Intestinal Parasites

The most common intestinal parasites in bearded dragons are pinworms and coccidia. In otherwise healthy beardies, they don’t cause a problem. But stress can weaken your pet’s immune system to the point where parasites become a problem.

Symptoms:

  • drastic weight loss, particularly during brumation
  • particularly smelly poo
  • lethargy
  • diarrhea
example of bearded dragon parasites problem - note bearded dragon weight loss

Note how easy it is to see this bearded dragon’s spine. The tail looks deflated instead of plump. If your bearded dragon looks like this but is eating normally, it’s time to test for parasites.

Treatment:

The only way to confirm a parasite infestation is via stool testing. The vet will ask you to collect a fecal sample, and then he or she will test it for the presence of parasites. If your bearded dragon does have parasites, s/he will put given a dose or two of dewormer, which should clear up the problem.

It is normal for bearded dragons to have low levels of parasites in their digestive tract. Having parasites present and suffering from a parasite infestation are two different things — the former is normal and benign; the latter is dangerous to your pet’s health. Using dewormers to treat low levels of parasites can actually cause more harm than good.

While your beardie is being treated with dewormer (and for a short time after), also provide a probiotic supplement. This will reduce the dewormer’s negative side effects and help make sure your dragon makes a full recovery: