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Ask ZooCVT Your Own Question
ZooCVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  25+ years of experience w/ sm. animal, fish, exotics, orthopedics, ophthalmology and zoo medicine.
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how do i know if my bearded dragon is sick or dying

Customer Question

this orning i found him laying on his back. i turned him over and petted him he seamed ok climed on his rork and looked at me . i left came home and he keeps panting and breathing funny just lays there. what can i do to help him. he's real little too.i would pay more if i had it i'm on a very tight budget.

Optional Information:
Age: <1; Male; Breed: bearded dragon

Already Tried:
nothing dont know what to do to help him

Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  ZooCVT replied 11 years ago.
It sounds as though he may have a respiratory infection that will need to be treated by a vet. I would get him in ASAP being he's having breathing issues. The longer you wait the worse it will get and you may risk losing him if you don't get him in.
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Customer: replied 11 years ago.
hi and thank you for ur help, but i can not afford a vet there to expencive,i have very little income do to being hit by a car while working as a traffic control officer 2 months ago. he did a new thing yesterday evening. he was like he was yawning real big then kinda rolled over kinda frozen i thought he was dead i reached in to see about him and he opened his eyesand just looked at me i put him on his rock and he laid there all night and today.his breathing only did that yesterday2 times and my femmale has done a simaler thing before she was breathing funny and her legs were like she was haveing a seizure. i just watched her closely after seeing if she was injured. in 24 hours or so she was back to normal. i dont wana loose his but i dont have the funds to go to a vet. and dont know one in my area. can u please help me any furthure. can he be hibernateing i read in a book that they do that...he's just laying there like he's sleeping but very deep sleep...p.s. is there anything i can buy and give him at home ????
Expert:  ZooCVT replied 11 years ago.
Ok I need to ask a few questions. What is his tank temp? What type heating do you have...heat rock ..heat lamp (ceramic or ultra violet) or both. What does his diet consist of exactly. How often and how much does he often does he deficate? What type humidity is in his enclosure? Do you have him on any vitamin supplements?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
ok well i'm not positive of him temp exactly becouse the theramature i had broke,but the female bonnie is just fine.i have them in an glass aquarium with a long reg light in itand for 4 hours a day they have a heat lamp thats ultra violet and a heating pad under the tank and a heat rock also, there diet is crickets for 5 days a week and green leafy vegies 2 days like spinach, they prefer crickets so they get themfor 5 days when there gone then i switch them to veggies.they also like some fruit.and he has a good apatite they both eat oh like 3-10 crickets a day large ones, and he potties at least every other day if not every day.i'm not shure about the humidity either, i mist them 2 times a day morning and evening,and they play and drink there water which i change a couple times a day so it's vitamins dont know what kind they need. there my first baby lizards i have a 2 yearold iguna but she's big and i know there differant.please get back to me asap. he's resting nice on his under tank heat pad now and i have the heat light on him.
Expert:  ZooCVT replied 11 years ago.

You need to get them a thermometer and keep the tank temp at about 80-85F. You also should make sure where the heating pad is only covers a small portion and they don't lay on it too much. They can get thermal burns. And no they won't always move when it starts to get too hot thats why you need to monitor it. Temp is very important with these can mean the difference for them eating and getting upper respiratory infections. They shouldn't be fed if they are cold or they will have difficulty digesting and could possibly become impacted. Secondly, if you aren't "gut loading" your crickets prior to feeding them to your dragons for better nutrition. Here is a suggestion on how to gut load:

When you buy crickets, feed them well ("gut-load" them) before offering them to your dragon. Crickets from some sources may have subsisted on paper and are starving when you get them; others may have been overdosed with vitamin A preparations (which will depress calcium metabolism). Chicken laying mash is high in calcium and makes a good cricket diet. A good home-made cricket diet includes dried grain (e.g., oatmeal), milk powder, low-protein dry dog or cat food, dried alfalfa (grass or pellets), vegetables (e.g., leftover veggies uneaten by your dragons), and a piece of orange or potato. An even better alternative is the excellent cricket food sold by Ronnie Buck is highly recommended. Keep wet items in a separate dish and change them often to avoid mold. For moisture, you can include a damp sponge; crickets promptly drown in any open water source.

Also feed veggies every day and crickets every other day. Check out this site for more bearded info :

Tosney's Bearded Dragon Care

Hope this helps