BDO's Diagnosing a Sick Dragon

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Quick Diagnosis Chart for your sick dragon

By Cameo Hall on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 8:21pm

Sick bearded dragon diagnosis chart

Check questions (click on the diagnosis number to be brought there directly):

1. What are the temps in your tank? (80-90 cool side & hot side 100-115) if temps are off see diagnosis #1

2. Is your dragon not pooping? (4 days or more? See diagnosis #2)

3. What is the substrate in your tank? (If any type of sand, walnut shells, or loose substrate see diagnosis #2) find the best substrate for you here...

4. How old is your dragon? (6 months or older? See juvenile/adult) (younger than 6 months see baby dragons)

5. Are you giving 3 baths a week for 20 minutes? (See diagnosis #3)

6. Is your dragon not eating? (See diagnosis #2, #4, and #7)

7. Do you have proper lighting? (UVA and UVB lights and NO colored lights) see diagnosis #5 and #7

8. Do you have more than one dragon in the tank together? (See diagnosis #6)

9. Is your dragons jaw shape off or limbs and tail looking crooked? (See diagnosis #7)

10. What are you feeding your dragon? Is it correct size? (See diagnosis #2 and #8)

11. Does your dragon have a shaking or tremor to his legs/feet? Arching of the head? Lethargic and staring off into nowhere? (Stargazing) see diagnosis #9

12. Is your dragon breathing heavily? Very labored breathing sucking in and out of stomach. Discharge from the mouth or nose? (See diagnosis #10)

13. Is your dragon shedding? (See diagnosis #11)

14. Is your dragon sleeping all day in the same spot and not too concerned with the world around them? (See diagnosis #12)

15. Yellow fungus (see diagnosis #14)

16. Does your dragon have bleeding gums, loss of appetite, blackening of the teeth, swollen mouth, and a cheesy, yellowish buildup between the teeth? (See diagnosis #13)

17. Is your dragon constantly running back and forth against the glass? (See diagnosis #15)

18. Is the bottom side of your dragon covered in dark circular to oval marks? (See diagnosis #16)

Diagnosis juvenile/adult dragons

1. Proper temps in your tank is essential for your dragons to be able to digest their food. If you don't have proper temps you run the risk of them becoming impacted due to not being able to properly digest their food. Adult dragons tend to like it cooler on their hot side of 100 while babies like it 100-110. Try and get the temps as close to 110 as you can within your dragons comfortability level. If they stay on the cool side of the tank keep lowering temp till you find the right one for them. Don't go below 95!

2. If your dragon hasn't pooped in 4 days or more it's probably due to impaction.

You can help treat impaction by syringe feeding your dragon .5-1 ml of olive oil and 4ml of pumpkin baby food followed by a warm 20-30 minute bath. If your dragon hasn't pooped within the next 48 hours I would schedule a vet visit.

3. Receding eyes and wrinkly skin are both signs of dehydration. Also the white part in your dragons poop is called a urate. A urate is your dragons pee. If the urate has yellow in it and isn't all white this is also a sign of dehydration. If your dragon is dehydrated give five 20 minute baths for a week and then back to 3 a week after that. Adding pedialite to the baths will also help.

4. For those of you who purchased your dragons from a pet shop, unfortunately you may have gotten more than the one living thing that you paid for.....there is a better than 50% chance that your dragon may be carrying some type of intestinal parasite, particularly if they were being housed with other dragons, and the conditions that they were being kept in were not exactly as clean as you would have liked. They may be infested with coccidia, roundworms, pinworms, hookworms, or numerous other pests. If you should buy from a reputable breeder, this is much less likely to be the case, but even then, it is possible. For Fecal exam information, please PM Cameo Hall on Facebook or Email Cameo at, you can also read this....

5. Proper lighting is one of the most important factors in raising a healthy bearded dragon. Please do not use any colored lights they are bad for your dragons sleep cycle. Having a good UVB bulb is highly important as well! I recommend using a reptisun 10.0 UVB tube bulb. You can get this from for a good price. A halogen bulb for heat can be bought at Lowes. Please read this info for proper lighting for your dragon.

6. Cohabing- keeping more than one dragon in a shared living quarters. If you have more than one dragon in a tank it can cause stress on the other dragons. If the dragons are different size you run the risk of the bigger bullying the other for food and basking spots. This causes stress that can harm your dragon sometimes kill. Cohabing 2 males will usually end in a fight. Cohabing a male and female will usually end in a bunch of eggs you're not ready to take care of. Cohabing two females of the same size can usually work out, but you want to make sure you know the signs of when to separate. Any kind of Cohabing does run a risk of your dragons fighting and potentially hurting each other.

7. This is a very painful disease please have proper UVB for your dragon!

8. Make sure you are feeding bugs that are the proper size for your dragon which is no larger than the space between your dragons eyes should the bug be. Failure to do so can result in your dragon becoming impacted. Here's a chart of the best foods to feed your dragon....

9. This is a scary disease that has no cure. You will want to see a vet ASAP if showing these symptoms!

10. This is sign of a URI (upper respiratory infection) this can kill your dragon if you don't see a vet ASAP!

11. Shedding happens when your dragon is growing. This is a good thing, but unfortunately they don't like it too much. It can cause them to not eat and be very grumpy to the point they don't want to be bothered. Give extra baths to help clear their shed faster. Do not pull shed off this can hurt them.

12. Brumation comes once a year. It's like when bears hibernate for the winter to dragons. It can last a few weeks to a couple months. Depending on the climate you live in some will and some won't brumate.

13. Vet visit ASAP

14. This is a highly contagious and deadly disease! Quarantine dragon and seek vet ASAP!

15. This behavior is most commonly known as "glass surfing" .... A couple reasons a dragon would be glass surfing is because temps in the tank may be too hot. The dragon may see another dragon or food outside of the tank that it's trying to get to. Your dragon could also be gravid which means its carrying eggs and is trying to find a suitable place to lay its eggs. If you do not make a suitable place for the dragon to lay the eggs it will become egg bound. If you think your dragon may be gravid please read this

16. These marks are very common on a bearded dragon. They are called "stress marks" .... They usually get them when they are stressed or scared of something. It could be the outside or a new environment. Another dragon around them. Maybe even something as little as them not wanting a bath can cause them to get stress marks. They also get these marks when they aren't stressed and are just simply basking.

Baby Dragons

1. Baby dragons require a hotter temp for proper growth keep hot side 100-115.

2. Do not put loose substrate in with your baby dragon there's a high risk of impaction doing so.

3. Don't feed mealworms they aren't very nutritious and can also cause impaction.

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