Close your eyes and think about what it would feel like to watch a limb slowly die out. Imagine losing feeling in your arms or leg. This is what a huge number of bearded dragons go through. It is pretty scary. At the end of this piece, you will know as much as there is to be known today. Especially how to prevent, identify and treat tail rot. If you’re bothered by that dark looking patch on the tail of your dragon, this piece is for you. Perhaps you are just curious because you plan on adopting a dragon soon. Either way, you are going to be glad you read this.
What is Bearded Dragon Tail Rot?
Tail rot is a condition that causes the tail of a reptile to rot away. This mostly happens because of internal infection or trauma to the tail. In an extreme case, the tail will fall off if the condition is not treated promptly. This condition can cause the infection to spread up into the body. Therefore, It will damage internal organs and can lead to death.
Now, I will discuss the causes, prevention, and treatment of tail rots. What do you do when your bearded dragon shows signs of this disease? This experience is very common amongst bearded dragons. This is because a tail often goes for a long time without notice. It is, therefore, a relief that there is more information on the disease today. And because of this, is easier to spot and treat a rotting tail today.
Causes of tail rot
Like every other disease, tail rot has its causes and risk factors. Here are some common causes of tail rot.
1. Trauma from fights
In the wild, bearded dragons are solitary animals. The only pairs that exist are the male and female pair. And even their union is short-lived. They are only together during mating. After this, each goes their own way.
Now when more than one dragon is put together in captivity, a fight will definitely break out. These animals are highly territorial, Therefore, they do not flock in groups at all.
In the course of a fight, they could bite each other’s tails. The result of that is trauma to the tail and it could get infected.
There are different types of trauma that affect bearded dragons tails. The tail can get crushed or bitten or pinched. Anyone of these sorts of trauma can cause rot.
Another thing that can cause a tail rot in bearded dragons is the lack of proper nourishment. If your bearded dragon is not getting good food, it can develop tail rot.
Good food for bearded dragons consists of protein, vitamins, and especially calcium. Insects and vegetables provide these in abundance.
3. Low UVB
Dragons thrive on UVB. This is basically their life force. In order to properly digest their food, dragons need an abundance of UVB. If this sort of sunlight is missing, they will not absorb their calcium. This will make their tail bone prone to trauma and rot.
The appearance of tail rot
There are some features that should alert you to tail rot in your dragon. These features include;
1. Color change
When a bearded dragon has tail rot, the tail will change color to a black appearance because it is dying. This will happen irrespective of what the dragon’s tail color was before.
2. Dry and dehydrated
A dragon who is experiencing tail rot will have a tail that appears coarse and dry. This is because that part of their body isn’t receiving nutrients anymore. If you notice a sudden unusual dryness about the tail of your dragon, it can be tail rot.
Tail rot will ultimately cause the tail to decay and fall off. This is the ultimate signal of tail rot. By the time this happens, the body of the dragon is infected.
All of these symptoms usually start at the tip of the tail and then spread towards the body.
Now some dragons have a naturally dark tail. If your dragon has always had a darker tail, it is nothing to worry about. A lot of dragons actually have dark or black tails.
Tail rot symptoms
Apart from the appearance of the tail, there are also some tell-tale signs of tail rot. Here they are;
1. Black beard show
A dragon with tail rot will also be distressed and in pain. This will trigger a more often appearance of black beard. If your dragon is sporting a darker tail and showing more dragon beard than usual, you could take her to the vet immediately.
If your bearded dragon is acting impatient, biting or trying to bite you or hiding away too much in addition to sporting a darker decaying tail, this is your cue to take him to the vet.
3. Loss of appetite
Nearly all animals do this. When they are sick or dying, Animals lose appetite and your dragon is no different.
Prevention of bearded dragon tail rot.
Like every disease in the world, there are some things you can do to prevent tail rot in bearded dragons. Here are a couple of things.
1. Adopt a healthy dragon
I cannot overemphasize the importance of adopting only healthy beardies in the first place. When you go to adopt your beardies, contact only certified breeders. Have a vet check him out before you bring him home.
2. Get a perfect enclosure
Get your bearded dragon a nice and safe enclosure. Ensure that there are no hanging bits that can fall off and crush him. Make sure that there are no sharp edges either.
3. Feed him right!
As said earlier, nutrition is very important to bearded dragon health. Give him food that is rich in calcium. Plenty of water. Plenty of protein and vitamins too. With a balanced blend of these, your dragon will be healthy.
4. UVB is a must!
There is no doubt that the ultraviolet beam is a very important aspect of bearded dragon care. It is important for the absorption of nutrients like calcium. Failure to provide this therefore will lead to a weakening of dragon bones and tail rot.
5. Keep dragons separately
Don’t ever house more than one dragon in the same enclosure. This is very important. No matter how much food you provide, they will still fight. Their fights can harm one or both of them. Build each dragon his own enclosure. Even when they are just babies, avoid placing them together.
If you make the mistake of putting them together, you will experience rivalry at its peak. Your dragons will become aggressive. They could bite each other over and over again. Causing trauma to body and tail.
6. Shed dragon shed!
Shedding is an important part of dragons life. Once in a while, they let go of their old skin and get new ones. Most reptiles do this also. Now sometimes a shedding cycle can take a while longer than usual. You may be tempted to pull off the rest. Don’t.
Even if it is hanging by the tiniest bit. Don’t pull it off. Pulling it off can case starring and scarring can cause rot.
Treatment for tail rot in Bearded Dragon
The safest and fastest way to fix everything is to take your dragon to a vet right away. Not just any vet too. A well known and respectable reptile vet is best because you don’t want a quack handling your pets care. The vet will tell you if your dragon does have the rot or not. He may take blood samples and run some tests just to be sure. Another reason for the test is to be able to tell what sort of infection he has. And what sort of antibiotic to use on it. He will also be able to tell you how to prevent another episode.
After diagnosing the rot, the vet will prescribe antibiotics and in severe cases recommend surgery.
However, if you would prefer a home remedy, here are some remedies that have worked for some people. There is little guarantee that these remedies will work for your dragon. This is because effectiveness depends on how bad the infection is. And for how long your pet has had it. It is worth a try anyway to feel free to try it.
Mix three parts water and one part betadine in a bowl and submerge the tail about one inch above the visible tail rot. You will need to handle the dragon gently if it’s squirmy. Hold the dragon in there for about five to six minutes.
When it’s done, dry the tail very gently with tissue paper. Then apply a non-analgesic Neosporin to the tail. then put him back in his enclosure.
Repeat this process 2 to 3 times a day for at least one week, but ideally two.