A survey of diseases in captive bearded dragons: a retrospective study of 529 patients
The aim of this clinical retrospective study was to analyse the prevalence of common disorders in 529 captive bearded dragons that were presented to three exotic animal clinics in Central Europe (Austria and Czech Republic) over a period of three years. A diagnosis was made on the basis of the presenting clinical signs and physical examination in 30.8% of the cases, whereas various additional diagnostic tests were performed in the other cases (69.2%). These included diagnostic imaging (radiography, ultrasound and computed tomography), examination of faecal samples for the presence of parasites, a blood-profile analysis, histological, as well as bacteriological and mycological examinations and necropsy. Gastrointestinal diseases (42.67%) like endoparasitism, constipation, sand ingestion, tympany and meteorism were the most common disorders. In 51.92% of the cases of constipation, endoparasites were present, whereas in 38.46% of the cases of constipation, metabolic bone diseases and imbalances in calcium and phosphorus levels were detected. Most of the analysed faecal samples (83.27%) were positive for the presence of endoparasites (48.7% pinworms, 25.39% coccidians and 16.06% flagellates). Dermatological problems (22.4%) contained skin tumours, which were observed in adult lizards (age range from three to eight years) and included spindle cell tumour on the eyelid, as well as spindle cell sarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma on the trunk. Osteodystrophy, limb fractures and various types of necrosis on the limbs and tail were frequently observed musculoskeletal disorders (18.93%). Over half of all animals (57.14%) that underwent a blood test, showed a deviation in the calcium-phosphorus ratio, 63.98% showed hypocalcaemia and 26.71% hyperphosphataemia. Diseases of the urogenital system (9.47%) included renal diseases and dystocia. Neoplastic diseases besides skin tumours included two cases of leukaemia in 4-year-old bearded dragons, one of these with lymphoma in kidneys, lungs and liver and one ganglioneuroma in the body cavity of a bearded dragon of unknown age. Orthopaedic surgeries were most frequently performed to amputate the limbs or tail, whereas soft-tissue surgeries most often included the treatment of skin wounds and correction of cloacal prolapse, in addition to ovariectomy, salpingotomy or salpingectomy in female bearded dragons. Similar to the situation in Australia and the USA, infectious as well as non-infectious diseases are common in captive bearded dragons in Central Europe. Due to the high occurrence of endoparasitism, skin diseases and metabolic bone diseases in this present study, regular veterinary controls in bearded dragons including parasitological faecal examinations and optimisation of feeding and housing are necessary to improve the standard of health of bearded dragons kept as pet lizards in Europe.
Abarca M. L., Martorell J., Castellá G., Ramis A., Cabañes F. J. (2009): Dermatomycosis in a pet inland bearded dragon ( Pogona vitticeps
) caused by a Chrysosporium
species related to Nannizziopsis vriesii
. Veterinary Dermatology, 20, 295-299 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3164.2009.00736.x
Ball Inna, Öfner Sabine, Funk Richard S., Griffin Chris, Riedel Ulf, Möhring Jens, Marschang Rachel E. (2014): Prevalence of neutralising antibodies against adenoviruses in lizards and snakes. The Veterinary Journal, 202, 176-181 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.07.027
Bowman Michelle R., Paré Jean A., Sigler Lynne, Naeser John P., Sladky Kurt K., Hanley Chris S., Helmer Peter, Phillips Lynette A., Brower Alexandra, Porter Robert (2007): Deep fungal dermatitis in three inland bearded dragons ( Pogona vitticeps
) caused by the Chrysosporium
anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii
. Medical Mycology, 45, 371-376 https://doi.org/10.1080/13693780601188610
Brown D (ed.) (2012): A guide to Australian Dragons in Captivity. ABK Publications. 153–169.
Cabañes F. Javier, Sutton Deanna A., Guarro Josep, Heitman Joseph (2014): Chrysosporium-Related Fungi and Reptiles: A Fatal Attraction. PLoS Pathogens, 10, e1004367- https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1004367
Cannon Michael James (2003): Husbandry and veterinary aspects of the bearded dragon ( pogona spp. ) in Australia. Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, 12, 205-214 https://doi.org/10.1053/S1055-937X(03)00036-7
Carmel B, Johnson R (eds) (2014): A Guide to Health and Disease in Reptiles and Amphibians. Reptile Publications. 174 pp.
Darrow Brett G., Johnstone McLean Nancy S., Russman Shirley E., Schiller Chris A. (2013): Periorbital adenocarcinoma in a bearded dragon ( Pogona vitticeps
). Veterinary Ophthalmology, 16, 177-182 https://doi.org/10.1111/vop.12053
Devloo R., Martel A., Hellebuyck T., Vranckx K., Haesebrouck F., Pasmans F. (2011): Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) asymptomatically infected with Devriesea agamarum are a source of persistent clinical infection in captive colonies of dab lizards (Uromastyx sp.). Veterinary Microbiology, 150, 297-301 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.01.029
Doneley RJT, Buckle KN, Hulse L (2014): Adenoviral infection in a collection of juvenile inland bearded dragons ( Pogona vitticeps
). Australian Veterinary Journal, 92, 41-45 https://doi.org/10.1111/avj.12136
Garner Michael M, Hernandez-Divers Sonia M, Raymond James T (2004): Reptile neoplasia: a retrospective study of case submissions to a specialty diagnostic service. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, 7, 653-671 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cvex.2004.04.002
Gregory CR, Latimer KS, Fontenot DK, Lamberski N, Campagnoli RP (2004): Chronic monocytic leukemia in an inland bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps. Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery 14, 12–16.
Heckers KO (2017): Neoplasias of the female genitals in reptiles and neoplasias of the male genitals in reptiles (in German). Proceedings of the 47. Meeting of the AG for Diseases in Amphibians and Reptiles. Heidelberg, April 21.–23. 2017.
Heckers KO, Apperle H, Rueschoff B, Christian B, Wiechert J, Riedel P, Schmidt V (2011): Pigment-forming tumors in bearded dragons (in German). Praktische Tierarzt 92, 862–873.
Hedley J., Eatwell K., Hume L. (2010): Necrotising fungal dermatitis in a group of bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps). Veterinary Record, 166, 464-465 https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.b4816
Hellebuyck T, Martel A, Chiers K, Haesebrouck F, Pasmans F (2009a): Devriesea agamarum causes dermatitis in bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps). Veterinary Microbiology 134, 267–271.
Hellebuyck T, Pasmans F, Haesebrouck F, Martel A (2009b): Designing a successful antimicrobial treatment against Devriesea agamarum infections in lizards. Veterinary Microbiology 139, 189–192.
Hernandez-Divers SJ, Cooper JE (2006): 56. Hepatic lipidosis. In: Mader DR (ed.): Reptile Medicine and Surgery. W.B. Saunders. 806–813.
Hernandez-Divers Sonia M., Garner Michael M. (2003): Neoplasia of reptiles with an emphasis on lizards. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, 6, 251-273 https://doi.org/10.1016/S1094-9194(02)00028-2
Jacobson E. R., Kopit W., Kennedy F. A., Funk R. S. (2016): Coinfection of a Bearded Dragon, Pogona vitticeps
, with Adenovirus- and Dependovirus-like Viruses. Veterinary Pathology, 33, 343-346 https://doi.org/10.1177/030098589603300313
Jakab Csaba, Rusvai Miklós, Szabó Zoltán, Gálfi Péter, Marosán Miklós, Kulka Janina, Gál János (2011): Claudin-7-positive synchronous spontaneous intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, adenocarcinoma and adenomas of the gallbladder in a Bearded dragon ( Pogona vitticeps
). Acta Veterinaria Hungarica, 59, 99-112 https://doi.org/10.1556/AVet.59.2011.1.9
Jankowski Gwen, Sirninger Jeffrey, Borne Jessica, Nevarez Javier G. (2011): Chemotherapeutic Treatment for Leukemia in a Bearded Dragon ( Pogona vitticeps
). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 42, 322-325 https://doi.org/10.1638/2010-0150.1
Johnson RSP, Sangster CR, Sigler L, Hambleton S, Paré JA (2011): Deep fungal dermatitis caused by the Chrysosporium anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii in captive coastal bearded dragons (Pogona barbata). Australian Veterinary Journal, 89, 515-519 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-0813.2011.00851.x
Julian A.F., Durham P.J.K. (2011): Adenoviral hepatitis in a female bearded dragon (Amphibolurus barbafus). New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 30, 59-60 https://doi.org/10.1080/00480169.1982.34880
Kim Dae Young, Mitchell Mark A., Bauer Rudy W., Poston Rob, Cho Doo-Youn (2016): An Outbreak of Adenoviral Infection in Inland Bearded Dragons ( Pogona Vitticeps
) Coinfected with Dependovirus and Coccidial Protozoa ( Isospora
Sp.). Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 14, 332-334 https://doi.org/10.1177/104063870201400411
Klaphake Eric (2010): A Fresh Look at Metabolic Bone Diseases in Reptiles and Amphibians. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, 13, 375-392 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cvex.2010.05.007
Kubiak M. (2013): Detection of Agamid Adenovirus-1 in clinically healthy bearded dragons ( Pogona vitticeps
) in the UK. Veterinary Record, 172, 475.1-475 https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.101087
Lemberger K. Y., Manharth A., Pessier A. P. (2016): Multicentric Benign Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors in Two Related Bearded Dragons, Pogona vitticeps
. Veterinary Pathology, 42, 507-510 https://doi.org/10.1354/vp.42-4-507
Lyons Jeremiah A., Newman Shelley J., Greenacre Cheryl B., Dunlap John (2010): A Gastric Neuroendocrine Carcinoma Expressing Somatostatin in a Bearded Dragon ( Pogona Vitticeps
). Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 22, 316-320 https://doi.org/10.1177/104063871002200230
Mauldin GN, Done LB (2006): 19. Oncology. In: Mader DR (ed.): Reptile Medicine and Surgery. W.B. Saunders. 299–322.
Moormann S., Seehusen F., Reckling D., Kilwinski J., Puff C., Elhensheri M., Wohlsein P., Peters M. (2009): Systemic Adenovirus Infection in Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps): Histological, Ultrastructural and Molecular Findings. Journal of Comparative Pathology, 141, 78-83 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcpa.2009.03.002
Papini R., Manetti C., Mancianti F. (2011): Coprological survey in pet reptiles in Italy. Veterinary Record, 169, 207-207 https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.d4398
Pasmans F, Hellebuyck T, Martel A (2010): Dermatology in reptiles. International Congress of the Italian Association of Companion Animal Veterinarians. Rimini, Italy, 195–196.
Raiti P (2011): Husbandry, diseases and veterinary care of the bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference ARAV, Seattle. 36–48.
Ras-Norynska M, Sokol R (2015): Internal parasites of reptiles. Annals of Parasitology 61, 115–117.
Rataj Aleksandra, Lindtner-Knific Renata, Vlahović Ksenija, Mavri Urška, Dovč Alenka (2011): Parasites in pet reptiles. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 53, 33- https://doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-53-33
Ritter J. M., Garner M. M., Chilton J. A., Jacobson E. R., Kiupel M. (2009): Gastric Neuroendocrine Carcinomas in Bearded Dragons ( Pogona vitticeps
). Veterinary Pathology, 46, 1109-1116 https://doi.org/10.1354/vp.09-VP-0019-K-FL
Schmidt-Ukaj Silvana, Loncaric Igor, Klang Andrea, Spergser Joachim, Häbich Annett-Carolin, Knotek Zdenek (2014): Infection with Devriesea agamarum
and Chrysosporium guarroi
in an inland bearded dragon ( Pogona vitticeps
). Veterinary Dermatology, 25, 555-e97 https://doi.org/10.1111/vde.12146
Schmidt-Ukaj Silvana, Loncaric Igor, Spergser Joachim, Richter Barbara, Hochleithner Manfred (2016): Dermatomycosis in three central bearded dragons ( Pogona vitticeps
) associated with Nannizziopsis chlamydospora
. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 28, 319-322 https://doi.org/10.1177/1040638716636422
Sigler L., Hambleton S., Pare J. A. (2013): Molecular Characterization of Reptile Pathogens Currently Known as Members of the Chrysosporium Anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii Complex and Relationship with Some Human-Associated Isolates. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 51, 3338-3357 https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01465-13
Sinn AD (2004): Pathology of reptiles a retrospective study. [PhD Thesis.] Ludwig Maximilian-University, Munich. 160 pp.
Stahl Scott J. (2003): Pet lizard conditions and syndromes. Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, 12, 162-182 https://doi.org/10.1053/saep.2003.00019-7
Stchigel A. M., Sutton D. A., Cano-Lira J. F., Cabañes F. J., Abarca L., Tintelnot K., Wickes B. L., García D., Guarro J. (2013): Phylogeny of chrysosporia infecting reptiles: proposal of the new family <I>Nannizziopsiaceae</I> and five new species. Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 31, 86-100 https://doi.org/10.3767/003158513X669698
Suedmeyer WK, Turk J (1996): Lymphoblastic leukemia in an inland bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Bulletin of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians 6, 10–12.
Tamukai Kenichi, Takami Yoshinori, Akabane Yoshihito, Kanazawa Yuko, Une Yumi (2011): Plasma biochemical reference values in clinically healthy captive bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) and the effects of sex and season. Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 40, 368-373 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-165X.2011.00329.x
(2001): MYELOGENOUS LEUKEMIA IN A BEARDED DRAGON (ACANTHODRACO VITTICEPS). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 32, 90-95 https://doi.org/10.1638/1042-7260(2001)032[0090:MLIABD]2.0.CO;2
Van Waeyenberghe L., Baert K., Pasmans F., van Rooij P., Hellebuyck T., Beernaert L., de Backer P., Haesebrouck F., Martel A. (2010): Voriconazole, a safe alternative for treating infections caused by the Chrysosporium
anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii
in bearded dragons ( Pogona vitticeps
). Medical Mycology, 48, 880-885 https://doi.org/10.3109/13693781003743122
White Stephen D., Bourdeau Patrick, Bruet Vincent, Kass Philip H., Tell Lisa, Hawkins Michelle G. (2011): Reptiles with dermatological lesions: a retrospective study of 301 cases at two university veterinary teaching hospitals (1992-2008). Veterinary Dermatology, 22, 150-161 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3164.2010.00926.x
Wright Kevin (2008): Two Common Disorders of Captive Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps): Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism and Constipation. Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, 17, 267-272 https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jepm.2008.07.004