see is iguana's being used as a proxy, ie. "It worked in an iguana, should work in a tegu." The vet I'm going to is part of the Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph University. http://www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/hsc/en/ab...ianspecies.asp

  10. #10

    Default

    I spoke to the vet again. I wanted to get a clearer idea of what threat the cysts represent. He said in this case they produce fluid, cause inflammation of the abdominal wall and can lead to bacterial infection. After weighing the options I decided to go with the medical treatment (drain remaining fluid plus implant) while leaving the surgical option available for the following reasons.

    She passed feces for the first time in 5 weeks yesterday, so the fluid draining has been incredibly effective at improving her health. We thought she was overweight, so we likely have underfed her in a misguided attempt to bring her weight down. This gives us time to feed her properly and make sure she's healthy. The fluid in her abdomen at the least made her extremely uncomfortable. The rest of the fluid will be drained in the next appointment. Again, this will give her time to be comfortable and recover. The vet indicated that the implant has no foreseeable negative consequences. The worst case is it does nothing. So we can bring her in for regular check ups to see if the cysts are being reabsorbed into the body and the fluid levels are staying low. If the medical option doesn't work and surgery is still necessary, at least she will go into the surgery as healthy as possible.

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