I’ve posted before on GOUT and I’m seeing more & more incidences of it so I’m posting again. 20 years ago, gout was unheard of in bearded dragons. Now it’s far too common. Gout is a horribly painful condition caused by failing kidneys. The beardie’s kidneys aren’t strong enough to filter the uric acid out through the urine/urates (proteins create the most urates).
Instead the uric acid (needle like crystals) stay in the blood stream and collect in the joints. Usually the swelling starts in the wrists & ankles then spreads to the elbows & knees. If left untreated, the gout will spread to every joint. Because the uric acid crystals are tiny needles, it is excruciating for your beardie to move the joints. I know adult men with gout in a single toe who cried from the pain.
If you have a juvenile beardie with gout, there’s not really a way to fix them. They must have protein to grow but the protein makes the gout worse. I have opted in every case to euthanize juvenile Beardies with gout. To be that young with failing kidneys is a tragedy, but forcing them to muscle through the pain is worse.
An adult who develops gout can be pulled off of protein and treated with meds that help process the uric acid. But again, gout *hurts* SO badly. If your adult beardie isn’t eating on his own and not moving, it’s not kind (in my opinion) to keep them alive.
Gout can be diagnosed by a vet by two ways. One- a blood test can show poor kidney values. Two- a vet can aspirate the swollen joints and see the uric acid crystals under the microscope. Mild gout can be treated with prescription allopurinol and supplements like black cherry extract and bee pollen and the removal of most protein from the diet. Moderate to severe gout should be considered as a good candidate for euthanasia.
This last pic is a poor beardie who could only slightly move his head; all of his other joints were frozen with gout. 😩 He was humanely euthanized and released from his agony.
by Sarah Southerland, Sarah's Bearded Dragon Rescue