I HAVE A BEARDED DRAGON, HER NAME IS GEEZY. I GOT HER FROM PETSMART ABOUT 4 MONTHS AGO. SHE WAS PRETTY SMALL WHEN I GOT

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Customer: I HAVE A BEARDED DRAGON, HER NAME ISXXXXX HER FROM PETSMART ABOUT 4 MONTHS AGO. SHE WAS PRETTY SMALL WHEN I GOT HER (ABOUT 4 OR 5 IN. OR SO), HOWEVER SHE WAS THE BIGGEST ONE IN THE TANK WHEN I BOUGHT HER. SHE IS NOW ONLY ABOUT 7 OR 8 IN. SHE EATS GREENS AND CRICKETS EVERY DAY. SHE GETS PLENTY OF EXCERCISE, AND USUALLY HATES TO BE IN HER TANK FOR LONGER THAN 5 MINUTES. HOWEVER, OVER THE PAST WEEK SHE HAS BEEN DISPLAYING ALL OF THE SIGNS OF BRUMATING. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, SHE IS STILL EATING GREENS AND SHE ISN'T LOSING ANY WEIGHT. AT FIRST I THOUGHT THAT SHE WAS SICK, BUT THE MORE THAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING HER THE MORE THAT I'M NOTICING THAT SHE IS DISPLAYING ALL OF THE SIGNS OF BEING IN HIBERNATION. I DIDN'T THINK THAT SHE WAS OLD ENOUGH TO BRUMATE, BUT NOW I'M THINKING THAT MAYBE HER GROWTH WAS STUNTED FROM BEING AT THE PET STORE FOR TOO LONG, INSIDE THAT TINY CAGE. I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT TO TAKE HER TO THE VET AFTER THANKSGIVING, BUT I'M STILL WORRIED ABOUT HER.
Answered by Anna in 1 hour 13 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,036 satisfied customers

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

Hello,

Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

What temperatures do you maintain on the warm and cool sides of the cage?

What brand/size of UVB light do you use? Coil or straight tube?

What substrate do you use on the floor?

Has she been passing normal droppings?

How many hours does she spend outside her cage each day?

Thank you.

Anna
Customer

On hot side of the tank the digital thermometer reads:110 degrees. We do not have a thermometer on the cool side of the cage, but we do have a thermometer in the middle of the cage and it reads at about 95 degrees. We use a coil uvb bulb, all three of her lights came with the 'bearded dragon kit,' that we bought for her. The brand name for the kit was called Zilla, but i'm not sure if the brand of the lightbulb is the same or not. The substrate we use in her cage is repti-carpet, and there are a few rocks that we bleached and baked before we put them in there. She has been passing completely normal droppings. Today it was a little bit runny, but she hasn't eaten much except for a few greens. I've tried giving her crickets, but she sleeps and they cralwl on her. I'm afraid they will bite her so since she wasn't responding anyway, I quit trying to give them to her. That was yesterday morning. She wakes up every day for about 10 minutes to eat some greens, and then she goes back to sleep. I've been spraying her with water 3 to 4 times a day to make sure that she stays hydrated. Before she started sleeping all the time, she would spend at least 3 to 4 hours a day outside of her cage, but now when I take her out she'll wake up after I've taken her out, and she freaks out cuz she doesn't know where she's at for a second.

Thank you for getting back to me. It sounds like you're doing a good job with your husbandry. There is one change I recommend you make (and it doesn't have anything to do with Geezy's present problem). I would get rid of that coil UVB light. They have been linked to eye damage, and their output is also unreliable. One may put out such strong light it causes eye damage, while another may not put out enough to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease. Go with a straight tube UVB light. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand.

Because we don't know Geezy's age, we can't be sure of whether she is sick or wanting to brumate. It does sound as if she's too young for brumation, but as you stated, she may be older than she looks. You're smart to have scheduled a vet appointment. When you go, take along a sample of her droppings to be checked for parasites. Coccidia is another common cause of appetite loss and lethargy. A heavy infestation of pinworms can also cause these symptoms. If you can manage to look inside her mouth, check the color of the tissues there. They should look nice and pink. If they're a bit pale, that is another sign of a heavy parasite load. Sometimes, a sick dragon will also develop a dark brown shade on the lower eyelids. If you see that, it could be another sign that she's ill, rather than brumating.

You're on the right track with the Pedialyte soaks. Use 1/2 Pedialyte and 1/2 water that is at about 100*F. Soak her for 20 - 30 minutes, and do it twice each day. You're wise to remove the crickets. They do bite, and can cause nasty infections. You can try feeding Geezy some plain chicken baby food. Just drop a small dollup on the end of her snout. Many times, they will lick it off. If she'll do that, it will help to keep up her strength until the vet appointment. You might also try increasing the temperature of her basking area. It can safely go up to 125*F for a youngster, or 115*F for an adult.

Once the vet examines Geezy, checks for parasites, and possibly does blood work, you'll know if she's ill or if she's brumating. Until your appointment, all you can do is keep her well-hydrated, warm enough, and see if she'll eat some baby food. I'm going to send along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. She has many years experience with raising beardies and doing rescue. You can use it as a checklist to make sure everything is right. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Geezy will be fine.

Anna

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: 110-125 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 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 shorter 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.


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