How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Anna Your Own Question
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11419
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
6012901
Type Your Reptile Question Here...
Anna is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

He is very unhealthy and i dont know why she has a heat

Customer Question

He is very unhealthy and i dont know why she has a heat light a regular light and i have been feeding her meal worms mostly i tried to give her a bath cause she looks constipated but that isnt working, and now shes discolored and black on her belly. Shes over a year old too
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. There are all sorts of infestations the reptile can pick up. I'll have you talk to the Veterinarian who'll sort out what is wrong and help you decide what to do about it. What is the reptile's name?
Customer: Delores
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Delores?
Customer: She wont open her eyes and doesnt move around much, i also have to force feed her and have been for almost a week and she isnt getting better. Goo was coming out of her eyes too but she wont open then anymore so im not sur eif thats still happening
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 3 months ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear Delores is ill. Some additional nformation will help me determine the best steps for you to take.What kind of reptile is she?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage?What substrate do you use on the cage floor?What brand of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb?Does she receive any supplements?Please don't rate my service yet since we are just beginning. Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Bearded dragon, don't know how to tell the temps, she has little wood chips on the bottom of her cage. The bulb is new and the extra terrestrial kind they sell at pet stores, it's 75 watts and no she isn't taking supplements.
Expert:  Anna replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I'm working on some information for you now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.
Expert:  Anna replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for waiting.

I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store. Most people do. While we should be able to rely on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After months of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Much of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why Delores is having so much trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep her healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong.

I'm going to start you with a first aid measure for constipation/impaction. Buy some baby food prunes and some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Drop a small dollop right on the end of her snout. Many times, reflexes will cause them to lick it off. Then wait about 45 minutes and prepare a shallow warm (100*F) bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak Delores for about 20 to 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, with her still in the water, gently massage her underside from front to vent (where dropping pass out) for an additional 10 minutes. That may be enough to help her pass some feces. If she won't eat the prunes, just go to the soak and massage. Be sure to supervise the bath closely.

There are two common causes of impaction and constipation. One is using a loose substrate, such as sand, wood chips, or crushed walnut hulls. Beardies accidentally swallow such substrates, and the pieces become lodged in the digestive system. Solid substrates, such as reptile carpet or ceramic tiles are much better. The other problem is feeding meal worms. Meal worms -and super worms- contain large amounts of chitin, which also blocks the digestive system. They're ok for some other lizards, but not for beardies. Crickets that are no bigger than the space between her eyes are a better choice. Silk worms, Dunia roaches, and Phoenix worms are also good.

Being chilly also contributes to just about every health problems. Most of the time, sick dragons have been kept at cold temperatures. You measure the temperature with a digital probe thermometer. These are sold at Walmart. A beardie who is cold will be lethargic, not want to eat a lot, and may even try to hide. The very coldest part of her cage should be 80*F to 85*F. The basking spot should be at 105*F to 115*F. The latest research on bearded dragons has shown that they can't even begin to digest their food properly until their internal body temperature reaches 98*F. Being cold-blooded, the only way for that to happen is for them to lie in a very hot basking area.You can increase the temperature by using a higher wattage bulb in the basking light fixture, lowering t he fixture itself (but not so low that he can be burned on it), or by adding a second fixture. If you need a second fixture, you don't have to buy something expensive from a pet store.If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a clip-on metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. Hardware and home improvement stores sell similar light fixtures as work lights.

I'm going to give you this much to read now while I type up some more for you.

Expert:  Anna replied 3 months ago.

Some of the ExoTerra lights provide UVB rays, but most don't.

It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. 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. You should also dust Delores prey insects with plain calcium powder.

I suspect Delores also has an eye infection. You can try putting a drop of saline solution in each eye several times a day. Use the type of saline drops made for use with contact lenses.

At this point, Delores is critically ill, and without veterinary help, you are likely to lose her. I feel bad to tell you that, but I believe you deserve honesty. The best thing to do is make a vet appointment tomorrow. The vet can do a hands on exam, do blood tests, and possibly take an x-ray to determine what is in her intestines. Then proper treatment can begin. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

The changes I mentioned above will support her recovery.

Because pet stores give out so much incorrect information, I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. Joan has many years experience keeping and rescuing beardies.Her care sheet is used on some reputable websites, so you may have even seen it before. I suggest that you use the care sheet as a check list to provide the best possible care for your beardie. If you have more questions, just let me know. Thank you very much for bringing us your question. I hope Delores will reach a full recovery.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!

Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
Bearded dragons should be housed alone.
Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:
0-3 months- baby 3-12 months-juvenile 12-18 months- sub adult 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.

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: 105-115* degrees F (40.5 - 46*C)
Cool side: 85-90 (29.5 - 32*C)

Adults: Warm basking spot: 105-110*F (40.5- 43*C)
Cool side: 80-85 (26.6 - 29.5*C)
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 eats 50-75 crix a day depending 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.
Fruits and Vegetables:

http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutritionframeset.html

Walnut Shell Graphic:

http://mrskingsbioweb.com/beardeddragngrossanatomy.htm

Sexing Bearded Dragons:

http://repticzone.com/articles/sexingbeardeddragons.html

Expert:  Anna replied 3 months ago.

Hello again,

I'm just checking on how things are going. Has anything changed with Delores? I hope she's getting better.

Anna