Bearded Dragon Prolapse (Facts, Solutions & Tips)
If you have ever seen a Prolapse on a lizard (Click here to see how this guide can help you avoid some dangerous mistakes while caring for your Beardie), would you agree it is quite unsightly? In this article, I will explain exactly what this is, and how you can deal with it.
What is a prolapse? A prolapse is a piece of tissue that is sticking from the lizard which is visible it is quite a serious issue and needs to be taken and dealt with with extreme urgency. This is noticed by the organs effectively sticking out of the cloaca.
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Now that you understand what a prolapse is, I am now going to explain how to avoid this, what the symptoms are, related issues that can cause it and much more.
What are the symptoms of Bearded Dragon Prolapse?
And I’m going to explain what the symptoms of a prolapse. Fortunately it is quite obvious when you see this. When I explain this to you, it will make perfect sense.
Effectively you will see a very an obvious purple or pink coloured organ sticking out from the rear end of your bearded dragon. I am sorry to be so direct, but this is the reality. It is quite unsightly and will definitely be alarming enough for you to take it seriously.
So how does a prolapse actually occur?
The prolapse of the Cloaca can happen for a number of reasons. In this section I’m going to explain some of the reasons why it may happen.
Lack of Calcium
One of the reasons can be due to a lack of calcium. This lack of calcium can happen due to a few different reasons. Such as:
Calcium deficiency in the lizards bones happens because they are starved of the required nutrition. This can lead to the deterioration of their bones, literally breaking down, becoming weak. For example, the pelvis. In this example the pelvis can actually break down due to the weakness and cause a prolapse.
Another less commonly known one is damage caused by the bearded dragons efforts to mark it’s own territory. This can be caused by your Beardie rubbing its body against the substrate causing damage and a potential prolapse.
Other reasons for this issue can be due to dehydration, impaction (more on this later), egg-laying or even constipation.
How can you treat The prolapse?
So far in this article we talked about different ways that you can prevent a prolapse, looking at all the indirect causes. And explored exactly how these issues happen.
Now I’m going to explain what you would need to do to actually treat it if you actually see this.
First and foremost the most important thing is to take your bearded dragon to the vet immediately because this is a very serious issue and needs to be treated with some urgency.
When you are on your way to the vet’s it is advisable to place some paper towels down while you’re transporting him and keep the towels moist with KY Jelly to keep him to keep him happy on way to the vet.
Once you arrive at the vet’s it is likely that the vet will attempt to rehydrate the tissue and gently is it back in and then treat your bearded dragon.
Q: But how can you actually avoid a Prolapse happening?
For me to explain this properly, I need to break this down depending on the potential causes for the prolapse.
Avoiding Calcium Deficiency
Firstly let’s focus on preventing calcium deficiency. There are two main ways that you can reduce the chances of calcium deficiency. The first one is making sure that you provide the required UVB lighting that they need to maintain the calcium levels that they require.
Secondly is to improve your bearded dragons diet. In particular, you may need to supplement its diet (Are Calci Worms Good for Bearded Dragons? Click here) with calcium. A great way to do this is by gut loading insects and brushing them with a calcium supplement. When you do this, these insects will pass on the calcium supplement to your Beardie.
Avoiding dehydration is very important. Like human beings water is very critical to their diet. Water is even more important when they are feeling sick or unwell. During this time it becomes very hard for them to consume the level of water that they need.
To keep your Beardie hydrated is quite a simple solution. Just make sure that you provide it with enough water. The best water is Pedialyte, consider giving them this if you can. Obviously if you do not have this, they will still need water right away.
So do not make them suffer and wait any longer, you could easily substitute this with normal bottled water. This is better than tap water, which has chemicals that are used to process it.
However, as I mentioned earlier Pedialyte is the best option and also contains less Sugar and is digested and metabolized a lot quicker.
Impaction is quite a common issue with a number of lizards, not just Bearded Dragons. Let me give you some tips on this. Unfortunately there are many different misunderstandings and misconceptions about impaction.
But one thing’s for sure, it needs to be taken seriously, because it can lead to severe constipation and even in some extreme cases it can be fatal.
Impaction by Dehydration
Impaction can be caused by a number of different reasons. So let me explain some of the most common ones and give you some Solutions of how you can avoid it happening.
In the first instance it can actually be caused by dehydration, which I obviously discussed in the previous section. Let me explain one thing about why dehydration occurs a lot in captivity.
When your lizard is in its natural environment, nature has a very clever way of providing all of the water that a Bearded Dragon requires throughout the day. Such as simple things like the morning dew that builds up, that can be licked off and ingested by your lizard.
However, in captivity these things are not provided, so you, as a responsible keeper need to make sure you keep on top of the water supply. And make sure that they have got the required needs covered. My point is, unfortunately in captivity dehydration is rife, due to owners neglecting this.
One of the easiest ways is to simply provide the required water in a bowl in their enclosure. Allowing them to proactively feed from the bowl. However you may find, in some cases, that your lizard will not drink enough water from the bowl.
If your lizard is not drinking this water from the bowl you can consider another method. Actually spraying your lizard with water. It will actually lick and in take the required water from its own body.
Impaction by Diet
Another issue that can cause impaction is diet. One of the biggest issues is that some lizard keepers do not understand that they need to provide their bearded dragons with a mixed variety of food.
Unfortunately some only feed their Beardie insects. You may get away with feeding a baby bearded dragon only insects but as it gets older it needs to have a more varied diet. This is to make sure that it gets enough water and doesn’t become dehydrated.
In particular, from the age of 1 and a half years up to about 2 years old, you need to make sure that it has a mix of protein as well as fruits and vegetables. To make sure that it gets the required hydration.
The thing to note here is, getting hydrated is not always directly from the water you provide, it also comes from the fruit and vegetables that they consume as well. That’s why this is so important.
The thing to note here is that a bearded dragons body needs a required amount of fibre on a daily basis for it to process the food that it eats. So that it can pass the food, without having any difficulties. This is very important for their diet.
Impaction from Substrate
Another issue is the incorrect substrate. When it comes to substrate (Click here for the best 3 Bearded Dragon Substrates) there are many different options to choose from.
A controversial choice, that has mixed responses by different lizard owners is the particle base substrate such as sand. It is a known fact that this substrate can inadvertently be consumed by your lizard.
This then causes a blockage inside of their digestion system. Which can then lead to impaction. Some owners happily use sand based substrate and swear by it. And say they have no issues .
While others have issues with impaction. Obviously this just depends on the behaviour of your lizard and also your individual appetite for risk.
If you are not up for taking a risk, then there are other substrates that you can use, that are not particle-based. Such as AstroTurf based substrate, which have no particles. These ones make it impossible for your lizard to actually bite and swallow it.
Impaction from Parasites
Parasites are another issue that can cause compaction. For example tapeworm. This can cause a blockage in the intestines and lead to impaction. This is not always easy to diagnose.
You may actually require a vet to diagnose this problem. It is possible sometimes to inspect their faeces to see if this is the case. But you are advised to speak to your vet about this particular issue.
So what are the solutions for impaction?
So far I have given you ways that you can prevent impaction happening, to in turn avoid impaction. But what if your Beardie already has this issue? The first thing that you need to consider doing is visiting your vet because they will give you the best way to deal with this situation.
At the same time you can also consider having an immediate change of Diet for your bearded dragon , based on somebody information that you’ve read in this article. In particular moving it away from a highly protein protein, insect based diet.
Instead, you could consider a more high fibre diet with vegetables and fruit. Also as discussed earlier , provide it with a lot more water you.
Aside from this you can also consider giving them a warm bath and the the trick with this one is to make sure that the the water is at the level where it will cover their lower belly.
The idea is to is to stimulate the poop to come out from your bearded dragon. It is done by gently massaging the stomach of the bearded dragon in the hope that the warm water and a gentle massage will ease out the poop that is causing a blockage inside of their body.