Tail Rot?

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Tail Rot?

Postby joshlaura03 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:48 am

I have no idea exactly how old she is but we are the 4th owner so I am assuming she is up there in age. I know her tail hasnt been shedding and Ive been trying everything I can find to help that along.

Lately, though, she has developed a dark spot about an inch and a half wide on her tail. It is rectangular (in line with the rest of her tail stripes but wider and almost black) and is toward the tip but not all the way down. It does not go around to the back of the tail - it is only on the top. The back of her tail does have freckles that are new.

We recently moved from a very dry place to a very humid place too - could it have something to do with that.

And she has also stopped eating and is lethargic and dark all the time but my mom reminded me that she brumated last year around this time so Im hoping that is just coincidental and not related to the weird coloring on her tail.

My questions are: if the black spot is only on the top of her tail could it still be tail rot? Is there anything else I should be worried about? My husband isnt convinced she is sick so I cant take her to the vet unless I have some evidence of tail rot or another illness in my background info above.
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby AHBD » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:33 am

Hi there, can you post some pics of her, of her tail [ close ups ] and also her entire set up ? Here's how :

https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ Then use the XIMG to upload them

Can you also list the exact type + brand of lights you use ?
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby Eli1288 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:19 am

I think there are two different things it could be. If it’s keeps growing, it’s probably tail rot. In my experience, my beardie got black spots on him after he shed. When I brought him to the vet for a checkup, they said it was some shed that didn’t come off right, and it may stay there until the next shed. I hope this helps!
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby EllenD » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:31 am

There's no way to know if it's an infection ("Tail Rot"), an injury to the scales, or just normal darkened tail coloring without posting some photos of him and the tail, with some close-up shots of the area in question. It may just be normal, it may not. So please, post some photos of him ASAP and we can certainly tell you if it needs medical attention or not.

"Tail Rot" is a generalized term for an active infection in the tail that continues to spread up the tail towards the body, and kills all of the healthy tissue of the tail along it's way. Eventually, if left untreated, this infection will get close enough to the body to enter the bloodstream and cause a systemic infection called Sepsis, which is typically fatal. The blood supply towards the very end of their tails is very poor, this is why it's extremely tough to stop an infection that develops towards the end of their tails, there's just not enough active blood supply that far away from the dorsal tail vein in the base of their tails to supply any white blood cells to infections in that area. That's why "Tail Rot" is such a feared infection, such a small infection can turn into a fatal, systemic infection.

On the flip side of that, sometimes wounds on the end of their tails sometimes kill the tissue at the end of the tail, but then the infection dies out and stops spreading, and the tissue it did kill just turns black, shrivels, and eventually falls off. That's not "Tail Rot", and as long as the dead tail tissue just falls off and any open wounds close up, then that's it, it's not an active infection, and they can live without a part or all of their tails with no issues.

Also, a good percentage of Bearded Dragons have tails that are very dark colored in their second half, and this often causes worry to their owners because they think it's "Tail Rot", when in fact it's just their natural coloring.
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby joshlaura03 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:45 am

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby joshlaura03 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:46 am

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby joshlaura03 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:48 am

Its that one really dark ring that worries me. And the picture doesnt show it well but on the edge of that ring theres a thin black ring and thats where you can see her tail stopped shedding is right at that spot where the thin dark black ring is.
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby joshlaura03 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:51 am

And her tail is thinner at that spot
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby EllenD » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:21 am

Nope, no infection, no "Tail Rot" at all. The darkening is simply normal darkening and is just her natural color. The "kink" in her tail near the end, and I wouldn't even call it a "kink" really, is either just some damaged scales from an old, minor injury, like her tail getting stuck in something, something falling on it, etc., or it could be a bit of calcium deficiency, but it's not at all bad. I don't know what type of UVB light you have, how you have it mounted (is it obstructed by anything like a mesh lid, etc.), how far away from her it is mounted, and how long it's been since it's been replaced, etc. (or how often you give her a calcium supplement), but you may want to go over those questions, specifically the UVB light questions, just to make sure that you are using a strong enough and an adequate UVB light for a Bearded Dragon, as they do require an extremely strong UVB light, it should be a long tube that is at least 18" long, and should ideally be a T5 strength tube that is at least a 10% UVB tube (10.0 or higher), be within at least 11" of her basking spot/platform, and be replaced at least once a year, and if it's a much weaker T8 strength UVb tube then it needs to be mounted underneath any type of mesh lid and within at least 6" of her, and replaced once every 6 months...and if you're not using a UVB tube but rather a UVB "bulb", like either a compact or coil bulb that fits into a regular lightbulb socket, then this is not adequate for a dragon and explains any calcium deficiency completely. So we can help you with that, but it's not at all bad, and is definitely not at all any type of infection, dead tissue, etc. She's perfectly fine as far as that goes...
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Re: Tail Rot?

Postby EllenD » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:28 am

I'll add here, a vet isn't really necessary here if you go over your lighting and husbandry with us and correct anything that may be off, like too weak a UVB light, your money is much better spent getting her husbandry correct. Making sure you have a long UVB tube that is at least 18" long, and at the very least is a T8 strength UVB tube that is mounted inside the tank and under the any mesh lids, mounted correctly, etc., making sure you are using a Digital Probe Thermometer or a Temperature Gun and not just a stick-on thermometer, making sure all 3 temperature zones inside her tank are within the correct ranges, making sure you're giving her a calcium supplement and a multivitamin supplement often enough weekly, etc. is going to be much more helpful to both her appetite, her activity level, and her overall health.

Bearded Dragons are Desert Reptiles from Australia, which in captivity require at least 13-14 hours every single day under a very strong UVB tube and a bright-white colored Basking Bulb, both mounted over the Hot Side of the tank, right alongside each other, with her Basking Spot/Platform directly underneath both of these lights within the Hot Side...and her 3 temperature zones must always be within the correct ranges at all times, and this is controlled by using the correct wattage of bright-white colored Basking Bulb over the Hot Side and monitoring the temperatures with a proper Digital Probe Thermometer.
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