Treating Impaction in Bearded Dragons

We are concerned that our Bearded Dragon is suffering from minor impaction. There is a lot of talk about bathing and massaging. How are those things properly done?

A Bearded Dragon’s digestive tract is considered impacted when its digestive function is prevented or impaired by a blockage – resulting in less frequent or no passing of feces. This condition can be caused by the feeding of inappropriate foods (over-sized or too difficult to digest); poor choice of substrate or an environmental reason such as low temperatures.

If the impaction is resulting only in less frequent passing of feces, you can attempt to aid the digestive process using laxatives or a warm bath. A vet specializing in reptile health can recommend appropriate laxatives; or you can attempt to dose several drops only of vegetable oil. I have heard it be suggested that gently rubbing the abdomen can also assist.

If impaction has resulted in far less frequent or complete cessation of passing of feces, such a condition can quickly become life-threatening and should always be attended to by a vet who specializes in reptile health. A vet can perform an enema and prescribe laxatives appropriate for your lizard.

2 thoughts on “Treating Impaction in Bearded Dragons

  • Apr 23, 2009 at 12:00

    I’m glad you touched on over-sized foods and low temperatures as other contributing factors to impaction because substrates always take the fall. I have crushed walnut shells, which are disliked by some, and I have never, ever had impaction issues with my beardies. I have been using Desert Blend by r-zilla, which I really like.
    I also want to add, however, that people should be careful when rubbing their bearded dragons because their bodies are not made the same as ours are. Therefore, if you rub them too hard it might cause permanent damage. So just a piece of advice if doing so.

  • Jun 28, 2010 at 12:00

    I used to have an African fattail that got impacted, the vet said to use the smallest amount of mineral oil, then my bearded dragon had the same problem and the vet said mineral oil. It has no taste so they think it’s water and you can just drip a few drops on the tip of the nose and they lick it off. Mineral oil is not absorbed and just lubricates things on it’s way out with no harmful side effects. The Fat tail had a giant mealworm living in his intestines that slid right out about 10 hours after lapping up the oil, still alive and it’s skin was almost transparent! Thank god I clip their mandibles off before feeding my critters!!!


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