Bearded dragons (Pigona vitticeps) are lizards native to the arid environment of Australia but have become a very popular household pet in North America. Beaded dragons are hardy lizards with a few basic environmental and dietary requirements needed for good health. However, even with proper care, bearded dragons can fall ill to infections from salmonella, which can be passed to humans and cause serious illness. If you suspect your dragon is ill and symptoms of a bacterial infection—such as salmonella—persist, you should take it to a veterinarian for expert care.
Persistent diarrhea is the most common illness observed in bearded dragons and can be caused by salmonella. If you dragon's stool continues to be loose, a veterinary examination is the only way to tell if the infection is by salmonella. Dehydration from diarrhea is a serious risk to dragons with diarrhea. To prevent this before taking the sick bearded dragon to the vet, place it in shallow water as a way to keep it hydrated.
Bearded dragons have become popular, in part because of their active behavior. If you notice that your bearded dragon is behaving lethargic, pay even more attention to it as it is likely a visible sign that something is wrong. Infections from salmonella can cause your active dragon to become weak and slothlike, indifferent to meals, water or temperature regulation.
Loss of Appetite
If your dragon is infected by salmonella, it may lose its appetite and experience weight loss. If the symptoms persist and your dragon does not regain its appetite during treatment, force feeding may be necessary. Careful observation of eating behavior and weight is important. Modifications in the diet may be necessary to ensure that your bearded dragon is receiving the nutrients required to regain health and body weight after a bacterial infection and to maintain a healthy immune system to help prevent future infections.