I need help figuring out whats wrong with my boy!

Laila2Waida

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Yoshi
Hey! So I'm new to this website, I just made an account but I've been looking for a while. I've got a question on if my baby boy has a respiratory infection or what he has. We were told he was 2-3 months when we got him but he looks to be about 3 months old right now and he just developed pores. Anyways, he has been gaping his mouth and retracting his chest very harshly for a few weeks now, and he didn't use to retract his chest like that. We assumed because of the gaping that he had a respiratory infection, so last Monday we took him to the vet and got him antibiotics for the infection (with x-rays). The vet hasn't called us back with the x-rays results and he hasn't really gotten any better. He seems to be gaping less, but each time he does he really harshly retracts his chest when breathing. I'm scared for him, he's my first beardy and I love him so much. I've done alot of research and I thought I was doing everything correctly but I'm not sure. He has a great appetite, and he is active and he poos every day. I seen something today about having the basking light on all the time and during night being harmful and it's always on, I never turn it off. His humidity is always between 35-65. Temps everywhere are on my profile. He also seems to be breathing with his beard and I'm not sure it's normal. Please help! Pictures below of him and his enclosure. Stuff on top is crickets and feeding supplies.
 

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smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
Gaping on its own is not a bad thing, it just means they have reached a good temperature and are regulating to stay there. If it is mouth breathing and not just gaping, then he could have a respiratory infection. The chest retraction thing I don't know about and I'm not sure if I can completely understand what you mean based on the description. I'm imagining like a gasping or something maybe? Maybe also just stretching his beard and it looks freaky? When mine stretches his beard he opens his mouth real wide and puffs out his beard, then snaps it back and closes his mouth real quick, so maybe that is it and your little guy just doesn't have the noticeable beard yet?

A question about your setup. On your profile it says not tube and not coil for UV, so what are you using? I can't tell from the picture. They need UVB specifically to synthesize vitamin d and absorb calcium. Without it, they can get metabolic bone disease (MBD), which is horribly painful and can lead to death. Recommended would be a T5 hood (Arcadia, ZooMed, Sunblaster are all good brands) with a Reptisun 10.0 or Arcadia 12% bulb. Distance to basking spot will depend on if you are putting it inside the tank or on top of the screen. If you are currently using a mercury vapor bulb that provides heat and UVB, certain brands have been known to provide inadequate amounts of UVB for bearded dragons and the UVB falls off quickly on them, like after 3 months. But there are people that have used them successfully, I just am not one of them. I would still recommend a tube in addition to the MVB to provide more options throughout the enclosure anyway since a bulb like that is just focused in one area. Coils and compact type fluorescent bulbs don't provide enough UV and can cause eye damage, so i would steer clear of those altogether. I would also recommend a digital probe thermometer for taking the basking spot temp. Put the probe on the spot where he sits to bask and wait 10 minutes.
 

Laila2Waida

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Yoshi
Here is a video of his breathing, sorry if it was a bit unclear!

He was gaping this morning, but just wasn't when I tried to record him. He's been gaping/gasping breathing for 2-3 weeks now anywhere everyonce in a while.


He has been sort of gasping, sometimes snapping his mouth closed after like your beardie but usually he closes his mouth a bit and leaves it open slightly, then closes it. The bulb I can describe is it just looks like a normal bulb, sorta like you'd have on a ceiling fan or something. I believe its a mercury vapor blub. We got it from a "Everything You Need!" Set thing from ReptiHabitat. There is a sort of dome type thing around the bulb. He has two bulbs, one is on his cooler side of his cage and it is a normal white light and his basking light is yellow. I'll look into a digital probe thermometer for him! I'll also look into some other brands for his bulbs and stuff, see which ones are the best aswell as a tube. I heard the tubes are good.
 
Last edited:

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
That does look like he is struggling to breathe a bit. Is your vet a certified reptile vet or just a general practice that's mostly cats and dogs? If not, I would try and get him in to a reptile vet. You can find one at arav.org and type in the nearest big city.

Those kits are mostly junk when it comes to the lighting. I got the Thrive brand one when I got my guy and it came with a coil. Took me months to realize how bad they are and replace it with a tube. Luckily he escaped with no (noticeable anyway) ill effects other than a slight underbite. I also used a red nighttime heat bulb for awhile before I realized those are also not good because they disrupt the sleep cycles. They need it dark and cool at night, but no cooler than 65F. I started using a ceramic heat emitter for nighttime heat when needed. If he is sick, I would highly recommend one to keep his temps around 80 at night to help him fight off the infection. I will tag a couple of others on here that might be able to help diagnose or give advice. One is a vet tech so might have much better insight on that specifically.

@Drache613
@AHBD
 

Laila2Waida

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Yoshi
That does look like he is struggling to breathe a bit. Is your vet a certified reptile vet or just a general practice that's mostly cats and dogs? If not, I would try and get him in to a reptile vet. You can find one at arav.org and type in the nearest big city.

Those kits are mostly junk when it comes to the lighting. I got the Thrive brand one when I got my guy and it came with a coil. Took me months to realize how bad they are and replace it with a tube. Luckily he escaped with no (noticeable anyway) ill effects other than a slight underbite. I also used a red nighttime heat bulb for awhile before I realized those are also not good because they disrupt the sleep cycles. They need it dark and cool at night, but no cooler than 65F. I started using a ceramic heat emitter for nighttime heat when needed. If he is sick, I would highly recommend one to keep his temps around 80 at night to help him fight off the infection. I will tag a couple of others on here that might be able to help diagnose or give advice. One is a vet tech so might have much better insight on that specifically.

@Drache613
@AHBD
It was a reptile special vet. She seemed to know what she was doing, checking how he sounded, recommended x-rays after hearing him, watching him, all that. I've been recommended some good lighting for him, and I'm now working on getting his new bulbs and lighting! I've heard a red light is not good at all for them, and I've always knew that coils didn't reach down good and could cause MBD if not changed soon enough. Glad your beardie escaped and is all good now, he is super cute! I live in Florida and I've checked and it is around 80 at night for him, if and when he isn't sick anymore I'll start keeping track of the coolness and such. He has never had trouble sleeping though, the basking light never really keeps him awake at night. Like I said he's my first and I love him alot. And thank you so much, you actually seem like you care to help, it means alot!
 

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
It was a reptile special vet. She seemed to know what she was doing, checking how he sounded, recommended x-rays after hearing him, watching him, all that. I've been recommended some good lighting for him, and I'm now working on getting his new bulbs and lighting! I've heard a red light is not good at all for them, and I've always knew that coils didn't reach down good and could cause MBD if not changed soon enough. Glad your beardie escaped and is all good now, he is super cute! I live in Florida and I've checked and it is around 80 at night for him, if and when he isn't sick anymore I'll start keeping track of the coolness and such. He has never had trouble sleeping though, the basking light never really keeps him awake at night. Like I said he's my first and I love him alot. And thank you so much, you actually seem like you care to help, it means alot!
Thanks yeah I really do try. I tried not to go off too much on the lighting because I know it has been an issue on here when some get too passionate about it and it scares new users away, but it is important and I want people to learn from my mistakes. I first got him as a house pet for the residential treatment facility I worked at, but accidentally fell in love with him and adopted him when we closed down. He is my first as well, so learning as I go, but this site has been really helpful. All the people on here really care and want what's best for the bearded dragons.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Hi there, sorry that your little one is sick. It does look like an R.I., classic symptoms just from watching his heavy breathing. You have a nice big set up for him, only problem with a tiny baby in a giant enclosure is they don't always get up high enough for adequate heat + uvb. What is the average temp. in that room where his tank is ? I see a stick on thermometer and I can't see the temp. but I know that with the black dome fixtures you would need at least 150 watts to keep your baby warm enough. Also you should switch to a good long tube uvb like Smaug mentioned. At night a ceramic heater if your temp goes below 75. A sick baby needs warm night temps. to help fight off the R.I.

It is good that he/she still has a pretty good appetite though.
 

Laila2Waida

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Yoshi
Hey! So I'm new to this website, I just made an account but I've been looking for a while. I've got a question on if my baby boy has a respiratory infection or what he has. We were told he was 2-3 months when we got him but he looks to be about 3 months old right now and he just developed pores. Anyways, he has been gaping his mouth and retracting his chest very harshly for a few weeks now, and he didn't use to retract his chest like that. We assumed because of the gaping that he had a respiratory infection, so last Monday we took him to the vet and got him antibiotics for the infection (with x-rays). The vet hasn't called us back with the x-rays results and he hasn't really gotten any better. He seems to be gaping less, but each time he does he really harshly retracts his chest when breathing. I'm scared for him, he's my first beardy and I love him so much. I've done alot of research and I thought I was doing everything correctly but I'm not sure. He has a great appetite, and he is active and he poos every day. I seen something today about having the basking light on all the time and during night being harmful and it's always on, I never turn it off. His humidity is always between 35-65. Temps everywhere are on my profile. He also seems to be breathing with his beard and I'm not sure it's normal. Please help! Pictures below of him and his enclosure. Stuff on top is crickets and feeding supplies.
Okay so! Update on lil guy. The doctors called us back and told us that his lungs looked fine, no water or any sign of infection in them. Me and my mother are starting to suspect that his nose holes are just clogged up from his resent shed and we are trying to help him out with that. If that's not the case, we'll figure something else out. But for everyone who tried to help, thank you, I'm gonna get the updated lighting and therm he needs to be healthy as soon as possible :]
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Is your vet experiences with small beardies ? That really looks like an R.I. , your dragon being so small there would be very little chance of seeing anything on the Xray so I don't think think they could tell anything definite. I raised loads of babies, none ever breathed anything like this when shedding whether their nostrils were clogged or not. Are you still giving the antibiotics ?
 

Laila2Waida

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Yoshi
Is your vet experiences with small beardies ? That really looks like an R.I. , your dragon being so small there would be very little chance of seeing anything on the Xray so I don't think think they could tell anything definite. I raised loads of babies, none ever breathed anything like this when shedding whether their nostrils were clogged or not. Are you still giving the antibiotics ?
Yes I'm still giving antibiotics. I'll be giving them for another week. She seemed like she was? The whole place seemed to be open about taking any animals and such. She might not have been though. I'll look into other vets and such, but he's also still taking antibiotics and the doctor told us to give it for 2 weeks
 

Laila2Waida

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Yoshi
Hi there, sorry that your little one is sick. It does look like an R.I., classic symptoms just from watching his heavy breathing. You have a nice big set up for him, only problem with a tiny baby in a giant enclosure is they don't always get up high enough for adequate heat + uvb. What is the average temp. in that room where his tank is ? I see a stick on thermometer and I can't see the temp. but I know that with the black dome fixtures you would need at least 150 watts to keep your baby warm enough. Also you should switch to a good long tube uvb like Smaug mentioned. At night a ceramic heater if your temp goes below 75. A sick baby needs warm night temps. to help fight off the R.I.

It is good that he/she still has a pretty good appetite though.
Sorry I didn't see this! Average temp from the stick ons is 105 on his basking side and on his normal side its about 75. I've ordered the stuff for a long tube uvb for him, and the only reason I suspected that it was because his nose was plugged up was because he started breathing a bit better after we unclogged one of his nose holes. But he's kept on antibiotics and doing fine, no new symptoms and his tank is always pretty warm
 

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