Bearded dragon tail rot is a health problem that can occur from time to time. I have experienced this myself just recently with one of my own dragons.
This isn’t a common problem, but it does occur. Bearded dragons with tail nips, or tail trauma of some sort seem more susceptible. While tail rot can lead to problems, if it is caught early it can be treated and reversed.
Tail rot is the term used when a bearded dragon tail tip darkens and gets infected. If tail rot is not caught early enough this will spread down the tail and may eventually fall off.
Don’t worry that your dragon is all of the sudden going to develop tail rot out of the blue. There are certain things that cause this to happen.
There are actually a couple of different things that may lead to bearded dragon tail rot.
The first cause is trauma to the tail. Trauma can include, but not limited to, injuries from being crushed by cage decor (or anything else), and tail nips.
The second cause of this is accumulated, unshed tail tips.
I purchased a dragon with a minor tail nip. This made it harder for the tip of the tail to shed, I am guessing. It was so small that I didn’t noticed unshed skin accumulating. Unshed skin was accumulating, however, and sure enough the tail of my dragon started to darken.
Since the causes of bearded dragon tail rot are caused either by trauma or unshed tail tips, it can definitely be prevented.
Even though it is preventable, we sometimes fall short of being perfect dragon owners. I am speaking of myself here. If this fits you too, feel free to join me. I do make mistakes, but I learn as I go along.
The first thing to do in prevention of bearded dragon tail rot, is make sure that there is nothing in your dragon’s cage that can fall on or pinch their tail. Make sure that there is nothing that they are exposed to that can damage their tails.
Another prevention tip is to give your dragon baths to help aid them with tough shedding. This will help stop unshed tail tips from accumulating.
Can a bearded dragon shed without any help? Yes, they can, but sometimes problem sheds need a little help. This is where a weekly bath can come into play. Not only will help clean your dragon off, it will help aid your dragon in shedding.
I don’t know about other dragons, but my dragon became lethargic and soon refused to eat anything. There will also be a noticeable darkening of the tip of the dragons tail. Over time this darkening will start to work its way toward the base of the tail.
You don’t want to let this go for too long, if you notice it. I am not sure if the lethargy goes along with tail rot. It might have been the fact that my dragon was having a hard time shedding her skin at the same time.
If the tail rot is identified before it gets out of hand, it can be treated at home. When we realized what was happening to our dragon we immediately gave her a bath and also dipped her tail in a 3% hydrogen peroxide and water solution. This is the solution that can be bought in the brown bottles from most stores.
Using the hydrogen peroxide solution will help soften the skin allowing its removal. Hydrogen peroxide will also treat the infection.
If your dragon experiences a trauma to its tail, you can also use a hydrogen peroxide solution to stop infection that the injury may cause. This will help stop anything before it even starts.
I used warm baths and the hydrogen peroxide solution on the tail every evening until my dragon got better. This worked really well and I saw a total reversal of the darkening.
My dragon shows no signs of the tail rot. I’m not sure how bad that the tail rot had gotten, but I do know that it had gone down her tail quite far. It was over half way to the base of her tail.
Also, the accumulated skin on the tip of the tail had to be worked off. This takes a delicate hand and patience. My wife helped me with this. She is really good at helping unshed skin come off and also at other things that take a delicate hand like nail clipping. I am totally blessed to have someone to help me with these things.
Bearded dragon tail rot can be a real pain in the tail. Sorry for the pun ( I know it was pretty cheesy ). If you use the prevention methods, you probably will never have to deal with this. If you’re like me and sometimes make mistakes, tail rot can be reversed.
Keep an eye on your bearded dragon, especially when they are shedding and especially if they have a tail nip.
If you see any sign of darkening in their tail, start treating it right away. I hope that my bad experience helps you not to encounter the same problem. I know that I am more aware of tail rot now.