The life span of a bearded dragon can be as long as fifteen to twenty years when kept in captivity. Even with this long life span in captivity, bearded dragons can get illness and diseases that can lead to death.
The best way to prevent your bearded dragon from becoming ill is to practice good sanitary habits while raising your pet, and take it to a reptile-qualified veterinarian.
There is still a chance of something going wrong, so it’s a good idea to be aware of common causes of death for a bearded dragon. Here are some of the most common causes of death for bearded dragons.
Metabolic Bone Disease
Metabolic Bone Disease is very common among captive-raised bearded dragons. It stems from a lack of calcium intake in the reptile’s diet.
Bearded dragons need calcium to build strong bones, and without enough of it the skeletal system becomes very brittle.
The results are sometimes deformed bones, bones that are easily broken, and in severe cases, death.
Make sure to offer your bearded dragon a varied diet supplemented with a good calcium and vitamin D3 powder that is dusted on the food. Rep-Cal Ultrafine Powder Calcium with Vitamin D3 is an excellent supplement that helps prevent Metabolic Bone Disease.
Bearded dragons also need UVA and UVB lighting which helps the bearded dragon synthesis the calcium for strong, healthy bones.
Unfortunately, many bearded dragon kept as pets today end up dying from impaction. Impaction happens when the bearded dragon swallows a very small item, or a bunch of small items, that causes a blockage in the digestive tract.
This is very common when loose substrates are used in the habitat. These substrates include ground ground walnut shells, sand, or other loose particle substrates.
Many times the bearded dragon may go after a food item, such as a cricket, and accidentally swallow some of the substrate. The substrate pieces then become trapped in the digestive system causing a blockage.
Unless it is caught very early on impaction will most likely result in the untimely death of the beardie.
The best way to avoid impaction is to not use loose particle substrate. Use Reptile Cage Carpet, newspaper, or ceramic tiles as a safer alternative.
There are a number of possible infections that your bearded dragon could get – from mouth rot to abbesses to inflamed joints.
The best way to control infections is to keep their enclosure as clean as possible to decrease the amount of germs and bacteria.
Remove any droppings and left over food pieces as needed, and sterilize the enclosure with Healthy Habitat cleaner twice a month, or more as needed.
If your bearded dragon begins showing any signs of an infection seek a veterinarian immediately.
Egg binding, or dystocia, occurs when a gravid female bearded dragon cannot or will not lay the eggs she is carrying. This is due to either the lack of a suitable nesting site.
If the female carries the eggs for too long they can eventually become too large for her to be abler to lay, therefore they become “stuck”. If this goes on for too long it could result in the premature death of the female bearded dragon.
Symptoms of egg binding include swelling around the mid-section of the body, and continual, anxious movement.
If you suspect that your female may be experiencing egg binding, supply a suitable nesting site and contact your veterinarian immediately.
Vitamin toxicity occurs when a particular type of vitamin builds up in the lizard’s body to an excessive level. The most common form of vitamin toxicity is from high intakes of vitamin A.
Bearded dragons metabolize vitamin A very slowly and high doses of it from supplements can cause high levels in their body. A good alternative is to use supplements that contain beta carotene instead of vitamin A.
Rep-Cal Herptivite with Beta Carotene is a very good vitamin supplement to use that does not contain vitamin A.
Beta carotene is much easier for the bearded dragon to metabolize into a basic form of Vitamin A. Any unused beta carotene will easily pass through the digestive system and not build up within the body.
Avoid other types of vitamin toxicity by not giving your pet more supplementation than is recommended and offering a balanced diet that includes plenty of leafy greens and a variety of feeder insects.
Following a few simple precautions can keep your pet bearded dragon alive for many years to come. Just remember to always take it to a veterinarian for check ups and exams each year, and keep the habitat sanitary.