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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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Hi, my bearded dragon is a baby. About 3 weeks old. I have

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Hi, my bearded dragon is a baby. About 3 weeks old. I have him/her in a 55 gallon terrarium and I have a basking and uvb lamp and a piece of wood to climb up for basking.I feed him the small sized crickets and weed out the large ones so that he doesn't get impacted.


Earlier today I was feeding him his crickets and he ate a ton. Then he stopped suddenly and I noticed it looked like he was choking. I looked it up online and it told me to try to get it out, so I tried to but I couldn't, and each time I checked there was less there, and he returned to normal shortly.


Now a few hours later, he's not really using his left arm, not paralyzed, it just seems limp, and he's tilting his head to the side. He's being quite active still but when he walks he ends up going in a circle because of the left leg. I don't know why he's tilting his head to the left either.


Please help. I don't make much so I'd rather not go to the vet if I don't have to. Thank you.


He is still holding his head up quite often, but he goes back to leaning it down to the left after.


position when set down

Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that your beardie is acting odd! He must have been quite excited about those crickets.

I would suspect that one of two things has happened. There is a nerve in the side of the head and neck that is responsible for keeping balance on each side of the body. It may be that either in the process of choking or in the process of un-choking, he has irritated that nerve. In this case, you may seen the head tilt and the circling for a few days, but it should gradually get better day by day. (In rare cases, it's permanent, but there's usually at least some improvement from the initial injury).

The other possibility is that there is a piece of insect still stuck deep in his throat. This may move when he moves his arm, making it uncomfortable to do so. He may be tilting his head to take pressure off it. If this is the case, I don't recommend trying to get it out yourself, because it may be too deep to get to without hurting him. If this is what's going on, he will need to go to the vet, because a stuck piece of insect could cause an abscess and more problems over time.

I'd suggest giving him a couple of days and feeding him only small amounts during that time. Make sure he's getting his veggies, though. I know this is the best time to get them comfortable with people, but try not to handle him much so that he can rest and recover with minimal stress. If he's showing no improvement within 2-3 days, that's when I'd suggest scheduling an appointment with a vet who is comfortable with reptiles (not all of us are, so make sure you ask!)

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This morning he's balancing his head more, but his arm is still limp but not paralyzed.


Also, I've seen a lot of things concerning impaction saying I should give him baby food for the next few days? Should I do this instead of the crickets?


Here he is this morning. With this development is there any way to tell which one of the two it likely is?


It's good that he's looking up and that his posture appears more normal. Without an exam, though, it's hard to say exactly which is going on. Improvement suggests that he may have been injured or irritated that nerve in the process of choking and is recovering.

True impaction in reptiles is pretty rare (more rare than most people think) and is usually related to dehydration. Baby food for a couple of days is harmless, but if he prefers live food, I wouldn't force him to eat the baby food. As long as he's eager to eat and he's passing stools, the crickets should be fine. Soaking him daily for the next few days may be helpful to keep him hydrated, and making sure that is basking spot is warm enough will help keep his gut moving and digesting properly so he is less likely to develop an intestinal impaction.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much! I don't really know how to use this site, but could I leave this open for an additional update in a day or so or do I need to close it and open another question?


He does seem to be a lot better, though, and I thank you very much for the reassurance. I'll rate you very highly! :)

I'm glad he's doing better. What I will do is schedule a follow-up. That way you can close the question and you'll get a notification in a couple of days asking how he's doing. You can answer that without opening a new question.

If there's a new problem or a problem with a different pet, you'd need to open a new question, but I think this way we can continue talking about Bert without doing that.
Dr. Taus and 3 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Alright, thank you very much! I look forward to speaking with you again.

How is Bert doing today?