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Reptiles/Chinese Water Dragon



Unfortunately I am in the Army and had to leave my Chinese Water Dragon (Umi) alone with my wife for a few months. She never had much experience with reptiles and never mentioned a few problems Umi was having shortly after I had left. At best I can tell that she has a calcium deficiency and definitely needs a new UVB bulb. I was wondering is you might be able to suggest anything such as brands or other medicine that may be necessary. My greatest concern is will her jaw repair itself. I have dealt with cases of this in other smaller reptiles but nothing that looks this bad. Please see the attached image and thank you for any advise you may be able to provide.

She has never ate anything but mealworms and crickets so I made sure to stuff the crickets and give her the meal worms about once a week (she used to pig out on them). She hadn't ate anything for about a week so 2 days ago I placed some dried omnivore mix in her water bowl along with a bit of liquid vitamin. It took about 2 days but I saw her finally eating (i dont know if by accident) a mouth full of the sopping wet veggies.

ANSWER: Hello Michael,

I am sorry Umi is having some trouble!  
That does appear to be metabolic bone disease to some extent.  There is also what looks like some mouth damage apparently?  Do you have her in a glass tank & does she rub against the glass alot?  Her mouth/jaw looks like it is aligned properly, correct?
Which supplementation are you using & how often do you use it?  She does need calcium at least 3 times a week if she is an adult.  If she is under 1 year though, she will need calcium 5 times per week.  You could consider getting liquid calcium, as that is absorbed much more quickly.  What brand is the liquid vitamin you give her?
Sure, the best tube bulbs you can get are the T5 High Output bulbs which put out double, if not triple the amount of UVB than the T8 bulbs did.  The two best brands are either the Reptisun 10 or the Arcadia D3 12% & they both offer the T8 or the T5.  
Here is a site you can check out, that sells both:

Todd is great & can help with any other questions regarding the fixtures, etc needed if you are going to get a high output tube bulb.  Do you have a picture of her tank setup?
Since she is not eating, you can try getting some chicken, turkey or beef baby food & use a plastic dropper or syringe & drip the food onto the end of her nose to see if she will lick that off.  That might help to stimulate her appetite, too.

What are her temperatures & humidity currently in her tank?

Let me know how she is doing.


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

QUESTION: This is her tank setup. Due to some water damage her tank is on the floor while I build a new tank stand. She is usually free roaming through the day and likes where her tank was before. Usually her tank sits at about 75f and about 50% humidity but again it's not where she usually is. Her 'day spa' is usually on top of the fish tank so it's warm from the lights and more humid from the water.

Hello Michael,

How long does she free roam, a few hours per day?
Once you get her a UVB bulb then she will need to stay under the UVB light for at least 4-6 hours per day to help get her levels back up.
How is she doing today?
She does need a little higher basking area though.  I recommend 95F or so, for optimal health.  The humidity should be fine where it is now, at 50%.  
Did she eat anything today?  

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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