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Bearded Dragon Seizures

Pet Bearded Dragon Seizure Symptoms – Head Twitching & Shaking

A bearded dragon, also referred by its scientific name Pogona, is an omnivorous reptile. The name suggested is trickier as reptiles do not usually have body hair. 

So, Why Bearded Then?

Like most dragons, the beard is the scales as its armor and spikes under the chin that become puffy and pointed depending on the prevailing mood. They are eight documented species, and sometimes herpetologists refer them as ‘beardies’. This makes them quite popular, to be kept as pets. They are in general docile, gentle and a devotee of the warm sunlight. 

As reptiles, they need attention and care when placed in a controlled captive environment. Bearded dragons are susceptible to irregular diet, improper UV-A or UV-B rays, unsuited temperature etc.

Cause of Seizures

Now Let Us Look Into Further Details: What Is A Seizure, What Causes Them, How Can You Prevent Seizures From Happening And What To Do If A Bearded Dragon Is Having An Unexpected One, And What Can Be Done To Help Reduce This Convulsion.

A seizure is ‘the corporeal demonstration (like convulsion, sensory disorder, or failure of consciousness) resulting from irregular electrical discharge in the brain (as in epilepsy).’ If a seizure occurs, it happens without any prior indication or warning. It can cause involuntary muscle twitching. Muscle-twitching are of two types: 

  • Grand mal seizure also is known as Tonic-clonic seizure
  • Focal seizure 

In grand mal seizure, the electrical signals in the brain which follow a defined path become disruptive of the same channel, flowing everywhere inside the soft tissues. This leads to the brain haphazardly signaling the muscles to twitch in a rhythmic cycle involuntarily. 

Muscles contracts and relaxes in the body in a rhythm. Whereas, in focal seizures, the electric signals do not occur over the whole brain but in a localized part! A certain group of muscles twitch and move uncontrollably, meaning the electrical signals flowing in the brain, is disrupted in a certain part of the brain and not in its entirety. Observe the seizures to understand which one is happening. 

Bearded dragons require a steady dose of calcium intake. If there is a low amount of calcium in its bloodstream, this may cause problems, and one of them is seizures. If the calcium is low, then twitching between certain muscles will appear. By the time, it is severely calcium depleted; it may lead to full-blown tremors and convulsions, which can prove fatal to mature dragons as well. Calcium problems are consistent in both male and female bearded dragons; however, if the female is pregnant; she remains particularly vulnerable. 

In order to understand the calcium problem, the bearded dragon may come across, let us examine it’s sources. The best way to ensure that a bearded dragon is getting ample amounts of UV-A and UV-B rays is to have it bask in the sun. 

The Sun is well endowed to provide those rays and the bearded dragon when basking in the Sun, lets it’s mouth agape. A sign that it is well in its preferred temperature and at the same time getting it’s required dose. In the absence of sunlight, a full-spectrum light which emits UV-B light rays has to do the job. 

The bearded dragon has to be placed under it, keeping in mind the instructions recommended by the manufacturer. In repeated intervals, the light should not be filtered through a piece of glass or plastic, the distance should be approximate, and the temperature maintained. If this is not followed, then possibly this may lead to seizures. 

Diet Is another Important Part of Addressing Beardie’s Calcium Needs…!

An appropriate diet should go hand in hand with a regulated temperature. Keep in mind that bearded dragons are usually born in the wild. It’s until recently that human beings have begun to keep them as pets. If they are not kept in their optimal conditions, it can lead to reptile suffering. 

Bearded dragons are not very fussy when it comes to food, since it’s omnivorous. With strong jaws, they are able to clench shelled insects like beetles. And if they don’t manage to find one, fruits, flowers, leaves, and sometimes smaller beings than its size. From insects, it gets the most amount of calcium. Do not feed them with sub-optimal or rotten food-items as it can lead to gastrointestinal disorders. With the right food and warm temperature, bearded dragons will be able to absorb the calcium from their diet. 

Be careful not to change their habitats too often. Abrupt changes to temperature and environment lead to a change in metabolism, and they tend to bury themselves skipping food for a while. 

Pregnant Female Dragons Require More Calcium…!

When expecting, their bodies pull the calcium in their bloodstream for producing eggs. It has to be a balancing act, maintaining the calcium levels in the blood and also preparing herself to lay eggs. If the stored calcium in her body gets to dangerously low levels, they may suffer seizures. It is recommended that you fix an appointment with a veterinary to get it checked before it gets serious and life-threatening.

There is a nutritional supplement available called dimethylglycine (DMG) which is focused on seizures. It is an antioxidant used for increasing the resistance to a seizure. It reduces the seizures by making the brain more immune to a certain level of electric pulses by increasing the threshold of electrical excitement.

It is a way of keeping it at bay until you effectively determine the causes of the attacks. It’s a safe supplement also recommended by herpetologists which can partially or fully control the convulsions among reptiles. There is no recommended dose as it depends on the age of the bearded dragon. 

Possible Treatment…?

There are also other causes for convulsions ranging from conditions and diseases like infections from any wounds, ingesting toxins, endoparasitic intestinal disorders, poor liver, endocrine disorders and trauma from fighting. Tests like X-Ray or blood tests may be needed to ascertain further but remains unfeasible depending on where you are located from the nearest proper medical facility. 

But for the most of the issues, it usually boils down to temperature, diet and lighting. For dietary matters, seek professional help from a herp vet. You should provide information on what it’s diet consisted of earlier and other habitat-based needs. 

Weather patterns will change the lifestyle of a bearded dragon. It goes through brumating, a form of hibernation where they cease to eat and drink water lesser than usual. As the duration of the light decreases, this activity alters its behavior. Make sure to have a clean source of drinking water and change the water in the water bowl at regular intervals.

Lighting is a key component and ensures the dragon remains hot but over burned. Have a good UV-B light emitter and make sure there is no glass or plastic in between. The lizard needs to metabolize the nutrients, and without proper lighting, it will fail to do so. 

The best form of light would be regular exposure to Sun, as mentioned above. Make sure to keep her in a safe enclosure, away from predators or children. The most common attribute of low calcium is attributed to not keeping dragons warm enough. So in the night, having it under the UV-B light would be beneficial.


Taking good care of the lizard will prevent convulsions from appearing in the first place. And if it does, make sure to give it anti-oxidants like DMG, take it to an expert and follow the proper diagnosis.

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