Bearded Dragon Tail Rot: Symptoms, Treatment & Causes

Bearded Dragon Tail Rot: Symptoms, Treatment & Causes

Bearded dragon tail rot is a condition that can cause a significant amount of pain and inflammation in your bearded dragon’s tail. Be sure to check your bearded dragon’s tail for signs of rot.

You’ll want this condition treated as soon as possible because tissue death and even amputation can happen if it goes untreated long enough. So, if you want to learn more about this serious issue affecting bearded dragons, keep reading!

Bearded Dragon Tail Rot: What is it?

Tail rot is a terrible condition in which your bearded dragon’s tail starts to die or turn dark. It can be caused by poor diet, but it generally occurs at the tip of their tales and takes on an unpleasant tone color as well.

It’s a common ailment in reptiles that might be difficult to spot in the early stages but can quickly become deadly and lethal if left untreated.

Due to a lack of good blood flow, necrotic (dead) tissue near the tail often turns deeper in color (blue, purple, or black). Tail rot should be handled seriously, especially because many people don’t notice it until it’s too late. The treatment is harsh.

Tail rot is an infection of the tail and is most often caused by bacteria, although it can also be caused by fungi, viruses, and parasites.

Tail rot can also affect the skin, so if your bearded dragon has any sores or red spots on his tail, or the tail is swelling, don’t try to clean it yourself.

If you’re not sure whether or not your bearded dragon has tail rot, ask your vet or reptile specialist for a recommendation. 

How To Identify Tail Rot

Bearded dragons that have tail rot will usually have a foul-smelling discharge from their tail, which will often be bright yellow or orange in color.

The dead tissue will be black or blue, with dark spots that may resemble bruises or lesions. If your bearded dragon has any sores or red spots on his tail, or the tail is swelling, don’t try to clean it yourself.

If you’re not sure whether or not your bearded dragon has tail rot, ask your vet or reptile specialist for a recommendation.

Tail rot is a very common problem for bearded dragons. It can be mistaken for shedding, but it’s actually something different and more serious!

The good news? Healthy tails will still have some flexibility left in them even if they’re pliable or not as stiff anymore.

Unlike a tail plagued by tail rot, which may become rigid or curved after movement, it will cure itself and straighten up after movement.

If the rest of your beardie’s skin is peeling off or appears to be dry, it’s possible that it’s simply shedding. 

Bearded dragon behavior during tail rot

There are some behavioral changes you may notice if your bearded dragon has tail rot. Irritability Your dragon may become irritated and impatient, hissing or attempting to bite, which is an indication of pain or distress.

Stress may lead your dragon to grow a black beard. Your dragon may become irritated and impatient, hissing or attempting to bite, which is an indication of pain or distress.

Stress may lead your dragon to grow a black beard. Appetite loss. A decrease in appetite or weight loss can also indicate that your beardie is unwell and dying.

Brumation, on the other hand, might create a lack of hunger, so make sure to check the temperature of the enclosure as well. A decrease in appetite or weight loss can also indicate that your beardie is unwell and dying. 

Causes of Tail Rot in Bearded Dragons?

Many causes of tail rot can cause bearded dragons to lose their tails. The bearded dragon usually suffers some kind of trauma to its tail area as the first cause.

1. Fights & Trauma

Bearded dragons usually don’t enjoy fighting. The tail of a bearded dragon is its most vulnerable area, so it’s not uncommon for a bearded dragon to lose a battle.

When a fight does occur, it’s usually because of a territorial dispute. Your pet will also experience fights with other bearded dragons, other reptiles, or even other animals, such as snakes.

A fight with another bearded dragon may cause injury to the tail. If your bearded dragon is losing the fight, it will often hold its tail down, dragging it across the ground. The tail can be bitten or scratched during a battle, and such injuries can lead to tail rot. 

2. Incomplete Shed

These sheds might become trapped at times. To assist remove the trapped skin, a nice bath is typically required.

If the retained skin is trapped, make sure it’s removed so it doesn’t constrict and get tightly wrapped around the tail, cutting off blood circulation and causing tail rot.

Instead, keep your dragon hydrated by giving it clean water at all times and maintaining optimal humidity levels in its enclosure (30-40%).

Invest in an excellent hygrometer to ensure precise measurements. A very warm bath, as well as misting, can help with humidity levels and shedding.

3. Inadequate Diet

If your bearded dragon is on an inadequate diet, it’s more likely to experience tail rot. The skin of the tail is the body’s largest organ and the only place where scales can grow.

If the skin is allowed to dry out or become damaged, it can result in a loss of its ability to shed. Dry skin can also cause the skin to crack and split, causing bleeding.

If your dragon is fed a poor diet, it will often suffer from anemia. Anemia can cause your dragon to become lethargic and have low energy levels. Your bearded dragon might also become irritable, anxious, and/or depressed.

4. Embolisms

Bearded dragons can suffer from embolism. These are caused by the accumulation of blood in the veins. This can be caused by inadequate hydration, insufficient diet, or a disease.

Bearded dragons have very sensitive tails, so any kind of injury can lead to tail rot. When an injury occurs, the dragon might be unable to fight back or heal. If an injury is severe, it can lead to blood clots in the tail. This is called an embolism.

When the blood clots get loose and break off, they can travel through the bloodstream and get stuck in other organs, such as the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism.

5. Poor Care and Maintenance

A bearded dragon’s tail is very sensitive. It’s very important to keep your bearded dragon’s tail clean and free of debris, dirt, and feces. Bacteria, fungi, and other pathogenic organisms can build up on a dirty tail. A bearded dragon’s tail becomes covered in debris, it can get caught in the fur and cause tail rot.

If it’s kept in an unclean environment, it’s more likely to suffer from an infection. If you keep your bearded dragon in a room that’s too dark, you can make sure it’s not suffering from night blindness.

Dragon’s vision isn’t adjusted to the dark, it can experience night blindness. The best defense against tail rot and other diseases is to keep your dragon healthy.

The best way to treat bearded dragon tail rot at home

Your bearded dragon’s tail rot may be the result of an infection. If this is present, your vet could prescribe antibiotics and other treatments to help clean up any bacteria or toxins in their system that are causing harm.

While we always advocate visiting a veterinarian, there are certain home cures that owners have found to be effective.

Soak the tail for 5 minutes in a mixture of 1 part betadine and 5 parts water. When it’s time to heal up your lizard, make sure you follow these steps.

First off – soak the area in 4-5 inches (10 cm) of water with an absorbent paper towel or clean cloth; then apply Neosporin without painkillers because they’re poisonous to lizards.

Always remember to proceed with caution. For around 1-2 weeks, repeat these actions every day. However, the betadine treatment should be limited to three days because it will dry up your beardie’s skin, worsening the disease. If in doubt, always consult your veterinarian.

Veterinarian Treatment For Tail Rot

If you think another animal has bitten your bearded dragon, it’s best to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Their bite is deep, it’s best to place the lizard on a heating pad for 10 minutes. If you have a reptile-specific heating pad, it should be placed in the microwave for 2 minutes.

To keep your lizard warm, use a heating pad or light bulb. It’s best if you can take them to their vet as soon as possible.

Consult a qualified veterinarian if home treatment fails to improve the problem or if the tail rot has progressed to an advanced stage.

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your beardie, it could mean he or she has tail rot. Sleepiness loss of appetite pain.

It’s important to take them immediately for treatment because this condition can lead to other complications. Other physical checks and scans to check your dragon’s internal organs may be required by the veterinarian. 

Preventing Bearded Dragon Tail Rot:

Keep your bearded dragon’s tail clean and free of debris, dirt, and feces. A bearded dragon’s tail becomes covered in debris, it can get caught in the fur and cause tail rot.

Keep your bearded dragon’s environment clean. If it’s kept in an unclean environment, it’s more likely to suffer from an infection.

Keep your bearded dragon’s tail away from the ground. Never let your bearded dragon sit in a bathtub or sink. The water can get trapped in the lizard’s tail and cause infection.

Check for any sharp edges or loose objects that could cause harm. To avoid battles, keep only one bearded dragon in each tank.

Tail rot can be avoided with quality food and supplements, as well as a proper diet, nutrition, and hydration.

Make sure your UVB lamps are in good working order and replace them once every six months. If your dragon is shedding, don’t try to stop it; instead, keep it moisturized.

A warm bath may also be beneficial. The greatest way to avoid any illness, including tail rot, is to keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy.

 Leave no live insects in your dragon’s enclosure, especially crickets. It’s important to clear out the cage after you feed your dragon so they don’t get stressed.

They might bite and scratch, which could make their beardies infected scratches. In addition, a dirty tank might attract bugs and mites, which can annoy or scratch your dragon.

Conclusion

As I stated at the outset, tail rot is no laughing matter, just as having a rotting finger is no laughing matter. Who wants to lose a finger, after all? If you suspect your dragon is suffering from illness, get him to the vet as soon as possible.

As with any reptile, proper care and nutrition are essential for the long-term health of your bearded dragon. Always consult a veterinarian if you’re unsure of your bearded dragon’s health.

If you have any other questions about caring for bearded dragons, please feel free to ask me in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Frequently asked questions

Is tail rot contagious?

It is not contagious.  if it’s treated immediately, it won’t spread

Does tail rot have a cure?

The easiest approach to avoid tail rot is to keep your bearded dragon clean. This means providing a clean, safe environment, giving your lizard proper nutrition and supplements, and keeping your tank clean.

Can tail rot kill a bearded dragon?

Only if not treated. If your bearded dragon has tail rot, it’s imperative that you see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Is there a way to prevent crickets from getting on my bearded dragon?

To keep your bearded dragon from eating crickets, use an anti-cricket cage or bathtub and make sure it’s warm. You can also provide them with a room without any cricket noise for the company this will please the little guy!

Is it possible to re-grow the tail of a bearded dragon?

These long, tapering appendages make up a significant portion of their body length and are used for balance and communication.

Although a lost tail can regrow to some extent, it will never look exactly like the original. The new tail will be shorter and thinner, and the color pattern may be different.

In addition, the regenerated tail will not have the same strength and dexterity as the original. Consequently, while it is possible for a bearded dragon to regrow its tail, it is not an exact process.

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