Beardie has diarrhea, not eating

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I work at a pet store and just adopted a 7 month old beardie that was surrendered to us. His previous owner didn't know how to care for him - His tank was way too small, improper lighting, improper diet, not getting any supplements etc. As a result he has mbd and had lost all of his teeth to mouth rot. He also appears to have tail rot, but it's not severe so I have been treating it at home with betadine and neosporin. I will continue that treatment for a week or so and see if there's any improvement, then continue as needed. He is still on calcium glubionate and metronidazole from the vet. He did well the first day we brought him home, he seemed to enjoy the larger tank (went from a 10 gal to a 75). He was more active than he was when he was brought in, eating normally, and his colors lightened way up. I think he was so dark before due to stress from being in a tiny tank. Anyways, before I took him home he was having some digestion issues and his stools contained whole undigested worms. A few coworkers and fellow beardie owners of mine suggested I try cutting up his worms before feeding, since he doesn't have any teeth. However it seemed strange that they were coming out whole. Even with no teeth, his stomach enzymes should be breaking his food down, correct? He's been home for 3 days now and I'm cutting his food up, but yesterday and this morning he had diarrhea with undigested chunks of worms and veggies. Usually he eats as soon as food is available, but this morning he isn't eating and I don't know what to do. I'm trying to get him in to see our store's reptile vet, but until then what can I do? He has a 10.0 T5Ho hood that covers the entire length of his tank, basking spot around 100-105, warm side around 90, and cool side about 80 degrees. So I don't think lighting or heat are the problem. He gets crickets (smaller than space between his eyes), cut up mealworms w/ calcium dust, and for veggies he's been getting collard greens, bell pepper, zucchini, carrots and squash. Am I doing something wrong, or could this be a result of his previous improper care? I know diarrhea can be from stress, and he did just move to a new tank in a new house with new owners... Should I wait a day or 2 and see if he improves? Or should I do something right away? He's worrying me and I really couldn't live with myself if anything happened to him. I've only had him a couple days but already he's my baby, I want to give him a second shot and get him better not watch him get worse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

CooperDragon Sicko
Staff member
Thank you for taking him in and trying to help him. It sounds like he's pretty bad off but they are tough little guys and can bounce back from a lot with proper care and some luck. I'm glad you've gotten him to the vet. I would be careful about giving him too many meds all at once so I'd focus on the most serious issues and work down from there.

The mouth rot can be pretty critical if it's not controlled. In some cases, a vet will need to cut away rotten tissue but in others it's a matter of using some antibiotics and keeping the area clean with an oral cleanser like MaxiGuard. I suggest starting with the MaxiGuard and just dab it along his gums using a q-tip a few times per day. Hopefully that will help reduce bacterial buildup on the outside of the gums and allow them to heal. Once his mouth isn't hurting so much he may have a better time eating.

His digestion may be off due to parasites or just general system issues combined with not being able to chew properly. I suggest a soft diet for now. It's great he's eating on his own so try offering him some black soldier fly larvae and silk worms for now. You can also offer him baby food by dripping it on his nose (offer water this way as well) for him to lick up. I've had good luck with green beans, squash, and sweet potato. You can try plain chicken too. The vet may have some critical care powder which may work even better.

Your lights and temps are good. Keep treating the tail as you have been and focus on keeping him hydrated and getting his mouth healed. Another visit to the vet with this in mind is a good idea. Please let me know if you have any other questions and do keep us updated on his progress.

If you'd like to share photos of him, you can upload them here and post them using the XIMG button.


New member
Original Poster
Thanks for the feedback. His mouth rot is totally cured, I was just giving you his full background. The only way that affects him now is that he has no teeth, but it's no longer infected and not causing him any pain. The vet is the one who gave me both of his meds... And one of them is just liquid calcium so I don't think the 2 meds are too much for him. Seems like he needs them both. He hasn't been showing other signs of illness, he seems happy and alert I was just worried about the diarrhea. I called the vet yesterday and he said it could be a side effect of the meds, or in part due to relocation stress since I've only had him a couple days. He's only on those meds for a few more days so hopefully his digestion issues clear up. I will try the softer food as well. Turns out I was being overly paranoid since he already had so much wrong with him. His "tail rot" is just him getting ready to shed so that's good news! And I did get him to eat last night after posting this. His mouth is cured and his mbd isn't too severe, so I'm hoping with proper care I can turn him around and give him a good long life.


Sub-Adult Member
something else to consider is if he has be having a improper diet then all the sudden a diet change is introduced even to a good diet change can cause digestive issues. kind of like changing dog food brands causes temporary g.i. issues with dogs in many cases.
This could be playing part with the other health issues and meds to.
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