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Reptiles/sick water dragon lizard


my son has a water dragon who has been acting strange lately. he has never been sick before. The other night I found him on his back not able to get turned over. turned him over and he started to act so strange throwing him self around like he was scared. he has not eaten and I have given him water off the end of a Q Tip. he eats meal worms, cricket, earth worms and sometime I can mix strawberries and romain lettuc chipped and mixed with the meal worms. Could a dirty tank cause any of this. It needs changed now.

Hi Connie,

Has his diet been supplemented with additional calcium and do you have UVB lighting?

Calcium deficiency is very common in captive reptiles and symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways.

Calcium plays a critical role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Low blood calcium levels can result in seizure like symptoms that come and go. You may notice slight twitching in the toes at first. It can progress to seizures with uncontrolled muscle contractions such as an arched back and stiff limbs. I would question whether he may have suffered a similar seizure just before you found him.

Chronic lack of calcium also results in a softening of the large leg bones which makes affects mobility.

Toxins and bacterial or parasitic infections can also affect the central nervous system and that would obviously require veterinary intervention.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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