Have you noticed your bearded dragon is making wheezing noises? Maybe it's even lost its appetite and now you're concerned at what the cause could be. Maybe you're worried that your bearded dragon is developing a respiratory infection, which is very common in these reptiles. As a reptile pet owner, you want to ensure your pet remains happy and healthy. Continue reading below to find out more about wheezing and respiratory infections.
Respiratory Infections in Bearded Dragons
If you think your pet may have a respiratory infection, the first step is to make an appointment with the vet to have the infection treated. Treatment usually includes antibiotics, reducing moisture in the enclosure, and increasing the temperatures. A vet will be able to diagnose the cause of the wheezing and provide the correct treatment to get your pet back to health.
It is also recommended to increase the temperatures in the enclosure by between three and five degrees to help provide your pet with the optimum temperatures to fight the infection.
Respiratory Infection Symptoms
A wheezing bearded dragon will often display additional symptoms, in addition to the wheezing you have witnessed. These symptoms include:
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Breathing problems – wheezing, snorting, and open mouth breathing
- Runny mucus from the mouth
- Puffed up body or throat
Respiratory infections, unfortunately, are very common in bearded dragons, which means prevention is always better than cure.
Temperature and Humidity
Start by taking a close look at the temperature levels and humidity in the enclosure to ensure that they remain at optimum, to reduce the risk of respiratory infection and wheezing.
To reduce the risk of respiratory infection, your humidity levels should range between 30% and 40%. Never allow the humidity to go over 40%. Using a digital hygrometer can be an effective way of monitoring humidity levels at a glance.
Temperature is also an essential part of reducing the risk of respiratory infection in your pet. Bearded dragons require a warm and cool side to their enclosure, helping them regulate their body temperature. Temperature levels that drop too low can result in respiratory infection.
Adult beardie temperatures should be between 95ºF and 105ºF on the warm side and 85ºF on the cool side. Baby dragons require slightly higher warm temperatures, with the hot side being between 105ºF and 110ºF.
Reptiles living in captivity are prone to stress and stress lowers the immune system, which can make your pet more susceptible to a respiratory infection, which could cause the wheezing you heard. Stress is often a result of an enclosure not being set up properly to handling your pet too much when first introduced to your home.
Keeping your bearded dragon’s enclosure clean is also essential to reduce illness. A dirty enclosure will have dirt, mold, and dangerous bacteria building up. Spot cleaning should be carried out daily with a thorough tank clean once a month.
Wheezing is a sign of respiratory infection and in order to provide your pet with the best care, you want to act quickly. Monitor your humidity and temperature elves, ensuring they are at optimum. Increase them by three to five percent to help fight off the infection while you wait for your vet appointment. Prevention is always better than treatment, so keep an eye on stress, the habitat, temperature, and humidity to reduce the risk of your bearded dragon getting an infection, which will cause wheezing and discomfort.