I am looking after a friends bearded dragon (about 6-8months old) it seems to be dragging itself - it can't climb at all

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Customer: Hi there,
I am looking after a friends young bearded dragon (about 6-8months old) it seems to be dragging itself - it can't climb at all and the legs seem to be lame- its shuttles along on its tummy - when I pick it up it struggles to grip my clothes with its legs. I have a 4 year old beardie and he seems to be a lot more agile that this little guy and walks on all fours without his tummy touching the ground. Anyway the little guy seems to be eating ok- this morning I fed him some sweet corn and peas and spinach and I have just fed him 4 gut loaded small crickets. His tank is well heated- he has a red lamp on all night and a uv light for the day. I have gathered that he does get vitamin and calcium supplements. I have never cared for a juvenile beardie as mine was an adult when I rescued him so maybe this is normal behaviour?
Thanks liandra
Answered by Jav917 in 2 mins 10 years ago
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Jav917
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Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello,

Can you tell me more about the lighting? What type of UVB bulb are they using? Is it a tube or coil bulb? Name? Strength? How old is the bulb?

Do you feed any supplements?

What type of diet? Prey/Veggies?

Substrate?

Joan

Customer

10 watt halogen tube lamp - Super pet

50 watt red lamp bulb - Repti zoo

60 watt white lamp bulb - phillips

 

I am not sure how old any of them are- I suspect they are max 8 months old as they probably came with the whole tank set up.

 

He gets calcium powder and multi- vit powder, I'm not sure how often as I can't get hold of my friend.

 

As far as I know he eats veggies along with crickets and meal worms however he apparently has not been eating well lately but my friend thinks that is stress induced as he travelled 5 hours the other day. Also he had a brother who died a few months ago - not too sure why- but from what I gathered he had stopped eating for weeks and died of starvation.

 

At the moment the substrate is a towel as he kept getting his toe nails caught on the astroturf and couldn't get a grip on newspaper. Fine sand will replace the towel when he goes back to his owner I was told- he says sand is not practical for travelling.

 

I'm not sure if this means anything but he has no logs or sticks to climb on in his tank- just a flat stone and his bowls. Could it be his muscles are not well developed?

 

liandra

Hello,

You have some husbandry issues which can be causing the Dragon the problems you are seeing. You are not using any UVB bulb. A UVB is either a coil or tube and supplies UVB rays and not heat. What you are using are all for heat and basking, but not supplying UVB Rays needed to Metabolize calcium. http://www.anapsid.org/uvtable.html

 

You need to have a day time basking bulb as well as a UVB. I recommend a reptisun 10.0 and UVB lights do not put out heat. The UVB bulb is needed to stop Metabolic Bone Disease. The UVB needs to be changed every 6 months.

The UVB should be a tube type.

 

Coil UVB bulbs can injure the eyes.

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

 

The UVB bulb should not have any plastic between it and the Dragon, it needs to run the length of the tank and be no more than 12" from the Dragon. Both lights should run daily for 12-14 hours a day.

 

The basking area should have 110*-115*F and the cool side of the tank in the 85* range. This is imporatnt for digestion and passing of stool. If the temps are not correct, this can also cause a problem.

 

The diet is incorrect too. You should be feeding Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, escarole and curly endives. Butternut squash and various berries are great for a treat. The Corn is sugar as well as the peas and the Spinach binds calcium. The Veggies should be put in fresh daily, and done about an hour after lights on. They need 80% veggies daily and 20% live prey until the drgon hits a year and then at that point we reverse the percentages. The live prey should include crickets, silk worms, roaches, goliath worms and phoenix worms. Super worms and wax worms are like giving the Dragon candy. All veggies and prey should be dusted with calcium daily 5 days a week and vitamins 2 days a week.

 

The Dragon is showing signs of Metabolic Bone Disease.This needs to be I suggest having the Dragon in for a calcium draw as this can only get worse if not addressed asap.

 

As far as Sand, do not use loose substrates. Please see the links in the care sheet about sand and loose substrates.

 

For now we need to give him a soak in 50/50 warm water and plain Pedialyte to prevent dehydration. Please soak at least 30 mins. If you supply a State or Country , I cn locate a Herp Vet for you. I am also giving you my care sheet to help with the husbandry.

 

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 eat 50-75 crix a day depnding on the size of the crickets. 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.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Nutrition.html

 

Walnut shell Graphic: http://mrskingsbioweb.com/beardeddragngrossanatomy.htm

 

Sand Substrate can cause some major issues with a Dragon. This will give you an idea about Sand as a substrate: http://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/impaction/?page=3 sand I suggest using a solid substrate like tile, cage carpet, slate or paper. Sand can also cause skin problems and cormeal ulcers in the eyes.

 

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

 

Happy Holidays!

Joan

Joan40892.6845393866
Customer

Thank you so so much,

 

I suspected as much- but I wasn't sure- I would really appreciate the name of a herp vet- I live in the city of Pietermaritzburg, province KwaZulu Natal, country South Africa. Our next closest city is Durban.

 

I will show this to my friend but I am afraid he won't take kindly to this so a vet should convince him.

 

 

Hello,

This is a link for Herp Vets in South Africa: http://www.reptilepets.co.za/rp90sa20.htm

I hope you can get the little one some help. Start with a UVB light or even better a Mercury Vapor bulb and get the calcium going in.

Happy Holidays!

Joan

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