Bearded dragon quarantine
To quarantine is defined as the isolation or keeping separate from others. There are times where Bearded dragons should be quarantined. This article give more information about the quarantine of Bearded dragons.
What is quarantine?
Quarantine is often the term used to isolate animals that might transmit a disease. Although some diseases might still be invisible and have no ill effect, they might already be present and even transmittable to other animals (and sometimes humans). Quarantine principles are often instigated before new/unknown animals are introduced to known healthy ones. To allow for enough time common diseases takes to develop (also known as the quarantine period), one can be more assured that that disease is not present.
Quarantine vs. ‘isolation’
Similar, but not exactly the same as to quarantine, isolation is a medical term more often used to isolate known sick individuals to prevent the transmission of that disease. Although quarantine and isolation can be used in similar sitations, quarantine is more reserved for isolation in absence of a disease – in order to prevent the spread of diseases.
Bearded dragon quarantine
Unknown or newly enquired Bearded dragons should also be placed under quarantine – even healthy-looking ones. Bearded dragons are known to be affected by silent diseases (e.g. Adenovirus, coccidiosis , Yellow fungus disease, etc.), that, if not identified in time, will be transmitted to others.
The quarantine period is meant to prevent the transmission of (clinical and sub-clinical) diseases from one Bearded dragon to another. If a Bearded dragon is still visibly healthy after the quarantine period it will significantly lower the probability of having a disease – and it can be safely transferred to live with other Bearded dragons. The quarantine period for Bearded dragons should be for at least three, but preferably up to six months. Longer quarantine periods in Bearded dragons are especially important before the introduction to large, established collections.
The Bearded dragon quarantine enclosure
Each Bearded dragon should be quarantined separately.
A Bearded dragon should be quarantined with most of its basic requirements. Even if this is the case, the enclosure must be hygienic and should have easy access to be cleaned and disinfected efficiently and regularly. Newspaper or brown butcher paper are the substrates of choice and there should be as little cage furniture as possible.
During the quarantine period, Bearded dragons should be handled with medical latex gloves to prevent the transmission of potential zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be transmitted to humans). Afterwards, handlers should wash their hands with an appropriate antiseptic hand wash before working with other reptiles and Bearded dragons.
Quarantined Bearded dragons should be inspected before, during and after the quarantine period. Visual inspections can be done by keepers, but an experienced, reptile friendly veterinarian will also be able to assist with more advanced ways to diagnose difficult-to-see diseases. Veterinary inspections should be done at all three these stages.
Bearded dragons should be inspected for overall health, appetite, the appearance of droppings and external parasites. The colour and appearance of the skin (before, while and after shedding) should also be inspected. The shedding frequency should also be noted down. Also see Yellow fungus disease for more information.
Before Bearded dragons are allowed to exit from the quarantine period they should at least be visibly healthy to the keeper. This means that a Bearded dragon should be in good condition, eating, defaecating and shedding normally. They should also have a steady weight increase in the case of growing and underweight Bearded dragons, or sustain their weight in the case of adults.