Bearded Dragon Health: How To Remedy Impaction
One of the most common bearded dragon health problems is the risk of impaction. Impaction occurs when your lizard cannot fully digest its food, causing a blockage of the intestines. This is generally caused by poor living conditions and an improper diet. Before going to the vet, there are some home remedies that have proven to be very effective in minor cases.
Although poor rearing is the main cause of impaction in beardies, this problem can arise even in the most ideal environments. For example, if you have rescued a lizard that had a serious digestive problem in the past, its intestines are more likely to be affected in the future, regardless of the current conditions in which it is living.
“But how do I know if my lizard is shocked?”
The first thing you will notice in an impacted dragon is a lack of bowel movements. If you spend time with your pet daily, you will notice when things get “uneven.” Younger beardies must defecate almost daily due to the large number of insects they eat. Adults, on the other hand, can only go once every 7-10 days. Again, this depends on your specific dragon and what is “regular” for them. If your adult reaches 2 weeks without movement, he may have a problem.
Another good sign of impaction is feeling your pet’s stomach. Feel for any abnormal lumps or hard spots. Again, if you handle your pet regularly, it will be easier for you to determine how his stomach should feel when he is healthy. You should also consider the amount of food they eat. A mist dragon won’t eat much at all, so it won’t require you to defecate as often.
A more serious case would actually hamper your pet’s movement. Hind leg paralysis is a common symptom of an impacted dragon. If you notice that the back legs of your beard are not moving or not working, take them directly to the vet.
“I think my bearded dragon is shocked. What should I do?”
This is the process that I have used to help pass several affected lizards over the years:
- Stop feeding them insects
- Give the lizard a few drops of vegetable or olive oil through a dropper. If you can’t get them to swallow the oil on their own, try mixing it with unsweetened applesauce.
- Prepare a warm bath and let them soak for about 30 minutes.
- While soaking, gently rub the stomach from the muzzle to ventilate repeatedly.
- Take them out of the bathroom and put them in the sunlight.
- Repeat several times a day until the impaction passes.
This method has worked very well for me in the past. However, if their beards have not yet passed impaction within a couple of days of this treatment, take them to a vet as soon as possible. What this procedure does is help hydrate your pet while loosening the impaction through massage and oil from the abdomen. You may also want to steer clear of solid veggies during this time. Offer baby food instead of regular salad, and make sure she gets plenty of fluids. Pedialyte and Gatorade work very well for this purpose.
Bearded dragon health is something pretty easy to monitor if you know what to look for. But even the most experienced goalkeepers run into the occasional problem from time to time. That’s when having a few tricks up your sleeve will come in handy. These tips will not only prevent another vet bill, but will keep your pet healthy and happy by allowing you to take immediate action. The best thing to do is spend time with your pet every day, this way you will immediately notice when something is not right with your lizard.