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Reptiles/Bearded Dragon - health/appetite


QUESTION: I have a 3 year old bearded dragon. Set up is a "large wide" exo terra terrarium (3 feet x 18 inches), substrate is astroturf(plastic grass carpet), ligh/heat source real sunlight, it is located on my balcony an receives direct morning sun until noon, i live in Puerto Rico, the temperature here is usually between 80/95 degrees. food, staple roaches, crickets and superworms. he does not seem to like vegetables too much, but he'll eat apples, some lettuce w/ calcium and occasionally bearded dragon pellets.

problem: watery eyes, occasional foamy bubbles on nostrils, gaping mouth,  lack of appetite.

Took him to the vet and was given an antibiotic (2ml solution every 2 days) for a "respiratory infection". was told by the dr that it would get better within 10 days. 2.5 weeks have passed without improvement.

to prevent him from losing weight, malnutrition i have forced fed him with a large plastic syringe,  crushed bearded dragon pellets mixed with water into a paste, he does not like the "forcing process" but he does swallow chew and swallow the food. i have also stuck worms in its mouth which he will then chew and swallow *note, he is strong*

ANSWER: Hello Gonzalo,

That sounds like a great environment.
So daily, he gets how much UVB, a few hours?
When you bring him back inside, do you use a basking light & UVB source for him?

Ideally, he does need a basking area of around a range of 95-105 though, with a cooler end of around 78-82.
It does sound like a respiratory infection to me, as well.  Which antibiotic did they give him?

What is the humidity run there, do you know?  
His food intake sounds fine.  Sometimes it is challenging to get them to eat their greens, I agree.
Do you have any pictures of him?

Let me know the medication, strength & amount he was given along with his weight, too.

Continue the feeding by syringe if he wont eat to help him with nutrition daily.  Do you give calcium also?


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side view
side view  
view from above
view from above  
QUESTION: Thank you very much!

The antibiotic is Quinolone, one tablet diluted in water to be given 0.2cc every 48 hours. The vet told me he would be better in 10 days, there has been absolutely no improvement. after the 10 days without improvement i tried giving 0.2cc every day for several days at no result either. He was weighted at the vet office @ 0.9 pounds.

Where the terrarium is located he gets direct sunlight from sunrise @ 6:30am till about 11am after that it's sun glare up until 5 or 6pm. My pets stay outside, no extra lightning or heating, they do have areas to hide and can be seen going in and out of the sunlight to regulate themselves. At night the temperature drops till about 72 degrees. Average humidity here is 74%.

I do give him calcium, usually with the apples he eats and currently mixed with the paste i'm feeding him.

ANSWER: Hello Gonazalo,

Thanks, I am glad that he gets to enjoy the sunshine in such a great atmosphere.  I think though, he does need a bit of a higher basking spot for part of the day, since the daily temperatures don't get very high there.  Their recommended basking temperatures are 95-105.  If they are kept too cool for prolonged periods of time, with the exception of brumation, it suppresses the immune system.  I recommend putting in a medium wattage bright white light mounted on top of the tank or underneath of the screen, whichever you can mount safely.  Or you can mount a ceramic heat emitter to help with increasing the temperatures & reducing some of the humidity also.  They normally are recommended at 40% humidity or less to avoid respiratory infections, etc.  Just be sure the light is no closer than 8 or so inches from him.    
If you can get a higher temperature in the tank at one end, while maintaining a cooler end, etc the humidity will decrease some for him also.
Does the sun get filtered through mess/screen or is the screen wide enough to where it can go through easily?  Or is he in a glass type of tank?  
What type of thermometer are you using to measure the temperatures with?  A digital probe or a temp gun?
Can your vet get either Tylan or Baytril for the respiratory issues?  
As an adult, calcium 3 times per week is sufficient.  
He is a great looking dragon, nice colors.
How is he doing today, any improvements yet or still having some breathing trouble?
You can also get some bee pollen that helps with appetite as well as gives a boost to the immune system, also.  
Let me know how he is doing.


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QUESTION: He is still not eating on his own and is still secreting mucous through the eyes and has occasional foamy bubbles on the nostrils. He also has a swollen wrist.

I have changed the position of the cage in order for him to get even more sun during the day and a ceramic heater at night. I'm also bathing him in warm water for 20 minutes each morning and evening.

I took him to the vet last night and had an x-ray taken. It shows some mass formations on the lungs(infection) and was given an antibiotic shot, I have to take him for a 2nd shot on Thursday and a 3rd one on Monday. The vet stated the swollen wrist must be part of the infection being that the x-ray did not show any abnormalities or bone related injuries/illness.

I have not been able to get bee pollen, i did see a product at petsmart designed to boost energy and appetite.

I really appreciate your help on this.
Thank you!

Hello Gonzalo,

I am sorry that he is still not doing a lot better yet.
I would go ahead & get the immune boosting product that you saw at the store.  What was it called?
So the x-rays revealed that his bones were ok?
Maybe the antibiotic shots will help him out.  
I am glad to hear you have adjusted his sun times to where he gets more & is receiving more heating as well.  Can you wrap him up in a blankie at night to help?  The ceramic heat emitter should help out quite a bit for him too.  
How is his appetite doing now, is he still eating?
Maybe increase his calcium intake just a bit in case he has gotten some calcium issues.  The x-rays may not reveal early bone/calcium issues but a blood test would help.  
Do you know which antibiotic he is on by chance?  

Keep me posted on your boy, I hope he gets to feeling better.



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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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