Mouth rot is the infection of the oral cavity. It is also called infectious Stomatitis. Stomatitis is a technical term that is made up of two words stoma(mouth) and titis(inflammation). This is a common disorder in reptiles like lizards, snakes, and turtles. This disease is common among bearded dragons.
This disorder is usually a result of the suppressed immune system. Mouth rot could be caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This disease results in loss of appetite, bleeding of the gums, and patches on the oral cavity. It is difficult to detect this unfortunate illness but this can be easily treated with the use of antibiotics and antiseptics.
Mouth rot in bearded dragons could be caused by
- · Bacteria
- · Virus
- · Fungi
As all these infection-causing agents are normally present in the oral cavity of a living organism but in normal conditions, they can not cause any illness. But when the immune system of the host is compromised then they get a chance and cause infection.
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The same is the case with the bearded dragons. Normally they are present in the oral cavity of bearded dragons but they are harmless. Because the immune system of the dragon keeps on working and keeps them in the normal range. But when the immune system of bearded dragons becomes weak then they enjoy the moment and cause infection.
The most common cause of suppression of the immune system is stress. Stress is a product of a stressful environment. A stressful environment is the result of environmental conditions. The most common environmental conditions that are responsible for the stressful environment are
- · Too low or too high temperature.
- · Improper & poor diet.
- · Unhygienic cage.
Too low or too high temperature
As the bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals, they are unable to maintain their internal body temperature by themselves. They depend on the external temperature. If the temperature in the external environment is not suitable, this puts pressure on the dragon and the dragon comes under stress. This could ultimately lead to a weakened immune system and the chances of developing mouth rot increase.
Improper and poor diet
If the diet which is being offered to the dragon is not nutritionally balanced, this may cause nutritional deficiencies in the dragon. These nutritional deficiencies become the cause of a weakened immune system and the chances of developing mouth rot become more evident.
If the case in which the dragon is living in a dirty and not properly cleaned environment then in this unhygienic environment the dragon feels uncomfortable and ultimately stress develops and eventually, the immune system becomes compromised the chances of the development of disease, increase.
The most common symptoms of mouth rot are
- · Patches on the oral cavity.
- · Loss of appetite.
- · Broken teeth.
- · Bleeding of gums.
- · Bloating.
Patches on the oral cavity
This is the first sign which is observed. Check the oral cavity of the dragon thoroughly and notice if there are patches of yellow-and-grey or white-and-grey. These patches are usually very small and difficult to observe but if observed closely could be identified. If patches with the above-mentioned colors are present, it is a strong chance of mouth rot.
Loss of appetite
As in mouth rot, the oral cavity is inflamed, and eating anything becomes very difficult for the bearded dragon. If the bearded dragon is eating far less than normal then check its oral cavity for mouth rot.
If the teeth of the dragon are loosening or breaking, this is strong evidence that the dragon is suffering from mouth rot.
Bleeding of gums
This is not a common symptom but if there is bleeding of the gums then mouth rot should be considered.
If there is bloating despite less eating then one must consider mouth rot.
Usually, a diagnosis is made based on symptoms. If the bearded dragon is eating less than its normal routine or if there are any broken teeth or bleeding from gums then there are chances of mouth rot. For confirmation check the oral cavity of the dragon, if there are small patches of grey-white or grey-yellow are present then mouth rot is present.
Mouth rot in reptiles is treatable. As it is an infection in which microorganisms are involved, So it can be easily treated by using broad-spectrum antibiotics. These antibiotics can either be in liquid form or paste form. If these are in liquid form then they can be directly poured into the oral cavity and if they are in paste form they can be applied by using standard Q-Tips.
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics include
- Silver-based cream (silver sulfadiazine)
First of all for the treatment of rot mouth clean the mouth of the dragon with the help of an antiseptic solution. Commonly used antiseptic solutions include · Betadine (povidone-iodine)
· Hydrogen peroxide
After cleaning the oral cavity with an antiseptic solution, complete the antibiotic course. Apply the antibiotic directly to the affected area, if it is in form of ointment. One thing that should be kept in mind is that antibiotic courses must be completed once started because an incomplete antibiotic course could cause antibiotic resistance.
If the disease is in its beginning then it can be treated at home. When the symptoms are in the early stages then by cleaning with the antiseptic solution, this disease can be hampered there.
For this take povidone Iodine and mix it with distilled warm water in a cup. Mix it properly and take a cotton swab and dip it into the solution that is prepared. After thoroughly dipping the cotton swab, apply this solution to the oral cavity thoroughly. Repeat this procedure two times a day. Provide the dragon with a soft diet.
But one thing that must be remembered is that this remedy only works when illness is in beginning. But when symptoms become worse then the veterinarian must be called for treatment.
Prevention is better than cure. To prevent this disease provide a comfortable environment to the dragon. Following things must be done
- · Provide the dragon with proper sunlight.
- · Closely observe the behavior of the dragon.
- · Give it a nutritionally balanced diet.
When a stress-free environment is provided to the dragon, not only its metabolism works properly but it also remains healthy. When symptoms are in the initial stage then try home remedies but once they get worse then call the doctor.
Rot mouth is common among replies. It is an infectious disease that could be caused by the attack of opportunistic microorganisms when the immune system is weak. In the beginning, symptoms are mild but gradually become devastating.
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The owner should closely observe the behavior of the dragon. Common symptoms of rot mouth include less appetite, bleeding from gums, and lethargic behavior. It can easily be cured by using broad-spectrum antibiotics. Home remedies work only in the initial stages. Proper care and hygienic measures can be the best preventive measure.
Q):- Is rot mouth infectious disease?
A):- Yes, it is an infectious disease, mostly caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses that are normally present in the mouth.
Q):- Is rot mouth a treatable disease?
A):- Yes, it can be easily treated by using broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Q):- How do I know if my bearded dragon has mouth rot?
A):- Observe your pet closely. If your pet is showing symptoms like loss of appetite, bleeding from gums, and swelling of the mouth then it could be suffering from rot mouth.
Q):- Can rot mouth be cured at home?
A):- Yes, when the disease is in its early stages it can be treated at home by giving the dragon a proper diet and by adopting hygienic measures.
Muhammad Nouman Nazir DVM(UVAS), M.A political science(UOS). I am always trying my best to share my knowledge to the audience all over the world to help them.