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Dr Nadia
Dr Nadia, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Specialty training in all-species medicine,inc zoo and wildlife
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I have a bearded Dragon and I gave it green bell pepper and

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I have a bearded Dragon and I gave it green bell pepper and carrots today for the first time and now it is holding it mouth open alot more than normal. Is this ok or a sign that she is sick?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Nadia replied 6 years ago.
Holding his/her mouth open a lot can be indicative of trying to cool off. What is her temperature gradient? The rule of thumb I've told clients is that pea size or smaller for veggies is a good start.

Is she still active?
Nadia Stegeman,DVM,MPH
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

yes she is still active. she kind of looks swelled or thicker in her belly


Expert:  Dr Nadia replied 6 years ago.
It is entirely possible this is completely unrelated to the pepper/carrots. Let's go over husbandry. How old is she? What does she eat? Supplements? What is the tank size? How often does she soak in warm water? Does she have a UVB light that is less than 6 months old? What is the temperature gradient? Are you in an area that just started to get warmer?

Nadia Stegeman, DVM, MPH
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
well i think she is about a year old . She eats Grasshoppers, wax worms, grapes (seedless), Strawberries, apples, mustard greens and today the carrots and peppers. Calcium supplement. she is In a 10 gal tank right now we are making her a much lager one. She soak in her water dish every day. She keep me busy changing it. Yes her UVB light is 60watt and is less than 1 month old and the temp is usually around 84F to 86F. Yes the temp is just now starting to go up some. We live in Kentucky. I have only had her for about a month now. I'm worried she is my first dragon.
Expert:  Dr Nadia replied 6 years ago.
One thing I worry about in female dragons in the springtime is reproductive problems. With a distended belly, she may have some eggs inside. Find a larger enclosure, even temporary, and place a smaller box inside it. Inside this box have some substrate for her to dig in in the event she feels she needs to lay eggs. Since younger dragons have a habit of eating their sand, I usually recommend shredded paper for an area that she can use as a nesting site. It would also help if this area had some privacy covering as some females are sensitive about laying eggs in public. :)

You've acknowledged the tank size is too small, which is an excellent start. Increasing the temperature gradient will help and allow a focal basking spot so your dragon can regulate her own temperature rather than rely on a constant 84-86F. If this is a heat problem, she can just move to another spot instead of holding her mouth open.

Regardless of what you do immediately, I recommend establishing a relationship with a local veterinarian who sees exotics/reptiles. A thorough history, husbandry overview, and physical exam go a long way in keeping reptiles healthy.

Nadia Stegeman, DVM, MPH
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