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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11427
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I was wondering if bearded dragons can get paralyzed from

Customer Question

I was wondering if bearded dragons can get paralyzed from the waist down?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the dragon?
Customer: He can't move his back legs that we'll
JA: Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the dragon. What is the dragon's name and age?
Customer: His name is ***** ***** he is 4 month about to be 5 on the 16
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about jimmy?
Customer: He fell from my shoulder while I was trying to put him down
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 6 months ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear Jimmy is having a problem. Bearded dragons can be paralyzed from the waist down, but a variety of different conditions can cause this. Some additional information will help me figure out what is wrong, and what will need to be done to help him.Did the paralysis develop right after the fall?Over the last few days had Jimmy been passing normal droppings?What brand of UVB light do you have?What do you feed Jimmy? Any supplements?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of his cage?Thank you.
Expert:  Anna replied 6 months ago.

Hello again. It appears you went offline without seeing my request for more information. Since I don't want you to have to wait any longer, I'm going to go ahead and answer without knowing those things.

If the paralysis occurred right after the fall, it is likely due to a spinal injury. In that case, a reptile vet may be able to help with medications that can make the paralysis less likely to be permanent. This link will take you to a directory of such vets:

If you don't have an actual UVB light, this can be due to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), complicated by the fall. This is fairly common because pet stores give out incorrect information on UVB light. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out the UVB rays. I recommend the Reptisun 10.0 in the straight tube style. If you're not sure of your light, give me the brand, and I can tell you if it is a UVB light. The other thing Jimmy needs is a calcium supplement. If he has MBD, providing UVB light and calcium can reverse it, but it will take time.

Finally, constipation can cause paralysis of this type. The hardened droppings press on the sciatic nerve, leading to paralysis. In that case, make sure your temepratures are warm enough. They should be 105*F to 110* under the basking light and 80*F to 85*F on the cool side. Next, buy some Pedialyte and some prune baby food. Drop a small dollop of the prunes right on the end of his snout. Most of the time, reflexes will cause them to lick it off. Wait about 45 minutes. Prepare a shallow warm bath consisting of 1/2 warm water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak Jimmy for about 20 to 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, with him still in the water, gently massage his underside from front to vent for an additional 10 minutes. That may be enough to help him pass some feces. Be sure to supervise closely.

It is very likely that one of the three potential causes I explained is responsible for Jimmy's paralysis. If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope he will reach a full recovery.


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Expert:  Anna replied 6 months ago.

Hello again,

I'm checking to see how Jimmy is doing. Do you need any more information?