Coccidia in Bearded Dragons

Bearded_Dragon_showing_beard

Bearded Dragons are lizards commonly found in dry and semi-desert regions. These are mainly found in Australia and are known to adapt in human habitation as well. Many bearded dragons due to their exotic looks are kept as pets and even exhibited. Bearded dragons are often called ‘Beardie’ by the owners as it is a shorter and much interesting version of their original name. As bearded dragons have been used as pets by many people, often due to taking inadequate care of them they are affected by outbreaks of Coccidia which are a serious parasite and can even result in death.

Coccidia are tiny parasites that live in the wall of bearded dragon’s intestine. Coccidia are even present in a healthy bearded dragon, but there are some factors that help Coccidia grow and reproduce quickly.

Causes

One of the causes of Coccidia is stress. Stress is usually caused to bearded dragons when the environment changes or when the habitat changes. This lowers their immune system and causes outbreaks of Coccidia. Overcrowding is also a leading cause of stress and can help Coccidia to grow in the intestines. Another cause of Coccidia is improper temperature. Bearded dragons are usually adaptable to semi-desert and dry regions. If the temperature changes, there is a threat that Coccidia will grow in bearded dragon. Another important cause of Coccidia is improper diet. A bearded dragon is used to having leaves, vegetables and some kinds of fruits. There are some foods that are dangerous to the health of bearded dragon and may include wild insects. Wild insects are not recommended to bearded dragons as it poses threats of viruses to the bearded dragons. Other insects with chemicals such as fireflies are also considered fatal. All these dangerous foods are a threat to bearded dragon’s health and may cause Coccidia.

Symptoms and Signs

There are several ways a person can know whether the bearded dragon is affected by Coccidia or not. The first sign of Coccidia in a bearded dragon is running and smelly feces. Due to improper diet there can even be blood in the feces of your dragon. Dehydration and weight loss are also leading symptoms of a severe Coccidia outbreak. Due to Coccidia, bearded dragons cannot keep up with a proper diet and it often results in dark diarrhea.

Treatment

Coccidia in bearded dragons are difficult to treat but the cure is present. If not treated soon, it can even lead to the dragon’s death. After taking notice of the symptoms, it is very important to take the bearded dragon to a veterinarian. The veterinarian then prescribes sulpha drugs such as Albon and also tells the doses and the correct procedure to administer it. The treatment is a bit harsh so it is advised that the bearded dragon is taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Self-precautions along with medical treatments are also very important. It is very important that you keep bearded dragon’s cages clean during its treatment process. A good way of doing that is keeping a newspaper on the base of the cage and changing it twice daily to take care of the dragon’s hygiene and cleanliness. The medical treatment is very important but self-precautions play a great role too.

Comments

  1. I have a 6 month old beardie. He has had coccidia twice. I take him for regular vet check ups as soon as I notice a behavior change. At the very least I take in a poop sample to get checked.
    My beardie gets very lathargec and bloats after I feed him. I mean he gets so puffy he looks like he’s going to pop. He still eats his crickets and greens just fine, but his poop smells horrible.
    I’ve been trying to prevent it from coming back by picking up the poop immediately, I’ve upped his baths to everyday, I do a complete clean on the tank twice a week. I boil the accessories and carpet in water because I don’t want to use harmful chemicals. I also just baught a hand held steamer to steam clean the accessories and carpet in his home, I do this almost everyday.
    If you have any other rcomendations I would love to hear them.

  2. I have a baby bearded dragon. I noticed his abdomen is ballooned out. It eats good and seems to be doing well. I’ve never had one do this. Can you give me any tips or ideas on what to do please.

    • Pet Doc says:

      Dear Beardie Owner,

      It is well established that beardies suffer from intermittent shedding of coccidia in theirs stools.

      Under stressful condition this occurrence is even more common.

      We also know in Veterinary medicine that this breed requires a hot spot of temperature reaching anywhere from 103 to 107 F in a corner section of their environment- tanks.

      Signs of intestinal parasites include anorexia, bloat, poor shedding, lethargic, and many times dehydration.

      We encourage and recommend an exam and a fecal evaluation to include a float and direct analysis of the stools.

      Please call our office and schedule your appointment ASAP 801 224-2233

      Good luck

      Sincerely

      Dr. Yoeny Calas-Dobson

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