Hello and thanks for posting your question on JustAnswer.com. My name is***** and I have been a veterinarian for over 21 years, specializing in aquatics, reptiles, amphibians, avian and other exotic species. You may already be aware, but on this platform veterinarians can provide insight and advice, but as this is not considered a legal client-patient relationship, we are unable to prescribe medications, provide medical records or sign documents for your specific pet. For that you would need to make an in person visit with a local veterinarian. I am happy to chat with you via text but if you are interested in a phone call instead that is an option you can choose for an additional charge. In the meantime, I am putting together some questions that will help me learn more about what’s going on with your pet.
Thanks again for posting your question, I’m very sorry that your bearded dragon Ronny is under the weather and I'm glad to hear you have a vet appointment scheduled for later today. I have a list of questions that will help me get a better idea of your pet’s environment and what may be going on with them:
When did you first notice this current problem?
What is the veggie to insect breakdown of his diet? Do they receive any calcium or vitamin supplements?
What is the current tank set-up, e.g. temperature (basking temp, low range, high range, humidity)?
Do they receive any access to UV light (outdoor time or UV bulb on tank)?
Are there any current or recent medical conditions and what treatments or medications have been recently used?
Do they have any tankmates? If so, has there been any illnesses in other residents of the enclosure?
Thanks very much for providing additional information, it is very helpful for me to try and figure out what is going on with your bearded and the history information will help me to do that.
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There are a number of conditions that might be responsible for the signs you are seeing in your bearded dragon, lethargy and gasping for air. The more common disorders include respiratory infections, metabolic bone disease, “mouth rot” (infectious stomatitis), adenovirus infection though GI upset from ingesting substrate or impaction may also sometimes appear respiratory in nature. Since some of these are potentially serious I am very glad you have an appointment with a local veterinarian with reptile experience so they can examine your bearded dragon and try to determine the cause.
Respiratory infections or pneumonia in bearded dragons are usually secondary to environmental conditions such as sub-optimal humidity, temperature or environmental irritants. They can be caused by infectious agents such as bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses. Clinical signs might include oral or nasal discharge, bubble blowing, sneezing, open mouthed breathing, abnormal body posture, increased respiratory sounds like gurgling or wheezing, or crusted nares (nostrils). Bearded dragons with a respiratory infection may also show systemic signs of illness such as lethargy (depressed activity or energy level), inappetence (depressed appetite), shallow or open-mouthed breathing. Difficulty breathing or abnormal respiratory sounds could be caused by other conditions such as mechanical obstruction of the airways, nares or choanae with material, like pus, mucous or cage substrate or by abscesses in the mouth or tongue, hyperthermia, or exposure to toxins. So appropriate treatment depends a lot upon the examination by a trained veterinarian to find the cause of the problem. Because respiratory infections and other disorders that present with similar clinical signs in bearded dragons are potentially serious and life threatening, it is recommended that you make an appointment with a local reptile veterinarian. They will perform an examination, may recommend x-ray to evaluate the bearded dragon’s lungs to look for signs of pneumonia and may prescribe oral or injectable antibiotics.
In the meantime, while you are waiting for your dragon’s vet appointment, there are things you can do to help support your pet. It is extremely important to make sure that the environment is pristine, cleaned of waste, low dust and appropriate temperature and humidity, including a cool and warm area and a warmer basking area (cool area 75-80F, warm area 80-85F, basking area 85-95F). Having appropriate humidity (30-40%) helps ensure that the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth and any secretions that may be produced in them do not dry out, which would make it harder to breathe, but also ensure the environment is not too moist, which can lead to secondary infection. If you use a fogger or humidifier, it is best to clean it regularly and disinfect it periodically to ensure it is not a source of infection. I will be notified if/when you respond with additional information or questions but in the meantime, I hope this information is helpful and I wish you the best with your bearded dragon Ronnie. Thanks again for posting your question to JustAnswer.com.
Oh no, I am so very sorry! You have my sincerest condolences on the loss of Ronnie. I know from personal experience how personable beardies can be..... Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Sincerely, ***** *****
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