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Reptiles/bearded dragon unconscious?


QUESTION: Our 3 year old bearded dragon, who has been perfectly healthy and had eaten, drank and pooped prior to this, suddenly coughed yesterday and fell awkwardly off of her basking spot in the process, the fall was only a small distance and she regularly jumps down from there. She landed awkwardly with her body badly twisted and imediately showed signs of death.
Her eyes which were bright and well rounded moments before suddenly sank completely and glazed over, her body went completely limp followed by gradual hardening and her colours gradually faded with most of her markings almost entirely fading out within an hour.

She was freezing cold even though her viv was at normal temperatures and appeared to have completely stopped breathing. having had a bearded dragon death in our household many years ago and we thought she had died very quickly from injuries caused by the fall.
We left her in the viv with everything on the normal timers and have found this morning that she is alive and appears relatively well. her eyes are back to normal and other than her being slightly lethargic she is behaving normally. No sign of any interest in food or water as yet but that is normal for her at this time of day.

Is this a normal reaction to a fall?
Our vets phones are currently going straight to voicemail.

ANSWER: Hello Angela,

Oh my, I am sorry to hear about your girl!  
How far of a fall was it?  I don't think that the fall itself would have caused something to that magnitude since it was not very far.
It sounds like she had some type of seizure.  
Can you run over your tank setup that you have for her, such as the type & brand of UVB, how old the UVB is, etc, the temperatures & supplementation?
What type of thermometer do you use to measure the temperatures with?
Do you have any pictures of her also I could see?

I would keep her warm at night, around 80 overnight, to help boost her immune system right now until we figure out what could be going on.
Please let me know how she is doing!


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

QUESTION: Our whole set up is from ExoTerra, All bulbs were replaced 3 months ago, we replace them every 4 months. Basking spot is at 110F cold end is usually at 75F the viv is 90cm 60cm 45cm She has vegetables in her bowl at all times with gut loaded locusts being fed daily. Calcidust is always sprinkled on the vegetables and the locusts are dusted 2x a week with calcidust and 1x a week with nutribal. We have exoterra probe thermometers permanently in place at the basking spot and at the cold end of the viv. The fall was only 1 foot. But she landed on the top of her head and literally folded herself in half. I don't have a working camera at the moment sorry.
Spoke to our vet eventually and she's been seen today, xrays and check up came back clear of injuries, samples have been taken for testing and we are going back to the vet next week for another check up.
She's now behaving perfectly normally and has been eating, drinking and is back to her normal spritely self. All very strange after yesterdays events. Thank you for your response it is very much appreciated.

Hello Angela,

That is very odd I agree!
Are you using an Exoterra Reptiglo 10 tube bulb?  If so, I highly recommend getting the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb instead.  It is much much better for UVB emissions than the Reptiglo is.
The Reptiglo tube bulbs do not emit the correct UVB wavelength which hinder D3 synthesis & calcium absorption, too.
At her age, you can use calcium 3 times a week for her with 1 time for the nutrabol which is vitamins.  
Wow, that is a strange fall though.  Could something have scared her perhaps?
I am glad to hear she isn't injured thankfully, poor girl.  
Did they do blood work too?

Keep me posted on her!



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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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