I have a juvenile bearded dragon, about 8 months old, which was very active until a few days ago when it stopped eating

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Customer: Hi, I have a juvenile bearded dragon, about 8 months old, which was very active until a few days ago when it stopped eating and not moving freely.
I have been taking him to the vets every 3 days for about 3 weeks now. He was X-rayed and proven to be suffering from MBD due to insufficient calcium in his diet. His x-rays showed pitiful bone structure but no fractures. He gets calcium injection (0.2mg clacium + 0.2 mg saline) plus 2 types of antibiotic shots.
His swelling on his arm has gone down and he is moving it better. He actually started eating crickets(canned Zoomed crickets) but I have to rehydrate him with rehydration solution injected into his mouth whenever I get the chance(about 4mg a day). He is now definitely better than before but lately I have noticed that he does not react too kindly to being taken to the vets regularly. He will struggle badly when being injected (as expected as the calcium shots are very painful). My concern is that he tends to stretch out in his enclosure with his head down for about 24-36 hours without eating following his visit to the clinic. I wonder whether his visits to the vet has initially helped him but now harming him? Sometimes, I have seen him really perky after the visit and eating and behaving normally( about 12 hours after the visit), but now I am worried that he may have hurt himself struggling to escape injections or perhaps his medication is harming him. It has been again 24 hours since his visit and he is still 'sleeping'. Recently his body weight has gone down to 204 grams - after having gone up 10 grams on his previous visit. So, his condition is going up and down, and now it is going down. Should I force feed him with the mixture the vet gave me (Albicarb-green powder to be mixed with water). I force fed him last night with Albicarb as he had not eaten much the whole day(he had 1 cricket with calcium and multivitamin powder). Usually he can eat 2-3 crickets a day. I will have to wait till tomorrow morning to see whether he has recovered, as he seems best in the early hours (6-7am). Any advice? Why is he given the antibiotics for MBD? Do the vets know what they are doing here? Please help! (I have just given him 4 ml of probiotics / rehydration /glucose mixture solution formulated for reptiles. This was one of the mixtures the vet recommended.)
Answered by Jav917 in 1 hour 14 years ago
Pet Specialist

27,324 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary


The antibiotics are given for a secondary infection, where the break is located. Depending what antibiotic is given it may be for a parasitic infection. As far as treatment the Probitics are excellent to help with the gut flora. With MBD there are usually injections given and also calcium glubonate Given orally. AS far as feeding I use a slurry mix which seems to work well with debilated Dragon. It is made with Green veggetables pureed, and Ensure liquid vanilla, Clacium gubonate, Acidophilus, Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly. This slurry helps maintain the nutritional balance for the dragon. An adult dragon should be on a 80% greeens diet to 20% prey diet. I use silk worms, and crickets for the prey since they are the best feeders beside roaches. Meal worms have too much chitin which can cause an impaction as well as sand and other looses substrates can cause a gut impaction. I am going to give you may care sheet and give you time to read it and we can discuss this further. Joan



  • Hello,
  • Here is the care sheet I promised Above. Please hit reply so we can further discuss this situation. Joan
  • Bearded dragons should be housed alone.

  • Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:

1. 0-3 months- baby
2. 3-12 months-juvenile
3. 12-18 months- sub adult
4. 18 months + -adult

  • Bearded dragons live as much as 10-12 years if well cared for properly.
  • Bearded dragons have a very good temperament as long as they are cared for and handled.
  • When you bring your baby home, it may be quite stressful to him/her to get use to new home. May not eat well the first 2-3 days. They may not need to be handled the first 2-3 days if skittish and nervous.
  • Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate: Loose substrates can cause impaction (not being able to go Poop) in all ages of bearded dragons- they lick their environment to explore .It is difficult to keep germ free and clean. Ceramic tile, newspaper, non adhesive shelf liner and reptile carpet is what is most recommended. Use paper towels for the little one and as they get bigger you can change to something else.
  • Be sure you keep your beardie's home as clean as you can. Clean up by spot cleaning when needed. Clean & sanitize entire tank every 10-14 days. A good cleaning solution is a 20% bleach solution. If you choose to use wood climbing branches etc, these should be soaked in the bleach solution and rinsed well. Then bake in 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • Need a climbing accessory: to bask and to warm up under basking heat light and lower branches or platforms to come down and cool off.
  • A hide of some sort like a cave.
  • A food dish and water dish.
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Can use artificial plants when they get older- 3 months or so.
  • Digital thermostat and/or temp gun
  • Tank size: Minimal size tank for this age is 20 gallon long
  • Minimal size for older beardie: 4 months of age: 40 gallon breeder is the minimal tank size for older dragon. Can divide a 40 gallon breeder for a smaller dragon.


  • Must have two lights for your beardie.

1. A UVB light source-best is 10.0 Reptisun that runs the length of your tank. Your dragon must have this light to metabolize calcium. If not he will get metabolic bone disease, a serious condition. You can also take your beardie outside to bask in the sun for 15 minutes each day if your temps are 80 degrees or above outside. You can purchase cages or reptariums from your pet store. Never leave a beardie outside unattended.
2. A basking type light that puts out heat and warmth above basking spot. Your beardie must have warmth to digest food & thrive.

  • Lights should be on for 12-14 hours each day. Follow the seasons and light timers are a great luxury if you can get them. 6 dollars at Lowe's. No lights or warmth needed at night unless your temperatures get below 62 degrees. If they do, there are ceramic heat emitters that put out no light, only heat. Use these at night if temperatures fall below 62 degrees.


  • Temperatures have to be kept at the following ranges during the day:

Babies: Warm basking log: 105-125 degrees F
Cool side: 85-90
Adults: Warm basking spot: 110-115
Cool side: 80-85
Measure temperatures with a digital probe type thermometer or a temp gun-these are most accurate. Stick on thermometers unreliable.

  • Feeding a Beardie: Beardies eat live prey consisting of crickets, roaches and/or silkworms. Never feed any size of mice to your beardie. Never feed mealworms. They also must be given greens/veggies everyday. The younger they are the more live prey they should have. As they grow older the live prey decreases and the veggies/greens should be the major part of diet. Never feed anything bigger, than the space between your beardie's eyes. This includes both live prey and pieces of veggies/greens,
  • A chopper or food processor is a huge help when your beardie is small. Always offer greens and veggies: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, red cabbage, fresh green beans, yellow summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, cactus pad. Apricots, strawberries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe- fruits are treats only.
  • What is live prey? The easiest and less expensive live prey is crickets when you have a young or first beardie. The other live preys you can feed are silkworms, and special types of roaches. You can learn to raise your own live prey. Treats can be waxworms, super worms, and tomato/goliath worms. You may find that ordering live prey from the internet is the way to go..... Never leave live prey or greens/veggies in tank overnight. . Crickets can bite your beardie when sleeping.
  • Babies should get 80% live prey, and 20 % greens/veggies. But since the greens/veggies are a must when they are older, get them eating their greens/veggies very early. Give greens/veggies in small pieces everyday. You should eventually start decreasing your older dragon's protein intake when they are about a year to 15 months old. Their protein intake decreases to 20 % live prey and 80% veggies/greens.
  • A baby the size of yours can eat 50-75 crix a day. Never feed crix or veggies bigger than the space between your beardie's eyes. Use this guide when buying crix or chopping your greens/veggies.
  • You must provide calcium dust without D3 and multivitamin dust for your beardie. You should dust the live prey with calcium one time a day, and vitamins 3 times a week. Just collect your live prey into baggie and add enough calcium and vitamin to dust them. Then pour a few at a time into your tank. Some people feed their beardie in a separate tank so that no crickets can hide. Or some take out "furniture" from tank and feed this way. As they get older, 4-5 months or so dust live prey with calcium 3 times a week.
  • Feed the veggies/ greens 1st thing in morning after lights on for one hour at least. Then after 2-3 hours offer crix. Then freshen green/veggies. Then give more crix. Make sure after last crix feeding there is at least 1-2 hours of lights so that they can digest their food before night time.

*Beardies over the age of one year old during the winter months will go into a Brumation like most Reptiles and Herps. It is a form of Hibermnation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights should be on a shoter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available during this period. Do not feed live pery during Brumation.

Water: Mist your little one with the spray bottle 3-4 times a day. You can also offer a small dish of water in your enclosure but be sure your dragon is not too small to drown in it. It is recommended that when your beardie is 2 months old you can bathe your baby in a small plastic container with warm water- not hot. It will help them to stay hydrated. As they get older you can move up to the bathroom sink and then to the bathtub. Very important for bath enclosure to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to bath time. Clean between dragons too if bathing more than one.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask. I like to start people off with proper husbandry and then see if I can further assist. Joan

http://www.repticzone.com/articles/fruitsandvegetablesrated.html This is for fruits and Vegetables



Thanks for your advice and reply to my questions.

I have just a few final questions regarding this case. Should I continue taking him to the vet and finish his 8 does of antibiotic shots although he has no apparent broken bones? (He was X-rayed twice to check for fractures. He had a painful swollen arm but now there is no swelling.) He seems just sore, and still struggles along when moving, jerky motions as if crippled. When I feed him or rehydrate him through the syringe he fights back not to open his mouth and struggles a lot. Should I still perservere with this or am I causing more harm? Also, I can see that his whole body winces as if paralyzed when being injected with calcium glubonate. Should I tell the vet to discontinue calcium shots? I already put calcium powder inside the belly of the cricket (dead cricket) or mix into his rehydration solution. His visits to the vet means he is being cooled down to 60-65 F as he is under air-conditioned surroundings for up to 2 hours sometimes. Is this causing him harm? I am considering stopping all vet visits from now on (as they seem to traumatizes him) and just treat him at home with supplements and proper diet and lighting. What do you think? Thanks.



I would find out what the antibiotics are being used for, and not continue to you get a satisfatory answer. As far as the Calcium Glubonate it can be given orally as well as the Vet can show you how tube feed rather than fighting to feed and to give the Meds. To transport the dragon, to the Vet. Use a styrofoam cooler and a heat pack (make a heat pack out of uncooked rice and a sock warm in the microwave to warm) to keep temps warm. We use that here in the states when it is cold and a Dragon must go for a Vet visit. The slurry mixture I suggested works very well and is usually accepted without a fight. Try dropping it on the snout and the Dragon should lick the mixture willingly. This can lead to feeding in a dish rather than a fight to feed the Dragon. Joan


http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Meds.html#CalciumGluconate oral Calcium Glubonate

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