bearded problems

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by JJ., Feb 5, 2013.

  1. JJ.

    JJ. New Member

    i have a bearded dragon around 8-9 months who has run into some problems
    Is this your first bearded dragon? yes
    What area are you located in? Eastern Canada

    Dragons name: Puff
    Age, weight and length if you know? 8-9 months
    How long with you? 4 mons
    What is his condition recently and if it changed, when? lethargic, pale, and spacey x 1 week
    Is he active, clear eyes and bright? usually, but not focused now
    Is the beard, chest or tail tip darker than the rest or than normal? no
    Walking/moving normally? usually, but will perk up for a bit, and then just lay there
    Any physical features that do not appear normal? losing weight
    From Breeder or Pet Store? (this may make a difference) Pet store
    Has he every been treated by a vet, No vet in our area
    If yes, for what and what meds were used/dosed and time if know?
    Basking or sleeping during the day? used to bask, now hiding alot
    Is he going to the bathroom, how often? used to go daily, now every second day
    If not, when was the last time? yesterday
    Is it formed/normal or runny/smelly normal, no funky smell, yesterday there were undigested cricket parts
    Alone or with others? alone
    If with others, what sex"?
    Soaking or misting at all and how often? is being bathed daily

    Set up info tank size? 36 x 18
    Temps -what do you use for heat? UVA for day, red light at night
    Basking point? 90-100
    Cool area? 85
    What are you measure it with? disc thermometer
    What Substrate? carpet
    UVB Lights type (detailed) what brand, model, and length or wattage is
    How old?
    How close to UVB light when he bask?
    What hours for day/night?
    Do you use any type of nighttime heat, if so what?

    How is his appetite? IS there a change? Poor, won't eat crickets, will eat small amount of collard greens
    What size, kind and how many/much insects does he eat daily? He used to eat about 20 1/2 inch crickets a day. Switched to larger ones 2 weeks before he changed
    What do you feed the insects normally? Flukers
    Is the dragon eating greens/veggies? Collard Greens
    What and how much? Usually a leaf a day, now a 5-6 small pieces
    Supplements? Calcium with D3
    What kind of calcium/how often? Daily on greens
    What kind of vitamins how often D3
    How are these given to him? On greens, or crickets if eating

    Is there any additional information that might be of use? The more you can tell us, the better others can help you with suggestions.
    He is very pale
    He is very lethargic, and spacey
    he hides nearly all day but i take him out and let him bask when i can get him out
    he isn't eating crickets, but will eat a small amount of collards every day or two. His skin is loose looks like he has lost a lot of weight
    i bathe him everyday but i'm not sure if he is drinking. The isn't a reptile vet anywhere near me.
    any suggestions?

    JEFFREH Administrator

  3. JJ.

    JJ. New Member

    maybe someone can answer this for me. My BD is slowly dying and I have been spending the last week talking to other dragon owners, and pet shops.
    I don't have a UVB light. Could this be the problem? Do they definitely need UVB? Some people say yes, some say no. Is it worth me trying to find one or not?

    JEFFREH Administrator


    JEFFREH Administrator

    Hey JJ,

    I'm very sorry for the delay in a response. Things have been really hectic for me lately and I've been having trouble finding the time to tend to the forums as frequently as I'd like.

    UVB is absolutely essential to the well-being of bearded dragons, and this may very well be your issue. Beardies have a highly developed pineal gland that sits superficially in their head, and its function allows them to "see" UV spectra and aid in the hormone release for normal daily function of the day/night cycle and precursors to synthesizing D3 from UVB.

    There have been studies done with UV vs. supplemental D3 in the diet and universally bearded dragons (and most other herps, even nocturnal species) grow significantly better and maintain overall greater health when given UVB. Dietary supplementation is simply not an option for basking species in my opinion, especially sun-lovers like bearded dragons who truly thrive on UV output (you can sometimes see this in certain beardies who may display when exposed to true, unfiltered sunlight.

    The "spacey" behavior is anticipated in animals with D3 and calcium deficiencies. Calcium ions are essntial to the physiology of many cells in the body, and is probably the single most important cofactor in muscle contractions. You may be looking at the onset of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) if proper UVB and D3 supplementation have not been previously offered.

    I would highly recommend a vet visit - look for an herp vet in your area with the following site:

    Get yourself a good quaility UVB producing bulb ASAP. Here is a guide for you to help follow:

    I recommend ReptiSun 5.0 (and particularly 10.0) in the form of long-tube flourescent bulbs. Do NOT get compact coiled flourescents. Dragon must get within 10" and preferably closer to these bulbs for best effect.

    Other option is a Mercury Vapor Bulb - The PowerSun by Zoomed is a popular and readily available brand and bulb-type at most retailers. A good bulb, but these produce both heat and massive UV. The dragon should not get closer than 12" to the bulb.

    JEFFREH Administrator

  7. JJ.

    JJ. New Member

    thank you for responding. I just went to our local pet supply and got a reptisun 10.0. Unfortunately it is a coil. The choice was that or nothing. I have raised the lamp level and will keep a close eye on Puff. Right now he has his head up looking at the family, which is the most he has done in a few days. How long can he go without food? If his skin is loose (looks like it is too big for him, not shed loose) does that mean he is dehydrated? We have been bathing him daily for hydration. Our nearest larger pet supply (Petsmart) is an hour away, and we are waiting for the blizzard to start on the east coast. Fingers crossed for a healthy lizard,and no power outages!
    Sharman Wisdom likes this.

    JEFFREH Administrator

  9. JJ.

    JJ. New Member

    Puff just ate one cricket and 3 small mealworms!oh, the excitement of watching him finally try something. I know it wasn't a lot, but it is something.

    JEFFREH Administrator

  11. Cammy

    Cammy ReptileBoards Addict

    Hello JJ, I'm going to jump in really quickly so we can get you taken care of.

    The bulb you picked up is great for now, and is definitely better than no UVB bulb at all. Just make sure he can get within 6-10" of the bulb's surface. They need to get rather close to the bulb in order to be able to get the right range of UVB they need. Also, I would only use this bulb as a temporary solution. In previous studies of UVB output, the coil type bulbs have not held up very well. However, it will definitely work for the time being, and I commend you on responding to the issue and picking up what you could in a timely manner.

    As a long term solution, I would look into ordering a longer fluorescent online. They are much cheaper (even with shipping) online than they are in store. Plus you won't have to drive an hour to get it. and both ship to Canada. There are probably more but those are the ones I know off the top of my head. Here's a link:

    Also, this is not related to lighting, but I would try to adjust his diet a little to help further with the calcium issue. I only bring this up because you mentioned feeding peas and mealworms. Peas are high in oxalates and mealworms are high in phosphorous; both of these factors can inhibit calcium absorption in the body. Mealworms also have a thick chitin shell and are difficult for beardies to digest, so we generally suggest avoiding them as a matter of caution anyways. Here is a great nutrition chart for bearded dragons that can help you figure out the best staple foods for your little guy: I would also keep supplementing with a calcium/D3 powder at every feeding until your beardie is back to normal.

    The daily baths are great for helping with hydration. If he hasn't been eating much, then yes, he is probably still a little dehydrated as most of their moisture comes from their food. Keep up the warm soaks to help with that, and try dripping some warm water on his nose. Some of them will drink a little if you do that. You can also mist his greens to get some extra hydration there.

    I think that covers everything I had for you. I apologize if this is a little messy or seems rushed. I'm typing on my phone and making things difficult for myself. =P If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask, and keep us updated on your little guy. I hope he perks back up soon. =)
  12. RomanLA

    RomanLA New Member

    I'd see if they have a mercury vapor bulb, like the powersun that Jeffreh mentioned. If so, I'd ask them to swap it out for the one you just bought. It will cost a little more, but it will last longer than the other bulbs and it will provide both UVB and heat. Speaking of which, your basking temperature may not be hot enough, assuming you're checking it with a digital infrared thermometer. They need both heat and UVB to digest their food properly. The recommended basking temperature typically varies between 100-115F, depending on the source.
  13. JJ.

    JJ. New Member

    We are seeing improvements in Puff. He is much more interested in everything, except food. He still won't eat, just the cricket and 3 mealworms. We don't normally feed mealworms, but were willing to try anything to get food into him. Crickets and collards are his meals. He doesn't like to experiment with food. We have tried many vegetables, and fruit, but he just prefers his cricket and collards normally.
    I cannot return the light unfortunately. This store literally only carried three bulbs. Dried food and freeze dried crickets. Very small town, and no reptile vets. Hopefully one day we will get a real store, and a vet. LOL
    We noticed Puff is shedding, but it is a weird crumbly type of skin. Usually it comes of in pieces, but this is literally like a crumble. Thoughts? We are still bathing, and I got some shedding aid (zoomed).
    I tried to warm the environment, but he went into hiding. Reduced it back to 90, and he came out.
  14. RomanLA

    RomanLA New Member

    Yeah...dehydration is your main worry right now. Check out this page and follow the link for dehydration.

    I've heard of people using diluted pedialyte for daily baths, but I can't remember the ratio to water...sorry on my phone!

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