Bearded Dragon Metabolic Bone Disease: A Complete Owner’s Guide

MBD, or Metabolic Bone Disease, is among the most common ailments in confined bearded dragons.

MBD affects bearded dragons in a variety of ways, and it’s common for them to have a lot of pain in their bone frame. If you are a knowledgeable bearded dragon owner, you can detect these symptoms simply by observing your bearded dragon and its behavior.

Furthermore, because MBD is so common, most bearded dragon keepers can make a diagnosis without the use of any medical equipment. Even if you are certain of the cause of the problem, you should take your bearded dragon to the vet. As a result, the animal health doctor will conduct extra tests, which will enhance your bearded dragon’s physical health.

MBD predominantly affects adolescent bearded dragons, and the magnitude of the affliction tends to affect the repercussions. The good news about MBD is that it can be reversed — particularly if detected earlier. Most bearded dragons can recover completely from MBD with the best medication, adequate domestication, and a balanced diet.

What is Bearded Dragon Metabolic Bone Disease?

Metabolic Bone Disease impairs the support and rigidity of bearded dragon bones and is frequently caused by dietary deficits. Nutritional primary hyperparathyroidism is perhaps the most popular form of MBD in bearded dragons as well as other captive reptiles (NSHP).

As a result, it’s fair to argue that MBD is a catch-all name for a variety of bone illnesses in bearded dragons and other reptiles.

Amphibians can also contract MBD.

Compared to bearded dragons who consume a good and diverse diet, those who eat an unsuitable meal are often more prone to get MBD. Bearded dragons in the natural have the flexibility to eat whatever they like. As a result, people can find products containing all the nutrients they require.

This can significantly reduce their risk of developing nutritional illnesses like MBD. However, while kept in captivity, your bearded will only consume what you feed it. Except in the natural, where bearded dragons have a wide range of food alternatives, captive bearded dragons only have two options: feed or perish.

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Causes of MBD in Bearded Dragons

1. Calcium deficiency

Calcium is necessary for establishing and maintaining healthy bones in bearded dragons. As a result, calcium is essential for growth, which is why juvenile bearded dragons require a high calcium diet. Another advantage of a calcium supplement in bearded dragons is that it enhances muscle function, which helps to maintain a robust skeletal structure. But that’s not all; a mechanism known as thermogenesis can help beardies, and other reptiles enhance their metabolism.

As a result, your bearded dragon will be engaged for lengthy periods, giving them the freedom to move about. Hypocalcemia is a condition that affects bearded dragon calcium levels.

The synthesis of parathyroid hormone, which is secreted by the endocrine glands in bearded dragons, can be triggered by this disorder. Calcium supplements and a diet high in calcium rich foods can prevent metabolic bone disease.

2. Inadequate UVB Exposure

Giving calcium-rich diets to your bearded dragon is only the first step.

You must give the proper UVB lighting for the lizard. Bearded dragons benefit from UVB rays because it aids in manufacturing Vitamin D3. Furthermore, because beardies never synthesize vitamin D in their bodies to D3, they require UVB lighting.

Beardies can also absorb UVB rays easily through their skin. Place a dependable UVB light source inside or around the lizard’s enclosure. This implies that all of the calcium supplements you offer your bearded dragon will be absorbed.

3. Excessive Phosphorus and Oxalates Intake

When bearded dragons devour phosphate and calcium oxalate stones excessively, they can develop MBD. Phosphorus is particularly important in bearded dragons since it is required for the production of bone and teeth. It also aids the beardie’s body in the creation of specific proteins.

However, if the lizard’s body contains more phosphorus than calcium, it may develop health concerns. Too much phosphorus might make it difficult for the body to absorb and utilize calcium. As a result, the lizard will have calcium insufficiency, resulting in MBD.

It’s important to remember how this can happen even if the lizard is eating a potassium diet.

To prevent this from happening, the calcium-to phosphorus proportion in the lizard’s system must always be adjusted. Only by feeding your bearded dragon the appropriate meals in the correct quantities will you be capable of achieving this. Plant-based soluble salts have always had the same impact as phosphorous when it relates to bone health in bearded dragons. You would shun certain veggies since they contain a lot of oxalates. Greens like spinach and kale are wonderful examples


What are the symptoms of MBD in Bearded Dragons

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Top Normal Dragon, Bottom MBD Carrier

  • Metabolic bone disease (MBD), also known as secondary nutritional hyperparathyroidism, is a complicated condition that affects bearded pet dragons.
  • It’s especially common in young bearded dragons (less than 2 years old). MBD is most normally experienced by a cuisine that really is high in potassium and deficient in calcium or Vitamin D3 (caused either by a direct nutritional deficiency of vitamin D3 or a lack of exposure to UV-B light required for lizards to make vitamin D in their skin).
  • Enlargement of the lower jaw, softening of the jaw and facial bones (‘rubber jaw,’) and swelling of the hind limbs are common symptoms (fibrous osteodystrophy). Legs often shake as the animal tries to walk, and many bearded dragons with MBD cannot wander or push their bodies up into a regular stance, preferring rather stoop low to the ground or lay on their abdomens.
  • X-rays reveal thin bone tissue (lower density), broadening and thickening of bone shafts, and perhaps fractures that appear to have formed without any obvious cause or stress. When bones are pliable, greenstick fractures (bones that appear to fold or bend rather than break apart) can occur. Blood tests may reveal a low calcium level and a calcium-phosphorus imbalance, with phosphorus greater than calcium instead of the 2:1 calcium-phosphorus ratio.
  • Infectious stomatitis (mouth rot) in bearded dragons is less common than elsewhere lizards like iguanas. It’s a bacterial infection of the gums and jaw bone that causes tiny hemorrhages on the gums, gingival inflammation, and an abundance of stuffy noses in the oral that’s frequently the case thickness of cream cheese. When viral tonsillitis infects the upper incisors, it can cause inflammation of the jaw.
  • In the gastrointestinal system of domestic bearded dragons, infections, particularly pinworms, are widespread. Parasites will be found on yearly fecal testing, even if the pet shows no clinical indication,
    Parasites can induce diarrhea or weight loss in some people. Tapeworms are parasites that dwell in the gastrointestinal systems of bearded dragons.
  • Infection with the adenovirus is very prevalent in young bearded dragons, although it can afflict dragons of any stage. Hepatitis and gastrointestinal illness are the most common side effects.
  • Affected animals become weak, refuse to feed, and frequently die suddenly. Others have a more chronic infection, in which they don’t grow, are weak, may become paralyzed, and don’t eat on a regular basis. They, too, will perish in the end.

How are diseases handled in bearded dragons?

Oral calcium supplementation, rehydration with fluids, dietary support, medication with intramuscular vitamin D3, and shots of osteocalcin (a medicine that helps bearded dragons re-deposit calcium back into their bones) are all common treatments for metabolic bone disease.

Furthermore, the diet must be adjusted, and full-spectrum illumination (including UV-B required for lizards to produce vitamin D3 in their skin) must be provided. Infectious stomatitis (mouth rot) frequently necessitates the use of injectable antibiotics as well as antiseptic mouth rinses.

Supplemental nourishment may be required for dragons that are too uncomfortable to consume. Several deworming treatments, designed as either oral or injectable therapies, are available for parasite infections of the gastrointestinal system. The type of parasite found in the stool on microscopic analysis determines which medicine is required. As directed by your veterinarian, mites and ticks can be treated topically or with oral or injectable anti-parasitic drugs.

Cleaning, sanitation, and treatment of the environment are also necessary to ensure that parasites do not re-infect the dragon after treatment. By monitoring the apparent symptoms, veterinarians can quickly detect severe cases of MBD.

MBD Healing Time for Bearded Dragons

The time it takes for a bearded dragon to recover from metabolic bone disease varies from reptile to reptile. In addition, various factors will influence the amount of time required for a bearded dragon to recover from MBD. The treatment of severe metabolic bone disease necessitates a significant amount of effort.

Furthermore, compared to moderate MBD, it will lead to chronic pain. Recovery from MBD in beardies might take weeks or months, depending on the nature of the disease. The type of treatment the lizard receives will have an impact on how quickly it recovers.

If you want your bearded dragon to recuperate faster, you should strictly adhere to the veterinarian’s advice. The bearded dragon requires good care, balanced food, and prompt attention.

How to Keep Bearded Dragons Safe from MBD

MBD in bearded dragons will only be prevented if it is caught early. This disease primarily affects adolescent beardies, which means it appears when the lizard is still a baby. In addition, preventing metabolic bone disease in lizards is not as tough as in humans. All you have to do is give adequate husbandry and a balanced diet for your bearded dragon.

Is It Possible for Baby Beardies to Develop Metabolic Bone Disease?

In bearded dragons under the age of two, metabolic bone disease is frequent. The length of time it takes for the disease to manifest depends on various factors.

MBD can also progress at different rates in juvenile beardies. However, you can keep the disease at bay by feeding your bearded dragon a calcium-rich diet. To avoid possible cases of MBD, you should offer good care for bearded dragons from the moment they hatch.

MBD in Bearded Dragons and Its Treatment

Bearded dragons, notably those on a reduced diet, are prone to neurological metabolism disease. Poor husbandry practices in bearded dragons can also cause MBD, so ensure you take adequate care of your lizard.

In addition, because phosphorus decreases calcium absorption, you should limit your bearded dragon’s phosphorus consumption. In addition, make sure your pet lizard receives enough UVB sunlight and is kept at the optimum temperature.

MDB is treatable, and most bearded dragons respond well to treatment. Beardies can recover from metabolic bone disease, despite the fact that treatment takes time.

Can MBD kill Bearded Dragons?

The disease is treatable in bearded dragons, characterized by low bone mass, although it can be rapidly fatal. To save your bearded dragon, make sure you get him to the vet as soon as possible. Because MBD is so widespread in beardies, most of its indications are easily noticeable.

That’s why your bearded dragon’s life may be saved if you get a diagnosis early on. If you feel your lizard is suffering from metabolic bone disease, you should take them to the veterinarian right once. Unlike other difficult-to-treat viral and bacterial illnesses, beardies respond well to MBD treatment. As long as you follow the treatment regimen, your bearded dragon will not die.

Overall, a breaded dragon is the sweetest and most adorable pet you’ll ever have, but they require particular care. I’m sure if you have a pet for a long time, you’ll grow to love it. They’re not like dogs and cats, but they’re so sweet.

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