Our bearded dragon won't use his back legs and when my husband massaged his belly he felt a lump so googling it seems he

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Customer: our bearded dragon won't use his back legs and when my husband massaged his belly he felt a lump so googling it seems he is likely impacted. He keeps opening his mouth really wide and sticking out his tongue. We soaked him and he did poop a bit but not much it was kind of a greyish color. We have him on a warm heat pad under a towel and a heat light on him and I also gave him some apple sauce with olive oil which he licked off his chin as some sites suggested. Is there anything else we can do? We don't have a reptile vet where we live or one that works sunday (even a regular one)
Answered by Jav917 in 3 mins 13 years ago
Pet Specialist

27,324 satisfied customers

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


Can you tell me about the set up?

Diet? Prey/Greens?



UVB? Type coil or tube? How old?

Area to locate a Herp Vet?

Temps and how measured?



He has a heat light but no UV. Now I sent my husband to go get a UV because I had no idea we needed one. The man we bought him off said just the heat light. He was also on ground walnuts which were recommended to us from the pet store and now I read are a huge no no .. so those we have also removed and now he is on pet carpet. He has calcium suppliments on his food but we have not managed to successfully get him to eat veggies or fruits of any sort no matter what we tried. He did lick some apple sauce off today so I will keep giving that. He eats crickets and we make sure they are small enough for him. We keep him with fresh water and mist him daily. I feel so horrible it seems we were missing some very important information on keeping him healthy. :( I sure hope he doesn't die!


Thank-you for the information. It is very important to have a UVB light. Without it the Dragon cannot metabolize calcium which is what prevents Metabolic Bone Disease. The crickets can be dusted with calcium powder. The first thing I want to do is to give the Dragon a long soak in warm water 50% to 50% Plain Pedialyte. This is the basic first aid. I will have you start this while I type more information to help the Dragon. Joan

I have flavored (grape) pedialyte but not plain.. I'll send my husband for some!


If you can live with a purple Dragon Grape will work. This is for dehydration as Dragons can absorb fluids through the Vent area. While in the soak gently massage the abdomen. this will help stimulate the gut.

better purple then dead! I'll soak him right now thanks!
my husband went to get clear because the one I have has been open for more then 48 hours and it says use before. Also he got a lamp its a 50W sun glo basking lamp. I have it on him now and he is laying on a warm heat pad with a towel between him and the pad. Do I need to also have the red heat light on? The temperature is about 90 in the habitate right now.


The next step will be to get a 10.0 UVB on the Dragon Tube type as the coil causes eye problems. We are going to mix a slurry for nutrition. Please take some Chicken baby food and mix in some butternut squash baby food, pedialyte, calcium powder, and I would like you to try and get some Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen from Walmart (where vitamins are sold) or a health food store. Mix the ingredients together and we are gong to drop the snout to allow the Dragon to lick the mixture. This will help fornow along with the soaks. I suggest some Calcium Glubionate which I will you a link to order. I will be happy to locate a Herp Vet for you with a State or Country. I am also going to give you my care sheet. The heat lamp that you have is not a UVB and will only create heat so that is not what we need, alone, we need the UVB to help start metabolizing the calcium and we need to be sure there is not a blockage. Please hit reply for more help. Joan


Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

  • 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 beardies 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 meal worms. 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 wax worms, 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 Hibernation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights should be on a shorter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available during this period. Do not feed live prey 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. http://www.repticzone.com/articles/fruitsandvegetablesrated.html This is for fruits and Vegetables


http://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/impaction/?page=3 calci sand


sexing bearded Dragons: http://repticzone.com/articles/sexingbeardeddragons.html


compact UVB problems: http://www.uvguide.co.uk/phototherapyphosphor-info.htm


Breeding Bearded Dragons 101:


okay like my last reply we just bought another UV light. We got the only kind they sold it says on it 50W tight beam Sun Glo basking spot lamp .. the brand is Exo Terra Other info on the box is For desert & tropical terrariums, 35% increased of light and heat in the beam, creates a basking area for thermo regulation, increases ambient air temperature, stimulates natural behaviour though UVA rays, can be combined with night glo or heat glo for 24 hour cycle.

Do I need to keep the red heat light on as well?

How long should I soak him and how often? Also how much of the baby food mixture and how often?


That is nothing more than a basking light for heat. That does not supply the UVb the Dragon needs.

This is what you need a 10.0 or better:

Reptile UVB Flourescent lamps (UV strip lights)Reptile UVB Flourescent lamps (UV strip lights)
These are the lights that are essential for day active reptiles to promote vitamin D3 production to enable calcium absorbtion for strong healthy bones and preventing metabolic bone disease.

okay well we will have to go look tomorrow the store is closed now.


This will give you info on Metabolic Bone Disease: http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/MBD.html

You can find the calcium glubionate here: http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Meds.html


If you supply a State or Country, I will locate a lsit of Vets for you. Joan

how often should I soak him in the pedilyte and give him the baby food? Also how long should we keep this up before taking him to a vet?


The soak can be done twice today, and you can try the slurry mix today once. I would try and get into a Herp Vet asap. Since these are only first aid measures and if a blockage it will need to be addressed as well as MBD. I am so sorry that the Pet supply did not sell you the correct light. If it is still light where you are some natural sunlight is one of the best things you can do in leiu of a UVB light. Joan

This is an Mercury vapor bulb that can be used instead of a UVB and heat lamp as it covers both.

Reptile Mercury Vapour Bulbs (MVB)Reptile Mercury Vapour Bulbs (MVB)
All in one bulbs, Heat, UVB and Light. Self ballasted so no need for a starter. These are a favourite amongst tortoise keepers for use over tortoise tables and Reptile keepers who have large enclosures.

thanks I will try to get the right bulb and to a proper reptile vet tomorrow.. thanks for all the help.
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