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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18371
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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My bearded dragon wont eat and is having seizures. I have never

Customer Question

My bearded dragon wont eat and is having seizures. I have never seen her like this before she is 8 months old and a red flame hydro I have never checked the temperature but am goiing to prepare asap for prevention of harming my angel. She has had a black beard for hours wont eat is very weak and cannot swallow water out of a serigne she was outside this morning with me and i took her in and saw all actions listed above after her trip outside where she turned black and swoll up
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 5 years ago.

Hello and Welcome to Justanswer,
Can you tell me about the set up?

Diet prey/veggies?


Temps and how measured?


UVB light? Tube or coil? How old is the bulb and strength?

Do you have a basking light?

Could she have eaten an insect outside or a flower treated with insecticide?

How long was she outside and were the temps hot?



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
temps were hot no to insectisides bedding but spends little time in her tank she likes bees and alot of them also temp today was 88 heat index and she was in shade she did eat a feather yesterday and the light I use is in a silver metal cone and is a houselight and i never measured . She is very weak and half her feet are turning black and her belly feels soft like never before what should I do and what do you think is going on
Expert:  Joan replied 5 years ago.


First do not trry to syringe fluids to Lucy. This is very dangerous as it can go into help lungs.


The seizure activity you are seeing I suspect is a result of MBD. Metabolic Bone Disease is a result of lack of calcium, the lack of UVB light to metabolize the calcium, or improper diet where the calcium is being bound by improper diet.

The basking area should have 105*-110*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.


You need to have a day time basking bulb as well as a UVB. I recommend a Reptisun 10.0. The UVB bulb is needed to stop Metabolic Bone Disease. Since the Dragon is in such bad shape, in this case I would reccommed a Mercury Vapor Bulb, which has a higher output of UVB rays and would replace the basking bulb and a UVB tube.

On a side note, the UVB needs to be changed every 6 months.

Normally a UVB should be a tube type.

I would change the Coil light to an MVB bulb asap. The Power sun is an excellent MVB bulb.

TheCoil UVB bulbs can injure the eyes.

Compact UVB problems:


The UVB bulb or MVB bulb should not have any plastic between it and the Dragon,it should not be no more than 12" from the Dragon. The lights should run daily for 12-14 hours a day.

Normal diet is Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, escarole and curly endives. Butternut squash and various berries are great for a treat. The Veggies should be put in fresh daily, and done about an hour after lights on.

They need 20% veggies daily and 80% live prey under a year old and over a year old we reverse the percenatges to higher veggies and less prey. The Kale can bind calcium as can spinach No Lettuce as it is all water and has no nutritional value! It can casue serious dehydration by causing diarrhea. This is a nutritional chart that will help to give the proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus: it is color coded for easier reading.

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 plain calcium daily 5 days a week and vitamins 2 days a week.


Since the Dragon is showing signs of MBD and we need to start with getting a good UVB/MVB light on the Dragon, and get some plain calcium into Lucy. I suggest having her in for a check up, blood work for a calcium level and the fecal check asap.

I would like you to take a meat flavored baby food and add some calcium and Royal Jelly which can be gotten at the local Healthfood store. Make a slurry of the baby food, calcium powder and Royal Jelly and drop on the snout/ We want to try to get her to eat it. The mixture I am suggesting is high nutrition and will help with recovery Get a UVB/MVB as mentioned asap. It will need to stay on 12-14 hours a day.

For now we need to give the dragon a daily soak in 50/50 warm water and plain Pedialyte to prevent dehydration and add some plain calcium powder to the soak. Please soak at least 30 mins. I can locate a Herp Vet for you with a state.


The Herp Vet will start with a calcium draw and most likely start calcium injections to counteract the MBD. They will also give liquid calcium to be given at home. The Key will be to get the proper bulb to work in conjunction with the MVB bulb.




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.

This is for fruits and Vegetables


This will give you an idea about Sand as a substrate:

Walnut shell Graphic:


sexing bearded Dragons: