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Bearded dragon skin conditions range from minor to serious. Knowing the cause, symptoms, and the right treatment plan for each condition can help you save your bearded dragon.
A large percentage of skin conditions in bearded dragons result from poor husbandry. If a beardie is not fed a healthy diet, they are more likely to be affected by skin diseases. Aside from that, it also predisposes them to other health complications.
Keeping a bearded dragon in unhygienic conditions can also predispose them to skin diseases. As such, you should see to it that your pet beardie is getting proper care at all times. Moreover, you can prevent most skin conditions in bearded dragons by keeping their enclosure clean.
Below are some of the common bearded dragon skin conditions that you should look out for.
Dysecdysis is one of the most common skin conditions in bearded dragons and other reptile species. It refers to the abnormal or incomplete shedding of the skin’s outer layer. Dysecdysis can affect beardies of all ages.
If you have been keeping pet beardies for a while, then you must be aware that they shed their skin periodically. This process occurs throughout the bearded dragon’s life and is essential for growth. Dysecdysis is characterized by retained or stuck shed on different parts of the beardie’s body.
This skin condition can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, and parasitic infestations. The good news is that the disease is both preventable and treatable. You can safeguard your bearded dragon against dysecdysis by feeding them foods rich in vitamin A.
Additionally, you should keep the humidity levels inside the enclosure between 20% and 40%. If not treated in good time, retained shed can restrict blood flow to certain parts of the bearded dragon’s body.
Treating dysecdysis in bearded dragons is very easy and does not require you to use any medication. In most cases, you can help your beardie remove the stuck shed by soaking them in lukewarm water. If you go this route, be sure to check out our guide on how to properly bathe your bearded dragon.
Warm water between 85°F and 100°F is ideal for removing retained shed in bearded dragons. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to gently rub stubborn shed off your beardie. However, prevention is always recommended.
#2. Yellow Skin Fungus
Yellow skin fungus, medically referred to as Chrysosporium Anamorph of Nanniziopsis vriesii (CANV), is a type of fungal infection that affects skin tissue in bearded dragons. The infection can attack both the lower and upper layers of the skin.
Nonetheless, it can also spread to critical organs such as the liver, spleen, and lungs if left untreated. In worst-case scenarios, severe yellow skin fungus can cause death in beardies. And as the name suggests, CANV causes the host’s skin to turn yellowish.
If you notice that your bearded dragon’s skin is discolored, you should consider separating the sick beardie from the rest of the colony. Poor diet, unhygienic conditions, and stress are some of the factors that can predispose your beardie to CANV.
Like most fungal infections, CANV is not easy to treat, especially if the pathogen has spread to other organs. For treatment to be successful, the disease must be detected while it is still in the early stages.
Your vet will provide you with topical antifungal medication for your beardie. The veterinarian may also administer systemic antifungals orally or through injections. CANV treatment can take weeks or even months depending on the severity of the infection.
#3. Scale Rot
Bearded dragon scale rot is also another common skin condition in beardies. Scale rot is caused by strains of bacteria that thrive in moist conditions. With that being said, if you expose your bearded dragon to high levels of humidity, they are likely to get scale rot.
Scale rot causes severe damage to the bearded dragon’s scales. At first, the bacteria may only infect a few scales but it will later spread throughout the beardie’s body. And like CANV, scale rot is contagious.
Beardies with scale rot often have flaky skin and brownish scales. Abscesses and blisters may form in the affected areas, thus causing the scales to fall off.
Keeping the humidity levels at 20-40% can help prevent this disease. In addition to this, the bearded dragon’s enclosure should be cleaned with a disinfectant regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria.
Appropriate antibiotics can be administered by a vet after performing a diagnosis. The medications used during treatment may vary depending on how severe the infection is.
Also, the infected bearded dragon should be housed separately throughout the treatment period.
If you’d like to treat scale rot yourself, check out our guide on the best antibiotics you can self-administer.
#4. Wrinkly Skin
This is not considered a skin disease, but it is a common condition in bearded dragons. A bearded dragon’s skin may become wrinkly when they are dehydrated or underweight.
Both factors can cause serious health complications in bearded dragons. So ensure that you take your beardie to the vet to get an accurate diagnosis.
Wrinkly skin in bearded dragons can be treated based on the causal factor. If the beardie is underweight, the vet will suggest a list of foods and supplements that you can give to your pet.
Dehydration can be reversed by giving the bearded dragon fluids through injections or by enema
#5. Skin Burns
For the safety of your bearded dragon, ensure that the heat lamps inside the enclosure are properly installed. Additionally, only turn on the lamps when the ambient temperature is low.
Besides, beardies only require 75°F to 85°F worth of heat during the day. Nighttime temperatures should be kept at 70°F -75°F. The lamps should be on less than 12 hours per day to avoid overheating.
Strategies for treating skin burns in bearded dragons vary depending on the damage caused to the skin tissue.
The veterinarian will provide your beardie with pain medication and may use povidone-iodine soaks on the burned area. Antibiotics can also be administered to prevent possible infections.
Bearded Dragon Skin Conditions Explained
Most skin conditions in bearded dragons are highly contagious. As such, you should quarantine sick beardies to avoid spreading the diseases to other bearded dragons. Also, bearded dragon skin diseases can be fatal if treatment is administered late.
You should, therefore, take the necessary precautions if you notice that your pet beardie is unwell. Regular visits to the vets can help you detect most bacterial and fungal skin infections before they become severe.