Sunday, August 19, 2012

Common Bearded Dragon Diseases- Part 1

Bearded Dragon Diseases and Treatment

Bearded Dragons are very hardy lizards, when they are provided with the proper care and the correct temperatures and lighting in their environment. However, they are also pets who do their best to hide their symptoms from us when they become ill, as do most other reptiles.
Since your Bearded Dragon can't talk or complain about where it hurts, you must use your own observation skills to determine when something is not right. There are times when a healthy Bearded Dragon will act differently, but these changes should be seen for what they are by the experienced veterinarian.
There are many types of Diseases that your Bearded Dragon may get or be exposed to. some of the more common ones that you may encounter are Metabolic Bone Disease, Stomatitis also known as mouth rot,Impaction,Dystocia (Egg Binding) and parasites to name just a few. In most cases of diseases that you may encounter with your Bearded Dragon they can be cured and properly treated if taking to a vet. at the first signs of problems. Keeping weekly records will help spot disease at its earliest stages

Part 1:  Metabolic Bone Disease

MBD is to Common Among Bearded Dragons

notice how the Bearded Dragons leg is draggin backwards, a healthy dragons foot would be in front supporting himMetabolic bone disease (MBD) is a well recognized and all too common disease of Bearded Dragons.MBD results from an improper calcium to phophorus ratio in the body. Normally this ratio should be around 2:1 calcium:phosphorus (in the range of 1:1 to 2:1). When the calcium level is relatively low the body tries to compensate by taking calcium from wherever it can, for example the bones. There is no single cause and the disease is not as simple as a calcium deficiency. However, the primary problem is a disruption of calcium metabolism which causes a host of related problems. MBD is almost always a result of poor husbandry, but generally preventable by providing a proper environment and diet. This is not always easy or inexpensive, but is vital to the health of Bearded Dragons.
Calcium also impacts a number of other physiological systems including muscle contraction (including the heart) and blood clotting. The 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus that is ideal in the diet, but calcium metabolism is not that simple.Other factors like Vitamin D (especially D3) are also vital to calcium metabolism, and because some Bearded dragons do not absorb vitamin D that well they need ultraviolet light exposure to manufacture their own vitamin D. Improper exposure to UVA and UVB will prevent your Bearded Dragon from properly producing its own vitamin D. Other factors may include improper temperatures, not enough proteins or to many oxalates.

Signs and Symptoms:
Vary depending on the severity and length of time the condition has had to developed. Due to the importance of calcium in bone formation and muscle function, most of the signs and symptoms are related to bone and muscle effects. These include:
* tremors
* anorexia
* bowed, or swollen legs, or bumps on the long bones of the legs
* softening and swelling of the jaw (bilateral) - sometimes called "rubber jaw"
* arched spine or bumps along bones of spine
* jerky movements-twitching in the muscles of the legs and toes
* lameness
* fractures of the bones due to bone weakness
* lethargy
* weakness and even partial paralysis (sometimes unable to lift body off ground)

Metabolic Bone Disease is distinctive enough that diagnosis is usually made based on the symptoms, physical exam, and discussion of husbandry. X-rays can be taken to confirm the diagnosis and monitor treatment. Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. For very mild cases a switch to a balanced diet and proper husbandry may be enough, but many cases require intensive calcium and vitamin supplementation under a vetenarian's care.


Part 2 tomorrow:  Salmonella 

1 comment:

Bearded dragon diet said...

Bearded dragons are great pet lizards, both for lizard beginners as well as seasoned reptile enthusiasts. This is due to their gentle nature and minimal maintenance requirements, which has made them popular family pets. In most cases, they are healthy, hardy animals, which normally have a lifespan of ten years or more.