Bearded Dragon MBD

MBD, or metabolic bone disease, is one of the most prevalent health issues in bearded dragons kept in captivity.

A wide range of symptoms are present in bearded dragons with MBD, and they frequently feel a lot of pain in their skeletal system.

If you’re a knowledgeable bearded dragon owner, you can identify these signs by just watching your lizard’s behavior.

Additionally, because MBD is so widespread, the majority of lizard keepers can make a diagnosis without the use of any medical tools.

Even if you are certain of the problem’s origin, you should still think about taking your bearded dragon to the vet.

The veterinary professional will next do more tests, which will enhance your bearded dragon’s general health.

MBD mostly affects young bearded dragons, and depending on how severe the illness is, different outcomes may result.

MBD has the advantage of being reversible, especially with an early diagnosis.

Most bearded dragons may recover totally from MBD with the correct care, husbandry, and food.

Let’s explore MBD in more detail, including its definition, causes, the most visible symptoms, and treatments.

What is Metabolic Bone Disease in Bearded Dragons?

Metabolic Bone Disease, sometimes used as a catch-all phrase for a variety of dietary inadequacies, is a highly frequent condition affecting farmed bearded dragons.

If left untreated, MBD, which is most usually caused by a deficiency in calcium and/or vitamin D3, can be fatal.

According to science, MBD causes the bearded dragon’s body to remove calcium from the bones, making them brittle and vulnerable to fracture. This is why MBD is so bad for a bearded dragon’s health.

Even bearded dragons suffering from metabolic bone disease may have malformed limbs that twist up or drag as they travel. Naturally, this puts the bearded dragon in an uncomfortable and painful position, making it difficult for them to even move across their tank from side to side.

Read up on how to feed your frog as MBD can also affect other animals like frogs.

What Causes MBD in Bearded Dragons?

As was previously said, MBD happens when bearded dragons don’t get enough of specific nutrients.

It is crucial to comprehend these needs and what benefits they provide beardies because doing so may help you develop a preventive plan. Then why does MBD occur in bearded dragons?

inadequate calcium. Since calcium helps create and grow strong bones, it is crucial for bearded dragons. As a result, it is essential for growth, which is why juvenile bearded dragons require a lot of calcium in their diets.

Another advantage of calcium in bearded dragons is that it enhances muscular performance, maintaining the strength of the skeletal system. But that’s not all; through a process known as thermogenesis, calcium can enhance metabolism in bearded dragons and other reptiles.

As a consequence, your bearded dragon will remain active for extended periods of time, enabling them to travel around without restriction. Hypocalcemia is more likely to affect bears with low calcium levels. The parathyroid gland in bearded dragons secretes a hormone called parathyroid hormone, which can be induced by this disease.

The tissue inside the lizard’s body will be stimulated to absorb calcium from the bones if this hormone is present in excess. Over time, the bones will deteriorate and soften, leading to MBD.

Hypercalcemia, which is brought on by an excess of calcium in the lizard’s blood, might have various negative effects on its health. As a result, you should give your bearded dragon the ideal dosage of calcium.

incorrect UVB exposure The initial step is only to provide calcium-rich diets to your bearded dragon. The lizard needs the proper UVB illumination, which you must give.

Bearded dragons require UVB exposure because it helps produce Vitamin D3, which is essential for their health.

Additionally, beardies require appropriate UVB lighting since they cannot convert the vitamin D in their bodies to D3.

In addition, beardies’ skin is easily permeable to UVB light. Installing a trustworthy UVB light source within or around the lizard’s habitat is all that is required.

UVB exposure helps bears digest food and absorb nutrients in addition to assisting in the manufacture of vitamin D3.

This implies that all calcium supplements you give your bearded dragon will be absorbed. UVB light is much more important since it helps bearded dragons’ metabolism.

Oxalates and phosphorus intake that is excessive. When bearded dragons eat too much phosphorus and oxalates, they can also get MBD. Due to its importance in the development of their bones and teeth, phosphorus plays a specific function in bearded dragons. Additionally, it aids in the body of the beardie’s manufacture of several proteins.

Nevertheless, the lizard may have health issues if its body contains more phosphorus than calcium.

The body’s capacity to absorb and utilise calcium can be interfered with by an excess of phosphorus. As a result, the lizard will have calcium insufficiency, which will result in MBD.

You should be aware that this can happen even if the lizard is eating a diet high in calcium. To prevent this issue, the lizard’s body should constantly have a balanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus.

Only by giving your bearded dragon the proper meals in the right proportions will this be possible.

When it comes to the absorption of calcium in bearded dragons, plant-based oxalates also have the same impact as phosphorus.

You should steer clear of certain veggies since they have high oxalate concentrations. Such foods include kale and spinach.

Is Metabolic Bone Disease in Bearded Dragons Curable?

If detected early, you can surely reverse the effects of MBD and offer your bearded dragon a happy, long life, however it cannot be completely cured or eliminated.

Continue reading to learn how you may triumph in the battle against MBD if you think your bearded dragon may have MBD.

Early Signs of MBD in Bearded Dragons

Depending on the severity of the condition, different bearded dragons may exhibit different symptoms of metabolic bone disease. Since a beardie keeper, it is crucial to recognize the early indicators of MBD as this can benefit the lizard.

There is a good probability that your bearded dragon will beat MBD if a diagnosis is made in the early stages.

Additionally, the majority of MBD’s early symptoms are plainly visible, so you only need to be alert. You should watch out for the following metabolic bone disease symptoms:

decrease in appetite Your bearded dragon may become uninterested in food if they have metabolic bone disease. If you observe that the beardie frequently throws away its food, they could be ill.

The occurrence of this symptom does not necessarily indicate that your reptile has MBD because it is typical among bearded dragons.

You can make an appointment with your veterinarian to receive the correct prognosis if you want to be certain.

Constipation. Another common sign that lizard caretakers need to be aware of is this one. Constipation in bearded dragons can happen if the lizard has trouble getting its intestines to move.

Fecal debris that solidifies in the digestive system might cause constipation. Numerous factors, including but not limited to MBD, parasite infection, and dehydration, can contribute to this illness.

A beardie with constipation may develop stomach discomfort and other gastrointestinal issues if the right treatment is not provided.

Broad Weakness MBD bearded dragons are prone to deteriorate with time. This is mostly a result of their insufficient appetite for eating.

As a result, the body won’t receive the nutrients it needs to operate correctly. As a result, the outcome will struggle to get its body off the ground.

The majority of the time, bears with metabolic bone disease rest on their backs or bellies, which is one of the causes.

Stress. If you see your bearded dragon acting stressed out a lot of the time, there may be a problem.

While battling numerous ailments, including MBD, bears can endure stress. Finding out what could be stressing out your bearded dragon can be done with the aid of a trip to the vet.

The veterinarian will provide the lizard the proper course of therapy if MBD is the cause.

Lethargy. Several factors can cause bearded dragons to become sluggish. It’s possible that they are feeling discomfort of some sort when walking.

Lethargy can also be brought on by frailty. Lethargy is a common symptom in beardies, much like the other symptoms we’ve discussed.

In order to identify the underlying source of the issue, a veterinarian should do more tests on the bearded dragon.

What Does Severe MBD in Bearded Dragons Look Like?

A healthy bearded dragon (top) and a bearded dragon with metabolic bone disease are both seen in the radiograph above (bottom).

Severely affected dragons with MBD will be visibly malformed. Often, the dragon’s limbs will look weak and limp, dragging its body along as it moves since they can’t bear the weight.

Additionally, Green-stick fractures, which entail the bending of soft bones rather than outright shattering, can cause limbs to seem to be unevenly bent.

Along with these visible physical defects, bearded dragons with severe MBD frequently exhibit muscular twitching and spasms that give them the impression of perpetual trembling.

Bearded dragons may potentially start having frequent seizures in extreme circumstances. Additionally, bearded dragons with advanced MBD will probably lose their appetite, refuse food, and require syringe feeding.

Naturally, you will also note that your bearded dragons become quite sleepy as a result of their bodies shutting down and complete lack of hunger.

How to prevent metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons

Bearded dragons are susceptible to Metabolic Bone Disease, much like all other reptiles that consume both insects and plants (MBD). It is by far the most typical sickness among “beardies,” and it is brought on by low levels of calcium and vitamin D3.

Muscle twitching, swelling legs, and weak bones are among symptoms that might be difficult to identify but eventually result in irreversible abnormalities of the limbs, jaw, spine, or tail. However, the issue may be resolved and significantly improve their health with a few dietary and living arrangement adjustments.

Feed your dragon a lot of lush green veggies to make sure it gets adequate calcium. Timothy hay, lamb’s lettuce, and spring greens are excellent sources. Avoid spinach since it might actually prevent the absorption of calcium.

The insects that bearded dragons adore include crickets. Before feeding, you can top them with calcium-rich mineral powders that are sold in pet stores.

The body of the dragon needs heat in order to absorb calcium from its food and utilise it to build strong bones. It is crucial that your home’s enclosure be sufficiently heated.

An infrared light or lamps are required to maintain a portion of the room at a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees. You’ll also need cooler, shaded places that are between 22 and 26 °C since your reptile needs to be able to control its body temperature.

Reptiles must get the proper amount of UV light in order to properly metabolize calcium. This is not provided by infrared lights, therefore you must also install a fluorescent strip light that provides 10–12% UVb radiation.

Use a UV meter to measure levels and make sure that the bulb is bathing two thirds of the tank in light. The lamp has to be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations since UVb output degrades with time.

Metabolic Bone Disease Symptoms

Fortunately, there are a few key warning signals that might let owners know whether their bearded dragon might have MBD. Bring your dragon to a reptile veterinarian right away and ask about MBD testing if you think they are any of the symptoms listed below.

How to Diagnose Metabolic Bone Disease in Bearded Dragons

Veterinarians can quickly identify severe instances of MBD by looking for the obvious signs.

This approach, meanwhile, might not be as trustworthy in the beginning. As a result, the veterinarian may do blood tests to determine the body calcium levels of the lizard.

Most of the time, veterinarians look for calcium and phosphorus imbalances. Less calcium and a high phosphorus level in the bearded dragon indicate a concern.

The vet may also gather information about the bearded dragon’s nutrition and rearing practices. This can aid the veterinarian in developing the appropriate prognosis.

In addition, the veterinarian will use X-rays to assess the bearded dragon’s joints and bone structure.

An X-ray will not only identify bone abnormalities but can also indicate whether particular bodily tissues are malfunctioning.

How Long Does It Take to Reverse MBD?

Unfortunately, reversing MBD can take several months, and in some severe instances even longer!

In more severe forms of Metabolic Bone Disease, some owners have stated that it might take up to 6 months to get their bearded dragons walking and moving regularly.

Don’t panic or worry, though, assuming your dragon will be unhappy for up to six months.

In as little as two weeks, making simple changes to the UVB setting, delivering medicine, and offering a diet that is calcium-rich and supplement-friendly can have a significant impact.

What to do if you think your Bearded Dragon has NHSP

Call your veterinarian if you think your bearded dragon has NHSP. NHSP has no at-home treatments. Once the problem appears, a veterinarian must treat it.

If your reptile has this ailment, treat it with extreme caution and only if it is absolutely essential. Their bones are incredibly brittle, and this condition is excruciatingly painful. A fracture or even death might result from the smallest bump or twist.

Bearded Dragon MBD Treatment

The veterinarian will write you a prescription for medicine to give your bearded dragon after doing certain blood tests, taking X-rays, and conclusively diagnosing MBD in them.

For a few weeks or months, you’ll probably have to either give them an injection of their medication or give it to them orally once or twice a day.

The course of treatment will be totally determined by how far along their MBD is.

The easiest way to reverse MDB is to strictly adhere to the veterinarian’s instructions for when to take medicine, as well as to make the required adjustments to feed, tank temperatures, and UVB as described above.