We have a new bearded dragon (first reptile for us) and he won't eat or drink and today can't open his eyes. Well we

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Customer: We have a new bearded dragon (first reptile for us) and he won't eat or drink and today can't open his eyes
JA: I'll do all I can to help. A lack of appetite can seem worrying. Does the Bearded Dragon also seem more tired than usual?
Customer: Well we just got him Sunday, so I'm not sure what usual is, but he basks all day
JA: Does the Bearded Dragon seem to be in any pain?
Customer: No, doesn't seem to be in pain Except I wonder about pain in his eyes
JA: And what's the Bearded Dragon's name and age?
Customer: Name is***** don't know age, quite young
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No I think that's it
Answered by Anna in 1 hour 1 year ago
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Anna
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17,040 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with over 20 years of experience keeping reptiles. I’m sorry to hear about this problem. Some additional information may help determine the best steps for you to take.

What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the cool side of the cage?

Is there any discharge from his eyes?

Was he active in the pet store when you bought him?

Tgank you,

Customer
The thermometer closest to the basking light is just shy of 100. I can't get it any warmer than that, I've turned the heat on in the room as well. The middle is about 75, and the cool end I don't have a thermometer for. He isn't sitting under the light. He is in the middle. No discharge from his eyes. I only saw him basking at the pet store.

Thank you. There’s a good chance that he was sick when you bought him. In your first post, you said he basks all day. Basking usually means they are right under the light. When they move elsewhere, out of the  heat, and stay there, it often means something is wrong. I’m going to go to work on some first aid and other information for you. I’m not a fast typist, so I appreciate your patience.

Customer
Thank you

You’re welcome and thank you for waiting. After not eating fir several days, Gecko is almost certainly somewhat dehydrated. That in itself is life threatening. We can give him a special bath to help. You’ll need some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of half Pedialyte and half lukewarm water. Soak him for 20 to 30 minutes. If he’s too weak to hold up his head, do that for him. Be sure to supervise closely.

He also  needs warmer temperatures. A beardie who is even a bit chilly will be lethargic, not want to eat a lot, and may even try to hide. The very coldest part of his cage should be 85*F to 90*F. For a youngster his age, the basking spot should be at least 105*F, with  110*F to 115*F better yet. 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 the 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.

If these steps cause him to perk up, open his eyes, and eat, that would be great, but I suspect he is going to need to be examined by a reptile vet. Many young dragons are sick before they are purchased because they don’t receive the best care and are often sold too young. For that reason, it is recommended to have them in for a check up shortly after being brought home. This site has a directory of Canadian reptile vets:

http://www.triciaswaterdragon.com/canrepvt.htm

I’ll be back with one more item for you.

Because pet stores give out so much incorrect information and you are a new dragon owner, 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. I’m glad to help. I hope Gecko will reach a full recovery.
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 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.

Feeding:
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/

Customer
Thank you so much

You’re very welcome.

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