Psyllium for diarrhea


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Hi there. First time poster, long time lurker. I have a 9 month old dragon that seems to be in good health - he's active, gaining weight, eats his greens and bugs voraciously, basks a normal amount, etc. but he has not had a normal poop in nearly 3 months. It is always a bit mushy at best, to diarrhea at worse, though it has never excessively smelled. He does this at a "normal" frequency for his age, every 2-3 days. He doesn't strain, his fat pads are nicely raised and he doesn't seem dehydrated or stressed and I keep his viv immaculate. He has had an exam with an exotic vet, who exhuastively went over my husbandry (I even replaced the UVB as a just in case) and we did two fecals in the last 2 months, the last one a rather expensive full panel. Both came back normal (I don't have numbers, results were provided over the phone). I decided to deworm him anyway and used Panacur and Toltrazuril (from, which he tolerated really well, but his poops have not improved. I've also given him probiotics near daily, and only give greens (in case the extra veggies had too much water content) and bugs (primarily crickets, BSFL, and superworms; occasional meal worms and wax worms; definitely no hornworms right now) - there's been no change. My vet left me a voicemail that we'll need to look at increasing his fiber intake and test for ADV (I have not done this yet). I read psyllium husk can help absorb some of that excess fluid and improve his stool, so two days ago, I split open a psyllium fiber pill and dusted his greens and crickets...and waited for him to poop. Today he had the worst poop yet, there was so much liquid, so that was disappointing. It didn't seem to help at all, but I don't know if that's because I need to consistently give it? I'm afraid of giving him too much and stopping him up. So I guess the questions I have are: how much psyllium should I give him and how often? Is the fact that nothing is helping his poops a sign of ADV? I'm at my wits end, I don't know what else I can do for the poor guy.

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Psyllium will enter the gut and suck more water into the stool, it'd make the stools looser.

Can you post a picture of what a typical stool looks like for him?

And I know you went over your husbandry with your vet, but you need to go over it with us here too. Your vet specializes in exotic creatures (hopefully), not in bearded dragons, it's not uncommon for vets to give "good enough" advice, which likely is the difference between good enough, and proper.

I see the details in your profile. Few questions on it.

Since you are using an IR gun, what material is your basking surface made of?
Do you have a digital with probe thermometer where you can verify your IR gun is accurate?
Can you post the daily diet of your dragon, including quantities of bugs?

I really want you to pay attention to your first paragraph though, especially the bolded:

I have a 9 month old dragon that seems to be in good health - he's active, gaining weight, eats his greens and bugs voraciously, basks a normal amount, etc. but he has not had a normal poop in nearly 3 months.
Don't miss the forest for the trees. Don't chase perfect so hard that you end up making your dragon sick when there likely is absolutely nothing wrong. He never should have been given medications. Medications will almost always mess up the good gut flora, making stool issues worse.

Giving a healthy dragon medications and supplements that are not necessary is what causes a healthy dragon to get sick and go down hill. If you already had two negative fecal tests, count your blessings.



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Basking area is slate, we have two IR guns that give the same reading within .5-1 degree of each other, so I’m fairly certain they’re accurate. He has 8-10 appropriately sized bugs daily - they come from a small, independent breeder and I am fastidious with their care (dead ones cleaned out daily, substrate is changed out weekly, gut-loaded, etc.) As I mentioned, right now he’s only eating greens (mix of collards, mustard and turnip) for his salad, as many veggies have a high water content and I want to ensure that’s not contributing to the diarrhea. I think other husbandry details are already included in my profile. In defense of my vet, she does specialize in reptiles and owns some herself. Thankfully, she’s not given me advice counter to anything I’ve read here.

I’m definitely not chasing perfection - his stools are not normal. Anyone would think he was sick that saw it. I would be fine with a little puddle, but I feel it’s an excessive amount - it’s not clear and it takes me 2-3 paper towels just to mop up the liquid, before I can even start disinfecting. I really worry that he’s losing too much water and I’m just grateful that he eats his greens so well since he refuses water in any other form.

I won’t have a poop pic for a day or two, he is very regular in terms of frequency.

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
we have two IR guns that give the same reading within .5-1 degree of each other, so I’m fairly certain they’re accurate.
You can't test the accuracy of one IR thermometer with another because they both will have the same issue, emissivity. Without getting too deep into it, IR thermometers assume a temperature based on assuming the material they are measuring fall within the IR's emissivity set value. If the surface you are measuring has a different emissivity than what your IR gun is calibrated for, it will not show an accurate reading, despite multiple IR thermometers showing a similar. You verify your IR thermometer is accurate on a material by one of two things. One, knowing the emissivity of your material and calibrating your IR gun to that, or using a device that doesn't rely on emissivity (such as a digital with probe end) to verify.

Digital with probe ends can be had for around 5 bucks in some cases. It's a cheap insurance policy to make sure your IR gun is measuring your surface accurately.

Since the number one reason for odd stools is digestion issues, and digestion issues are typically caused by improper temperatures, it's a cheap, quick, and painless way to troubleshot. Since we need to wait a day or two for the poo picture, it makes sense to at least verify that for the time being. Your temperatures might be right where you think they are, but they might not. Depending on the slate, it can either be around a .96 (most IR guns are calibrated to .95) or it could be all the way down to a .60, which would severely throw off your readings. The good thing is, once you verify a surface in your enclosure once, you don't need to do it again as you'll know that surface is being read properly by your IR gun.

PS, I wasn't trying to throw blows at your vet, just pointing out that vets have to know a lot about a lot of different creatures, while here, we have the luxury of only needing to know a lot about one specific creature :)

If he is getting extra moisture in his diet, it will come out in his stools. A well formed stool, with a soft white urate, is normal, even if its surrounded by a pool of liquid. Poos of concern have no shape at all.

Just remember, he's negative for parasites, and he is eating properly, and once you verify your basking surface temperature, you'll know his temperatures are proper too. Those three things account of 999 out of 1000 poo issues. He likely is just getting an ample amount of liquid in his diet, and passing it through.


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