Impaction is a health ailment that often appears in the bearded dragon (genus Pogona) realm. The condition entails, simply put, the buildup of matter inside of the intestines or the gut. If your bearded dragon is impacted, it's imperative to seek herpetological veterinary care for him as soon as possible.
How Bearded Dragons Get Impacted
Bearded dragons often get impacted when they consume the substrate inside of their enclosures. Some bearded dragons consume substrate unintentionally, while others set out to do so. Sand, for one, is a common culprit behind bearded dragon impaction. Gravel and pebbles also often can be causes. Note, however, that things apart from substrates can occasionally trigger impaction too, including inordinately big pieces of food. Impaction is a serious matter in bearded dragons. Ignored cases of it can often even lead to life-threatening consequences. If you think that your bearded dragon's substrate is behind his impaction, talk to a reptile vet about bedding options that might be more suited to your specific lizard.
Serious Cases of Constipation
If your bearded dragon hasn't been able to successfully pass stools for a while, impaction could be the frustrating culprit. Smaller amounts of stools can signify issues, too. If your bearded dragon seems to be tense in his attempts to eliminate, it also could point to impaction. Don't brush off any of these key symptoms, as healthy bearded dragons generally eliminate once every few days.
Marked Changes in Behavior
Impacted bearded dragons often behave in an unusual manner. If your beardie suddenly seems sluggish, devoid of energy and permanently exhausted, it could mean that his digestive tract is blocked -- voila, impaction. If he all of a sudden seems to have no interest in eating his meals, it also could mean the same. Bearded dragons with impaction sometimes even take to resting inside of their water bowls. Keep an eye on your bearded dragon's behavioral patterns, as they often can be big clues into his well-being.
Other Important Indications
Other common indications of bearded dragon impaction are weight loss, inability to walk around as normal, conspicuous lugging of the hind limbs, subtle shaking of the legs and the spitting up of consumed food. Some impacted bearded dragons also develop tiny protrusions around their spines. If you notice even a single symptom of impaction in your pet, get him to the veterinarian pronto. Some bearded dragons require surgical management for the blockage. Veterinarians also sometimes suggest enema or laxative options. Only your veterinarian can tell you what mode of management is most suitable for your dragon.
- Bearded Dragons; Philip Purser
- Treasure Valley Veterinary Hospital: Reptiles
- Long Island Herpetological Society: Bearded Dragon
- Pet Assure Newsletter: Bearded Dragons - How to Prevent Impaction
- Reptiles, Volume 13; Fancy Publications
- Clermont Animal Hospital: Reptile Care
- Petfinder.org: Care for the Impacted Reptile
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images