A bearded dragon is a type of lizard native to Australia and kept as a pet. It gets its name from its ability to puff out the skin under its throat, which is dark in color whenever it’s in danger or feels threatened.
Bearded dragons are cute, quite friendly, and very easy to take care of. They feed on crickets and earthworms and have a lifespan of ten (10) years.
Just like every other pet, bearded dragons are also affected by illnesses, some of which include mouth rot, impaction, paralysis, tail rot, and diarrhea, wrinkly skin, etc.
Mouth rot, otherwise known as oral inflammation or infectious stomatitis, is a common illness in bearded dragons. It is characterized by the inflammation of a bearded dragon’s mouth to the point where the tissues start rotting.
Symptoms of Mouth Rot
A bearded dragon will be suspected to have mouth rot when it exhibits these characteristics:
- Reduced appetite
- Reduced water intake
- Swellings or inflammation in oral tissues and gums
- Thickened saliva
- Excess discharge of saliva
- Mucous in or around the mouth
- Bleeding around the teeth
- Peeling of the skin
- Excretions from the eyes and nostrils
- In severe cases, swelling of the face and head is evident
In all, an infected bearded dragon wouldn’t look as nice as it used to; instead, it would look very weak and sickly.
Causes of Mouth Rot
Mouth rot in bearded dragons don’t just occur out of the blues; they are caused by repeated occurrences. These occurrences tend to weaken its immune system, and some of them include:
– Oral Injuries
Bearded dragons can get mouth rot from oral injuries. These injuries can be obtained when it is trapping its prey, chewing surrounding materials, and scratching its mouth.
– Poor Diet
When a bearded dragon isn’t fed properly, it becomes weak, and this can lead to mouth rot. Poor diet includes not just low vitamins contained in food, but also excess nutrients.
– Improper Temperature
When a bearded dragon is kept in a cage without ideal temperature, its immune system would be exposed to risk, and this can cause mouth rot.
– Dirty Cages
Another cause of mouth rot in bearded dragons is dirty cages. The same way dirt affects humans, bearded dragons can also be affected by dirty cages as there would be a lot more inappropriate stuff for it to chew, which can result in mouth rot.
– External Parasites
External parasites can also cause mouth rot in bearded dragons. They can drastically affect the mouth and other parts of the bearded dragon.
Stress is one of the major causes of mouth rot in bearded dragons. When bearded dragons are stressed, their immune system is weakened, and they cannot fight fungi and bacteria breeding in their mouths.
How to Treat Bearded Dragon Mouth Rot?
Whenever mouth rot is noticed in bearded dragons, it is best to begin treatment immediately. Immediate treatment can reduce the mouth rot and completely cure it, and some ways to treat mouth rot are:
– Home Remedies
When bearded dragons are diagnosed with mouth rot, one way to treat it is the use of home remedies. Home remedies are often recommended when the symptoms are still mild, but they should be done with strict instructions from the vet.
When bearded dragons are taken to the vet, they are given injections to cure mouth rot.
In cases where the mouth rot in a bearded dragon is caused by fungi and bacteria, the solution is antibiotics. These antibiotics are usually administered by the vet.
In severe cases of mouth rot, surgery is required. Such surgeries aim to remove already dead or rotten tissues in the mouth of the bearded dragon.
– Working on the Teeth
Depending on how severe the mouth rot of the bearded dragon is, some vets remove the toxic buildup in the teeth and gums.
Mouth rot in bearded dragons can be cured by the use of antiseptics. This involves flushing the mouth of the bearded dragon with antiseptics to kill all toxic substances.
How to Prevent Mouth Rot in Bearded Dragons?
It is important to make sure that bearded dragons are kept healthy at all times since healthy pets are at a lower risk. Some ways to do this are:
One way to prevent mouth rot in bearded dragons is to carry out extensive research about them. This includes the lifestyle, feeding habits, proper temperature, and common illnesses and how to avoid them.
– Clean Environment
A dirty environment is one cause of mouth rot that shouldn’t be ignored. Cages of bearded dragons should be cleaned regularly to prevent breeding insects and sharp objects.
– Proper Nutrition
Quality and a healthy diet are needed for a bearded dragon to be free from mouth rot. This diet should contain all the vitamins needed by the bearded dragon in the right proportions because little or excess could pose a problem.
The food for bearded dragons can also be made more nutritious by adding supplements.
– Proper Temperature
An environment that is too cold can reduce a bearded dragon’s immune system the same way a hot environment can also do the same thing.
It is, therefore, necessary to stabilize the temperature of the habitats of bearded dragons to prevent mouth rot.
Closely monitoring a bearded dragon is one way to prevent mouth rot. This is because slight changes in behavior like aggressiveness and stress would easily be noticed and treated as soon as possible.
To prevent mouth rot, it is also advisable to:
- Frequently check the mouth of bearded dragons for injuries.
- Clean their mouths with cotton wool to prevent the accumulation of fungi.
- Have an apportioned box for a bearded dragon to rest at.
Can Bearded Dragon die of Mouth Rot?
When bearded dragons are diagnosed with mouth rot and left untreated, the infection can lead to their death. So, it is important to check your pet’s health time to time so you can treat any disease in time.
In conclusion, mouth rot is an illness that occurs due to infection, it can be managed properly, and bearded dragons can be healthy again.
Therefore, it is essential to care for bearded dragons as much as possible to decrease their possibility of having mouth rot.