Rio Reptiles
Rio Reptiles - A Rescue Resort

Slurries for Sick Beardies

If you have a sick bearded dragon that will not or cannot eat on its own, you can make a slurry so that it will be easy to hand feed and provide valuable nourishment.

First you will need to get a syringe without a needle, the size needed will depend on the size dragon you are feeding. The 1cc syringe is best for babies, the 3cc is good for juvies and I like the 1 oz squeeze bottle for adults.

Flukers Reptaid for Insectivores is a good staple and comes in powder form so that you can mix any amount you need.

Pedialyte or electrolyte solution is great to mix with the Reptaid or give by itself to hydrate and provide essential electrolytes. Always start rescues on Pedialyte before trying to feed.

Butternut squash baby food is a good vegetable to use and they usually like the taste.

Chicken baby food is good to add protein once you have been feeding a dragon for a couple of days and is accepting food well.

Liquid calcium or calcium carbonate powder is always good to add.

Liquid B complex is a water soluble vitamin that is for good nervous system health.

Acidophiliz+ provides good bacteria to help replenish intestinal flora when medicated for parasites or anytime. Comes in liquid form so also provides hydration.

Fresh or powdered alfalfa, high in protein and a good staple green.

The best thing I have found to mix slurries is a mortar and pestle. It easily purees alfalfa or other greens mixed with electrolyte solution or Acidophiliz+. It will also smash up small crickets so that no large pieces are left to clog the syringe.

If you have rescued a dragon that is obviously dehydrated, it is best to not feed it solid foods until it is ready or else you could risk impaction. Start by soaking the dragon in a warm bath for 15 to 30 minutes a couple times a day and drip electrolyte solution or water on its nose to lick. If the dragon is too weak to eat or drink you can use a syringe or small squeeze bottle to force it to drink, just be sure to aim for the back of the throat so that it doesn't go into its air passage. If your dragon resists licking or drinking, you can put it in the corner of the mouth between the lips and carefully add slight pressure, this should help to get the mouth open long enough squeeze the water in.

When you are pretty sure the dragon is hydrated you can start with a very watery slurry of butternut squash baby food mixed with Reptaid powder, Pedialyte, calcium & vitamins. Water it down enough to where it drips and flows like fluid. You can feed this for several days or a couple of weeks, depending on the dragons condition. At this point the dragon should be responding to treatment and ready to start adding more protein to the diet.

When the dragon has gained its energy back and is starting to eat more, you can slowly start adding the chicken baby food to the slurry. You can start as low as 10% or even more if you think it will be tolerated easily. This is also a good time to add alfalfa if you have access to fresh leaves or other greens.

It usually takes a while to nurse a dragon back to health and hand feeding can last a couple of months. During this time you want to add as much variety to the diet as possible for nourishment and to encourage the dragon to start eating on its own. Dragons are lazy by nature and it can be difficult to get them to eat on their own. When they start gaining weight and activity levels increase, start adding insects to the slurry as soon as possible.






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