Reptiles/bearded dragon


I recently got a new bearded dragon, when I got her home I noticed what looked to be an infection around her mouth area. Some times it's white pasty and soft but must of the time it's brown and hard I've looked inside her mouth and there's nothing there. She also has no problem opening her mouth it just seems to be on her lips. Here lately she's less active and not eating as much as usual any ideas as to what it could be and what I can do for her?

Hi Amber

Thanks for the photo, that is very helpful. It does look like Gimpy has some mouth rot.

Mouth rot is an opportunistic infection. It can occur when the reptile's immune system has been compromised through stress or inadequate temperatures which may have been the case before you acquired him. Injuries or irritation to the mouth through ingesting sand can also predispose a reptile to developing it.

That looks like dried tissue fluid that has accumulated. The pasty white portion would be pus which is semi-solid in reptiles and resembles soft cheese (sorry about the food analogy!)

The first step is to get the area cleaned out by removing any pus, dead tissue and dried fluid and then applying an antibiotic solution to the area. You will have to apply the antibiotic daily for several days.

The easiest and most gentle way to initially clean the area is to use a cotton swab soaked with hydrogen peroxide that you can get at any drug store. This solution will bubble and loosen the debris allowing you to swab it away. Keep Gimpy tilted nose slightly down when you do this. A small amount of the solution can enter the mouth but you don't want any running down his throat to the point where he swallows it. Pull down the skin slightly to swab inside the lip line as well.

Hydrogen peroxide is good for the initial cleaning but it is a bit harsh on tissues and can slow the healing process. I don't recommend using it more then once or twice. After you have cleaned the area you will need to apply some diluted Betadine to the area with a swab. Again, a small amount can enter the mouth but you don't want him swallowing it. Betadine has a wide spectrum and works again most bacteria and fungus. Chlorhexidine is another good option if you can find it. Betadine is available at most pharmacies. Dilute it by half with water.

Mild cases of mouth rot usually respond to this level of home treatment but if you see no improvement Gimpy may need to see a vet for systemic antibiotics. Good luck.


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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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