Bearded Dragon Anatomy
Dissection and photos by Kristin King
July 11, 2005
This dissection is of a juvenile dragon that died due to impaction in late 2003. The owner brought this dragon to me long after the damage was done. Sluggishness and problems with the cloaca were noticed by the owner approximately one month prior to asking for help. When the dragon was brought to me I inspected it and noticed the cloaca was clearly infected showing discoloration and swelling. Even after warm baths to try to loosen any blockage, there was nothing more that could be done for the dragon at this location. The dragon passed away within 12 hours of being brought to me. I preserved the dragon until I was able to do an autopsy. Upon further investigation I found the intestine was filled with crushed walnut substrate, which was the cause of death. One worm was found in the abdominal cavity. My recommendation is to house baby and juvenile dragons on paper toweling until they are large enough to adapt to other substrates to prevent unnecessary fatalities.
The photos below are of the dissection of the preserved dragon. These photos are posted online for scientific and educational purposes.