Can a Bearded Dragon Become Paralysed?

If you’re the proud owner of a bearded dragon, you might be wondering if there’s anything that could potentially harm your pet. One possible health concern for these reptiles is paralysis, which can occur if …

bearded dragon paralysed

If you’re the proud owner of a bearded dragon, you might be wondering if there’s anything that could potentially harm your pet. One possible health concern for these reptiles is paralysis, which can occur if they are exposed to certain toxins or parasites. 

Keep reading to learn more about how bearded dragons can become paralysed, and what you can do to help prevent it.

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What can make a bearded dragon paralysed?

Bearded dragons can become paralysed for several reasons. One of the most common causes is when they catch a virus, such as a paramyxovirus. This virus can cause paralysis in the limbs, and sometimes even death. Other causes of paralysis in bearded dragons include:

1. Metabolic Bone Disease 

The most common type of MBD in bearded dragons is nutritional MBD. This is caused by a lack of calcium and/or vitamin D in the diet. 

A swollen stomach is also one of the most obvious signs of MBD. Muscles are unable to contract and function properly when calcium levels are low, which causes this to occur. Blowouts and constipation are caused as a result of this muscle dysfunction.

Because of this, the rubbery jaw will bend at the tail and back of the mouth. It will also result in brittle bones that are more prone to breaking, as well as joint discomfort. Your bearded dragon will be unable to move because it will be too painful and difficult. Eventually, the bones of your bearded dragon will be covered with fibrous tissue, giving them the appearance of swelling.

Read also: Do bearded dragons need injections?

2. Being bitten by a snake or other venomous creature

This happens when the venom enters the bloodstream and causes muscle weakness. Symptoms of paralysis include drooping eyelids, weakness in the limbs, and an inability to move. 

With prompt treatment, most bearded dragons recover from snake venom poisoning. However, there is always a risk of permanent damage to the nervous system

3. Spinal cord infection

This is a serious condition that requires veterinary treatment. Symptoms of a spinal cord infection include paralysis, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing. Paralysis may be reversible if treated early, but if the infection spreads to the brain, it can be fatal.

4. Impaction 

When it comes to bearded dragons, impaction is one of the most common causes of paralysis. Impaction is when the bearded dragon becomes unable to digest its food properly and the food gets stuck in its gut. This can cause pain, inflammation and, eventually, paralysis. 

Your bearded dragon will become lethargic and sick as a result of impaction. There could be a problem because impaction can be missed entirely on an X-ray, which means that treatment may be missed as well. If left untreated, impaction will result in death.

 5. Genetics 

Your bearded dragon may have a previously unknown genetic abnormality that prevents food from passing through its digestive system properly, resulting in the food becoming obstructed. There isn’t going to be much that can be done, except surgery, but your exotic reptile veterinarian may have some treatments available, so it’s worth getting in touch with them.

6. Exposure to toxic chemicals

This can happen if they come into contact with cleaning fluids, pesticides or other dangerous substances. If left untreated, a bearded dragon that has been exposed to toxic chemicals may eventually become completely paralysed. There is no cure for paralysis, so it’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you think your bearded dragon has been exposed to a harmful substance.

7. Problems with the blood sugar level (diabetes)

If the dragon’s blood sugar levels get too high or too low, they can become paralysed. It is important to get your bearded dragon checked out by a veterinarian if you suspect they may have diabetes, as early diagnosis and treatment is essential for ensuring your dragon’s health. 

Symptoms of diabetes in bearded dragons include lethargy, weight loss, and in severe cases, paralysis. Fortunately, with proper care and treatment, most bearded dragons with diabetes can make a full recovery.

8. Gout

Gout is a medical condition that can affect any reptile, although it is more commonly seen in bearded dragons. It is caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints, which leads to inflammation and pain. 

Paralysis is one possible symptom of gout, and can sometimes be the first sign that your bearded dragon is unwell. Gout can usually be treated with medication, but if left untreated it can lead to further health problems.

9. Being struck by lightning

This is a rare event, but it does happen. It happens when they are hit by a powerful electrical current that disrupts the signals between their brain and muscles. This can cause them to become completely paralysed, and in some cases, it can even be fatal. 

10. Stroke

There are various reasons why a bearded dragon might have a stroke, including blood clots, high blood pressure and infection. Treatment will depend on the cause of the stroke but may include medication and rehabilitation. With prompt treatment, many dragons make a full recovery from strokes. 

However, some may be left with permanent damage. It is therefore important to do everything you can to reduce your dragon’s risk of having a stroke. This includes providing a healthy diet and keeping them at a healthy weight, ensuring they get enough exercise and providing a safe environment.

What can you do if your bearded dragon is paralysed?

If your bearded dragon is paralysed, the first thing you should do is contact a veterinarian for help. Until you can get your bearded dragon to a vet, there are some things you can do to keep him or her comfortable and calm.

First, make sure they have plenty of water and food. Bearded dragons can go for a long time without food, but they still need water. If they don’t drink, they can become dehydrated very quickly. Paralysed dragons often can’t move to drink, so you’ll need to help them out. A small syringe or eyedropper can be used to give them small sips of water until they can drink on their own again.

If your bearded dragon is not eating, you may need to force-feed them. This can be done by gently inserting a feeding tube into their mouth and then slowly dripping food down the tube. You can also offer small pieces of fruit or vegetables. 

Gently move your bearded dragon if he or she isn’t moving on his or her own, and try to keep him or her in a warm and comfortable environment. Paralysed dragons can get cold very easily, so it’s important to keep them in a warm environment. One thing you can do is place a heating pad under their tank. You should also make sure the environment in the tank is as warm as possible by using an incandescent light bulb or a ceramic heater.

Try to keep them calm. Bearded dragons that are stressed out or upset can aggravate their condition further. Try to keep their environment calm and soothing. 

If your bearded dragon is having trouble breathing, you may need to help him or her breathe by gently blowing into his or her mouth. Be very careful when handling a bearded dragon who is paralysed, as they may be more prone to injury. 

Finally, if your bearded dragon is not responding to any of these treatments, or if they seem to be in a great deal of pain, you may need to consider taking them to the vet. Paralysed dragons often require surgery or other intensive treatments. But with careful care, most paralysed dragons can make a full recovery. 


While bearded dragons can become paralysed, it is not always a death sentence. A bearded dragon can become paralysed for several reasons including injury, infection or poisoning. If your bearded dragon is paralysed, it is important to get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

There are things you can do at home to help support your bearded dragon until it can be seen by a vet, but you must seek professional help if your bearded dragon appears to be paralysed. The sooner they receive treatment, the better their chances of making a full recovery!


Why is my bearded dragon dragging his back legs?

If your bearded dragon drags its legs excessively while performing daily tasks, this could suggest that your beardie has had gut impaction, is suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease, or is suffering from kidney failure. Leaving aside any severe ailment, your beardie may simply be bearing the weight of its legs. Occasionally, due to infirmity, they drag their legs as well.

Why is my bearded dragon walking wobbly?

There are a few reasons why your bearded dragon may be walking wobbly. It could be that they are suffering from a condition known as metabolic bone disease, which is caused by a lack of vitamin D and calcium in their diet. 
It can also be caused by an infection or injury to the spinal cord or legs. If your bearded dragon is walking wobbly, it is important to take them to the vet for an examination so that the cause can be determined and treated accordingly

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