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Reptiles/health questions about my bearded dragon?


species:Pagona viticeps
habitat size:40 gallon
substrate:half sand, half washcloth
bask/ambient temps: BASKING- 100 WARM SIDE- 85-90 COOL SIDE- 75 night temps. COOL SIDE-65; WARM SIDE-75
whether you use thermometer or humidity gauge:yes
UVB lighting:yes
type of UVB light (tube, coil, spot/flood):coil
brand of UVB light:zilla Desert 50 UVB Fluorescent 20 Watt Coil Bulb
vet history: He went to the vet right after I got him for burns he got above his eyes while at the pet-store. The burns healed fine and the vet advised me to use some O.T.C burn cream (bactradine- or something like that). He was sexed as a male at that time as well, and I got his age from his previous owner, he was 1 month, one week when i bought him. three weeks ago he had a very serious allergic reaction to grapes, and managed to recover very quickly, my nana is a vet tech, and removed the grape from his throat, he was foaming at the mouth and unresposive for a couple minutes, but bounced right back.
all food offered: He has constant access to a bonzai tree, wich he likes to eat the leaves off of, He is offered Rep-Cal Maintenance Formula Bearded Dragon Food daily in a dish in his cage (on the washcloth). To supplement with his pellet diet he is given collared greens, romain lettuce, an occasional apple, and zillas omnivore mix. This is supplemented with occasional mealworms and superworms, or crickets.(meat is offered every other day)
feeding schedule:He is fed every day, in the morning i fill his dish with a pinch of pellet food, a pinch of omnivore mix, and and an occasional meal worm. When i get home from school, or in the early afternoon, i put fresh fruits and veggitables in his food dish, he normally eats this right up. before i go to bed, (and about an hour before his lights go off) i will put in meat, if it is the day he recieves meat
supplements and schedule:Everything is dusted with flukers bearded dragon calcium and vitamin supplement. twice a month he recieves Flukers liquid vitamin supplement, and flukers liquid calcium according to the directions for his weight and age on the box.
last time ate:yesterday (he ate some greens and fruit.)
when and how water is given: Every day his dish is cleaned in the morning, and fresh distilled bottled water is poured into his bowl, wich is placed on the wash cloth in his tank, so he doesnt get sand in it.
when last defecated:this morning
captive bred or wild caught:captive bred
shed recently: yes, he shed two weeks ago
other animals living in same terrarium: none, although he was in with an older female for two weeks, so he could breed (the eggs are currently in the incubator)


1. Recently, my bearded dragon has been concerning me with his behavior, it may just be that he is being picky of his food, even though hes a year old, but he actually refused crickets. he is 350 grams and and isnt loosing weight, but he has been eating very very little recently. He is normaly such a voracious eater, and never recieves food, i was watching him eat yesterday, and he attempted to eat on his own, couldnt get the food with his tounge and gave up. im wondering if it has something to do with his front teeth. They are pointed slightly outward, and are really small, much smaller than my friends bearded dragon who is from the same clutch. The other thing that is beginning to concern me is when i was doing research trying to figure out whta was wrong with him, i read a post about how a beardie died and the symptoms it had before hand. These symptoms included blood shot looking eyes. Ever since i have had my bearded dragon, he has had really light brown eyes, and they appear to have red swivels in them coming from a ring around his eye. I'm wondering if this is just a part of his morph, or weather it could be caused by something in his enviornment. His eyes dont irritate him, and he is not shaking his head or anything to make me assume it is itching or hurting. As far as i know he was born with the light brown eyes he has. along with the redish swivels in them. It is identical in both eyes. His defecations have all been normal and i havmt noticed anything other than his lack of appetite. I appreciate your time in answering my question, thankyou

Thank you for your attempt to be complete with the background on your "vitticeps". You purchased him from a pet store, or an individual? You stated "previous owner".

A true allergic reaction to grapes I would be doubtful of, unless he were exposed before and developed antibodies, however he may be sensitive to the sulfites in them and have had an "adverse" or "sensitivity" reaction. A true allergic reaction would have likely killed him unless he had been given an antihistamine or epinephrine. You don't bounce back so easily from severe allergic reactions after going unresponsive. Respiratory associated sulfite reactions can occur by inhalation of the sulfite vapors from foods such as grapes, but this is uncommon except in asthmatics.

If the grape was still in his throat, it's highly likely that it was stuck and he was suffocating as the wedged grape placed pressure on his trachea and prevent air from entering his lungs. This sounds like a much more plausible explanation. I would suspect asphyxiation before anything else, especially given the rapid recovery you mention once the grape (obstruction) was removed, but without any systemic medications being administered.   

Grapes and raisins are potentially dangerous for a couple of others reason however, and that is because they are both a powerful diuretic, and because they are sometimes associated with a toxin. In both cases this can lead to renal failure. Many animals have died after eating raisins or grapes. I had a juvenile orphan squirrel who died the day after eating a grape, and others that came down ill. It was the only food item that they received that day that was not standard fare. I no longer use grapes or raisins for any of my animals. I know another rehabilitator who lost a juvenile raccoon after feeding it grapes. And the veterinary literature is full of documented cases of renal failure in dogs after grape consumption.

Bonsai issue - The bonsai tree. How long has he been eating this? And are you sure of it's identification? The name "bonsai tree" is a catch all, and a lot of different plants are sold as bonsais. It's more of a general name for a little plant that is pruned in a certain manner to keep it small. I would advise removing the plant until you know for sure what it is. As previously mentioned, there are a lot of dangerous substances in the plant world, that most people have absolutely no idea of just how toxic they really can be for an animal.

UVB issue - Your present UVB source is inferior for a Bearded Dragon and potentially unsafe. I do not recommend coil and compact UVB lamps. In my opinion they are cheap crap, and there have been serious safety issues with them. People buy them all the time because they are the cheapest thing they can get. Do you really want to buy the cheapest UVB you can get for your Beardie?

Do a websearch on the issues with compacts and coils. I recommend mercury vapor lamps for Bearded Dragons, as they are a diurnal and desert species who are used to a high amount of basking in the wild. If you are going to use fluorescent lamps though, I suggest dual linear desert tubes (8.0-10.0)

Diet - You need to be using MORE fresh foods, and less pellets. Commercial processed food should be the supplement NOT the other way around.

Supplements - Dusting food at every feeding is not only excessive, but potentially dangerous. Research "hypervitaminosis". You can kill an animal more quickly with supplement overdose than you will kill it with a lack of supplements. Calcium is a mediator of a lot of vital functions, and it's just a fact that most people don't know what they are doing when they throw dust all over the food items. Please limit supplement dusting to no more than twice a week. If your reptile is on a healthy and proper fresh food diet to begin with, there is little need for all the time supplementation. Additionally, vitamins and minerals should be given alternately, not at the same time, and calcium should be given separate from other supplements. Mixing vitamins and minerals, and especially calcium with other forms of supplements, is not very effective because they bind each other.

Your use of any liquid supplementation has even more potential for overdose. You will need to provide more information on the product and the exact dose you are giving, but I would advise you to simply give those a rest. It sounds to be like you are overusing these products. These companies sell a lot of stuff they want you to use all the time. That doesn't mean it's safe for the animal to use it the way they label it.

Breeding - Whose female was this that he was mating with, and how long ago was this that she resided with him?

On a side note, really, as a rescuer, I'm going to ask you to stop breeding them. Every fool out there who can get Bearded Dragons together is breeding them, and there's a lot of that going on because it takes no particular skill to do it. There really are too many herps out there needing homes as it is. Breeding mills only cause more problems for rescue organizations like mine, and for the animals they produce and then are sold so cheaply to any ignorant buyer who has the money, because the market is already saturated with them.

Eyes - I am unfamiliar with the term "swivels". In any case "blood shot" can be indicative of far too many things to be determinative of a diagnosis when merely connected with a loss of appetite.

Defecation - Because you say it is "normal" tells me nothing. I first have to know that you know what "normal" means. This means understanding clues given by consistency, color, and odor of both feces and urates.

Inappetence - Depending on your location and weather, your Beardie may be preparing for brumation. If so, and if he is of healthy weight for his size, with sufficient fat stores, then you must fast him for a couple of weeks to clear his digestive tract. If he is merely refusing one food in favor of another, this is not really a cause for concern, except that he may be getting burned out on it. Dietary variation is pretty much the key with any herp. Use too much of one thing, and this isn't so rare to go off food from time to time. Many omnivorous lizards and turtles undergo dietary changes as they mature, becoming more herbivorous with age.  

There are a couple of websites which discuss Bearded Dragons in depth:  


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YOU WILL GET A REJECTION OF YOUR QUESTION IF YOU FAIL TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO QUESTIONER IN FULL!. I am primarily here to assist with health concerns. I am here for the more difficult questions. Not for questions that you could research & easily find the answer yourself. My standards are that you provide DETAILED and RELEVANT background history on your pet before you ask me any question about it other than GENDER or ID. The requested information is in the instructions to questioner. Failure to answer each of those questions to provide that background, will result in your question being rejected. I can answer questions related reptile husbandry, identification (esp. in Texas and the SW), legal aspects, and advanced level medical care. I am the director of Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue (TX), a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in reptiles, a founding member of The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation, a subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service,, educational content contributor to, and a Dept of State Health Services accredited animal control instructor (CE) for reptile handling. I do most of my own veterinary care in-house, including minor surgery and necropsy. I am most experienced in Chelonia with box turtles and common smaller tortoises; and in Squamata with everything from Anoles, Geckos, Beardies, and Monitors, to venomous snakes. I am most known for my expertise with horned lizards (Phrynosoma). With snakes, my primary expertise is in Crotalids (rattlesnakes), but I can answer a broad range of questions about various species. I am not aware of any reptile related question that I would not be able to provide some reasonable answer for. I have a direct style and may tell you something you did not want to hear; but the welfare of the animal comes FIRST with me, and I will always reflect that position in my answer, despite how it might make you feel.


I am a non-academic herpetologist with 25+ years reptile experience, and I am an accredited Texas Dept of State Health Services Animal Control Instructor for Reptiles (CE). I am a reptile rescuer, reptile wildlife rehabilitator, and subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service, wikivet, and article/journal content contributor to Lafebervet. I have medical and scientific resources available, and I perform in house reptile veterinary care for my rescues. I am not a vet, but I read from the same materials and have had to correct quite a few in the past. The average vet is not well versed with reptile physiology and medical treatments.

Animals that I am currently caring for, or have significant rehabilitation and husbandry experience with: Horned Lizards (5 species); Eastern and Western Box Turtles; Painted, RES, YBS, Soft-Shell, and Cooter aquatic turtles; Russian Tortoises; Fire Bellied Toads; Fire Bellied Newts; Ornate Horned Frogs; Green Iguanas; Desert Iguanas; Spiny Lizards; Long Nosed Leopard Lizards; Anoles; Racerunners; Collared Lizards; Bullsnakes; Eastern Ratsnakes; Great Plains Ratsnakes; Kingsnakes; Gartersnakes; Cornsnakes; Boas; Pythons; Bearded Dragons; Water Dragons; Massasauga Rattlesnakes; Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes; Leopard, Mediterranean, Golden, Indo-Pacific, African White-Spotted Geckos; Savannah Monitors; Jeweled Curly-Tailed Lizards; Long-Tailed Grass Lizards; Fox Squirrels; Deer Mice; Hispid Cotton Rats; Merriam's Pocket Mice; Eastern Cotton-Tails; Blue Bar racing pigeon; Budgies; Asian Forest Scorpions.


Co-Founder & Director: Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue

Founder: The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation

Publications contributor. The Horned Lizard Husbandry Manual - self published 75 pages of care information on genus Phrynosoma.

Wikipedia entry "Horned Lizards" - contributed to a majority of the content., and various reptile related forums and email lists under the handles "fireside3" and PhrynosomaTexas".

My hands-on field, rehabilitation, and captive husbandry experience beats a PhD any day of the week. I am also a state accredited animal control instructor for reptile handling.

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I was requested to provide my care manual on the Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos), for the Montreal zoo. My manual is also used by several other zoological institutions in N. America. I also teach reptile education to summer camps, and instruct wildlife rehabilitators on live saving and rehab techniques with reptiles.

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