Bearded dragon lizards make great pets. While bearded dragons are generally healthy they can get an illness and if this happens when they are in the wild they may not last long. As pets, bearded dragons will often try to hide any symptoms they have when they are sick – this is probably because of their tendency not to last long when they are sick in the wild. It is up to you to discover what is normal for your beardie and if it starts behaving differently then the best thing to do is to have it seen by a veterinarian. You don’t want to put your bearded dragon health in danger.
One thing that every owner should keep an eye on is their beardie’s eating habits and also to their bowel movements. You need to know what their stools generally look like so that you can spot any difference that might signal a health problem. If there is more of a white powdery substance than usual this could mean that your pet has kidney problems.
In the early days special attention should be paid to your bearded dragon, especially if you purchased it from a pet shop. It is all too easy to get more than you bargained for and your pet could have intestinal parasites especially if they have been kept in a place with other dragons. Unless you buy from a reputable breeder you could find that your pet also has hook worms, coccida, round worms, pin worms and other pests.
You should make a routine visit to the herp vet at the end of the first two weeks of having your beardie and take a stool sample with you. They do take a while to settle in but if they appear overly stressed or sick then they may have coccida or other internal parasites and they will need to see a vet before the two weeks are up. If you house your beardie and feed it properly then it should be one of the healthiest pets, however, there are always exceptions to the rule and there are some common conditions that bearded dragons are prone to get.
While there are some serious conditions that bearded dragons may contract the more common ailments are as follows:
Intestinal parasites as mentioned above
Thermal burns (if the UV light is not far enough away)
A condition called impaction and metabolic bone disease or MBD.
Impaction is often caused by feeding your dragon the wrong diet, corn cobs for example are hard and indigestible – never give your beardie walnut shells as these can be very sharp – repti bark can be lodged in the throat and these things can cause impaction and death.