Bearded dragon choking/gagging By: Smell23 Date: February 01, 2010, 04:03:34 PM
For the past few days/week my bearded dragon has been sortof twitching.. while opening his mouth like he is coughing or heaving. He did seem to be better yesterday and ate about 4 or 5 crickets but today he’s off his food completely. He seems to be rubbing his head along the piece of wood in his vivarium an awful lot and actually seems much much more active than usual.
I did feed him meal worms for the first time the day before he started doing this so I DID think this could be related... but it seems to have gone on too long to be food related?
I would have already taken him to the vets but there isn’t one anywhere near that knows anything much about reptiles. I called the pet shop and they weren’t that much help. The guy did mention that sometimes bearded dragons can swallow mealworms whole and they can then try to eat their way out of the stomach?? This sounds absurd when I think about how effective their digestive system must be to digest crickets.. but is there some truth in this? He also mentioned parasites but the symptoms that I’ve read about on the internet don’t really seem to add up to that.
He doesn’t really eat any vegetables generally, much as I try (even off a vibrating feeding dish!).. the only time he does eat vegetables is when he licks vegetable soup off my finger, never when they’re put in with him. All the crickets he eats are dusted in calcium.. but could this be a reason - maybe a deficiency in something?
Oh yeah he’s about 4 months-ish old and I’ve had him for about 3 weeks. Any help would be apreciated.
I will try to get a video of him doing this behaviour if you think that’d help.
Re: Bearded dragon choking/gagging By: ladyknite Date: February 01, 2010, 04:14:15 PM
a detailed description of your enclosure including basking and ambient temperatures as well as brand and type of UVB lighting used would be very beneficial.
Re: Bearded dragon choking/gagging By: Smell23 Date: February 01, 2010, 04:40:15 PM
I don't actually have thermometers which I know is a bit of a problem.
The UVB light is Exo Terra Repti Glo 10.0. It is 20w and 60cm long. I use wood chips reccomended by the pet store as substrate..
The basking lamp is a 60w reflector lamp and and night I put in Exo Terra Night Glo 15w bulb.
Is there anything else you'd like to know?
Here's a pic of his viv:
Re: Bearded dragon choking/gagging By: ladyknite Date: February 01, 2010, 05:04:11 PM
You want to change out your substrate. Particles, especially wood chips, are easily ingested, and can result in lacerations of gut or other areas of digestion tract. Replace them with some paper towel, news paper, shelf liner, tile or something not particle for now till we figure out what is wrong.
Not having a thermometer causes a big issue. If your baby is eating, but not recieving the proper temperatures needed for digestion, that food as good as rots on his tummy. which causes him to regurgitate. Dragons should not regurgitate. You can locate a fairly inexpensive indoor/outdoor probe thermometer at most hardware stores or general home stores.
The repti glo isn't the best light, but it's not the worst. Some bulbs seem to have issues. Watch for him to keep his eyes closed alot, hide from the light, or for swelling or discharge. You'll want to order the Arcadia if you're in the UK, and the repti sun 10 in US.
Re: Bearded dragon choking/gagging By: Smell23 Date: February 01, 2010, 05:20:54 PM
Thanks so much for your reply. I'll get the wood out of there now and buy some of that reptile carpet tomorrow along with a thermometer.
He doesn't seem to close his eyes too much, but I'll look out for that. He definitely doesn't hide from the light and his eyes look fine.
Re: Bearded dragon choking/gagging By: perfectly_flawed Date: February 01, 2010, 08:31:47 PM
When you get a thermometer, make sure it's a digital thermometer with a probe, and the probe must touch the basking surface to provide an accurate temp. The stick on types are inaccurate, and won't tell you the basking surface temp, which is the most important temp in the enclosure.
Re: Bearded dragon choking/gagging By: dragonlover Date: February 04, 2010, 05:01:16 PM
I've seen dragons at 4 mos be very small and some very large. How long is he and do you know how much he weighs? Mealworms are NEVER a good idea with dragons under 12-13", too much tough chitin that they can't digest and can cause impaction or regurgitation. Either can be deadly to your guy. Has he pooped since then? And if so, was it normal size? Again temps are HUGE. You can't guess at that, they will either stop eating and die or die from rotting food in their gut. Walmart has a great digital therm w/ probe for about 12 bucks. Alot less than a vets bill. And yes PLEASE get that stuff out of the bottom of his cage. Have you read up on basic husbandry for dragons? You also don't need a night time light either as long as temps don't go down too low, they need a cool down period. Also have you been soaking him? That might help him pass stuff if he has some still left in there. And you must get him to eat greens. Think of him as a kid who always wants to go to McDonalds. Is that healthy for them, NO. 25% of his diet needs to come from greens now but when he is full grown it switches to 75% greens. If not he will be facing an early demise. You also need to rethink your calcium levels and are you also giving him vit and min?