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Reptiles/Bearded dragon tail injury

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Question
Hi thea! I have two bearded dragons juvenile they are about 6 or 7 months old. When i went to the cage i noticed my smaller beardie's tail the bottom part of it was breaking off. I did not see how it happened my bigger beardie may have bit him but he may have also been playing around too much in the cage they both are very spirited. Its still attached but barely and it is bleeding not excessively but the injured area is red. Just wanted to know what i should do about it? And a nice part of his tail is hanging how do i kno if he has spine damage? Ive been online and ive seen people use neosporin and talk about soaking them twice a day in some type of solution but just wanted to get a professionals opinion.

Answer
Hi Joya,

Beardeds tend to tolerate moderate tail loss quite well. That long tail would be quite the disadvantage in the wild if this were not true. Beardeds lack the natural fracture planes that allow the tail to easily break away in other species but most tail breaks in beardeds will likely occur between the vertebrae. Spinal damage is not really a concern if the break is away from the body and down in the main part of the tail.

The soaking solution mentioned was likely povidone iodine which goes under the brand name Betadine. It also comes as an ointment. I would recommend an initial soak (even in plain water)  just to remove any particles like sand that may be adhering to the wound and a daily dab of antibiotic ointment after that. I think the twice daily soaking is over doing it unless there is an active infection. I prefer to let wounds remain a bit dry, they seem to heal faster. Neosporin or Polysporin is fine but avoid using hydrogen peroxide. It is harsh on newly forming tissue and can slow the healing.

I would advise keeping him on newspaper or paper towel until the wound has form a good seal.

Now lets talk about why this happened. You are quite likely going to have to separate your two beardeds. At 6 or 7 months they are just developing their adult hormones and the aggression is going to continue and likely get worse. If they are both males, they cannot be kept together as adults despite being raised together. The smaller one will continue to be dominated and live in constant stress.

I wanted to mention this before you come home to discover another injury or worse next time.  

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Thea

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

Education/Credentials
Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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