Metabolic Bone Disease in Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragon MBD is one of the most saddest diseases that is so unnecessary because the cause of it, is almost always due to a lack of proper care. When your bearded dragon does not get enough Calcium, Vitamin D3 or Phosphorus they will get Metabolic Bone Disease. It will vary from serious to mild depending how long it was left to progress. MBD causes the bones to weaken, this will lead to bones breaking, bending or becoming “sponge” like.

Mbd bearded dragons

What are the Signs of Metabolic Bone Disease?

  • Jerky movements of the head, tail and other limbs.
  • Bumps on the legs that you can feel or see.
  • A swollen jaw or underbite.
  • Bumps on the back and tail.
  • Deformed limbs or mouth.
  • Lack of appetite or difficulty eating.
  • Bent limbs or spine.
  • The curving of the spine and in severe cases, paralyzed lower body. 
  • Floating ribs.

Bearded dragon mbd

How Can Bearded Dragon MBD be Treated or Prevented?

A PROPER UVB SOURCE! - I cannot state this enough, a lack of a good UVB light is almost always the early causes of MBD. Without a UVB light, your bearded dragon will get metabolic bone disease at some point and it is a cruel disease that can easily be prevented with proper care. I need to be blunt, if you cannot afford the proper light and heat setup, then you should not have a bearded dragon, since this is their number one requirement! (See Bearded Dragon Lighting and Heating)

Bearded dragon mbd

Calcium - To prevent MBD, live food should be dusted with calcium powder containing vitamin D3 at least once every 3 days. If your dragon has a mild case of MBD, liquid calcium should be given more often until it is cured. 2 Days of liquid calcium and 2 days of calcium powder with D3 each week. For a serious case of MBD you will have to consult with your Vet to determine the correct dosages. Repti-Cal or ExoTerra Reptile calcium powder with D3 are most recommended. Calcium without D3 can also be used, but D3 is needed to absorb calcium so they do need to receive it at least twice a week.

Bearded dragon mbd

Proper diet - Greens that contains calcium should be given on a daily basis. AVOID types of food that falls under the “occasionally” recommendation since some of it deter the absorption of calcium and will worsen the MBD. Make sure that your dragon has a balanced diet and make sure the food that is given, is used properly as some types are staples, others are occasional or treat with some that should be given rarely or not at all. (See Bearded Dragon Diet)

Bearded dragon mbd

Natural sunlight - The natural rays of the sun is still the best cure and prevention for MBD. An hour outside each day will make a huge difference as one hour outside is equal to 3-4 hours in their cages, not to mention it makes them extremely happy.

Vet care – MBD can turn serious very fast. It is recommended to seek veterinary care no matter how far the disease has progressed. Only an x-ray can determine how much bone deterioration has taken place and your vet will use that information to recommend the best treatment and dosages that will be required to cure it. Unfortunately if it is severe, it cannot be cured, but only stopped from progressing.

Immune System - Severe MBD, furthermore, lowers their immune system, so they will need a weekly dose of pro-biotics, preferably an immune booster to help keep them healthy. a single dose once a week on a day that they are not receiving calcium, vitamins or anything else will do the trick.

Stress - Avoiding stress in dragons with MBD is also very important as stress can lower their already weakened immune system, making it easier for them to pick up illnesses and diseases which can turn fatal.

Bearded dragon mbd

Bearded dragon mbd

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