Common Causes of Bearded Dragon Prolapse

Bearded dragon

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It's a scary thing to see a pink bulge coming from the rear end of your pet bearded dragon while they are straining but this prolapse of the cloaca can occur due to a number of reasons. This is something that should be addressed with the utmost care and you should not be lazy with getting or performing the treatment. This article will cover the common causes of a cloacal prolapse and what you can do to treat it.


Lack of Calcium

More often than not a lack of calcium in your bearded dragon's bones causes their cloaca to prolapse. Not having enough calcium can be due to a diet low in nutrition or from not having enough UVB rays in their habitat. Since calcium makes bones strong and allows muscle contractions to move and retract, low calcium can lead to prolapses of internal organs outside of the body. Having said this, it is important to gut load crickets, dust the crickets with a multivitamin that contains calcium, and provide appropriate UVB lighting for your pet bearded dragon.

Intestinal Parasites

Being infected with an abundance of parasites is another common reason why your pet bearded dragon will strain and prolapse their cloaca. You should have a fecal sample checked by your exotics vet to rule out having too many parasites. If the fecal test is positive, a deworming may be necessary to lessen or clear the parasitic infection and help prevent further prolapses from occurring.


If your bearded dragon is straining because they have diarrhea from eating watery foods or for another reason he could prolapse. Offering foods that are more nutrient and fiber dense, such as dark leafy greens, should help prevent prolapses if this is the cause.

Laying Eggs

If your female bearded dragon has recently laid eggs, is in the process of laying eggs, or is trying to lay eggs (she doesn't have to have been with a male to lay eggs) she could be straining to pass the eggs and in turn prolapse. Offering appropriate calcium in the diet and UVB lighting in the enclosure will help her body have normal contractions. In order to stop problems with follicle and egg production in bearded dragons, consider bringing in your beardie to your exotics vet to discuss a spay procedure to stop the possibility of recurrence kof prolapse from egg laying.

Replacing the Prolapse

If your bearded dragon prolapses the first thing you should do is moisten what came out. Lubricating gel and water can all keep the important tissues healthy while you replace, or get help replacing, the prolapse. Sometimes by soaking the prolapse in sugar water, you can help shrink it since the sugar absorbs excessive fluid. This may make replacing the prolapse easier.

The first step in replacing a prolapse is to contact your exotic veterinarian. Prolapsed tissue can be very friable, or break, in the process of replacement so its better to trust the experts in safely reducing your pets prolapse. If you are unable to find a vet, you can attempt at home but understand it could become worse if not done right. To replace the prolapse, keep it lubricated and apply gentle wide pressure (gloved finger pad- not Q-tips!) directly to the pink tissues. If possible, work from the outside in and try to gently push the tissue back into the cloacal opening. If you are concerned about tearing tissues, hurting your bearded dragon, or you are having any trouble, you should rush him to your exotics vet. Sometimes sedation and/or anesthesia is necessary to relax your beardie or two sutures may need to be placed on either side of the cloaca to keep the prolapse in place after pushing it back in.

Once the prolapse has been replaced you'll want to determine the cause and make sure it doesn't come out again. If a prolapse is out for an extended period of time and is not kept lubricated the tissues may die and surgery may be necessary to remove dead tissue. If a large amount of tissue has died off, euthanasia may be suggested by your veterinarian as well.

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  1. Schmidt-Ukaj, S. et al. A Survey Of Diseases In Captive Bearded Dragons: A Retrospective Study Of 529 PatientsVeterinární Medicína, vol 62, no. No. 9, 2017, pp. 508-515. Czech Academy Of Agricultural Sciences, doi:10.17221/162/2016-vetmed

  2. Schmidt-Ukaj, S. et al. A Survey Of Diseases In Captive Bearded Dragons: A Retrospective Study Of 529 PatientsVeterinární Medicína, vol 62, no. No. 9, 2017, pp. 508-515. Czech Academy Of Agricultural Sciences, doi:10.17221/162/2016-vetmed