Bearded Dragon and how it gets Parasites

How Bearded Dragons Get Parasites?

Bearded dragons can get parasites, including internal and external ones. Some of the most common internal parasites in bearded dragons are pinworms, coccidia, flukes, protozoa, flagellates, giardia, and tapeworms.

In this article, we’ll discuss the common parasites found in bearded dragons and how they spread. We will also cover the symptoms of a parasite infection, treatments available for it, and preventive measures that you can take to keep your dragon healthy.

With the help of this guide, you will have all the information needed to protect your pet from parasites and give them a long and happy life.

Key Takeaways

  • Bearded dragons can get parasites such as pinworms, coccidia, roundworms, and tapeworms.
  • Parasite infection in bearded dragons can cause symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
  • Parasites can be transmitted through infected prey, direct contact with infected animals, and exposure to contaminated environments.
  • Treatment for parasite infestations involves administering dewormer medication prescribed by a veterinarian and practicing good hygiene and husbandry practices.

Common Parasites in Bearded Dragons

You may be surprised to learn that bearded dragons can get parasites from a variety of sources. Some of the more common parasites seen in these animals include pinworms, coccidia, roundworms, and tapeworms.

To protect your pet dragon from the risk of infection, it’s important to understand how they contract these parasites and how to prevent them.


Pinworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites found in bearded dragons, often causing drastic weight loss and smelly poo. Pinworm infestations can be identified through a microscope examination of a fecal sample collected from the animal.

The symptoms of pinworms in bearded dragons include:

  • Lethargy: reduced movement or activity, loss of energy or motivation
  • Weight Loss: drastic reduction in bodyweight and appetite suppression
  • Diarrhea: loose stools that may contain mucus or blood, and unpleasant smelling feces

Pinworm infestations should be treated swiftly with dewormer medication prescribed by a veterinarian. However, it’s important to note that low levels of pinworms are considered normal for healthy animals and don’t need to be treated unless they cause symptoms.

To prevent future parasite infestations, owners should practice good hygiene and proper care for their pet bearded dragon.


Coccidia is another common intestinal parasite found in bearded dragons that can cause drastic weight loss, smelly poo, lethargy, and diarrhea if the pet’s immune system is weakened. Coccidia are single-celled organisms that invade the lining of the intestine and reproduce rapidly.

The most common signs of a coccidia infestation in beardies are weight loss, poor appetite, and runny stools.

In severe cases, anorexia may occur as well as dehydration. Diagnosis of coccidia infestation is done by looking at a fecal sample under a microscope to observe oocysts or immature forms of the parasites in the feces.

Treatment for coccidia generally involves giving your bearded dragon one or two doses of dewormer along with supportive care such as fluids to aid hydration and vitamins to help improve appetite.

It’s important to understand that while it is normal for bearded dragons to have some parasites present, having high levels can lead to serious health issues. So, regular monitoring should be done to prevent any problems from arising.


Roundworms are another intestinal parasite that can cause weight loss, smelly poo, lethargy, and diarrhea if your pet’s immune system is compromised. They can be transmitted through contact with infected feces or by eating infected prey items like insects.

Roundworms are a type of helminth, or parasitic worm, that infects the digestive tract of many animals including bearded dragons. Symptoms of a roundworm infestation include:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Lethargy
  4. Abdominal pain and tenderness.

In addition to these symptoms, you may also notice your bearded dragon losing its appetite and looking pale due to anemia caused by the parasites’ feeding on its blood supply.

To diagnose a roundworm infestation in your pet, your veterinarian will take a fecal sample and examine it under a microscope for evidence of worms or eggs.

Treatment involves administering dewormer either orally or as an injection directly into muscle tissue over several days to eliminate the infection completely from their body.

Proper care and sanitation is key to prevent roundworm infestations in bearded dragons. This includes washing hands after handling them as well as providing them with clean food sources like store bought insects rather than wild-caught ones which may contain parasites already present within them.


Tapeworms are another type of intestinal parasite that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. They’re usually transmitted through consumption of infected prey such as crickets or mealworms, but can also be passed from an infected animal to a healthy one.

Symptoms of tapeworm infection include itching around the anus, poor appetite, weight loss, lethargy and diarrhea.

Diagnosis is usually done through microscopic examination of a stool sample for eggs or larvae. Treatment involves administering oral medications such as mebendazole or praziquantel to kill off the parasites.

After treatment, it’s important to keep up with regular dewormings to prevent reinfection and maintain good hygiene practices in order to prevent transmission from other animals or contaminated food sources.

How Parasites Spread?

You can become infected with parasites if you come into contact with an animal that’s already infected, ingest contaminated food or water, or consume insects carrying the parasite.

Infected animals can transfer parasites to other animals through direct contact such as saliva, feces, and blood.

Eating insects that have been exposed to the parasite-carrying environment can also lead to an infection.

It’s important to practice good hygiene when handling any animal and to avoid contact with contaminated food and water sources in order to prevent becoming infected with parasites.

Contact with infected animals

Contacting infected animals can transfer parasites to your bearded dragon, so it’s important to wash your hands after handling other reptiles.

Parasites are usually spread through contact with feces or other bodily fluids of an infected animal, so it is best to avoid touching animals you know have been exposed to parasites or that may be carrying them.

It is also important to clean any surfaces or equipment used for handling another reptile before introducing it into your own habitat. If you do come into contact with an animal that may be carrying parasites, make sure you thoroughly wash and disinfect your hands afterwards.

Additionally, if possible, quarantine the new animal in a separate enclosure from your bearded dragon until it has been tested for parasites. This will help prevent the spread of the parasite in case the new reptile does test positive for one or more types of parasites.

Contact with contaminated food or water

Eating contaminated food or drinking unclean water can introduce parasites to your pet, so always make sure to provide clean and safe sources of nourishment. Contaminated food can come from wild insects, infected plants, or even other animals that may have been exposed to parasites.

Unclean water can carry microscopic organisms such as protozoa and helminths which can cause a variety of health problems for bearded dragons. It’s important to take precautions when feeding your bearded dragon to ensure that they are not exposed to any contaminated food or water.

Always check the source of the food before giving it to your pet and never feed them wild-caught bugs without first examining them closely.

Make sure their water bowl is kept clean and changed regularly. This will help reduce the risk of parasite infestation in your beloved pet.

Ingestion of infected insects

Inhaling infected air particles can also introduce parasites into your pet’s system, so it’s important to be mindful when they’re near other animals that may be carrying such organisms.

Ingestion of infected insects is another common way for bearded dragons to contract parasites. Bearded dragons have a natural urge to eat insects, and if those insects happen to carry any parasites, the dragon will ingest them as well.

Parasites can also enter through the gut when an insect is consumed that’s been parasitized by a parasite or larvae prior to its consumption. These infections often go unnoticed until more serious symptoms start appearing in the bearded dragon.

It’s important to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or physical condition that could indicate a parasite infection in your pet. If you suspect your bearded dragon may have contracted parasites from their food, it’s best to take them immediately to the vet for further evaluation and treatment.

The sooner you catch and treat these infestations, the better off your bearded dragon will be in terms of long-term health and wellness.

Symptoms of Parasite Infection

If you suspect your bearded dragon may have a parasite infection, be on the lookout for some common symptoms.

Weight loss, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting are all signs that could indicate an infestation.

Pay close attention to any changes in your pet’s behavior or health. These can help you spot a problem early and get proper treatment for your bearded dragon.

Weight loss

One of the main symptoms of a parasite infestation in bearded dragons is drastic weight loss. This can be a sign that their immune system has been weakened due to the stress caused by an infection.

Weight loss in bearded dragons is usually rapid and severe, and may even be accompanied by other signs such as lethargy, depression, irritability, and improperly formed stools.

It’s important to note that this type of weight loss should not be confused with normal shedding or molting behavior, which also causes some weight loss. Weight loss can occur when parasites consume nutrients from food before the dragon has a chance to absorb them or if they interfere with absorption.

Some parasites also secrete toxins that cause digestive issues resulting in poor nutrient absorption. In addition, if your bearded dragon isn’t able to eat enough due to illness from a parasite infestation, it will lead to further weight loss.

If you suspect that your pet might have parasites, it’s best to take them for a vet check-up so they can diagnose the problem and provide appropriate treatment options such as dewormer medication or dietary adjustments.


Diarrhea is another common symptom of a parasitic infection in bearded dragons, indicating that their immune system is under attack and unable to fight off the invaders.

When parasites are present in the intestines, they can cause inflammation and irritation which leads to watery stools. Diarrhea may also contain mucus or blood as a result of the irritation caused by the parasites.

In addition, it can be difficult for bearded dragons to absorb food properly when there is an infestation of parasites, resulting in weight loss and malnutrition.

Bearded dragon owners should seek veterinary care if their pet exhibits signs of diarrhea as this could indicate a serious health issue such as a parasite infestation.

Other reasons for the sudden onset of diarrhea include dietary changes or stress from environmental factors like temperature fluctuations. A veterinarian will take a fecal sample and examine it under a microscope to see if any parasites are present or other underlying causes of the problem.

Treatment typically involves dewormer medication prescribed by the vet which should clear up most cases within days or weeks.


Lethargy is a common symptom of a parasitic infection in bearded dragons, indicating their weakened immune system is struggling to fight off the invaders. If your pet dragon appears lethargic or sluggish, it may be an indication that they are suffering from an infestation of parasites.

Lethargy can be caused by parasites such as pinworms and coccidia which can cause irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. Other symptoms associated with these parasites include poor appetite, weight loss, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

In addition to these parasites, mites and ticks can also cause lethargy in bearded dragons if they are present on their skin or if they are transmitted from other animals.

If you suspect your bearded dragon has a parasite infestation causing them to become lethargic, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for diagnosis.

Your vet will examine a fecal sample under a microscope for signs of the presence of parasites. Treatment typically involves giving your pet one or two doses of dewormer which should clear up the issue within several days.

It’s important to practice proper care and attention for your beardie in order to prevent future infestations from occurring so that your beloved pet remains healthy and happy.

Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite is a common symptom of parasitic infection in bearded dragons. This indicates that their weakened immune system is unable to effectively fight off the invaders.

Parasites invading a bearded dragon’s digestive tract can lead to digestion problems, causing them to lose their appetite and not want to eat. Malnutrition and dehydration can occur if they are not eating properly, which can have serious consequences for the health of your pet.

There are some signs that your beardie may be suffering from a parasitic infection, such as drastic weight loss, unusually smelly poo, lethargy or depression, and irritability or unusual behavior.

If you suspect your dragon has a parasite infestation, it is important to take them to the vet right away so they can get the proper treatment.

The vet may need to examine a fecal sample under a microscope in order to diagnose the infestation and prescribe dewormer, which should clear up the problem. To prevent future parasite infestations, it is also important to practice proper care, sanitation, and attention.


If you notice your pet vomiting, it could be a sign that they’ve contracted a parasitic infection. Vomiting in bearded dragons can be caused by a variety of parasites, including worms and protozoa.

Worms, such as pinworms and roundworms, cause irritation to the walls of the intestine which can lead to vomiting. Protozoa, like coccidia or giardia, can also cause inflammation of the intestinal tract resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.

In severe cases, these parasites can invade other organs such as the liver or lungs leading to further complications.

To diagnose these infections, your veterinarian will examine your pet’s stool sample under a microscope to identify any parasite eggs or oocysts present in their system. Treatment typically involves administration of anti-parasitic medications orally or through injection.

It’s important to note that while some parasites may not cause noticeable symptoms in healthy animals, they still need treatment if detected during routine fecal testing to prevent them from spreading to other animals and people in your household.

Treatment for Parasite Infection

If your bearded dragon is suffering from a parasite infection, it’s important to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your vet will be able to prescribe the necessary medications to treat the infestation and will also be able to provide advice on improving husbandry practices in order to prevent future infections.

Additionally, proper hygiene should always be practiced when handling any animals or their waste products.

Medications prescribed by a veterinarian

When treating a bearded dragon for parasites, your vet may prescribe dewormer medication. This medication kills off parasites in the digestive system and helps restore balance in the intestinal tract.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, your vet may prescribe a single dose or multiple doses of dewormer.

All medications must be administered as prescribed by your vet and closely monitored for any adverse side effects. It’s important to note that while these medications can help get rid of parasites, they don’t prevent them from coming back.

So, practice good hygiene when handling your bearded dragon and provide proper nutrition to keep its immune system strong.

Additionally, always monitor your pet’s stool quality and regularity to catch any signs of parasite infestation early before it becomes severe.

Improved husbandry practices

To keep your pet healthy and parasite-free, you should focus on providing good husbandry practices such as proper diet and hygiene. This includes offering a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, insects, and occasional calcium supplements.

It’s important to feed your bearded dragon multiple small meals throughout the day instead of one large meal and to provide a variety of food items so that they can receive adequate nutrition for their species needs.

Additionally, it’s important to provide them with clean water daily and maintain their habitat by cleaning up uneaten food items, waste products, and shedding skin as soon as possible.

Good hygiene practices are also important in preventing parasites from invading your pet’s body. Bearded dragons can pick up parasites from other infected animals or humans if not handled properly.

Therefore, it’s essential to always wash hands thoroughly before handling any animal or reptile. You should also quarantine any new animals you bring into the home until they have been examined by a veterinarian to make sure they are free from parasites.