Common pet Bearded dragon injuries
As a keeper, chances are that your Bearded dragon will get injured at some point. Some of the more common Bearded dragon injuries that one might encounter include biting injuries, crushing injuries, improper shedding related injuries and falling injuries.
Any Bearded dragon injury should be considered as serious. Apart from identifying and rectifying the cause, very often medical intervention by a professional is life saving.
Bearded dragon biting injuries
The most common seen Bearded dragon injury is probably from biting – usually larger Bearded dragons biting smaller ones or male dragons biting female dragons during the breeding process. Occasionally Bearded dragon biting injuries can also come from prey, such as crickets or juvenile mice.
Biting each other is very common among juvenile Bearded dragons, especially where food is limited and/or in multi-colony enclosures. Biting injuries are also problematic for breeders where overcrowding takes place. Larger juveniles are prone to bully smaller ones. Also see Bearded dragon bite injuries for more information.
Bearded dragon falling injuries
Falling injuries are also seen from time to time. Irresponsible owners or incorrect handling can lead to loss of control with subsequent falling – often from a significant height. Beardies are known to be unpredictable and often suddenly dash away when handled.
Bearded dragons can also fall from too high cage furniture or from climbing up against the side of meshed enclosures. These reptiles like to climb, so try to be vigilant when planning the height of cage furniture or the enclosure itself.
Bearded dragon falling injuries can cause major internal bleeding, organ rupture and bone fractures.
Within a few hours after the incident, internal injuries and organ ruptures can sometimes be identified by enlargement of the abdomen, fast or difficult breathing and/or bleeding from the mouth. Later signs include lethargy and unwillingness to eat.
Fractures from falling injuries will not always be obvious, but can sometimes be seen by localised swelling or reluctance to use the fractured extremity.
Less common Bearded dragon injuries
Other injuries include nose abrasions from knocking too frequently on the side of the enclosure or constriction injuries from improper skin sloughing. Also see glass surfing behaviour in Bearded dragons for more information.
Potential required treatment
Injuries should always be considered serious – infection, pain, inactivity, loss of the affected area and often death are common consequences. When injured, consult a more experienced Bearded dragon keeper, herpetologist or your closest reptile friendly veterinarian for the best advice.
Where minor injuries occured, the best is often to remove the reason for the injury. For minor open wounds, home treat will include strict hygiene principles and and the application of a safe antiseptic (e.g. F10’s Germicidal Barrier Ointment).
In severe or more complicated cases, radiographs and/or ultrasonography might be necessary to diagnose the type and extend of the injuries and to determine the chance of survival. Treatment might include any or a combination of drips, antibiotics, pain medication and surgery.
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