The bearded dragon is a relatively fragile reptile which can have more or less serious diseases.
Discover in this article what beardies’ common diseases are and how to react if yours is sick.
Remember, however, that this article does not replace a consultation with a veterinarian.
It is only intended to expose common diseases and the remedies that professionals often recommend.
Diarrhea in bearded dragons
The frequent evacuation of liquid stools is a fairly common ailment in the beardie. The symptoms are known: frequent, liquid stools, as well as a certain lack of appetite in your reptile.
A dietary imbalance is often the main cause of diarrhea in the bearded dragon. It will therefore be necessary to review its diet and avoid an excess of fruits or vegetables. You can, on this subject, read our articles on the beardie’s diet.
Avoid, for example, an excess of lettuce, cabbage or vegetables very rich in fiber.
In the case of acute diarrhea, which lasts for several days, you must take care of your pet to avoid any dehydration. Let it have a bowl of water.
Diarrhea in bearded dragon is sometimes synonymous with cooccidia, a more serious parasitic disease.
The intestinal mucosa of the reptile is affected and liquid stools, sometimes with blood, coincide with a noticeable weight loss of the reptile.
Changing food will not be enough: a visit to the veterinarian will be essential.
You may also like our article on How can I help my constitaped bearded dragon.
Bearded dragon claw/finger diseases
If you notice any abrasions, burns, dislocations, or bruises on your beardie’s limbs, it’s important to respond quickly.
You need to treat quickly diseases related to your bearded dragon’s extremities in order to avoid surgery or, worse, amputation.
Furthermore, if the claws are swollen, or if you notice traces of burns on the limbs, you should be worried. Also check that your pet has all its claws and that its gait remains normal.
To solve this problem, in addition to surgical operations, you will need to review the following points:
- The layout of the beardie’s terrarium. Perhaps it is injured on certain elements or has difficulty moving.
- The overall hygiene of the terrarium. Check that the substrate is suitable and get into the habit of cleaning the inside of the terrarium daily.
Bearded dragon osteofibrosis, a common but preventable ailment
Osteofibrosis results from a diet that is too low in calcium. This is a well-known ailment in the beardie.
Regular calcium supplementation is generally enough to avoid this complication which can drastically reduce the life expectancy of your pet.
The other cause is a lack of light due to missing or unsuitable neon lights in your reptile’s terrarium.
Note that your beardie requires an additional supply of ultraviolet rays to synthesize vitamin D3. This is essential in the development and solidity of its skeleton.
As you may have guessed to avoid type of problem, you will need to:
- Supplement the food of your beardie with food supplements rich in calcium.
- Add suitable neon lights and bulbs (neon UV10, UVB12, UVB14) as well as a heating bulb in its terrarium.
A bearded dragon who suffers from osteofibrosis actually sees its skeleton and muscles weakened.
It will find it increasingly difficult to move around and will therefore tend to sleep a lot. You may also notice a decrease in appetite.
The abscess: a bulge common in reptiles
As an infectious disease, the abscess is a very common disease in many reptiles.
Generally, it is an infection due to a small wound (scratch, bite, badly finished shedding…). At the site of the trauma, a fairly firm skin mass appears.
The infection is characterized by pus inside the abscess, and pain with movement.
You often observe abscesses near the joints of the beardie but also on the fingers – after a torn nail for example – or even on its mouth, near the mouth.
It is impossible to prevent this kind of “bobo” which can worsen over time. So, we can advise you to be attentive to your pet and to regularly check that no abscess is forming.
The sooner a veterinarian takes care of the wound, the quicker the healing will be.
Beardie eating disorders: anorexia, weight loss…
The symptoms that should alert you in your bearded reptile are often related to its diet.
If you notice that your pet is sulking at its food and losing weight noticeably, you should be worried.
It is considered that a 15% weight loss is already a warning sign to look into as soon as possible. Indeed, the weight loss is all the more serious when your animal continues to eat.
In terms of weight loss, it is important to take note of the following points:
- Does your pet have enough to eat? Offer more food, and do not hesitate to weigh it before/after to check that it has ingested sufficient rations.
- Is your beardie dehydrated? You can add a bowl of water or offer a hot bath to your bearded dragon to facilitate its rehydration.
- Does your pet get adequate heat? Your terrarium should not be cold or too hot, or suffer too great a difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures.
- Finally, as a last resort, and if everything seems OK, call your veterinarian to check that your beardie is not suffering from any parasite.
When it comes to bearded dragon anorexia, the symptoms are clear: your pet has no or very little appetite.
The causes can be the terrarium, the hygiene and of course the food. If you see the ribs of the beardie or even folds along its body, especially on the sides, you should worry quickly.
If anorexia occurs suddenly, it is often due to an imbalance in the environment of the bearded dragon or within its diet.
Medical treatment can also upset your reptile and upset its appetite.
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