One of the more common problems affecting pet lizards is the bearded dragon bone disease. More commonly known as the Metabolic Bone Disease is basically a lizard that is affected by calcium deficiency.
The problem shows up as softening of the bones and skeleton deformities. This problem may be caused by either lack of calcium in their diet, more phosphorus than calcium intake or lack of vitamin D.
Bearded dragons are very resilient animals not prone to illnesses. In their natural environment they have an abundance of resources to fulfill their requirements. In captivity if one or more of the necessities is neglected than there is a great chance that your dragon can contract many diseases and become sick.
To avoid or minimize these problems the pet owner should offer exceptional enclosure environmental properties and dietary rations.
The bone disease can be prevented at an early stage by feeding the juveniles with diet rich in calcium and providing full spectrum lighting. There are not much early signs of this disease but the symptoms to look out for would be softening of the jaws, tail deformities, fractured limb, slow growth and not able to move easily.
If the problem goes unattended it can become worse but early treatment can reverse some of the damage by giving them a good diet and providing proper lighting. At this point a visit to the vet can be beneficial.
The lizards can also be affected by injuries, abscesses and burns. Although some of these are preventable some injuries caused by other dragons and by bites can go past even the most experienced keeper. Minor bites and wounds can be treated by the keeper by washing the wounds and applying antiseptics.
Abscesses are formed when small wounds are left untreated. They become infected and pus forms collecting bacteria and toxins in the body. This requires veterinary treatment.
Burns take place when the dragon comes too close to the heating lamp. If this is allowed the dragon will remain there and bask under the heat unaware of being burnt. Burns should be looked after by vets as it may cause shock and dehydration.
The dragons can be affected with other diseases like stomatitis, respiratory disease, stomach impaction, parasite disease (mite attack), flagellates and yellow fungus.
Another not so fatal disease is Beta-carotine deficiency which causes the dragons to lose their pigmentation over a period of time. Stress can also lead to various problems and sickness. Some adult beardies can build up too much fat in their abdomen which is called Hepatic lipidosis syndrome.
If your dragons are not getting enough light and heat stomach impaction may occur. This is a build up of undigested food in their guts. Feeding large chunks of food or large crickets to juveniles can also cause gut impaction.
Keeping the dragons warm when they are ill will greatly help in their recovery.