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Reptiles/Bearded Dragon diagnosis Osteomyelitis


Bearded dragon arm
Bearded dragon arm  

Hi Tracie,
I have a three yr old female bearded dragon.  This past year she has had back leg paralysis, an infection on her tail which caused a white area, and now a diagnosis of Osteomyelitis.  Her symptoms are in her front leg, swelling at the joint and the arm.  She also has a gray spot at the joint from the swelling.  She does not like to use the leg and appears to be in pain.  She keeps it pulled behind her instead of out front.  If I try to move it forward she resists.  
Her habitat is a 40 gallon terrarium, lighting 150 w heat, uvb 10.0 repti glo cfl, temps are daytime 95-110 F, and 80 F cool side 12 hrs daily, nighttime 65-70 F.
Her diet is superworms 3x per week dusted with calcium and fresh greens with diced veggies everyday also dusted with calcium.  Once a month she gets a horn worm as a treat.
We have had her on clindamycin and metacam daily for the last two weeks to help with the infection.  Our vet has done xrays and noticed that the bone in the elbow joint has been disintegrated.  We have scheduled an amputation as the only options were to PTS or amputating to prevent the infection from spreading. I would like your opinion to make sure we are doing the right thing for her, as she already has a lame back leg.

Hello Jen,

I am so sorry for the delay.  
Did your vet do a blood test also to be sure it is not gout?
That is a frustrating situation.  Do you know if she is Adenovirus positive or have you tested her?

The Clindamycin should be pretty good.  I have known of another case just about like yours actually, that had a bone infection which started at a nail bed & traveled.  She had to have her dragon's arm fully amputated as the bone had been eaten up with infection.
What finally cleared up the infection was AZT or the Zithromycin worked great.  Did they do a culture test on any fluids aspirated from the infected areas?

I recommend changing out the compact/coil UVB light, they don't emit very good UVB for them.  I suggest either the Reptisun 10 tube or the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb.  
What type of thermometer are you using to measure her temps with?  A digital probe or a temp gun?
The insects are fine, how many superworms does she get weekly?  Do you use any crickets or roaches also?
The metacam should help a lot with pain management.  Has her beard been darker in color indicating stress or pain?

As far as amputation, I agree with the procedure simply because the bone is disintegration of the bone & that wont grow back.  The infection can be stopped in that area once the infected tissue is removed.  
Do you have a way to post a video of her moving/walking for me, I can send my email so I can see.  

My email is:  

Some other things you can do for her right now are to get some bee pollen to help with immune system boosting.  Are you using any probiotics also while she is on medication to help out her tummy?  

If you do have a blood test copy, I would love to take a look at it, also.

Thanks.  Let me know how she is doing.


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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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