Bearded Dragon Prolapse – Full Beginner’s Guide

When you see that a pink bulge comes out from your bearded dragon’s rear end, it means that it’s suffering from a cloacal prolapse. A part of their organ came out through their cloaca or even all of it in some cases. It usually happens when a beardie strains itself from defecating or laying eggs.

Cloacal prolapse is a serious health problem for bearded dragons. When it happens, your beardie means that it needs immediate vet care. If treatment is not done right away, it can put their organs at risk of dying. When the beardies organ dies, it will require surgery to fix the damage.

What Causes Bearded Dragon’s Prolapse?

The bearded dragon’s cloaca is a cavity found at the end of their digestive tract. It helps them to release the urine feces and also to lay their eggs. Aside from reptiles, birds and fish also have a cloaca, which means they are also prone to suffering from cloacal prolapse.

When cloacal prolapse happens, the intestines, reproductive organs, and bladder will protrude from the cloacal vent. If you suspect that your bearded dragon is suffering from a prolapse, make sure to bring it to the vet for treatment right away. It’s crucial to treat a prolapse immediately, and it should be prevented from happening again.

1. Lack Of Calcium

When bearded dragons suffer from calcium deficiency, it will cause cloacal prolapse. Lack of calcium from your reptile’s diet negatively affects their bodies. It will take calcium from their bones and cause them to soften and weaken. When it happens, your beardie will suffer from metabolic bone disease.

It’s an incurable bone disease that can be painful for bearded dragons. That’s why it’s essential to provide enough calcium to your beardie. It will help to prevent this illness from developing. If the metabolic bone disease is left untreated, it can cause bone deformity. This condition can also end up in paralysis and, later on, death.

Prolapse will likely happen when the bones of the pelvis become soft. When the pelvis is not strong enough, it can’t contain the organs near their cloaca. If the bones have softened, it will be impossible to treat. That’s why bearded dragons need to get enough calcium.

2. Internal Parasites

Bearded dragons may have some parasites inside their bodies. Pinworms and coccidia may be present at the same time. When the beardies’ internal parasites multiply faster than usual, it can cause weight loss due to diarrhea. Constant defecation with beardies may strain their cloaca and result in prolapse.

Get your bearded dragon tested for parasites to avoid this from happening. The vet will give your beardie some deworming medication. It will cure the parasite infestation inside its body. Make sure to keep your bearded dragon hydrated during the deworming process.

Allow the beardie to soak in a shallow and warm bath for 15 minutes daily. Repeat this until the treatment has already cleared the parasites. Diarrhea should also be inside by this time.

If you think that your beardie has worms, don’t hesitate to take it to the vet to get deworming treatment right away. It will solve the problem and avoid prolapse.

3. Impaction

When the bearded dragon eats something that it can’t digest properly, it will result in impaction. The beardie will be unable to defecate when it happens. Impaction may occur when your beardie ingests substrate and other particles. When your beardie is also suffering from dehydration, it will end up with impaction for your bearded dragon.

The lack of fluid in their digestive tract will cause the ingested material not to move. Providing clean water daily in a shallow water bowl should help the bearded dragon stay hydrated. Change the water a few times a day to avoid the beardie from drinking dirty water causing diarrhea.

The bearded dragon strains itself while defecating can cause a cloacal prolapse. The constant pressure on the cloaca will cause the beardie to suffer from it. Prevent this from happening by avoiding anything that may cause impaction to your bearded dragon.

4. Dystocia and Laying Eggs

Female bearded dragons don’t need to mate to lay some eggs. When a female beardie has any contact with a male beardie, she will be pregnant. It can trigger the female reproductive hormones and lay infertile eggs.

Also known as egg binding, dystocia happens when the female beardie can’t lay eggs. They will stay inside the cloaca and get trapped. Calcium deficiency can be the cause of dystocia. When the female beardie is pregnant, it will not allow its body to contract to have the ability to lay its eggs.

Laying the eggs can cause constant strain to the female bearded dragon’s cloaca. It can cause prolapse if the pressure becomes too much. The beardie doesn’t have to suffer from dystocia to have a prolapse. Lack of calcium from their diet can cause cloacal prolapse as well.

How Do You Fix a Prolapse Bearded Dragon?

Cloacal prolapse is a serious health problem for bearded dragons. It requires immediate medical treatment. If it is not treated right away, the affected organ will eventually die. Organ necrosis may occur, and it can be fatal for bearded dragons. To prevent this problem, make sure that the affected organ will be kept moist.

Contact the vet immediately to help you with how you can lubricate the affected organ. It’s a critical step to take while you’re on the way to the animal hospital. Using a lubricating gel, water, or vaseline will help the organ stay moist. Make sure to move your beardie away from loose substrates.

Sand or dirt can irritate the prolapsed organ and become contaminated. Use some paper towels for the sick beardie. It will be easier for you to change them when it gets soiled. Don’t let the organ dry out since it can quickly die in the process. When necrosis sets in, the bearded dragon needs surgery to remove the dead tissue.

Experienced reptile owners are comfortable replacing the prolapse by themselves. But if you’re a new bearded dragon owner, bringing your beardie to the vet is a better idea. Replacing the prolapse on your own can accidentally damage the organ. The vet will provide anesthesia to your beardie before returning the organ.

When replacing the prolapsed organ, it has to be gently pushed. It will avoid damaging the affected organ and prevent causing complications. The vet may need to use sutures to ensure that the prolapse will stay inside the bearded dragon’s body. Ask for the vet’s advice to prevent this problem from happening again.

Can a Bearded Dragon Survive a Prolapse?

Yes, bearded dragons can survive a prolapse if treated immediately. There are a lot of reasons why beardies may have a cloacal prolapse. Affected tissues or organs will be involved as well. Straining is one of the most common causes of cloacal prolapse. The requirements to avoid this health condition should be provided to prevent this.

The organ that prolapses out from the beardies cloaca can cause serious complications. Cloacal prolapse may be fatal for bearded dragons. It’s recommended to consult a vet right away when this occurs. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent more severe damage and even death.

Can a Bearded Dragon Live with a Prolapse?

The organs that may prolapse are the urinary bladder, colon, hemipenis for males, and the shell gland in females. Cloacal prolapse is a complicated health problem for bearded dragons. Correcting the prolapse and what causes it should be diagnosed. It will prevent the prolapse from happening again.

Find a herp veterinarian to treat your beardie right away. Don’t wait for a long time before you seek treatment for your beardie. The protruding tissue can die and cause bacterial infection for your bearded dragon. Life-threatening conditions and toxins should be avoided immediately. It’s a dangerous situation that requires help from a vet

What Happens When a Bearded Dragon Has a Prolapse?

Cloacal prolapse is a serious health condition that needs to be treated immediately. The affected organs will die if necrosis sets on. Surgery is required when the organ starts to die. It can also cause death for bearded dragons if not treated right away. But if your beardie suddenly suffers from prolapse, make sure to keep the organ moist.

Call the vet right away to get advice on keeping the affected organ lubricated. Avoid it from drying until you arrive at the animal hospital. When prolapse happens, the organ will dry up, and necrosis will set in. It can kill the affected organ, which can be fatal, and surgery will be needed.

When bearded dragons suffer from cloacal prolapse, you also must move it from a loose substrate. It can irritate the prolapsed organ and can get infected. That won’t be good for your bearded dragon’s health if necrosis reaches the organ. Surgery needs to be done to remove the dead tissue to save your bearded dragon’s life.

What Does Bearded Dragon Prolapse Look Like?

A bearded dragon prolapse looks like a pink bulge that’s coming out from its rear end. It means that it’s a part of the organ that comes out. That can be visible to the bearded dragon’s cloaca. Its caused by straining when the bearded dragon defecates or even when laying eggs.

When prolapse happens to bearded dragons, the part of their organ will slip out from the cloaca. The affected organ will be visible. Usually, the intestine, uterus, and hemipenes are the organs that are commonly affected by a prolapse. It looks alarming when you see that bulge from their rear end.

How Do You Fix a Prolapsed Cloaca?

When a bearded dragon prolapses, make sure to moisten the bulge that came out from it. Use lubricating gel, Vaseline, and water to keep it moist. It can keep the tissues that came out to stay healthy while the prolapse is being replaced inside. Apply sugar to the prolapse to help it shrink and make it easier to return it inside.

When replacing the prolapse, make sure that it’s lubricated enough. Apply gentle pressure to push back the pink bulge inside the cloaca. If you’re not confident replacing the prolapse for your beardie, bring it to the vet immediately. It may need anesthesia to relax the bearded dragon. A purse string might be required to keep the prolapse inside.

After replacing the prolapse inside the bearded dragon, make sure to do something to prevent it from happening again. When the prolapse occurs for some time and is not lubricated, the tissue will die, and your beardie needs to have surgery. The dead tissue must be removed to avoid a fatal reaction.

How Do You Fix a Lizard Prolapse?

When prolapse occurs, make sure to keep the tissue moist. Apply some water-soluble lubricant gently on the area. Use a cold compress to reduce tissue edema or use hypertonic solutions. 50% dextrose, hypertonic saline, or glycerin can be used. If it’s a penile or hemipene prolapse, it needs lubrication, irrigation, and bandaging overnight until the bearded dragon stabilizes for surgery.

When the swelling goes down, the bearded dragon must be evaluated by the vet. Here are the things your vet will have to do after administering the surgery to the bearded dragon.

  • Verify signalment since gender will affect the differential diagnosis list.
  • Is the patient alert, responsive, and in good body condition?
  • Is there evidence of concurrent or underlying disease?

After that, the prolapsed tissue should be identified. It can be hard to do since prolapses are chronic. When the reptile arrives in the medical facility, it can be critical. Mild prolapses can only affect the cloacal tissue. It can still bulge through the bearded dragon’s vent. This is where droppings and reproductive products are expelled.

Cloacal mucosa usually looks smooth and shiny. Prolapsed tissue will become swollen after some time. The beardies distal gastrointestinal tract looks smooth and tubular. Hemipenes are solid tissue from the lateral part of the cloacal wall. This information is essential for vets to ensure they can treat the beardie properly.

Bearded Dragon Prolapse


1. Do bearded dragons need vet checkups?

Yes, bearded dragons need vet check-ups like other pets. Regular check-ups will help them to stay healthy. During the vet check-up, signs of illnesses like lack of appetite will be observed. Discharges coming from the eyes, nose, and mouth must also get checked.

2. What is a prolapsed cloaca lizard?

The cloaca or also known as the vent is an opening that can be found under the beardie’s tail. Reptiles can suffer from prolapse when the tissue or organ slips out of the cloaca. Cloacal prolapse is a condition when tissue protrudes from the lizard’s vent. It’s the same area where they defecate.

3. What is a prolapsed hemipene?

The prolapsed hemipene is the pink bulge seen under a male reptile’s cloaca. If the hemipene stays outside for a long time, it can be infected. The best solution is to remove the prolapsed hemipenes. It will prevent systemic infection from happening and save the lizard’s life.

4. What is a sperm plug bearded dragon?

Male bearded dragons have sperm plugs or seminal plugs. They are pockets of seminal fluid build-up. It’s also present with other reptile hemipenes during the mating season. It can be passed with the reptile’s bowel movements and sometimes gets stuck on their vent.

5. How much is a vet visit for a bearded dragon?

A vet visit for bearded dragons can be between $25 to $100, depending on the reason for the visit. The costs of tests, treatments, and medications are excluded from that range. It can be costly to visit the vet frequently. Pet medical insurance can help you to cover the price of vet visits.

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