Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded Dragon Broken Back: Diagnosis, Treatment, & Recovery  

Like most reptiles, bearded dragons are at a high risk of metabolic bone disease. This puts them at a higher risk of a fractured or broken back if they take a fall.

Even though you may try to keep your bearded dragon safe at all times, accidents can happen. Bearded dragons can break their backs when they have an accident. While a fall can break a bearded dragon’s back, it usually only breaks because the bones are already weak.

Are you worried that your bearded dragon may have broken its back? We’re going to discuss everything you should know about this situation on this page. Keep reading to learn more.

How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon Broke Its Back

To know for sure if your bearded dragon has a broken back, you will need to take it to the vet for x-rays. However, you will likely notice some symptoms with your bearded dragon that tell you something is wrong with its back. When this happens, you may notice swelling around the injury. Another sign is that your bearded dragon isn’t using its back legs.

A broken back will affect your bearded dragon’s mobility, which in turn leads to constipation. When a bearded dragon is constipated, it won’t eat. This can make a reptile owner start to panic about the condition of their bearded dragon. Some other signs may include:

  • Difficulty moving
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swollen abdomen 

What Do I Have To Do To Take Care Of Them

The first step you need to do is take your bearded dragon to the vet. After the vet takes x-rays of the injury, they will be able to begin treatment based on how severe the fracture or broken bone is. This is very important because it may appear that your bearded dragon has a broken back, but the problem may be soft tissue damage or something similar.

Once you bring the bearded dragon home, you may have to make some adjustments to its tank to make it suitable for rehabilitation. While healing, it’s not a good idea to have your bearded dragon in the same tank as other reptiles. It’s very important to keep the bearded dragon’s activity to a minimum. It will need as much rest as possible to heal.

Make sure the tank is safe for mobility by removing anything that could provoke another accident. You should also work on making things more accessible for your injured bearded dragon. This includes using shallow dishes for water and providing low branches. It’s important that your bearded dragon has ease of mobility while it heals.

Since a broken back can be a sign that your bearded dragon may have metabolic bone disease, you should speak to your vet about any supplements or diet changes it needs to recover. 

How Long Will They Take To Recover?

Bearded dragons are a reptile, and reptiles have a longer recovery period than other animals when they injure a bone. Be prepared to give your bearded dragon special care for a while. It will take your bearded dragon anywhere from a couple of months to longer than a year to fully recover.

The amount of time the recovery takes depends on several factors:

  • How severe the injury is
  • Your bearded dragon’s health
  • Nutrition
  • Habitat
  • Level of care received

Always be patient with your bearded dragon’s home recovery. Although it may seem like it’s taking a long time, if you continue to care for your reptile, it will have a better chance of seeing a successful recovery.

Will They Still Be Themselves After Recovery?

It’s important to get your bearded dragon treated as soon as you notice signs that it may have a broken back. This is because leaving the injury for too long can affect whether or not the bearded dragon has a successful recovery. Your bearded dragon will eventually show signs of its normal self with the right level of care.

When the recovery is going well, you will notice more regular bowel movements. This should also help the bearded dragon get its appetite back.  However, don’t be discouraged if it takes more time than you expected for your bearded dragon to be itself again

Final Thoughts

Since bearded dragons are prone to metabolic bone disease, this puts them at a higher risk of breaking their back if they fall. Bearded dragons enjoy climbing, so even pet owners that go above and beyond to take good care of their reptiles could experience their reptiles falling.

If you believe that your bearded dragon may have a broken back, it’s important to speak to a vet as soon as possible. The sooner your bearded dragon receives medical attention, the better its chance of recovery will be. Don’t expect your reptile to heal overnight. Bearded dragons can take anywhere from a couple of months to well over a year to fully heal from the injury.

Ask your vet about supplements and diet changes you can make for your bearded dragon for healthier bones. This will help the healing process and limit the effects of metabolic bone disease.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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