Bearded Dragon With Mites

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Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby electrofelt » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:33 pm

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Hi Everyone,

So I believe my friends bearded dragon, Winston, has mites. She noticed these tiny little red spots all over his body, and after some researching we have come to believe they are mites. He has been frequently going outside to bask because it has been so warm out, and probably picked them up in the yard. Here are some photos so you can see for yourself. They are hard to see, but once you see them it's pretty icky. I also saved them in a really large size, so you *should* be able to right click, view image, and zoom in to see them up close.

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You can especially see them around the spikes on his beard in this picture:
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Here you can see what I believe are eggs. They seem to be on top of the scale instead of in between them:
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You can tell poor Winston is so aggravated by them. Even as I was taking the pictures he would start scratching at his beard and my friend mentioned that he has been hanging out in his water bowl a lot, which I read that lizards to when they have mites.

So far, the battle attack against these buggers is to start giving him frequent soaks to hopefully drown all the mites. Then to completely disassemble the old tank and put Winston in a clean "emergency" tank lined with paper towels. We will go through everything in his old tank, spray with Prevent-A-Mite, and clean the crap out of every single crevice. I was also thinking we could bake the wood pieces. Winston will stay in the emergency tank until the mites are definitely gone, and that tank will be cleaned each time he takes a bath to prevent re-infestation.

Has anyone ever seen this before? We can use all the advice we can get. I also read a few owners used Betadine baths to help get rid of the mites, but I want a second opinion before trying that. Wish us luck in our fight against the mites!
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby Beardednoob » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:51 pm

There are sprays available to you. I have never used them personally so I couldn't account for their credibility.
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http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.j ... Id=2754867
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http://www.reptiledirect.com/defleareptilerelief.aspx
http://www.reptiledirect.com/ProductIma ... Off_sm.jpg
http://www.reptiledirect.com/miteoff.aspx


This reading is taken from http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Mites.html
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Mites, like ticks, are eight-legged bloodsucking organisms. They carry and transmit diseases from one reptile to another. Mites can usually be found roaming the body, tucked under the edges of scales and congregating around the eyes, ears, and any place on the body where the scales are thinner. If you can see them from about three feet away, or your hand comes away with several mites on it, then you have a severe infestation. Beardies who are moderately to severely debilitated may require fluids and nutrient supplementation to help restore fluid balance and provide energy for rapid recovery.

Mites are difficult to kill because the chemicals that we use to kill mites will also kill the Dragon. Mites can be drowned, but if you are not careful, the mites can just scurry up the Beardie's body and emerge from the water, hanging out around the eyes and nose. Favorite hiding places of mites include the neck folds, head, armpits and ears. Some Beardies will let you fully submerge them in water and some may have to have water poured heavily or sprayed over their heads and necks to flush away the mites.

In my opinion, the mite treatment products available at pet stores are ineffective. There is no easy way to get rid of mites. It requires a two-phase attack: you must aggressively treat the environment as well as the reptile. Another problem with eradication attempts is that many people think that simply cleaning and disinfecting the environment will eradicate the mites. It won't. It will get rid of the loose feces and may wash away many of the exposed mites. It will disinfect the bacteria left behind where the mites were squashed or defecated. It will likely not kill the nonfeeding morphs, larvae, and laying females hidden away in deep crevices.

To treat an infected Dragon, first place him in a warm, shoulder-deep bath of diluted Betadine (povidone-iodine): add enough Betadine to water to make it the color of medium tea. Pour the bath water over the lizard, being careful around the eyes. The water will flush most of the mites off and drown them while the Betadine, a topical antiseptic, helps treat all the mites' bites. You may wish to bathe the lizard in a plain water bath first to allow it to drink first, adding the Betadine after it has done so. If the Beardie defecates in the water, drain the tub, clean it, and draw a fresh Betadine bath.

While the enclosure is being fumigated, remove the soaking Beardie from the tub or holding area. Saturate a clean soft cloth in diluted Betadine and run it around the joints between their legs and body, through the folds of skin around the neck, jowls, and dewlap. Use a cotton-tipped swab to apply the diluted Betadine around the eyes and nose. Do not put the medication into the Beardie's eyes.

Let the Beardoe soak again in a fresh, warm water, or rinse it off and keep it in a warm place until the tank is done. If the reptile is badly chewed up by the mites, more Betadine should be added to the water and these medicated baths should be repeated at least every couple of days while the bites heal. Watch the Beardie and check the tank carefully for the next two months. If there is any reappearance of the mites or traces of mites (such as their ashy feces), repeat the above procedure. If you don't see a reappearance, you may wish to repeat the procedure in 6 weeks just to make sure that you have caught all the eggs, especially in a wooden tank.

To clean the tank: remove and dispose of all the substrate in the beardies enclosure (bag it in a plastic garbage bag and get it out of your house). Vacuum the inside of the enclosure thoroughly, especially in the angles of the walls. If the tank is made of wood or ungrouted melamine, lightly scrape the inside angles with the edge of a blunt knife, then vacuum again. You are trying to get up all the loose eggs, mites and mite feces (the white dust in the bottom of the tank).
If you have a glass or Plexiglas tank, wipe all surfaces down with hot soapy water. Wooden enclosures may be sprayed with soapy water. Remove all soap residue. For good measure, take the time to thoroughly disinfect glass tanks by swabbing them down with a bleach-water solution (1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water), let the solution sit for ten minutes, then thoroughly rinse out the bleach residue. Disinfecting does not kill the mites, it's purpose is to kill potentially harmful organisms that may be spread around by the mites.

If you have wooden cage furnishings such as branches, caves, or rocks, bake them in the oven, set at 200-250º F for 2-3 hours (depending on thickness, and longer at the lower temperature); check on them during this time to make sure they do not start to scorch or burn. Rocks may be boiled, completely submerged, for 20-30 minutes. If the wood or rock furnishings are too big to place in the oven or in a pot, soak them in a bucket or bath tub in a solution of bleach and water (use one half cup bleach for each gallon of water) for eight hours or so, to thoroughly saturate into crevices. Rinse thoroughly, spraying fresh water into all the crevices, until they are well saturated and flushed free of any bleach residue. Let dry thoroughly, preferably in the sun, for at least 24 hours. Wash all bowls with the bleach-water solution, rinse well and let air dry. If you have heating pads inside the tank, unplug and remove them. Clean with soapy water, rinse off the soap, then spray them down with the bleach-water. Let them sit for at least ten minutes, then rinse clean and set aside.
Disconnect all light fixtures and wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove any adventuresome mites and their feces.
Take a "No-Pest" strip (Vapona strip) or cat flea collar out of the package and place onto a piece of foil on the floor of the enclosure. Leave a bit still inside the packaging so that you can slide it back in when done. If the enclosure is a large one, you may need to set out several such strips or collars. If using a flea collar, stretch it out. You may need to cut them into pieces to prevent it from curling up again when you let go of the ends. Close the tank and seal it up as air-tight as possible to keep the toxic pesticide fumes inside the tank where they are needed. Cover large, screened areas and ventilation panels or holes with waste paper or plastic, taping it in place. Tape over the seams and any gaps between the doors and tank. Leave in place for three hours, longer for large enclosures. Vacuum all around the enclosure and wipe down any cabinets, etc. If there are any curtains on windows near the tank, check them carefully for mites, too. Either vacuum or, if heavily infested, take them down and place immediately into large plastic garbage bags, seal the bags, and take to the cleaners. When done vacuuming, immediately dispose of the vacuum's bag in the garbage outside your house. When the time is up, unseal the tank, dispose of all the paper, tape, and strips or collars into a plastic bag for immediate disposal into the trash. Leave the tank open and air it out for several hours. If possible, open a window in the room and turn on a fan to help air out the fumes. The fumes may be undetectable to you but not to your Beardie, so you want them flushed out of the environment.

Put new substrate and any new furnishings into the enclosure. Simple substrates, such as paper towels, are best used for the next couple of weeks. This will enable you to easily see if additional mites have hatched or migrated into the tank from the surrounding area. Drapes and upholstered furnishings near heavily infested reptile tanks should be checked and, if necessary, removed for thorough cleaning. Replace the water bowl, hide box, into the tank. Reinstall and turn on the heating and lighting, warm the tank back up, and place the beardie back inside.
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby electrofelt » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:54 am

Thank you for linking all that information! Very helpful for me and I appreciate it. I also spoke to my vet, he suggested to use hydrogen peroxide and a toothbrush and go over all his scales with that. I'm not sure which one we should do, I have never heard anyone using either hydrogen peroxide or Betadine baths for reptiles, although I'm sure they work. I think we will try the water baths first and see how it goes before using any solutions.

Thanks again!
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby AchiKat » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:07 pm

i hear the peroxide eats up the scales, seen many people say not to use it on your beardie. not sure tho.
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby electrofelt » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:20 pm

AchiKat wrote:i hear the peroxide eats up the scales, seen many people say not to use it on your beardie. not sure tho.


Honestly, that's good enough for me! I had never heard of it either, so better safe than sorry. Thanks for the tip.
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby claudiusx » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:21 pm

Yeah, I wouldn't use Peroxide. I know it eats away at the scales on open wounds, but im not sure if the same is true for when there are no open wounds. Still, better safe than sorry.

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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby Beardednoob » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:38 pm

I have also heard this about hydrogen peroxide, this has now sparked a test, I have some shed of my Uro and Seka's if I place it in hydrogen peroxide it should eat at the shed?
I still wouldn't use it though, betadine should serve the same purpose and is proven reptile safe. Make sure if you plan on using betadine to dilute it in water till it has a tea appearance. If there is an actual measurement or ratio I would like to know. :wink:
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby claudiusx » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:40 pm

Yay a test!

I think you should try, of course! :mrgreen: I am interested in what happens too.

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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby electrofelt » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:36 am

Actually, I would be very interested in hearing the results of that experiment as well. Someone else actually pointed out to me that even if it was fine for the beardies scales, it is probably going to sting something fierce if we used the peroxide, which was a good point.

I'll keep you guys updated on how the betadine bath works, and I can also measure how much of the solution I use to get the tea color.

Thanks again!
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby claudiusx » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:11 am

Oh if you do, make sure you post them up too. I don't think anyone has really taken the time to measure out a ratio yet lol.

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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby Beardednoob » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:29 pm

I would encourage you to try this test yourself. Right after I posted my last response on this thread I went and got the shed skin and used the last of my hydrogen peroxide to fill a small bowl. It came slightly above the shed skin. Just now as I checked it, it looks the same as it did when I put it in, just somewhat softer to the touch but, still intact. I would like to hear if it is only associated with pain or not that people say not to use hydrogen peroxide. This is just my curiosity at work, I wouldn't use it still as betadine is proven to be non evasive in helping bearded dragons.
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby electrofelt » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:30 am

claudiusx wrote:I would encourage you to try this test yourself. Right after I posted my last response on this thread I went and got the shed skin and used the last of my hydrogen peroxide to fill a small bowl. It came slightly above the shed skin. Just now as I checked it, it looks the same as it did when I put it in, just somewhat softer to the touch but, still intact. I would like to hear if it is only associated with pain or not that people say not to use hydrogen peroxide. This is just my curiosity at work, I wouldn't use it still as betadine is proven to be non evasive in helping bearded dragons.


Huh, that is interesting. I wonder if it takes a little while to break down the scale. I will definitely try that test out myself, because you have sparked my interest as well :) Although, I need to get a fresh sample of his shed skin. Just out of curiosity, how old was the skin you used? And do you know how old the hydrogen peroxide is? I want to try and compare results. It's too bad we can only use dead shed scales, this would be interesting to do with "live" ones, but I'm not about to try it on him :)
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Re: Bearded Dragon With Mites

Postby Beardednoob » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:18 am

The peroxide was actually kind of old, don't remember exactly but, maybe around 1 - 1.5 years. The skin I used was taken right off Seka's beard, as she was shedding it that day. So pretty fresh :wink:
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