Summer is here, which means trips to the pet store, checking out new lizards, and seeing how far your child’s interests in reptiles will take them. You may even be thinking of getting a bearded dragon! But before you commit, knowing about the potential health problems that can arise with these wonderful lizards is essential. Bearded dragon ear infections can lead to uncomfortable vet visits; however, you can do things to prevent or treat an ear infection early on. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what causes ear infections in bearded dragons and how to diagnose and manage them should your beloved lizard become afflicted with one.
Bearded Dragon Ear Infection Symptoms:
Bearded dragons can develop ear infections, although they are relatively rare. Common bearded dragon ear infection symptoms include swelling and inflammation around the ears, discharge from the ears, poor appetite or refusal to eat, lethargy or lack of energy, head tilting or shaking, and head bobbing. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an ear infection in bearded dragons is vital for catching the condition early and treating it effectively.
1: Swelling & Inflammation
One of the most common signs of an ear infection in bearded dragons is swelling and inflammation around the ears. This may be obvious just by looking at your beardie’s face; however, you should also look for redness, heat, and tenderness in the area.
2: Discharge from the Ears
Bearded dragons with ear infections may experience a discharge from one or both ears. The discharge may be yellowish and have an unpleasant odor. It is important to note that bearded dragons naturally produce wax from their ears, so it can be difficult to tell if they have an infection without close inspection.
3: Poor Appetite & Refusal to Eat
Another common symptom of bearded dragon ear infections is poor appetite or refusal to eat. This could mean your bearded dragon will not take food when offered, or it could mean they have less of a wish than usual. If you notice your bearded dragon is not eating as much or refuses food, it is crucial to monitor their overall health and watch for other symptoms of an ear infection.
4: Lethargy & Lack of Energy
Bearded dragons with ear infections may appear lazy or have a lack of energy, often staying still for long periods of time. This can be difficult to detect since bearded dragons are naturally slow-moving animals; however, if you notice your bearded dragon usually has more enthusiasm for activities but suddenly appears sleepy and sluggish, this could indicate that something is off with their health.
5: Head Tilting & Shaking
Another common symptom of bearded dragon ear infections is head tilting and shaking. This could involve your bearded dragon shaking its head from side to side, or it could mean they are keeping its head tilted at an angle. If you notice your bearded dragon doing this, you must check for signs of an ear infection.
6: Head Bobbing
Bearded dragons with ear infections may also display” head bobbing” behavior. This involves the bearded dragon rapidly moving its head up and down while making a clicking noise with its mouth. It is important to note that some bearded dragons naturally perform this behavior; however, if you notice your bearded dragon doing this more frequently than usual or accompanied by other symptoms of an ear infection, it is worth checking for possible health issues.
Bearded Dragon Ear Infection Causes:
Several different factors can cause bearded dragon ear infections. The most common causes of bearded dragon ear infections include:
1: Bacterial or fungal infection
Infections are often the result of an unclean environment, such as poor hygiene and dirty enclosures. In addition, bearded dragons that are kept in overcrowded cages with too many other animals may also be more likely to develop an ear infection due to their weakened immune system.
Parasites, particularly mites, can enter through the bearded dragon’s ears and cause inflammation and irritation. Unsanitary environments can contribute to this problem because parasites thrive in unsanitary conditions.
Allergic reactions to certain foods, dust, mites or other airborne irritants can cause an ear infection in bearded dragons.
4: Injury or trauma
Injuries to the bearded dragon’s ears, such as scratches or punctures, can lead to an infection if not treated properly and quickly.
5: High moisture levels
Bearded dragons are sensitive to humidity and, if left unchecked, can lead to ear infections. High moisture levels in the air can cause the ear canal to become blocked with wax or debris, making it difficult for the dragon to regulate the temperature of their inner ears. This causes bacteria and fungi to grow, leading to an infection.
It is essential to closely monitor your bearded dragon’s environment and health so that any potential causes of ear infections can be identified and addressed before they become a severe problem.
How to treat a bearded dragon ear infection?
Step 1: Identify the Symptoms of a Bearded Dragon Ear Infection
It can be challenging to distinguish between an ear infection and other illnesses in bearded dragons. Look out for signs such as tilting the head, shaking the head, scratching at the ears, discolored skin inside or around the ear, and discharge from the ear. If you notice these symptoms, your bearded dragon likely has an ear infection.
Step 2: Take Your Bearded Dragon to a Veterinarian
An experienced reptile veterinarian can effectively diagnose and treat your beardie’s ear infection. The vet will physically examine your pet and possibly swab samples from their ears to identify what kind of infection they have.
Step 3: Administer Medication
Your vet will likely prescribe an antibiotic to treat your bearded dragon’s ear infection. The medication may need to be administered orally or via injection, depending on the type and severity of the infection. It is important to follow your vet’s instructions carefully when giving any medications to your pet.
Step 4: Clean Your Bearded Dragon’s Ears Regularly
To keep your beardie’s ears clean and free from infection, it is essential to clean them regularly with a damp cloth or cotton swab. Be sure not to insert anything too far into the ear canal, which could further irritate or damage their delicate ears. Additionally, check the humidity in their enclosure to ensure it is not too high, which can lead to ear infections.
Step 5: Monitor Your Bearded Dragon’s Progress
Watching your bearded dragon during treatment is vital, as some medications can have adverse side effects. Contact your vet immediately for further advice if you notice any unusual behavior or worsening symptoms.
Bearded dragon ear shed?
Bearded dragons go through ear shedding, where they molt their outer layer of skin. In bearded dragons, this includes the area around their ears and eyes. Ear shedding is normal for bearded dragons as it helps them maintain healthy skin. This can occur several times throughout the dragon’s life, usually within one to three weeks.
During this time, you may notice your bearded dragon scratching at its ears or rubbing its head against objects to remove the dead skin from its face. It is essential not to interfere with this process as the bearded dragon needs to shed its old skin to grow new scales that are larger and healthier than before. After freeing, your bearded dragon will have cleaner, brighter-looking skin.
Additionally, ensure your bearded dragon has access to plenty of water and a comfortable environment during ear shedding to ensure it is manageable.
Location of ears in bearded dragon:
Bearded dragons have ears on the sides of their head, just behind their eyes. These ears are small but can still detect sound and vibrations from a distance. Their ears also help them orientate themselves about objects around them. Bearded dragons use body language and cues such as ear movements and other postures to communicate.
A bearded dragon’s hearing is not nearly as acute as ours, but it is an essential tool for them nonetheless! With their keen sense of hearing, bearded dragons can detect predators or environmental disturbances that may require further investigation.
In conclusion, bearded dragon ear infections are not uncommon and can be caused by many factors. If you notice signs of an ear infection in your pet, it’s crucial to take action immediately. Fortunately, various effective treatments are available depending on the severity of the issue. Regularly examining your pet for signs of any irritation or abnormalities is essential for preventing further growth from occurring. Furthermore, hand washing and keeping their habitat clean are key for maintaining the health and safety of your bearded dragon. All in all, it’s important to remain vigilant about taking care of your pet so that they have a long, healthy life.