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Reptiles/Bearded Dragon Mouth Concern


QUESTION: Our bearded dragon, Cricket, is about 6 months old.  Recently we noticed he has been keeping his mouth open a lot more and that on either side of his tongue it seems to be puffy and a red color.  We have not noticed any blood or yellow drainage from these areas.  He still likes to eat superworms but seems to have less interest in greens and crickets.  The attached pictures show the areas of concern.  Suggestions?

Many thanks,

ANSWER: Hello Bob,

How long has his mouth looked this way?
What is his weight?  Could a superworm have bitten the inside of his mouth, or a cricket & it has gotten infected or irritated?
What type of tank set up are you keeping him under?
Does he have a UVB light & if so, what type & brand are you using?  
What are the temperatures in the tank?  

You can get some betadine & dilute it down to look like weak tea.  You can use a swab to dip into the solution to try & clean out his mouth.  I don't think it is mouth rot but it does look very irritated right now.
Does eating or chewing seem to bother him?

Let me know how he is doing.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Tracie,

Thanks very much to getting back to me quickly.

We started noticing it a few weeks ago but didn't know if it was normal at first.  The first time we noticed it we thought he had something stuck on the side of his mouth and in fact he did seem to have some pieces of superworm skin stuck there.  We wiped it off but then started seeing the swollen red area.

His tank is 30 inches by 18 inches and 18 inches high.  It is always dry inside.  He has a 30 inch strip light on during the day (Desert 50, 17 w and a 150 w Zoo Med heat lamp.  At night he just has a Exo Terra Heat Glow lamp rated at 100 w.  The tank temperature ranges from about 85 at night to 95 during the day.

In the last few days he has been eating less #very little interest in eating crickets) and its taking him longer to snap up the superworm.  

We would probably take him to a vet rather than trying the medication on our own.

We would be grateful for any additional thoughts on this.


Hello Bob,

What brand is the strip/tube bulb, a Zilla T-50?  
If so, I recommend replacing it with a Reptisun 10 tube bulb or the Arcadia D3 12% tube, either one.  The Zilla is not very good & emits incorrect UVB wavelength.  
A superworm mmay have bitten him. it sounds like.  
During the day, he will need a little higher basking temperatures, to a range of 95-105 at least, with a cooler end of around 78-82.
Overnight, you can decrease his temperatures to around 80 so he can cool down a little bit.  They can become heat stressed if they are not able to cool down much.  It is a good idea though to keep his tank around 80 right now since he isn't feeling well.
It is the beginning of a mouth infection.  Using the betadine can help a lot by cleaning out his mouth/gum area for him.  You can get some colloidal silver also, which is an antibacterial agent which works like an antibiotic.
He may benefit from a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Baytril, too in case he is getting a mouth infection.
How often are you giving calcium to him?    At 6 months of age, he needs calcium 5 times per week to help with bones.
Can you get some probiotics such as acidophiliz or non dairy soy yogurt to help out his system?  Or you can get bee pollen to help with immune system, also.  

Let me know how he 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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