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Reptiles/Barbados Vitticeps not coping


Bluging eyes 1
Bluging eyes 1  

George\'s \'good\' eye
George's 'good' eye  
Hi Tracie,

Yesterday we adopted 2 dragons, both adults. The 1 we are most concerned with is the Barbados Vitticeps.

When we picked her up, we were advised that she had parasites a few yrs ago, which she was taken to the vet and medicated for.

However, she also has very bulging eyes that seem to weep a little. We asked the previous owner and she advised that they just swelled up one day. She researched online and saw that this 'seemed to be a common thing with the Barbados'.

We have brought them home, completely cleaned out their tanks and sanitised them. Not sure when that may have last been done! Have given George a bath in luke warm water, and she has done a rather stinky and tiny poo, that didn't seem to have any calcium visible.

The tanks had completely incorrect lighting (no UV at all, and just a regular light from the shops for heat), we were advised that she is taken into the sun daily, but not sure if this was in the enclosure, which is not well ventilated or allow much light in.

She is also extremely thin to the point where I believe she is undernourished. I think this may also be a result of her eyes, as they seem to weep a little, and 1 seems completely closed, the other is almost completely closed. She opens her mouth quite a lot, and appears to either huff or sigh. She also seems to have very little strength in her right limbs ... front in particular is kind of floppy.

Not sure what her diet was like before, other than the owners previously advised that she would eat crickets and veggies, however there was no evidence of food or food bowls in her tank when we picked her up.

What we are doing today:-

1. we have put a temporary Reptiglo 10.0 coil bulb in til we can get to the pet store to exchange.
2. Took her into the sun for about 1/2hr. She sat there and seemed to enjoy it.
3. Will get some super worms in the hope that this will help her 'fatten up' a bit, but want to get some baby food, mix some calcium in and feed that to her through a syringe to ensure she is getting some vitamins.
4. Have put in new thermometers as I don't believe the last ones were accurate. When we arrived it was very hot and she was sitting in her water bowl so I think she was very much overheating, esp as the viv is not well ventilated :-(

Is there anything else we should or can do for the moment?

I have attached 2 photos, and can forward more if you want :-)


Hello Ta,

Can you send more pictures of the entire body from the back to front so I can confirm the species/genus?  You can send them to my home email at:

There is the Pogona Barbata & the Pogona Vitticeps which are both Bearded dragons but there are some minor differences in them.  Since you are in Australia, you have a good chance of having the P. Barbata as over here we don't.  Where in Australia are you located?

Based on the picture, it looks like her lower jaw may be "slightly" starting to jut out due to improper UVB lighting & calcium supplementation.  It sounds like she has the beginnings of metabolic bone disease, too.   What type of UVB lights were used previously?  
The swelling of eyes can be due to some of the poor UVB lights which have the improper wavelength.  You will need to take the coil out as they are the most common culprit of the eye injuries, etc.  The better lights you can get over there are the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulbs.  Then use a bright white light for basking.  You can keep the temperatures around 95-105 or so, maybe around 100 if she is not liking the higher temperatures.  What type of thermometer are you using?
They also bulge their eyes too in preparation for shedding.  I don't think this is the case here though.  
Also, nutritional deficiencies can cause eye issues too which in this case is highly likely.
The superworms are great & will help put some weight onto her.  The baby food should work well for her.  What type of calcium do you use?  What brand is it?  Go slow & easy on the go on the protein to make sure her system is digesting properly.
The sunshine will greatly help her out right now until you can get the Arcadia tube bulb.  
Continue bathing her daily to help with hydration.  The stool, since it was smelly was probably due to parasites/worms from stress.  The white portion of the stool is the urate but does indicate renal function.  Did she not have any white portion with the stool?  I would monitor that closely to make sure she starts excreting urates to make sure her kidneys are working properly.
I am looking forward to more pictures.  Let me know how she is doing.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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