Bearded dragon tail rot causes, symptoms, and treatments are all crucial to looking after your dragon. Which is why that’s what we’ll be talking about today!
If you own a bearded dragon or you’re preparing to buy one, there’s a common condition that affects many of these creatures which you need to know about. It’s called tail rot, and it’s as painful as it sounds. Almost all bearded dragons will experience this ailment in their lives, so it’s important to be aware of it.
We’ve put together a fact-filled guide about what causes bearded dragon tail rot, how to recognize symptoms, and how you can treat it. Hopefully, your reptile will never have to experience it. However, if they do suffer from bearded dragon tail rot, you’ll know exactly what to do after reading this guide!
Bearded Dragon Tail Rot Symptoms
When looking out for bearded tail rot, there are a few clear symptoms that every owner should be aware of: If you notice even one of the symptoms, you must address it straight away, as they can progress rapidly and become more serious and uncomfortable for your reptile.
Common Signs of Tail Rot
- Dehydration — If you notice your dragon’s tail feels dry and produces coarse flakes this could be a warning sign that they have started to develop tail rot.
- The bottom of the tail turning black — This is the most infected area on your dragon. The blackening is a signal that the tissue in the tail is dying.
- Decay and separation — This leads up to the final and most severe stage of the condition. As the tail continues to decay, it will eventually completely rot and fall off.
Symptoms of Bearded Dragon Tail Rot: Changes In Behaviour
You can also uncover symptoms of the condition if you notice your bearded dragon’s behavior changes. From losing its appetite to becoming aggressive, irritable, and in extreme cases biting. These are signs that something isn’t quite right and your beardie could have tail rot.
Observe your bearded dragon closely. If you notice that he/she is hiding in its enclosure more than normal, this could be a sign of depression or it could be brumation. If your dragon begins to exhibit physical pain whenever its tail touches anything, they could be suffering from tail rot.
If your dragon’s tail rot becomes so severe that it eventually drops off, note that the infection may have spread internally to other organs and parts of its body. At this point, you’ll need the expertise of a veterinary professional.
How Dangerous is Bearded Dragon Tail Rot?
If left untreated, bearded dragon tail rot can be serious, and at times, fatal.
As previously mentioned, first-time dragon owners may not recognize the symptoms or spot the rot until it has developed into something more serious. In some cases, owners are oblivious of the condition until after the tail has completely fallen off.
If the rot gets to this stage, then you must seek veterinary attention. This is because the condition will have had time to develop, potentially causing internal infections that can lead to organ failure.
What Causes Bearded Dragon Tail Rot?
There are three main causes which you should be aware of. I’ll go through each of them and explain what to look out for.
1. Physical Trauma
The most common cause to look out for is if your dragon has endured some form of trauma to its tail. It could be caused by a cut that has not healed properly, a bite from another lizard, or any other sort of injury.
If you notice that your dragon has physically hurt, you must look out for tail rot symptoms. Monitor your bearded dragon closely, as it’s not unusual for an internal infection to begin.
2. Poor Nutrition
Other causes of bearded dragon tail rot could be from poor nutrition or a bad diet. If your bearded dragon becomes malnourished, its calcium levels will be low, which means its bone and cartilage growth could be stunted. Any wounds they have will also heal much slower. Keep your bearded dragon and their belly happy with a good, balanced diet. If you’d like to learn more about a beardie’s diet, read this article.
A lack of calcium impacts a dragon’s bone structure, which increases the risk of the tail becoming weak. A week tail increases the risk of infection, with the tail being more likely to rot.
3. Lack of UVB
Bearded dragons require UVB light to produce vitamin D. Having enough sunlight will ensure their vitamin D levels are maintained, helping the dragons digest the calcium they need for growth and repair of their cells. To make sure they get enough sunlight, it’s worth investing in a high-quality UVB light. The best UVB lamp is one made by TEKIZOO, you can get it from Amazon for $29.
Bearded Dragon Tail Rot Treatment
If you notice that your bearded dragon is showing tail rot symptoms, such as the tip of the tail turning black, you will want to seek medical assistance immediately. Definitely go to the vet!
While calling the vet is always the best option, there are also other remedies you can perform yourself.
Treat Bearded Dragon Tail Rot At Home
Here’s how you can treat bearded dragon tail rot at home:
- Mix 3 parts water and 1 part Betadine. Stir the mix until it turns dark.
- Gently dip the affected area of the tail in the liquid and hold for around 5 minutes.
- Keep the area submerged so the tail can soak up the solution.
- Dab the tail with a dry paper towel or cloth. Be sure to be gentle as a rotting tail can be easily broken.
- When you’ve dried the tail, dab some antibiotic ointment on the affected area. You can use creams such as Neosporin.
If your beardie doesn’t like to sit still, you may have to repeat the process a few times until the tail has been submerged for the required time.
You should also perform the treatment 2-3 times every day for a minimum of 1 week.
How To Prevent Bearded Dragon Tail Rot
“An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure”
– Henry De Bracton
I don’t know who Henry De Bracton is, but he’s right. So, here are a few ways that you can make sure your bearded dragon never has suffer to from tail rot.
- Keep your reptile housed correctly in a solitary enclosure.
- Ensure their diet is nutritious and high quality.
- Expose them to the required amounts of calcium, vitamin D, and UVB exposure.
- Don’t pull hanging or shedding skin from your dragon.
- Take your dragon to an experienced veterinarian for regular checkups.
- Provide your bearded dragon with a comfortable, stress-free environment. If your reptile lives with heightened and continuous stress levels, it could lead to future health complications.
- Keep its environment clean. A dirty and unkempt environment can attract insects and bugs, which can bite dragons. If left alone, this could lead to tail rot.
- Prevent other creatures from entering the enclosure. If you notice your bearded dragon itching its tail, they may have contracted mites or other insect infestations. Note that crickets are infamous for biting bearded dragons.
If you notice symptoms or your dragon is already experiencing tail rot, and it isn’t improving, you should consult with your vet. While you can treat and prevent the condition, experienced professionals can offer the best bearded dragon tail rot treatment.
Bearded dragon tail rot is nothing to be afraid of, providing you catch it early and either provide the necessary treatment or seek medical advice.
You must look out for symptoms and signs of possible tail rot. As Henry De Bacton said, prevention is better than cure.
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