Rio Reptiles
Rio Reptiles - A Rescue Resort


Common Problems


Relocation Stress - can cause bearded dragons to stop eating due to the stress involved from a change in environment or surroundings.  It is best to minimize stress and offer a hide so that they can feel more safe and secure.  Offering a variety of live feeders and different types of vegetables will help entice them, being patient and making sure light and temps are correct will help most.

Dehydration - is more common in young bearded dragons since they are smaller and prefer higher temps.  Bathing daily, frequent misting, and offering water or fluids with a dropper will help best.  For severely dehydrated animals, Pedialyte or watered down Gatorade will help put back essential electrolytes.

Impaction - is caused when too large of prey is eaten and cannot pass through the digestive system.  Also can be caused from loose substrate materials such as sand or other type particles that get accidentally ingested and build up in the digestive tract. Food impactions are more easily eliminated with frequent baths, giving extra fluids, a couple drops of olive oil and keeping warm constantly for several days.  Impaction from sand or other particles must be flushed out by a qualified vet.  Serious impactions can cause paralysis of limbs with hind leg extension and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Parasites - such as Coccidia and other are naturally found and can overcome a beardies digestive system and will cause loose or runny stools which smell exceptionally bad and cause loss of appetite and lethargy.  Roundworms and Pinworms are also very common but are not always life threatening.  All internal parasites must be treated by a vet with specialized medication.  They can be avoided by having frequent fecal examinations and proper cleanliness of housing.

Calcium Deficiency - is caused by improper UV lighting and/or insufficient supplementation and improperly balanced diet.  In nature the UV from the sun stimulates the body to produce vitamin D3 which aids in calcium metabolism.  In captivity, proper UV lighting and calcium supplementation is needed along with balanced nutrition.  If using a fluorescent UV bulb, calcium with added D3 must be used.  When using a Mercury Vapor UV bulb, calcium without added D3 should  be used.  Also, UV bulbs lose their efficiency and should be replaced frequently, every 6 month for fluorescent bulbs and every 12 months for mercury vapor bulbs.  Calcium deficiency can also lead to metabolic bone disease.

Metabolic Bone Disease - is not only caused by calcium deficiency but can be a result of poor environment and improper overall care and diet.  It is important to pay attention to Calcium to Phosphorus ratios in foods so that the body doesn’t compensate by taking calcium from the bones.  This causes deposits of fibrous tissue when the body tries to strengthen the bad parts of the bone due to the absence of calcium.  Good Ca:P ratios should be 2:1 for veggies. Since feeders are high in phosphorus, proper gutloading and feeding veggies with a high Ca:P ratio will help balance the diet. 

Yellow Fungus -  a serious and sometimes fatal infection believed to be caused following antibiotic treatments which kill all the good bacteria in the digestive tract allowing yeast & fungus to grow and survive in feces which gets on the skin and causes infection.  Always follow antibiotic treatments with probiotics such as Acidophiliz+ and seek proper instructions for treatments with lamisil and tea tree oil applications.  Keeping enclosure clean and sanitary is best prevention.

Mites - are very hard to detect because they are so tiny and look like little dots.  These are external parasites which live off the dragons blood so they must be eliminated quickly. Can be treated with mite spray and possibly prevented by frequent bathing and good general cleanliness.  Other homeopathic treatments recommended are oils and petroleum jelly as well as pest strips in vicinity for adults.

  For a reasonable consultation, please visit for educated advice.  
  Excellent Link for Herp Care and First Aid for Reptiles
Emergency First Aid for Reptiles



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