My adult bearded dragon has lost his appetite, won’t drink and hasn’t used the bathroom in about 5 days. Lizard dude

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Customer: My adult bearded dragon has lost his appetite, won’t drink and hasn’t used the bathroom in about 5 days
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: yes
JA: Does the Bearded Dragon seem to be in any pain?
Customer: no
JA: What's the Bearded Dragon's name?
Customer: lizard dude
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
Answered by PitRottMommy in 1 min 2 months ago
15+ years of experience

62,046 satisfied customers

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

Hi, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and I'm happy to help. Please stand by while I have a chance to type.

I’m so sorry that your companion has you concerned. I’d like to discuss husbandry details, if possible. I will need responses to all of the following questions to help you. It may be of some help to copy and paste the questions and answer them one at a time so they’re still numbered in your response. The more detailed that your answers are, the easier it will be to for me to assist.

1) What are the ambient temp, cool spot and hot spot temps in the habitat? What is the overnight temp? Please provide all 4 temps in your response (gradients are fine too).

2) What substrate is being used?

3) When did they last eat well without enticement?

4) What bulbs are being used for the habitat? How old are the bulbs? What type of UV rays do they offer your companion, if any? Can you link me directly to any UV bulbs being used? Please supply responses to all 4 questions in your reply.
5) How long have you had your companion?

6) What does their diet typically consist of?

7) How many hours of light and dark are they given each day? Do you use any bulbs in their habitat during the dark hours? If so, what color bulb are you using?

8) What vitamin supplementation are you using, if any, and how often is it provided? How about calcium?

9) What is the humidity level and where within the habitat is it being read?

10) How large of a water bowl do you offer?
11) Are you hearing any clicking, popping, wheezing, seeing swelling, shaking/twitching or seeing discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth?

1)I'm not sure of the temps, he seems to be cold though.
2) It was sand, but last week we changed it to a mat that looks like grass.
3) It's been about 3 days
4) the red zoo med bulbs, not sure just what we were told to use at the pet store
5) over a year, he's always been healthy
6) crickets and a dried bug mix
7) he sits by a window, so approximately 12 hrs per day of light, then we use the big zoomed white light.
8) the supplements are all in the big food mix
9) he hasn't required humidity
10) large water bowl, approx 10 inches x 10 inches and 2 inches deep.
None of that
Super responsive
Customer attachment 3/12/2023 10:32:58 PM
His belly is squishy too
Customer attachment 3/12/2023 10:33:55 PM

Thanks so much for the additional info. Here's what I can share:

It's important that we not guess when it comes to temps for reptiles. They must be given exactly in captivity what they'd be experiencing in the wild. If the temps are outside of the proper specs, this can certainly cause loss of appetite, thirst and their digestion will be altered so they may not poop on a proper schedule either. My suggestion to you is going to be getting a digital thermometer today, one for the cool and one for the warm side of the habitat. During the day, the basking temp needs to be around 110F. The ambient temp should be around 80-85 and overnight the temp should not drop below 75F. If it does, add a ceramic heat emitter which gives off heat but no light, which helps to encourage rest.

Sand is a concern as it can cause impaction. You did the right thing by changing this substrate but sand could still be part of the problem here. Seeing a vet for x-rays would be most ideal since this is a risk factor for the symptoms.

The red zoomed bulbs are usually night bulbs (which I don't recommend at all) and do not give any of the proper rays that are necessary for health. You need a strong UVB bulb that is located 8-12" from the basking spot, on for 12 hours per day and changed every 6 months like clockwork.

Be aware that super worms, mealworms, crickets and roaches are high in chitin and often cause constipation. I strongly recommend feeding no more than 50% of the diet in "crunchy" insects and, instead, focusing on soft feeders which are less likely to cause constipation. Examples include hornworms, silkworms, waxworms, etc. I use and recommend Josh's Frogs for feeders.

I recommend a 1:1 mix of calcium powder to multivitamin powder used during every other meal This should be dusted on food items just before feeding, even commercial items. These are the ones I use and recommend:



You must also be checking the humidity. 40% and below is ideal at all times unless in shed at which time 50% is reasonable.

Anytime that an animal reduces or goes off of their normal food intake, we need to be concerned about underlying medical illness being the cause. These symptoms can be caused by many conditions including intestinal parasites, protozoan, bacterial or fungal infection, impaction, constipation, metabolic problems, reproductive problems, etc. For this reason, I would strongly recommend a vet visit. You can find a reptile vet by searching and also

At home, you can try soaking in warm water 2x daily up to the shoulders for 30 minutes. This will encourage a BM and once the bowels are moving this can also strengthen the appetite, too. You can encourage eating by hand feeding and also offering pureed human baby food in flavors like chicken, turkey, etc. A small amount can be placed on the snout to be licked off. Another option is to syringe feed directly into the mouth (go slowly). If they refuse, it's time to see a vet. Your vet is likely to recommend diagnostics to determine why your companion is unwell, which will likely include a fecal analysis and bloodwork. Your vet may also recommend x-rays. Once they have determined the cause of illness, they can render proper treatment to help your companion recover.

If in the USA, you can find ER vets open in your area here: Be sure to call before heading in to ensure that they can accommodate you and your companion.

Also, just in case finances might be a concern and limit your ability to obtain care for your companion at this time, please visit this link where I have comprised nearly 30 links to help with financial aid, financing and fundraising:

I do want to make sure that we will both be leaving this interaction feeling like we’ve addressed your concern effectively. Would you say that you are comfortable with the next steps we’ve established together? If not, please let me know how I can best assist you. Our chat does not end until you’re completely done asking questions on this topic.

Thank you

You’re quite welcome! I will also check in with you in the next 12 hours or so to see how things are progressing and offer any additional support that might be needed. If you need more help before then don't hesitate to respond back. I'll be working periodically today and will get back to you as soon as I can :) Good luck!

Hello again, JACustomer. This is a courtesy message. I’m just dropping in to see how things are going and to see if you have any questions that have developed. I’m just a message away if you need any additional support.

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15+ years of experience
15+ years of experience

62,046 satisfied customers



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