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Bearded Dragon Health And Diseases

Bearded dragons will go through periods of inactivity, this is normal and doesn’t necessary mean they are ill. It can be hard to tell when they are ill sometimes, you don’t always get an awful lot of emotion back to work with. But if you have owned your bearded dragon for some time, you will become to know it quite well, and how it behaves when it is well and happy. Here is a guide to help you identify some of the signs that there may be a health issue. But keep in mind that this is only an owner’s guide, if you think your bearded dragon is having health issues in any way you should take it to your veterinarian straight away.

Brumation/Hibernation

Brumation is basically bearded dragons hibernation periods, known as cycles. The duration and frequency of brumation cycles are different for every bearded dragon, however most go through a period of brumation during the winter months.

Some dragons will just sleep for long periods throughout this period, while others will sleep throughout the entire period. You may not even notice if your dragon is going through brumation, but it will raise concern for some unaware owners.

If you notice your dragon being a lot less active and you are in the winter months, this may be the reason. They will also eat a lot less, if anything at all. This this is also something you should not be too concerned about during this period, they are using less energy and can operate on less food.

Experienced owners will prepare for their dragon to go into a brumation cycle ahead of time. Shortening the time that the lights are on in the tank and reducing their food accordingly. However leave this to the seasoned professionals, it is recommended you carry on with your normal schedule during this period as every dragon is different.


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Skin Shedding

Like other lizards, bearded dragons shed their skins. Young dragons will shed their skins several times a year as they outgrow their current skin, while adults will shed their skin once or twice a year. There are some warning signs that they are about to shed their skin, they will usually look a lot more dull in colour, and their eyes will look puffy.

More often than not you will not need to intervene while a bearded dragon is shedding its skin. However, occasionally there can be some minor complications that you can help with. Firstly you make sure they stay hydrated during this period, spraying them with a little warm water will help if their tank is a dry place. This is mainly because in the wild they likely be in higher humidity, being in a warm, dry tank can make the shedding process more difficult.

Never try to help by pulling any skin off, unless it is clearly stuck and will not shed naturally. Any skin you do pull should fall off with ease, if skin is sticking for a long period of time then there may be a problem that needs addressing.

Signs That Your Bearded Dragon is Healthy

You will get to know your bearded dragon well and you will probably notice if it starts acting differently. Generally speaking healthy dragons will display the following:

  • Alert - if you drop some insects in their tank at feeding time they should react fairly quickly.
  • Interested – bearded dragons are usually interested by what’s going on around them, their heads will peak up when someone approaches them.
  • Appearance – a healthy dragon will look well, have clean skin, bright eye and no puss around its eyes or mouth.

Conditions and Signs That Your Bearded Dragon May Be Ill

If you notice the behaviour of your bearded dragon has changed, it may be down to an underlying health issue. You are often better to play it safe and have a veterinarian check out your pet if you are concerned. However, here are some of the warning signs to look out for, and what the problem may be.

Constipation

This can happen for a number of reasons, and doesn’t always become too serious. Bearded dragons tend to have bowel movements on a regular basis, if you notice that this has stopped being the case it might be due to constipation.

More often than not the problem can be solved by bathing your dragon in shallow warm water for 10 minutes or so. You can also gently massage the stomach, this is a lot more comfortable than it may sound and will help the process move along. If the dragon has still not passed faeces in the next 24 hours you will need to seek professional medical advice.

Diarrhoea

Temporary bouts of diarrhoea are nothing to be overly concerned about. It’s possible your bearded dragon ate some bad food, is reacting to a change in diet, or is stressed for some reason. However, if it lasts for more than 48 hours you should seek advice from a vet. It’s possible your dragon may have worms, or parasites.

Dehydration

This is something you should always be aware of as an owner. Bearded dragons do not always drink water left out for them, so you’ll need to spray them with mist from a water bottle to keep them hydrated. If you notice your dragon becoming lethargic, lacking energy, having wrinkled skin, or sunken eyes, these are all signs that they might be dehydrated.

Mites and Parasites

Blood sucking mites and parasites are a nuisance to most pets. Luckily bearded dragons come with some body armour, scales. Unfortunately this means that the mites will more likely attack the eyes, ears, and other sensitive areas where there is not so much protection.

Mouth Rot

This is a condition that affects bearded dragons and is easily spotted. You will see a yellowish substance around the mouth area, it causes discomfort and lack of appetite. You will need to have a vet treat the condition as there are different cures depending on the severity.


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