Surviving The Cure

(Dragons assume the most absurd basking and sleeping positions! This is Big Lucy.)


As you know, the most recent addition to The Legend Zoo are two Bearded Dragons.

Big Lucy and Little Lucy

(Big Lucy is actually a male and Little Lucy is a female)

They both seemed to be doing well until I noticed blood in Big Lucy’s urate and a foul-smelling, watery feces.

(Dragons have vents like parrots through which they excrete feces and urates.)

I monitor the droppings from the animals because it is a good measure of general health.

If droppings from birds or reptiles change, it may be the only early indication of illness.


A microscopic examination of a fecal specimen revealed the presence of a Coccidia Oocyst and Stronglyte parasites.

(Since Dragons typically carry Coccidia and Stronglytes in their guts, there probably is no reason to treat absent symptoms.)

I treated her with Albon and Panacur and a probiotic (Bene-Bac Plus gel) for three weeks.

Now, treating her was no simple matter since she could not be convinced to drink the meds  or eat the probiotic.

I held her and forced her mouth open by pulling down on the skin under her chin while Kelli administered the drugs through a syringe.

She was not happy about that, but it worked.


Coccidia is difficult to eradicate from the environment since it is resistant to most disinfectants and can live for a very long time.

The most stringent husbandry is required to eliminate it.

I discovered that one of the only chemicals that kill it are the ammonium compounds.

Absolutely everything must be sanitized daily.

(Big Lucy, below, is not looking very pleased with the treatment protocol!)


The fecal sample for Little Lucy showed Stronglyte parasites, but no Coccidia.

Since she was so very tiny and had normal droppings, I decided not to treat her until she gained weight.

She developed a brownish tint on her urate later, so I treated her with Panacur only.

I will continue to treat both Dragons with one dose of Panacur twice a week for one week every two months as a precaution against Stronglytes.

A microscopic examination of the feeder roaches revealed the presence of Stronglyte parasites.

Since they may be endemic to all Dubia roaches, I will continue to feed them as the best source of protein for the growing Dragons.


I discovered that the easiest way to weigh a Dragon is to use a bird perch gram scale since clinging to a limb is natural for them.

This is Little Lucy on August 3.  She weighed forty grams.  This is Rita’s old postal scale with a perch attached to it.

Troy Beaudoin at made this one, but they are very easy to make using a postal scale.

Little Lucy has gained weight and is looking healthy here.

The red color is from an additional heat lamp that I added to her tank to raise the ambient temperature.

The best way to monitor the temperature in every area of a tank is to use a temperature “gun”.

Stick-on thermometers are useless.  Do not use them, period.

Precise control of light, temperature and humidity is critical to a Dragon’s survival.

Little Lucy on her tank looking over at Big Lucy!

It is not wise to cage two Dragons together since the males fight and male/female Dragons are inclined to mate…

If there is no exotic (wild animal) vet in your area, there is an online source for veterinary advice.

I use Joan at

You can buy veterinary medicine online complete with titration instructions.  There are online labs for fecal examination, too.

  The vets and vet techs at the above site can advise you.

I found their advice to be sound and immediately available.

My best advice is to resist the temptation to buy any exotic animal on impulse.

Their care and health maintenance is very different from that required for domestic animals.

However, if you are willing to do a great deal of research, and to devote a great deal of time to their care,

Bearded Dragons are intelligent and highly interesting creatures!


They bond with their keepers, too!


40 Comments on “Surviving The Cure

  1. Happy to see your dragons thriving under your gentle and expert care George! Your photos are exceptional as always. Makes them seem endearing…..almost! 🙂


  2. Looks as if have become the “go to” person for bearded dragon care and behavior. I’m impressed.

    That first picture of Big Lucy reminds me of a hammock! 🙂


    • Oh, I dunno’ about that, Lorna. I don’t know much about dragons. He reminds me of a hammock, too. Dragons do get into the oddest positions to bask and sleep. I asked a dragon breeder about that and he said it was normal. BL scared me the first night when I found him freezing cold against the glass in an odd position! I pasted him to my chest to warm him. I was convinced he was dying! Chuckle… I had a real struggle figuring out how to take care of these critters! Actually, they’re considered “beginner reptiles”,


  3. Big Lucy and Little Lucy sound like characters from Pulp Fiction or Get Shorty. “Of all the terrariums in the world she had to walk into mine.” 😀
    Informative post George.. I’ll make sure Liz sees this one. I have some colour shots of our pair posted now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha-ha! They do sound like pulp fiction characters. You know you can get fecals done online. They send a container and you mail the fecal sample back to them. There’s no sense in traumatizing a dragon by taking him to a vet since there is little a vet can see by looking at him unless he has “jaw rot” or something! 😉 I really like the vet help. They are really well-trained. And you can order meds online. Which is exactly what I will do hereafter. 🙂


  4. I think Big Lucy oughtta’ be on the next cover of vogue!
    Just sayin’ 😉

    Little Lucy could take on the following month’s issue.


  5. They are such beautiful creatures, George. Under your care, I’m sure they will continue to do well and thrive. 🙂


    • Hi, Robin! I like the new Gravatar. Cool. I do enjoy the dragons. They are the most fascinating creatures. They remind me of the prehistoric lizards. I see them as twenty-foot long Jurassic Park dragons! Chuckle… Thank you for visiting us, Robin! 🙂


  6. Oh George, you are just the best. I love the first comment above. And I second seekraz’s comment – it’s wonderful to see your hand there, so intimate, yes, and at the same time, that ring and the dragons’ skin together make a song in themselves. You make me feel good, George.


    • Ah, that makes my old heart glad, Lynn. There is a story behind that ring. I bought a silver ring in Mexico many years ago. I liked it and wore it so much doing hard work that I made a dent in the top. Dean had a local jeweler to make a cast and duplicate it in gold. The gold one has a dent too, of course. I’ve worn it every day since, and that was years ago. I had to switch it to the middle finger when it got too loose. I’d be lost without it. I had an engagement and wedding ring, but I only wore it when we visited Dean’s family. I never liked the idea of wedding rings. Or nose rings (like hogs wear to keep them from rooting out of their pens) for that matter. Chuckle… Dean had what used to be called a dinner ring made to hold the diamond, but I never liked it much. It was a sweet idea, though. I do enjoy my animals. The Bearded Dragons are intelligent, fascinating creatures. Big Lucy is huge now and Little Lucy is getting fatter and better looking all the time. I am very pleased with their progress. Thank you so much for visiting us, Lynn! 🙂


  7. Joanna and I read this post, together, from start-to-finish and were both impressed by it all. Even if one doesn’t know anything about Dragons, it’s clear that you know your stuff and are very, very, good at this. But, the fact is, we do know a thing-or-two about animal husbandry and our experience tells us that, in fact, you do in-truth-of-fact know your stuff. We are both really impressed that you have taken the time to really learn about these beautiful animals. You say that you monitor for parasites and then treat with Albon for Coccidia and with Panacur for Ascarids (and other nematodes) … these are both very familiar to us and we happen to use something called Corid (amprolium) which is billed as a coccidiostat for coccidia. Albon is billed as an antibiotic (sulfadimethoxine) and I remember that is used to be packaged along with Corid when we would treat our hogs for upper-respiratory infection. Panacur is Fenbendazole which is what we use (in a preparation called SafeGuard) to treat our sheep for tapeworms. I wonder why the Dragon-folks do not recommend Ivermectin for the treatement of roundworms? Perhaps there is some level of toxicity in reptiles? Anyway, wonderful and informative post. Brilliant. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it many times … I’m working hard to be good in this life so that I may come back as one of your Dragons in my next life! D (+J)


    • You know, I don’t know why Albon and Panacur are the standard treatments for Coccidia. But, it worked for Big Lucy. Her last fecal did not show Coccidia or Stronglyte parasites. Both dragons are doing really well. I was worried about both of them. When my animals show signs of illness, I panic. I know that wild creatures hide their illness, so that they may be really ill before you realize it. I am amazed at how huge Big Lucy is now. And, Little Lucy is growing by leaps and bounds. She is the sweet one. BL doesn’t like to be held, but he is absolutely fascinating to watch. I don’t require animals to tolerate being held. I am happy to observe them. Both dragons love being talked to. They turn their heads and listen as if they understand. That delights me. I keep them where I can see them all day and monitor their food and droppings. I bought a fancy lighted house designed for dragons for BL, but I don’t use it because I couldn’t see him in the only place it would fit! That’s just like me. I have no idea what I’ll do with the thing! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I hope it discourages people from buying these reptiles on impulse. I’ve bought every one of my animals on an impulse simply because I liked the idea of them. I figured I could find out how to take care of them. And, each one has been a real joy to have around. 🙂 Thanks for the information, D. Hello to Joanna too. She needs a Cheeky! 🙂


  8. Fantastic photos, George. What a lot of care and expertise is needed to look after these dear little creatures. The “bird perch gram scale” is a very nifty idea. 🙂 Clever you!


    • Thank you, Sylvia! I am really enjoying the dragons. They are fun and cute and really smart creatures. They look at you as if they understand every word. That amuses me. They aren’t that much trouble once you understand how to take care of them and get into a routine. I appreciate your always visiting us, Sylvia! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was just thinking how easy my little cat is to care for compared to your Lucys and then got to the part about exotic animal care. These guys/gals, I mean, are very lucky to have conscientious you caring for them, even if they don’t recognized the benefits of forced treatments. Great photos and story.


    • Hi, Linda. Ha-ha! Yes, they are not domestic animals. I have only one domestic creature, Anabelle, my elderly little dog on whom I totally depend to tell me what is going on! Thanks for visiting us, Linda! 🙂


  10. YOU…are a good Mommy…..I hope they keep doing well and they are SO lucky to have you caring for them…inspiring..that’s what you are.


    • Ah, thanks, Suzanne. I enjoy every one of my creatures. They’re all very different and so interesting. I don’t have the beautiful wild creatures outside my door so I have to import them! Chuckle… I haven’t visited you for a long time. I have to check up on all of your animals! Thanks for stopping by to visit us. 🙂


      • You’re welcome George!
        I haven’t been able to get around and visit other blogs very much….. wedding….other “chronic”, crazy family stuff…sigh…hopefully I’ll do a better job of visiting from now on. I do love to see your endearing creatures…xx


  11. Such good information. What an involved treatment. Big Lucy’s face is so expressive. The 4th shot down (the scowl) makes me laugh out loud. I feel like I’m looking in the mirror! Little Lucy is really doing well. Such a sweet little one, she seems.


    • I laugh at BL all the time. He looks like such a grouch now that he’s getting the fat rolls around his head. He really does look as if he’s scowling. I think maybe he is! He does not like to be disturbed, but he loves to have me talk to him. I enjoy watching him. Little Lucy is a sweetheart. She loves being held. I think some dragons like it and some don’t. She’s doing very well too. Thanks, Lemony!


  12. You have an amazing amount of patience and devotion for your dragons! Excellent photos! And you give good advice for those who are considering adopting one.


    • Thanks, Jo Nell. I really do enjoy all of the animals. I never had time to have them when I worked. Rita was enough. And she wasn’t much trouble. People buy exotic animals because they’re cute when they’re babies. And, they have no idea how to take care of them. It’s a real shame. We should be required to be licensed to keep wild animals even if they are bred in captivity. That would eliminate all but serious keepers! It’ hot enough here to fry me. When oh when is cooler weather coming! Chuckle…


  13. Aside from the chronicle of care for your beloved dragons, I especially enjoyed the last photograph…your hand, dear George. We learn so much about our friends here on our blogs, maybe even catch glimpses of their faces or silhouettes of such from time to time, but there’s something intimate, in a gentle and friendly sense, about seeing the hands of our friends…something that is likely often taken for granted, but strikingly missed when the friendship isn’t in person. At any rate…I enjoyed your post…and holding hands with my friend for a few moments.


    • I do enjoy my animals! I have my dad’s hands. Wide, long fingers and strong hands. I always regarded my hands as tools. I’m sure most people, especially women, don’t hold that view of their hands. I cut my nails with clippers and never wore nail polish in my entire life. I’m surprised that my hands worked this long and worked so well. When we hike up Little Cottonwood, you’ll discover that those hands can latch on with a mighty grip still! Chuckle… I can imagine you dragging me half the way up! What fun that would be! Thank you, Scott!


  14. Beautiful pictures of your dragons. How big do they grow George? I am sure not as big as the dragons in fantasy stories 🙂


    • Hi, Colline! They grow to about eighteen to twenty-two inches long. Much of that length is in the tail, of course, but they develop very wide and hefty bodies and legs. Big Lucy is huge now. I’d guess that she’s over a foot long. And several inches wide. She’s impressive. I saw the baby ones at the pet store today and am just shocked at how they are. I know that people can’t imagine how big they grow. Most pet store Dragons don’t live to be a year old, so I read. They aren’t fully matured until they are two years old. It makes me sad to see the cute little guys at the store since I know people won’t be able to care for them adequately. There should be laws restricting the sale of exotic animals. At the very least, you should have to get a wildlife license to keep even the small lizards! Thanks for always stopping by to visit us, Colline! I hope your summer has been fun! 🙂


  15. George, I’m amazed at the care you give these pets – I’m sure I’d never manage it! And your advice re not buying such creatures on impulse is only too true, I can see. Lovely pictures, and wow, such detail!

    How are you doing, George? I hope very much that you’re well and contented. I think of you often. I’m fine – couple of medical checks on Monday which I hope will be ok. Temperatures are a little lower here now and I’m feeling more comfortable! You take good care of yourself, my dear! Adrian 🙂


    • Hi, Adrian. I hope your medical checks are good. I am the world’s worst impulse buyer of animals! If they appeal to me, I truck them home, and then worry about how to take care of them! I have always figured that if other people can take care of an animal, so can I. Chuckle… The only domestic animal who lives here is Anabelle. She’s a very old and a very wise little dog. The other day, she barked once loudly behind me as I sat at my desk. When I looked around, I saw Cheeky standing on the edge of Anabelle’s bed looking up at her in the most unconcerned way. Anabelle looked at me as if to say, ‘Get that bratty bird off my bed!’ I had forgotten that Cheeky was playing outside his cage. I enjoy all of the animals now that I have the luxury of time.

      Thank you, Adrian. You are always so very kind to me! 🙂


  16. Your little dragons are doing well it seems. They’re certainly lucky; I can’t imagine that most people would devote the time and effort to make them thrive. I hope I get to see them before too long.


  17. thankfully my vivid imagination allows me to see the images, as the connection is too slow to load them. i thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and look forward to when i can return and admire the growing dragons.

    i am lucky to live where iguanas run wild here, and each afternoon a pretty-large one suns himself (herself?) on the rocks between the house and the river. i think-hope that the largest one (pictured in this past thursday’s post) is the one that i rescued when it got stuck in the chicken wire that surrounded the swiss chard. (i never dreamed that the iguana was the pest!)

    btw, our gravatar loaded, and it makes me smile! i viewed it in the inbox, which is how i am replying to your post!

    have a good weekend! z


    • Hi, Zeeb! I have to visit to see your iguana. They are fascinating creatures! The only lizards here are Anoles. I love watching them in the garden. They are such shy creatures. I wouldn’t have thought the iguana was a pest. I guess he’s big enough to eat a chicken. Hmmm. He’s lucky you found him! Thanks for stopping by, Zeeb! 🙂


  18. Ah George, the Lucy’s are looking great! I hope they both respond perfectly to their (dreadful) treatments and continue to do well. My life is too busy right now to take on more, so my wanting to adopt Beardies will be fulfilled vicariously! be well, dear George.


    • Hi, Charlene. Both Lucys are doing well. The parasites are gone. You’ll love a Beardie. They are so very interesting. I keep mine in terrariums on a bar behind my kitchen sink where I see them all the time, and they see me. I think they like that since they enjoy human contact. I know you are busy with Baby Cheeks! 🙂


      • Stacy is adorable and growing like a weed! I’m opening a workshop giving craft and yarncraft lessons within weeks! I’m busy creating colourful, crazy decor and lesson samples! CRAZY busy!!!! x



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