Beardie shaking his head left and right with mouth open and has black tail

Tina16

New member
Original Poster
Hi, my baby bearded dragon has not been eating for about a week. I have already taken his feces to the vet and am awaiting the results.

However, today a few new things happened that got me really worried. Half of his tail turned black and half the time, both of his eyes are closed. Also, a bit later in the day he started walking in circles around his basking spot and then opened his mouth and shook his head left and right. It seemed as if his body was doing it on it's own, without his consent. The process repeated a few times.

I attaching a video but it is too large. If you know how I can post it here, let me know.

There is not much on the internet about the head shaking. The few things I did find ended in beardies dying. I am really worried. Does anyone know what all of these could mean?

I know that the black tail could mean tail rot, I sent my vet the picture but they cannot know just by looking at the picture. They recommended I give him a bath and see if the color changes, it did not. We will be looking more into it and my guess is amputating the tail.

It did seem that he did not shed on that part of the tail for the last two times (the only times we've seen) and we've been bathing him more frequently. We are not sure, but my partner believes that his tail did shed the last time since there was a lot of shed when they were cleaning the tank.

We did check the pictures the breeder sent us and most of the beardies' tails looked a bit more faded in colour for the last half of the tail like it did with ours so we were hoping it was just the color, though it seemed too fishy. The tip of his tail has been a bit crooked too since before we git him.

Of course, the closing of the eyes means discomfort. He had stress lines too which got darker when I tried to feed him today. I believe he is in a lot of pain.

It just does not make sense to me how the black tail and the head shaking could be connected? Unless he is having two different issues or all of his body is slowly giving up....

I do not have the energy right now to give you all of the information about the husbandry, might do so tomorrow if the vet visit does not give me any answers. I assure you that I have read up on everything and am keeping everything correctly.

The reason I an writing to you is in hopes someone knows how this could all be connected or has any ideas on what could be wrong with him and what I should do. I cannot wait for the vet results.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
He's in serious condition, the head shaking , slinging it back + forth, is their way to vomit. How big is he , what was he eating before when he ate the last time and how big was it ? The black tail probably is from distress. Can you post pics of him to show entire body + tail. Also of your set up + lights ? You can also try to put a video on youtube + then post it here.
 

RangoRocky

Juvie Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Rango Rocky Balboa
To post the video you have to upload it to YouTube first. In the meantime while we wait can you provide some photos of your beardie, setup, and his tail
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I agree, the head shaking is serious. If you can review your tank setup with us, so we can see
the type/brand of UVB light you are using. He is definitely not feeling well, thus the darkened tail
tip.
When are you expecting the fecal exam results, this week I hope?
He is probably having calcium issues which cause head shaking & neurological problems. Let
us know how he is doing.
Are you able to get him back to the vet, did they not do any other tests except for the fecal test?



Tracie
 

Tina16

New member
Original Poster
Hi, thank you all so much for your replies.

I have only done the fecal test as he was only not eating at the time I have done it and did not want to stress him by bringing him to the vet and the 2 reptile specialized vets in this town are on vacation. The test came back and they couldn't find anything.

I am on my way to the vet right now to another town, where the only vet I trust is anyway (I am in a small country and there are not many vets who know about reptiles). She is the one I sent the picture to. I was avoiding going to her until now because she is in another town but he will be in transport for around 45 minutes, hopefully it will not be too stressful.

Here is the video of him shaking his head:

I watched a few videos of beardies vomiting but am still not sure if that is what he is doing. What do you guys think?

I have read about calcium deficiency. I have been giving him calcium every day, twice a week with D3 and once a week the multivitamin. Of course, this was before he stopped eating, could it have affected him that quickly? After I read more about this I have put a little bowl of calcium in his enclosure in hopes he will eat it if he feels the need to.

The lighting was given to me with the terrarium. I bought a used one from a breeder but they assured me they changed the tube. I do not know which brand it is but you would probably not know it since we do live in a smaller country. The breeder has a lot of beardies of his own which do not have any issues.


As for the food, he has been eating less and less for some time. He has also been more and more 'lazy' and we had to bring the food directly to him. He was a good eater before (he even ate his greens!) but not a great one and was already a bit underweight as could be seen from his hips. He has more than halved himself in the last week though.

The last batch of dubia roaches I got were a bit bigger than the ones before but they were not bigger than the distance between his eyes. A friend of mine also suggested that he could have eaten something that is too big for him, which is what I believe you are getting at. It could be the case, I don't know.

He is still pooping pretty regularly, although yesterday he left smaller pieces of feces across the terrarium. I guess it could indicate that he did eat something bigger especially since he is still pooping even after not eating gor more than a week, or is that normal?

Anyway, I am on my way to the vet now and hopefully she will have more insight and she will surely be doing more tests. My battery is almost out so sorry if I didn't answer some questions, hopefully I went through everything!
 

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AHBD

BD.org Sicko
He is 100 % definitely trying to vomit, I've seen it before. He very possibly ate a dubia that is too large because they are bigger + bulkier [ rounded out ] than crickets. The dark tail is not tail rot or trauma, it's indicating stress or going in to shed. I hope he gets through this ! It would be good to get a new Arcadia 12 -14 % uvb bulb if you're not sure how old your bulb is and be sure that his temps. are optimal, basking spot should be about 105 F [ about 40 C ] A taller basking log would also be good and if there is a way, to move the uvb to the center.
 
Last edited:

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 5 and Blaze is 3
Please get a reflector on the UVB fixture --- distance inside the tank 12-15 inches directly above the basking decor - a 12% bulb -- and you need a solid bright white basking bulb - like a Flukers - Exo Terra Intense - Arcadia halogen or Zoo Med repti basking bulbs ---- digital probe thermometers 2 of them to get accurate surface basking temps - 105-110 for a baby -- juvie/ adult 95-100 - you want that bulb directly over him
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
That bulb looks like a t8 if so it needs to be even closer 8 to 10 inches. If your unsure the t5 are smaller diameter and have 2 skinny wire probes on each end, the t8 are fatter and have a round button on each end. The t5 twist into the socket, the t8 is spring loaded and snap into the socket. It is imperative to get the uvb and basking temp correct. If they are not, inadequate uvb will cause very severe health issues like metabolic bone disease and poor behavior and poor eating. Low basking temps make it hard to impossible to digest the food they eat. Please make adjustments asap.
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
I went back and enlarged your pic i can see the slots in the fixture the bulb is a t5. Please follow Karrieree's advice for placement.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I agree, he is trying to throw up. How is he doing today, any improvements at all?
It doesn't appear to be a calcium issue. The frequency of calcium supplementation sounds
fine. The T5 tube bulb, is that Arcadia or Reptisun brand? I highly recommend mounting it
directly overhead for a more direct UVB exposure.
Have you double checked the basking temperatures also? As AHBD suggested, eating too
large of prey will cause significant digestive problems.
Let us know how the vet visit went. I hope he is doing better!

Tracie
 

SPandS

Juvie Member
Can you show a pic of the writing on the uvb bulb please? It does look like a t8, all the ones I've seen look just like a t5 but bigger. It also looks like it's the old fashion under cabinet lighting that uses starters and I believe they are t8s. It can be fine using a t8 but it would really need a reflector and be closer for your beardie to get optimal uvb.
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
If you zoom in on the last picture you can see the slots at the end. As far as i know all the t8 bulbs have bottons on the end and set in a cupped shape socket that is spring loaded on one end. That fixure has slots to accommodate the two wire electrode bulbs which is t5 as far as i know.
I thought it looked like a t8 also till i zoomed in on the fixture.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 5 and Blaze is 3
Can you show a pic of the writing on the uvb bulb please? It does look like a t8, all the ones I've seen look just like a t5 but bigger. It also looks like it's the old fashion under cabinet lighting that uses starters and I believe they are t8s. It can be fine using a t8 but it would really need a reflector and be closer for your beardie to get optimal uvb.
I agree the fixture needs a reflector so the rays are directed downward toward him for best effects of those rays -- if it is a T 8 I would recommend getting a T 5 -- I can post websites for those if you like
 

SPandS

Juvie Member
If you zoom in on the last picture you can see the slots at the end. As far as i know all the t8 bulbs have bottons on the end and set in a cupped shape socket that is spring loaded on one end. That fixure has slots to accommodate the two wire electrode bulbs which is t5 as far as i know.
I thought it looked like a t8 also till i zoomed in on the fixture.
I've owned several t8 fixtures from under cabinet lighting to reptile fixtures. They all have the same dual pins as a t5, they are just wider.
 

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