chinese water dragon

Symptoms That Your Chinese Water Dragon Might Be Sick

As owners we want our pets to remain happy and healthy. But to ensure that we have to learn how to tell if our pets are sick or not. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of telltale symptoms that can help you deduct whether your Chinese water dragon is suffering from a health issue. 

In this article, I’m going to talk about some of the most common health problems of Chinese water dragons and how to detect them. 

On general a sick Chinese water dragon may show the following symptoms – 

  • Lethargy 
  • Heavy breathing 
  • Dull eyes
  • Tremors while walking
  • Twitching limbs
  • Bloody snout 
  • Discolored scales
  • Swollen scales
  • Gangrene

Common Chinese Water Dragon Diseases with Symptoms

chinese water dragon sick symptoms

Mouth Rot

Mount Rot is a sort of secondary infection caused by a lack of treatment of an injury or wound. It is one of the most common health problems among reptiles. It usually occurs due to the water dragon bumping or rubbing its face against the walls of its enclosure. 


  • Mount swelling
  • Redness around the lips
  • Exposed ulcers of mouth and nose
  • White secretions around the mouth

Snout Damage 

This is pretty common among reptiles in captivity. Due to rubbing against the walls of the enclosure pet Chinese water dragons often develop sores on their snout which eventually turn into wounds. Snout damage is sort of a precursor to mouth rot.


  • Swelling in snout
  • Soreness in snout
  • Bloody snout 
  • Exposed wounds in the snout

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease or Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism is another common disease seen among captive reptiles. It occurs due to an absence of sunlight or UVB lighting. 

UV along with proper nutrition is needed for the production of vitamin D which helps with calcium absorption and bone development. Without sufficient UV-B the bones become fragile and cause all sorts of health issues. 


  • Lethargy 
  • Tremors in the limbs while walking
  • Twitching limbs
  • Brittle bones
  • The appearance of bumps on the arms, legs, and back

Spike and Toe Damage 

Chinese water dragons shed a lot. They are constantly growing. So, they shed pretty often. But sometimes the shedding doesn’t happen correctly and wraps around the toes or spikes limiting blood supply. This causes hypoxia which results in the toe or spike dying. 

There are many reasons for which this might happen. But one of the most common reasons is a lack of adequate water supply for the reptile to submerge in. 


  • Improper shedding
  • Dry gangrene 
  • Infections
  • Necrotic tissue 

Parasite Infestation

Chinese waters dragons can suffer from all sorts of internal and external parasitic infestations. Various types of internal parasites are naturally present in water dragons. But sometimes due to poor living conditions overgrowth can occur that leads to health problems.

If your water dragon is infected by external parasites like mites you will be able to see them around the eyes and ears. 


  • Lethargy 
  • Loose poop
  • Smelly poop 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Dull looking eyes
  • Visible worms wiggling around in their poop
  • Tiny bugs on the body 

Skin Infections

Chinese water dragons can develop bacterial or fungal skin infections due to poor living conditions. If the vivarium is unclean or there is too much humidity then the Chinese water dragon living in it becomes susceptible to these infections. 


  • Patches of blackish-red skin
  • Raised skin
  • Fluid-filled bumps

Respiratory Tract Infection

Respiratory tract infections are pretty common among Chinese water dragons. They can develop respiratory infections due to unclean environment, incorrect temperature, and humidity. 


  • Lethargy 
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Wheezing while breathing 
  • Gaping mouth

Dystocia or Egg Binding 

When a female Chinese water dragon is unable to lay eggs then it is called dystocia or egg binding. Female water dragons will lay 1 or 2 clutches every year whether they’ve been with a mate or not. 

But sometimes due to bad living conditions (Improper temperature, humidity, nesting facilities, stress, etc.) a female water dragon might not lay eggs which can cause serious health issues and even death. 


  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Abnormal and frequent digging


Reptiles can be pretty easily stressed. Chinese water dragons are relatively chill compared to most reptile species but they still can get stressed from overhandling or being spooked by other household pets (cats or dogs).

Too much stress may lead to many health issues including dystocia which can cause life-threatening consequences. 


  • Spending too much time underwater 
  • Hiding more often
  • Delayed laying

If you see any of these symptoms in your Chinese water dragon the best thing to do would be to take it to a veterinarian.

Do you know of any Chinese water dragon sick symptoms that weren’t mentioned? Feel free to share them with us in the comment section. Your opinions are very much appreciated. 

1 thought on “Symptoms That Your Chinese Water Dragon Might Be Sick”

  1. I did not see anything on intestinal worms. My Chinese water dragon is 10 yrs old and has been very healthy. Today I went to change his small pool of water he gets in and swims in and drinks, and I found 4 white dead worms. The kind that get in dogs and cats. But these were dead. How to treat them. I give my dogs Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) to keep the worms away. My cats even eat it. It is tasteless. Just mix it up in the cat food. For the dogs they get it every other (3) syringes full. I take it every 4 hours while awake. It keeps the body healthy. I gave Benny my (water dragon) 1 syringe full. He wasn’t happy but took it. He should be over the worms by tomorrow. So you have not addressed that in your articles in this website.


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