Have you noticed your bearded dragon has lost its appetite and is making wheezing noises?
Are you afraid your bearded dragon has developed a respiratory infection?
Respiratory tract infections aren’t uncommon in bearded dragons, but you want to make sure your animal is happy and healthy as a pet owner.
Respiratory tract infections are bacterial infections in the lungs caused by excess moisture.
If you do think your bearded dragon has a bacterial infection of this kind, you might ask:
How do I treat a respiratory infection in a bearded dragon?
The first and most crucial step to take if you believe your bearded dragon is sick is to make an appointment to see your dragon’s vet, where the infection is treated with antibiotics. Besides antibiotics, healing is aided by introducing a dehumidifier to reduce moisture and increase the temperature in their enclosure.
Continue reading for more details on bearded dragon respiratory infection and best practices for caring for your pet.
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Best Ways To Treat A Bearded Dragon’s Respiratory Infection
As mentioned above, the best way to get your bearded dragon back to 100% is to visit the vet.
The vet will be able to accurately diagnose a bearded dragon respiratory infection and provide antibiotics to help with the healing process.
There are some environmental changes to make at home to help as well.
Since these infections occur because of excess moisture in your beardy’s lungs, it can help to increase the temperature of their enclosure slightly.
The temperature in the hottest area of the tank of an adult bearded dragon should be between 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C) and 100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° C).
If you have a baby dragon, the temperature in the enclosure should fall between 105° degrees Fahrenheit (41° C) to 110° degrees Fahrenheit (43° C) in the hottest area.
Here’s our dedicated post on bearded dragon tank temperature for a guide on maintaining the correct temperatures in your tank.
Increasing slightly by 3-5 degrees can help burn off some of the excess moisture.
Sometimes the humidity level in the tank might be higher than the recommended 40%.
If you’re having trouble maintaining the desired humidity level, it is beneficial to bring in a dehumidifier.
A dehumidifier will get rid of excess moisture causing the infection in your pet.
Correcting environmental issues with their habitat is an easy way to help your beardy recover, but a trip to the vet is the sure cure.
If your reptile has a severe case, your vet might perform a trans-tracheal wash.
How Do Bearded Dragons Get Respiratory Infections?
A bearded dragon is likely to get a respiratory infection at least once in its life.
This type of infection is common when moisture stays in the lungs, creating a build-up of bacteria.
Respiratory infections happen when moisture levels in their environment are too high or temperatures are too low.
Poor habitat conditions or improper heat and moisture levels are the most common reasons for developing this disease.
Beardies also get water in their lungs during bathing if the water level is too high.
It is good to keep water levels below their vents to prevent them from breathing in the water and aspirating.
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Symptoms Of A Respiratory Infection
Identifying the signs of respiratory infection in your beardy is difficult because they are programmed to hide weakness from their predators in the wild.
Some symptoms you might notice include:
- A loss of appetite and weight loss
- Little to no energy
- Difficulty breathing resulting in snorting or wheezing and open mouth breathing
- A runny mucus discharge coming from the mouth
- Black bearding for extended periods
- Puffed up throat or body
How To Prevent Your Bearded Dragon From Getting A Respiratory Infection?
There are some general things you can do to help your bearded dragon avoid getting a respiratory infection.
As mentioned, these infections are common in bearded dragons, but there are ways to reduce the risk.
Maintain Humidity Levels And Temperatures
Bearded dragons are desert dwellers, which means they survive in an arid climate.
To help reduce the risk of your bearded dragon developing a respiratory infection, make sure the humidity levels are within the ideal range of between 30% and 40%, but never go any higher.
You can test the humidity levels of your beardy’s home with a hygrometer.
- Day/Night Temperatures
- Humidity & Timing Control
- Alarm When Temps Reach Unsafe Levels
Along with humidity levels, temperature levels are significant for the health of your beardy.
These reptiles require a tank large enough to have a cool side and a hot side.
The hot side of your tank should fall in a temperature range between 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C) and 105° degrees Fahrenheit (41° C) for adults, and the cool side should be about 85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C).
For baby dragons, the hottest section of the enclosure should fall between 105° degrees Fahrenheit (41° C) and 110° degrees Fahrenheit (43° C).
Another factor in keeping your bearded dragon healthy revolves around their stress levels.
Beardies are easily stressed animals, but stress can weaken your bearded dragon’s immune system.
Stress commonly occurs when you first bring home your new pet or if their habitat is set up improperly.
There are several other reasons your otherwise healthy bearded dragon could get stressed. These include:
- Too much (or too little) handling
- Unwanted changes in diet
- Illnesses and injuries
- Too much time in the tank
- Cohabitation struggles
Whatever the reason for the stress, you can do a few things to help minimize it.
To reduce stress on your pet, you might keep handling to a minimum, reducing outside stimuli, and even giving them a warm bath.
There are other options to help reduce stress, but it is a matter of finding what works best with your pet.
Keep Their Environment Clean
Your bearded dragon’s tank is a haven for mold and just general build-up.
It is a good idea to clean their environment at least once every three months, but every month is even better for your animal.
Choose The Correct Substrate
There are some substrates you might be using in your animal’s enclosure to retain moisture, causing humidity.
Using mulch or bark is not a good idea for your beardy for this reason.
Also, these items can lead to impaction in your pet.
Be sure to use the proper substrate in your beardy’s environment for the health and safety of your animal.
Newspaper, ceramic tile, or reptile carpet are some of the best options to use in their enclosure.
Your Bearded Dragon’s Health and Happiness – The Final Word
Now you know the treatments, symptoms, and causes of respiratory infections in bearded dragons, we hope you will be able to minimize the risk to your pet.
There are a lot of things you can control in their environment to help prevent these infections.
Ultimately, knowing your pet and monitoring their home is a sure way to keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy throughout their life.