With bearded dragons becoming more and more popular, a large number of people are starting to add them to their family and although the vast majority of bearded dragons will be healthy, we wanted to publish this article going over bearded dragon tail rot to try and help any of our readers who pets end up suffering from this condition. Although it is a relatively rare condition, with the massive surge in popularity of bearded dragons recently, it is likely that some first-time bearded dragon owners pet will likley end up with the condition.
Due to this, we feel that it is important to make sure you are able to identify if your bearded dragon has tail rot and then decide on the best treatment options for moving forward. We will be covering all of this in our article and although there are some treatments that you can apply directly to your bearded dragon’s skin at home, there are no problems with seeking professional assistance from your local vet. Depending on the severity of the condition, a trip to the local vet may be essential anyway but we will be covering all of this throughout the article.
What Causes Tail Rot In Bearded Dragons?
There are a number of different potential causes of bearded dragon tail rot with trauma being the most common one. If the tail of your bearded dragon ends up getting crushed, bitten or pinched it can start off the process that can develop into tail rot. This can often be quiet painful so you will likley notice a difference in the behavior of your pet bearded dragon early on and if you inspect the tip of the tail you will likley see the start of the disease with some potential skin shed.
Although less common that direct trauma to your bearded dragons tail, a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in your pet bearded dragons diet can also lead to your pet becoming malnourished and potentially developing tail rot or another infection. Due to many bearded dragon diets lacking in some vitamins or minerals, it is common for many people to add a specialist vitamin supplement to their pet’s diet too. This can help prevent these issues with malnourishment and potentially prevent tail rot as well as some other issues from developing.
The final and much less common cause of tail rot in bearded dragons is due to a lack of UVB light exposure. This is without a doubt the rarest cause of tail rot and usually happens when the lighting unit for your bearded dragon has a fault or is really old and is not performing as well as it once did. If you think that this is potentially the cause of the tail rot in your bearded dragon, you should replace your lighting unit as soon as possible.
What Does Tail Rot On A Bearded Dragon Look Like?
Bearded dragon tail rot usually looks as if the tip of the tail is black, dry, and potentially shedding. The worse the condition, the more obvious these signs in your bearded dragons tail are with severe cases of tail rot showing signs of necrosis and dead flesh on the tail. Once the condition developed and starts rotting, it is definitely easier to see and the majority of the time, even a developed case of tail rot can usually still be treat without any long term issues.
In the earlier stages of tail rot the condition can just seem as though the tail of your bearded dragon is just shedding or as if your pet is suffering from dry skin that is common amongst reptiles. If you do notice either of these in your pet then it is definitely worth keeping a closer eye on them than usual to help get on top of any potential tail rot development in your pet as soon as possible.
Although tail rot will usually start at the very tip of the tail, if the cause of the condition is down to trauma and problems with the bones in the tail, it can start at the location the initial trauma occurred and then spread from there. This is usually rarer though and easier to spot as the initial signs of trauma on your bearded dragons tail will often give you plenty of warning that there is an issue with many people opting to take their pets to the local vet right away.
Does My Bearded Dragon Have Tail Rot?
Spotting bearded dragon has tail rot is usually pretty easy and you can look for the signs above to make sure that you are able to spot the condition in your beardie before it takes hold. That said though, if your pet has darker skin then some bearded dragon tail rot may be a little bit more difficult to notice in its early stages. That said though, if you are in any doubt then we would recommend that you take your pet to the local vet to get a professional opinion on if it is tail rot or not, after all, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Can Tail Rot Kill Bearded Dragons?
Unfortunately yes, tail rot can end up killing your bearded dragon if not treated in a timely manner. As we touched on earlier, the majority of cases that are caught in time will not have any long term health effects on your pet but the infection in the tail can end up spreading and potentially causing long term health issues and death if you don’t get it under control. Although there are a number of home remedies that we have seen online, there is only really one option that has any real science behind it and this is why the majority of people who own a bearded dragon will simply take their pets to the vet if they think that the condition is taking hold for a professional treatment.
How to Prevent Bearded Dragon Tail Rot
Thankfully, bearded dragons tail rot can be very easy to treat in the early stages but in the intermediate and later stages it is almost always advisable to get some prescription-strength treatments from your local vet or even resort to surgery. We will not be taking a look at the more common treatment options for the condition and how you are able to use them to combat tail rot in your pet.
As we touched on earlier, there are a number of home remedies for tail rot online but we would recommend that you avoid the majority of them as it is more correlation rather than causation that the treatment worked. So many people try their own things in conjunction with other treatments at home that it is difficult to know what actually offered a benefit, what had no effect, and what potentially made the condition worse.
Betadine & Water Soak
That said though, the most popular home remedy for tail rot that can sometimes be recommended by a vet is to soak your bearded dragons tail in a betadine and water solution to help combat the infection. This can be surprisingly effective, especially in the early stages of tail rot setting in and you can do it in the comfort of your own home. Make sure that you source a high-quality betadine for the solution that ideal has a “no sting” formula.
Many of the betadine products on the market sting when applied and as you are unable to explain what’s happening to your bearded dragon during treatment, we would always recommend that you go with a “no sting” formula. Although the mixture can change, the majority of people recommend that you use three parts water and one part betadine for optimal results when looking to combat tail rot.
Place the solution in a dish and then soak your bearded dragons tail in it for around five minutes. This can be a pain though as your bearded dragon will likley want to play and walk around so you can break the five minutes up into five one minute sessions if required. That said though, if you are doing this and not going the whole five minutes at once we would highly recommend that you try to get all of the sessions in within a half-hour time period if possible.
The normal recommendation is that you soak the parts of the tail on your bearded dragon that are showing the signs of tail rot in the solution and then sink another inch or two if possible to deal with any potential spreading. Ordinarily, this will only be the first few inches of your pets tail in total as this treatment is only really suitable for tail rot in the early stages.
Seeking assistance from your local vet and getting a professional level remedy for tail rot is almost always going to be the better option and have a higher success rate. Although you can try the home remedy above, we usually recommend that our readers take their reptiles to the local vet as soon as possible when they suspect that tail rot is setting in as there is no reason to take chances and risk the condition getting worse.
Antibiotics are the most common remedy for tail rot that a vet will prescribe for your pet. They are extremely effective and can help treat the condition all the way up the very end stages of tail rot in your bearded dragon. Due to being a prescription option, you do have to take your pet to your local vet and have them inspect the condition and prescribe the relevant antibiotics. The further along the case of tail rot, the stronger the antibiotics that will be prescribed but this has the highest chance of success.
In the most advanced cases of tail rot, your local vet may have no other choice but to remove the tip of the tail in your bearded dragon. This is rarely done and is only usually a last resort where the tail rot is so advanced that the time required for antibiotics to work will likley result in the death of your bearded dragon. This is a very simple procedure and has a tiny failure rate so there is no need to get yourself worked up if your vet says they think surgery will be the best option.
That concludes our article going over tail rot in bearded dragons and we hope that it has helped our readers. As we have touched on earlier in the article though, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to something like tail rot in your pet so if you are in any doubt at all you should seek assistance from your local vet. A quick look at the tail of your bearded dragon should be enough for your vet to workout if the condition is tail rot, dry skin, shedding, or something else and then be able to assist you as required.