It can be very worrying to notice a black spot or spots on your bearded dragon. If you have owned your pet for some time, you will notice anything strange quickly. The good news is that not all black spots are bad news, though there are some you do need to pay closer attention to.
Sometimes a black spot can simply be a color freckle and nothing to worry about. Freckles are pigmentation on your pet. It is also possible that it is an area on a scale that was removed too early during the shedding process, not forming properly. It’s completely normal and as long as it doesn't change size or move to other areas. There is nothing to be concerned about freckles.
Bearded dragons come in tan, olive green, yellow and tan. They are regularly being bred to produce different colors and patterns with more than 20 morphs available. As a result, black spots on your bearded dragon could simply be its natural color pattern, which is nothing to worry about. If it won't come off, then keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn't grow or spread.
Bearded dragons are inquisitive and active in their enclosure, which is why it’s not uncommon for your pet to get a scrape here and there. Scrapes are normal and no cause for concern, as long as it is kept clean and your pet lives in a clean habitat.
Abrasions, unfortunately, increase the risk of infection. Therefore, keep an eye on the dark area for redness or oozing, which is the first sign of infection. If the area is black and the black starts spreading, this could be the beginning of necrosis, which is when the healthy tissues die.
Betadine baths are useful in fighting infection. If the black spreads or grows, seek veterinary treatment immediately.
Black spots could simply be dirt that your bearded dragon has picked up in or out of its enclosure, it could even be a little piece of poop. The best way to identify if it will come off is to give your bearded dragon a bath.
Bathing’s quick and easy. Simply fill a tub with warm water that will go as high as your dragon’s knees. Place your dragon in the bath and let it swim around and enjoy the water. It will help with hydration and help getting your pet clean.
Remember to keep the water at a warm temperature. Once finished, give your pet a pat dry using a clean dry cloth.
Burns are not uncommon with bearded dragons, especially when their UV lights are too close to their basking areas. If you think your pet has a burn, then the best treatment is raw honey, which is a natural antibiotic with fantastic healing properties. Simply put a thin layer of honey on the burn, easing any discomfort and helping to speed up healing and reduce the risk of infection.
The problem with a fungus is the speed in which it spreads. It's not uncommon for it to reoccur, usually just when you think you have eradicated it. A fungus may start as a small black dot and quickly grow.
Antifungal medications are often prescribed by the vet to treat the area and if that fails, the area infected with fungus may need to be amputated. Vets will amputate toes and tails if necessary, to fight a bad fungal infection.
If you suspect your pet has a fungus, then you will want to give it a daily Betadine bath. Simply prepare the bath as you would to remove dirt, adding some Betadine to the water. Betadine solution is a must in your first aid kit for your pet. It can be used to treat fungus, clean minor wounds, and burns. It can also be added to your pet’s bathwater, allowing it to soak the infected area.
If you notice a small black dot or dots that move, then the chances are that your pet has parasites. They are tiny dots and it’s always recommended to seek veterinary advice if you think your pet has them.
In addition to a veterinary visit, you will want to remove the infected dragon from its enclosure and place it in a quarantine tank, if you have more than one dragon in the enclosure. Parasites will infest the enclosure and move onto all dragons quickly. Clean the enclosure thoroughly, remove everything, disinfect it, rinse it and allow it to dry before returning your pet to its home.
Scale rot is relatively common in bearded dragons, often a result of bacterial infection. Bacterial infections are often due to your pet being exposed to too much humidity in its enclosure. In mild cases, only one or two scales will have black dots. In severe cases, seek veterinary treatment.
Ensure your humidity levels remain at optimum, between 20% and 40%. Use a digital hygrometer, which will enable you to monitor humidity levels with ease.
Stress marks are often seen on younger bearded dragons, often showing on the tummy. They usually appear as dark lines or oval dots on the tummy. They also appear on the beard and sometimes the limbs.
There are so many reasons why your pet may have stress marks, some reasons are easy to identify, while others may be harder. Stress can be caused by incorrect temperatures, incorrect humidity levels, introducing your pet to a new environment, not providing an adequate hiding place, introducing a new dragon to the enclosure, or having your dragon in the wrong enclosure size.
In most cases, a black spot on your bearded dragon is nothing to worry about, as long as it doesn't grow in size or spread. Abrasions, burns, and fungus can all be treated with Betadine. If you suspect a parasite infestation or scale rot, it's recommended to seek veterinary treatment.
Get to know your pet well when handling, get to know any marks and spots, this way you can quickly identify new spots, enabling you to act quickly should there be a problem.