MY DRAGON IS NOT MOVING VERY MUCH WONT EAT HAS GOTTEN VERY SKINNY AND HAS DARK PATCHES ON HER BEARD UP AROUND HER EARS

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Customer: MY DRAGON IS NOT MOVING VERY MUCH WONT EAT HAS GOTTEN VERY SKINNY AND HAS DARK PATCHES ON HER BEARD UP AROUND HER EARS AND ON HER TAIL SHE IS A RED DRAGON. I HAVE SOAKED HER AND GOT HER TO MOVE A BIT, BUT WHEN SHE OPENS HER MOUSTH SHE HAS SLIVA PRETTY THICK AND STRINGY IN HER MOUTH. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS???
Answered by Anna in 15 hours 12 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,044 satisfied customers

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

What temperature are you keeping her at (basking spot and cool spot)? What are you attempting to feed her? Have you isolated her from your other dragon?
Customer
I have seperated her about a week ago, she was less lathargic then. i keep her cage about 85-90 degrees and she has a drip for water and a hide. i am a lil more conserned about the dark spots on her, i have never seen her do that. i can get her to move very lil and it doesnt look like she is breathing alot. i have been franticly reading about everything i can get my hands on...would this possibly be brumate?
Could be brumation but usually as youngsters they won't brumate, but it's not impossible. Do the spots look like they are irritated, scabby, or infected? Or are they just darker? When you say that her cage is kept about 85-90 degrees is that as a whole or do you have a warm and cool end? The basking area for beardies can be up over 100 degrees and the cooler end can be kept 75-85 degrees. It is not uncommon for these kids to slow down a lot in the cooler months and definitely not eat much or move much, but it sounds like you think she is also looking pretty unhealthy. If you think she has lost a lot of weight one thing that may be possible is parasites. These can sometimes hang out in the background and only show signs when they are overloaded. Other types of infection can also be the case, such as a fungal infection that may be the cause of the dark spots on her skin, but those would look more irritated and crusty looking I would think. You can maybe try warming her up, giving her a basking area around 100 and see if she improves. If not, you may want to consult a herp veterinarian so they can do a thorough physical exam and possibly prescribe some medications for your little girl. Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks!
Customer

yes her cage in general is about 80 ish and her basking area is closer to 95 to 100

her dark areas are not irritated looking, just darker then the rest of her body, she is like orange or light yellow usually. she is looking a lil thin, but that is why i seperated her from her mate, he is twice her size now and i thought maybe was eating all the food, but since i seperated them she has gotten more lathargic. as i read the articals on brumating, it sounds alot like that, but just am not sure if there isnt like you said an underlying condition. the unfortunate thing is there are no vets for exotics in my area, so i am kinda on my own for that part of things. so if this is brumating, is there anything i need to do for her other then the soakes once a week?

If this is brumation there really isn't much else you need to do...but if she is brumating you can actually start cooling her, keeping her more in the 70's and 80's overall, even in a basking spot. In brumation, they will pretty much shut down and not eat much, if at all. Just keep some water available for her, and you may even want to make the soaks at every 10-14 days. Sounds like this very well could be brumation, but I would still keep a good close eye on her and if she starts to lose a lot more weight and become much more "skinny" something else may be going on. Let me know how she does and good luck! If this is indeed brumation, she should be fine.
Customer
so i went and checked her again, her dark spots are now more a normal color with a lil dark by the ears and the tail still a lil darker but not like it was. so if in fact this is brumation, how do i tell that is what it is and that she has not passed? do they breath when in brumation? i dont see any movements in her. she hasnt moved since her bath an she only moved a lil when she was in the water, but in the water i could see her abdomin moving. i am a lil conserned that if she has passed and i dont know it, that i have her in the warm cage and think she is just asleep and in a few days the difference would be more then apperant, but kinda wanted to be proactive in this...
She will still be breathing in brumation and it really depends on the individual dragon as to how "hard" they will sleep. When was her last bowel movement? You want to make sure that she has had a good bowel movement before she really begins to brumate, as since her system is going to slow down greatly you don't want to leave anything in her belly that may rot and make her sick. If you want to read a good little article on brumation, check out http://www.exclusivedragons.com/Brumation.html hopefully this can answer more of your questions and give you a little peace of mind. Brumation, especially the first time, can be a little scary as you don't really know what is going on. It sounds to me like this is what is going on, but without really seeing her I can't tell you for sure. Another thing you can try is to either take her to your local reptile store, or ask them about brumation and see if they can help you any further. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!
Hello,

I may be able to give you some additional information. Your dragon is probably not brumating. You said she has thick, stringy saliva in her mouth. That is a red flag that signals something serious is wrong. It can be a respiratory infection or it may be stomatitis (mouth rot). Either one needs to be treated with prescription antibiotics from a vet. There may be a vet nearer than you think. Give me your state and I'll try to locate one for you. If no reptile vets are available, a local vet may be able to work by phone consultation with a reptile vet to treat your dragon. I wouldn't waste my time getting information from a pet store clerk. Most of them are young, barely paid minimum wage, and don't know very much about animals - they just 'love them.' The managers are mostly trained in business rather than animal care. The whole purpose of a pet store is to make money, not to help animals. Thousands of reptiles die each year due to the poor advice given by pet store personnel. You need an actual herp vet.

I'm going to give you some steps to take at once. These do not replace a visit to a vet, but may help keep your dragon stronger until you can get to a vet. Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants), and prepare a shallow warm (100*F) bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak your dragon for about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to supervise the entire time. Repeat this process twice per day.

Your beardie is cold. That can make them more prone to illness and cause lethargy and appetite loss. A good digital probe thermometer is needed to measure the temperatures. The temperature under the basking light should be 105-115*F (44* to 52*C) and the coolest part of the cage at 80-85*F (29*C to 32*C) during the day. Keep the temperatures at the warmer end of that range for a sick dragon.

There may be some other changes you need to make. Make sure you have UVB light less than 6 months old. Don't use calcium sand or other loose substrates in the cage. Never feed meal worms. To help you figure out if other changes need to be made, 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.

If you have more questions after reading the care sheet, or to give me your state, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your beardie will reach a full recovery.

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: 105-115
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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