Although bearded dragons appear to be incredibly hardy pets, unfortunately they still get sick. Many health problems are preventable, so it’s important to know how to properly care for them.
Just like any pet, beardies need to be treated when they’re sick and may require a visit to the vet. Be sure you don’t overlook the signs of an unhealthy dragon as symptoms may worsen and potentially lead to death.
Be on the lookout for some of these bearded dragon diseases and other health problems:
Metabolic Bone Disease
This is the most common and well known disease found in bearded dragons. Its symptoms are quite nasty and can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain. They include soft, swollen or broken bones, soft or ‘rubbery’ jaw, tremors, spinal deformity, paralysis, weight loss and lethargy. It’s really important that you visit a vet if you notice these signs as this disease can be fatal.
Calcium and phosphorous deficiency and the lack of vitamin D are the causes of this debilitating condition. Without a calcium rich diet and sufficient UVB exposure, the body compensates by drawing it from a calcium rich source (e.g the bones). This can be treated by providing a calcium rich diet and sufficient exposure from a UVB light.
This contagious and potentially fatal disease is believed to be caused by a yeast infection developed through the lack of good bacteria. This usually occurs when the bearded dragon has been treated with antibiotics. It infects the dragon both internally and externally as it is excreted through the faeces and makes contact with the skin. You can identify the disease by yellow patches of fungus on the skin which in most cases will begin at the vent area.
It’s very important that you take your dragon to the vet ASAP as it will die without proper medical treatment! The disease is often avoidable by giving pro biotic supplements after treatment, in the case that antibiotics have been used.
This infection is also known as Mouth Rot. If your bearded dragon is affected, you’ll notice a whitish, grey substance lining the soft tissues of its mouth. Other common symptoms include bleeding gums, loose teeth and a loss of appetite.
This infection is quite often preventable. Improper diet and injury are the main causes however parasites may also be to blame. For this reason it’s a good idea to visit your local reptile vet. Antibiotics are a common method of treatment for this condition.
Poor cage conditions are the major cause of this infection. Temperatures that are too low or a highly humid enclosure may cause your bearded dragon to experience the following symptoms:
- Gaping mouth
- Mucus excretion from mouth and nose
The best thing you can do for your beloved pet is to correct its living conditions. This will help to control the infection and prevent it from happening again. It’s important to see your vet as antibiotics may be necessary.
These are just a few of the many health problems to watch out for. Most are caused by poor nutrition and living conditions, so make sure you do your research. There’s plenty of information to be found in books or on networking forums (it’s always good to talk to beardie lovers just like yourself). Also pay special attention to your healthy dragons’ appearance, behavior and eating habits, as these things will tell you if your dragon is sick. Most importantly if you keep yourself informed you’ll be able to confidently raise a healthy beardie.