Many times bearded dragon owners may come across special health needs of their pets. There are also times when your bearded dragon might be showing signs of an unhealthy condition without you really knowing it.
Unfortunately, our bearded dragons can not tell us what is wrong with them.
That’s why it is very important to pay attention to tell-tale signs that something might be amiss. These signs could give clues as to any unhealthy conditions the bearded dragon is going through. There are times when it shows signs of an unhealthy state that it can be remedied by simply changing its habitat or food. Some serious conditions will require a visit to a reptile veterinarian.
Here are fourteen signs that you should keep an eye on that could mean an unhealthy bearded dragon.
Eyes Are Not Bright, Clear and Alert
If the bearded dragon’s eyes seem to have a film on them, or seem to not move towards any motion, it could mean it is having some complications. A film over the eyes could simply be a shedding issue, or it could be something more serious. If it’s a shedding issue, try giving the bearded dragon a bath in warm water. Let it soak for about 15 – 20 minutes to help loosen the skin. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, seek a veterinarian.
Acts Very Lethargic
A bearded dragon that seems “lazy” and doesn’t move much could mean a couple things. One problem could be the temperature of the habitat. A young bearded dragon needs a basking area temperature of between 110 to 120° F, with a cooler region of around 80 to 90° F. Often low habitat temperatures coincide with loss of appetite as well.
Soft, Runny, or Foul Stool
Swollen Limbs or Tail
This can often be the signs of a fractured, or broken limb/tail. Fractured limbs, or tail, could also be a sign of Metabolic Bone Disease. Get a veterinarian to perform an exam immediately.
Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite can be due to temperatures being too cool, or too hot in the lizard’s habitat. It could also be a sign of stress. Check the habitat temperatures to make sure they are in the proper ranges for the age of bearded dragon you have. If it is due to stress, allow it to adjust to the new surroundings if you just brought it home.
Hanging Mouth Open
If your bearded dragon sits with his mouth open, this could be due to temperatures being too warm. Many times they will open their mouth as a way of cooling off. Check habitat temperatures and adjust them accordingly.
Inside of Mouth is Blacked or Discolored
A discolored, or blackened mouth could be the symptoms of mouth rot. Mouth rot is a bacterial infection that affects the mouth and gums of bearded dragons. It is typically caused by unsanitary conditions and low temperatures, and must be treated by a veterinarian.
If the stomach of your pet darkens, or becomes black, it could be due to stress. This can happen most commonly with bearded dragons that have recently been brought home, or changed habitats. Give it time to adjust to the new surroundings. Stress can also be caused by feeder insects left in the habitat overnight, or incorrect temperatures.
Boney / Malnourished
This is usually a direct sign that the bearded dragon is not eating correctly. This could be due to stress, improper temperatures, or a sign of a more serious condition. Check habitat temperatures, and vary the diet to provoke eating.
Disfigured Tail or Limbs / Brittle Bones
Tail or limb disfigurement can be a sign of a broken bone resulting from a drop, or impact of some type. This can often times be the sign of Metabolic Bone Disease. Have a veterinarian perform an exam immediately.
Bearded dragons in the wild are very active creatures. Captive-raised bearded dragons do not have the room typically to be as active as in the wild. With an abundant amount of food, couple with less activity, can lead to obesity. You can combat obesity by supplying it with plenty of leafy greens, and taking it out for regular exercise.
Jerky / Shaky Behavior
There can be many reasons why your bearded dragon is showing jerky, or shaky behavior. The most common reason is due to calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies. Bearded dragons need calcium for strong bones and vitamin D3 in order to absorb calcium. Providing your pet with sufficient UVB rays is important too reducing the risk of these deficiencies.
Bloody / Damaged Snout
A bloody damaged-looking snout is most commonly caused by snout rubbing. This generally happens when it is kept in an enclosure that is too small. As it searches for a way out of the enclosure it will rub it’s snout until it’s bloody and raw. This can be remedied by ensuring the bearded dragon’s enclosure is adequate and has the proper diet. Taking it out of the habitat occasionally can also help with snout rubbing.
If your bearded dragon appears to have sunken eyes, it could be the signs of an infection. This can also result from dehydration. Give it a bath in warm water. It should lap some of the water after you set it in. Always supply your it with fresh water daily. Be sure the water container is relatively shallow so it can not drown. Misting your bearded dragon several times a day will also help. It will lap up drips of water from its nose as you mist it.
There can be many signs that point to an unhealthy, or unhappy bearded dragon. It’s always important to keep an eye on any issues, and take it to a qualified veterinarian for periodic exams.