Chinese Water Dragon Mouth Rot

Mouth rot is a very common illness that occurs in Chinese water dragons. Stomatitis, known as inflammation of the mouth. This inflammation can negatively affect the pharynx, esophagus, and oral cavity in the mouth of a Chinese water dragon.

Mouth rot is caused by a bacterial infection that settles into the palate, tongue, and gum tissues of your reptilian pet.

This is a very serious condition that should never be ignored. If left without treatment, it can get into the jaw bone. What you need to bear in mind as a Chinese water dragon owner that mouth rot is a secondary infection.

What is Chinese Water Dragon Mouth Rot?

Mouth rot is probably one of the most common health problems you are going to have to deal with as a Chinese water dragon owner. It is a secondary infection and if it goes untreated, it can be a serious problem.

It’s not uncommon for Chinese water dragons to rub their heads, nose, and chin on the walls of the enclosure. Therefore, this can result in sores in the mouth, along with swelling, open ulcers, and more.

If you notice your dragon is showing signs of puss secretions from the mouth and ulcers, then it’s advisable to call the vet. The larger the enclosure, the less likely your dragon will bang or rub their heads.

Signs and Symptoms

Mouth rot in a Chinese water dragon

Mouth rot signs and symptoms vary depending on how advanced the mouth rot is at the time. Common signs include:

  • Underweight dragon
  • Pus discharge
  • Excessive mucus
  • Swelling and redness in and around the mouth
  • Dragon unable to close mouth
  • Reduced tongue flicking
  • Eroded lining of the mouth with cottage cheese appearance
  • In advanced cases the head may swell as infection spreads
  • Pneumonia can develop
  • Eyes can become infected and swell


Mouth rot is caused by an infection in the Chinese water dragon’s mouth and gums. It is often a result of small cuts in the mouth or food stuck in the teeth that becomes infected. It’s important to find the cause of the infection to ensure accurate treatment.

Temperature and humidity also play a role when it comes to mouth rot. A poorly functioning immune system can result in mouth rot. Combine this with an improper diet or oral injuries to increase the risk of your dragon developing this uncomfortable infection.

Related –How maintain humidity in a Chinese water dragon terrarium


The first call to action is to get your dragon to the vet quickly for a course of antibiotics that will kill the infection. You will also be shown how to clean the mouth.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very serious infection and it will require veterinary assistance to treat effectively.


You want to focus on preventing the risk of mouth rot when you first bring your Chinese Dragon home. Presentation can reduce the need to spend a fortune at the vet at a later stage.

Ensure you provide the right temperature and humidity for your reptile’s health with ample space in the enclosure to reduce the risk of head rubbing and banging.

Moreover, ensure you provide a hide for shelter and a nutritious and healthy diet.

If you notice food stuck in the dragon’s mouth, remove with care using a cotton swab.

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