Parasites are common within bearded dragons and sometimes they don’t show symptoms. However, if high levels of parasites are left untreated, they can cause serious problems and even become fatal. So, how long can your bearded dragon live with parasites?
Healthy bearded dragons can live up to 10 years with low levels of parasites. However, if your bearded dragon is not healthy or is stressed, these parasites can attack its immune system and general health, and treatment is needed.
In this article, we’ll explain how long your bearded dragon can live with parasites, the symptoms, what to do if your beardie has parasites, and how to prevent a parasite infestation in your bearded dragon.
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How Long Can My Bearded Dragon Live With Parasites?
Like dogs and cats, bearded dragons can also become parasite hosts, although this does not happen as often in bearded dragons.
In fact, it is not uncommon for bearded dragons to have low levels of parasites in their digestive system for many years, and they can live with them without a problem.
So, to answer the question, bearded dragons can live up to 10 years with asymptomatic parasites if they are at low levels.
This makes it difficult for owners to know how long they’ve had the parasite. But not impossible.
Asymptomatic parasites will show up in your bearded dragon’s yearly stool sample, and if the levels of parasites are low enough and are not causing any harm, the vet may choose not to treat them.
However, when your bearded dragon begins to show symptoms that they are feeling worse than before, it is time to visit the vet before they become fatal.
Signs Your Bearded Dragon’s Parasite Infection Is Getting Worse
Unless you take your bearded dragon to the vet for a stool sample, the only way you’ll know if your bearded dragon is suffering from a parasite infestation is by looking at some external signs.
Here are some signs that your bearded dragon is suffering from a parasite infestation.
1. Decreased Appetite
Adult bearded dragons will eat once a day, and juveniles will eat around two-three times per day rather enthusiastically.
But, a bearded dragon that is suffering from high levels of parasites will eat less or stop eating because the parasite suppresses its food drive.
Parasites will irritate the gut lining of your bearded dragon, which will discourage your bearded dragon from eating. In juveniles, this can be very dangerous.
2. Loss of Weight
If your bearded dragon is losing weight, especially if they are still eating, this can be a surefire sign that your beardie is suffering from a parasite infestation.
Regularly weighing your bearded dragon on an empty stomach and checking how visible its hip bones are is a good way of checking if your bearded dragon is losing weight.
3. Unusual Stool
Normal bearded dragon stool is firm and has a clear shape. However, when they are suffering from diarrhea, their stool will be runny, loose, bloody, or full of mucus.
This usually means your bearded dragon is suffering from a common parasite called Isospora Amphiboluri (Coccidia).
4. Unusual Behavior
Bearded dragons are usually quite calm and docile towards their owners and make good pets, so when they start behaving differently, this can be quite surprising and noticeable.
When they are feeling particularly unwell, they may greet you with a flared beard and an open mouth as a sign to back off.
Sick bearded dragons can also show signs of depression which will affect their everyday behavior and routine. You may notice that your bearded dragon is not doing what it normally does each day.
If your bearded dragon presents any of these symptoms, you need to take them to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment.
Different Parasites Your Bearded Dragon May Have And When To Visit A Vet
There are a number of different parasite infestations that your bearded dragon can suffer from that need to be treated. Left untreated, they can become fatal to your beardie.
Here are some common parasites.
Coccidia is a very common parasite in bearded dragons that is caused by protozoa (single-celled organisms).
It can either be asymptotic and not present any problems for your bearded dragon. Or it can present the following symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
If symptoms are showing, a vet will need to treat them. As it is contagious to other reptiles, you should isolate your bearded dragons and wash your hands.
Pinworms are a common and very contagious parasite that lives in your bearded dragon’s digestive tract.
- Weight loss
- Tiny worms present in stool
If your dragon presents any of these systems, you need to take them to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.
These long, gross worms are parasites that live in the bearded dragon’s intestines.
This parasite is so fatal because it eats away at the bearded dragon’s nutrition and will cause plenty of health problems like weight loss, a swollen abdomen, seizures, and death if left untreated.
Bearded dragons suffering from untreated tapeworms will have their lifespan shortened drastically. If you see any of these symptoms, you need to get your bearded dragon to the vet as soon as possible.
How To Prevent Parasites in Your Bearded Dragon
You can do some things to prevent parasite infestation in your bearded dragon.
These include making sure you are cleaning your bearded dragon’s tank properly, feeding them a nutritious diet with hygienically prepared food, ensuring they are not stressed, and that you are taking your bearded dragon on routine vet tests.
Bearded dragons will have low levels of parasites in their digestive tract that they can live with for years; it’s only when these parasite levels increase, and your beardie is showing symptoms that you need to take them to the vet for proper treatment.
Untreated parasite infestations in bearded dragons can be fatal.