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Reptiles/collared lizard swollen leg


QUESTION: Hi, I have a common collared lizard that I have had for about 2 months. In the past 2 weeks his back left leg has become swollen about 3x the size of his other hind leg. He is eating normal, and acts like it does not bother him. He walks and climbs and jumps as normal as he does when I first got him. He has a sand bedding, and eats crickets. He has a UVB bulb and his tank is kept at 90 degrees during the day. I did not know that a calcium and vitamin supplement was necessary and as soon as I found out I began dusting the crickets with it. I have been doing that for about a week now. Unfortunately his leg has shown minimal improvements. The leg has also now molted. Which I assume is to accommodate the size. I also noticed he has tiny mite bugs crawling on him. I ordered a lizard friendly mite insecticide and once it arrives I will spray him to terminate the mites. Please help, I really do love this lizard. And if a trip to a herp vet could be avoided I would be extremely happy. Do you know what could be wrong?

ANSWER: Hello Michaela,

Do you have any pictures of your collared that I could see?
Which UVB light are you using & how old is it?  Is it a compact/coil light or a tube bulb & how close is it to him?
Do you know how old he is?  If he is under one year you will need to use calcium 4-5 times per week, once daily.  
I would remove the sand out of his tank to help get rid of the mites.  Just use paper towels or non adhesive shelf liner, or even tiles are nice, too.  It helps cut down on bacteria, mold, as well as mites & dust.
Which mite insecticide did you buy?
He may be exhibiting metabolic bone issues, or may have just injured himself, too.  Can he get around on that leg or does he favor it?
The swelling indicates a possible injury but it could just be strained hopefully.

Let me know how he is doing & the type of UVB you are using.


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

QUESTION: Hi Tracie, I'm not sure how old he is. He hasn't grown since I bought him. I've been using the calcium 5 times a week for the past couple of weeks. If it is a metabolic bone will it clear up now that I have been giving him the calcium? I bought the insecticide from a website called "Genesis Relief Products" The UVB bulb I use is 75 watts and it is by exoterra. I am not sure, but I believe that it is a tube bulb. It is inside of a dome reflector.  He barely favors his injured leg. Sometimes when he is sunbathing on his rock he doesn't pull it into his body like his other leg. It sort of just dangles off the rock. He is doing a really well. His appetite is very good, he's a little less active then he was before he his leg became swollen, but that's about it.

Hello Michaela,

The UVB light is a tube, but small enough to be inside of a dome?  Could you take a picture of the bulb?  
As swollen as it is, he may have broken it or at least strained it.  
Let me know the type of bulb, because if it is a compact/coil then it wont be strong enough or effective enough for D3 synthesis.
You will need the long tube bulb.  The Reptisun 10 tube bulb or the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb, either one.  You can get either one at

It sounds like he is eating really well, too.  I would recommend getting some liquid calcium to help.  It takes some time for bones to get stronger when they are compromised.  

Let me know how things are going.


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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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