Owner’s Guide to Metabolic Bone Disease in Bearded Dragons

Metabolic bone disease, or MBD, is quite common in captive reptiles. Dragons that live in the wild don’t suffer from this condition. It is primarily caused by improper care. So, what exactly can cause metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons?

Causes

Many different things can lead to MBD. The most common cause is a lack of calcium in your dragon’s diet. Calcium is very important to proper functioning and formation of muscles and bones. This is why you need to give your bearded dragon calcium supplements regularly.

It’s also important that you provide proper UV lighting. Without it, reptiles like bearded dragons can’t digest calcium properly. Other common causes of metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons is improper temperatures in the enclosure and various other diseases.

Signs

Dragons with MDB develop very thin bones. This allows them to break easily. The weakened bones will also make it more difficult for your dragon to climb, walk, or jump.

It’s also common for these reptiles to develop twisted toes, limbs, and backs. Eating can become painful once the jaw bones become soft and spongy. As the disease progresses, your dragon may even experience paralysis of the front or rear legs.

Treatment

Treatment of this disease involves correcting the underlying problem. If a lack of calcium in the diet is to blame, you may need to give calcium and vitamin D injections. If you haven’t provided your bearded dragon with a UV light, you will need to do so. If other diseases or conditions are to blame, they will need to be dealt with before MDB will go away.