Bearded Dragon Yellow Fungus – How To Avoid This Deadly DiseaseAbout 4 min reading time
What Is Bearded Dragon Yellow Fungus?
Yellow fungal infection is, as it suggests, a disease caused by a fungal infection.
It has the very complicated name of Chrysosporium Anamorph of Nanniziopsis vriesii (CANV).
Infection is becoming more common recently and is spread by direct contact between bearded dragons or other reptiles. It can also be passed between reptiles who’ve been in a vivarium that has housed an infected individual.
Can Bearded Dragon Yellow Fungus Be Treated?
Many people online will tell you that yellow fungus is untreatable. This is not true. It is however important to note that Yellow Fungus is presently still not curable. Treatable does not mean curable.
Yellow fungus is difficult to treat but is nonetheless treatable. But…
This disease is going to require a visit to the reptile vets for appropriate anti-fungal treatment. The earlier your sick bearded dragon visits their favourite place ( cos the Vet is every animal’s favourite place is it not? ) the quicker and easier they can be effectively treated. There’ll be less damage to your wallet too.
You’ll likely need to treat with oral anti-fungals. You’ll probably need to administer by dropping some into their mouths through the use of a syringe. You may need to use topical ointments to help reduce the infection and inflammation.
In severe cases, significant debridement of the lesions may be required. This will need a fairly lengthy vet stay with the associated costs.
The best bet here is get this one to the vet early and quickly to avoid these fairly significant complications. Avoid contaminating other animals nearby by making sure you have good hand hygiene.
Treatment for yellow fungus will likely be required for the remaining lifetime of the bearded dragon and may well be costly and uncomfortable for your bearded dragon. You will need to weigh up (with the help of your vet) whether the treatment is worth the cost and the potential pain for your dragon. It’s often not going to be an easy choice unfortunately.
Is Yellow Fungus Common?
No. Yellow fungus is not at all common, although there are more cases of it appearing as more people look after bearded dragons and other reptiles in captivity.
As with all infectious diseases, yellow fungus does not just spring up out of nowhere. It requires contact with the Chrysosporium Anamorph of Nanniziopsis vriesii (CANV) fungus.
With this in mind, it follows that in order for your bearded dragon to contract Yellow Fungus Disease it must be exposed to the CANV fungus. Which means, you – or someone who’s visited your bearded dragon needs to have had contact with a reptile with CANV or handled equipment that’s been in contact with it.
What Are Bearded Dragon Yellow Fungus Symptoms?
Along with the usual symptoms of increased lethargy and being off their food, a bearded dragon with a yellow fungal infection will exhibit the signs somewhere on their body. Generally, but not always, the yellow discolouration will start around the vent area.
A yellowy discolouration of their skin ( which gives rise to the diseases alternative name of Yellow Skin Disease ) will be the first skin signs and if left untreated these can progress to painful ulcers underneath their scales which will eventually push the scales off and lead to nasty painful skin lesions. These lesions can often contain pus and will cause a discharge.
These lesions can also cause issues with shedding. They are harder to shed and quite often lead to an incomplete shed – with the associated problems that can cause.
If left untreated the fungus will eventually infiltrate the bearded dragons body and organs and this will lead to death.
But just to confuse you, many people online send pictures asking “Is this yellow fungus?”. Usually it’s just staining from their substrate. Check there’s nothing yellow around their habitat before assuming yellow fungus is the culprit. If you can’t find anything that might have stained their skin then further assistance from the vet is probably wise.
A vet can take swabs of affected areas and attempt to grow cultures to prove or disprove the infection. Contact your vet for advice before taking your bearded dragon to them as Yellow Fungus is highly contagious and the vet will want to make sure you don’t inadvertently spread it.
Before panicking though, do see the question below about Yellow Fungus prevention. It’s probably not Yellow Fungus that you’re dealing with – unless the steps below have been missed.
How Do I Prevent Bearded Dragon Yellow Fungus?
Remember that bearded dragon yellow fungus disease requires contact with the CANV fungus detailed above. With this in mind, the biggest, best way to avoid bearded dragon yellow fungus is to avoid contact with infected individuals or equipment.
Don’t mix reptiles in your home, particularly in the same vivarium. This is for other reasons too of course. If you bring a new reptile into your home, keep it quarantined in a separate room with separate tools and equipment for 28 days before mixing things up.
The second best way to avoid bearded dragon yellow fungus disease revolves around good hygiene. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling other reptiles and in particular if you don’t know that those reptiles are free from CANV. Don’t reuse equipment between reptiles without thoroughly sterilizing it first.
Finally, make sure the temperatures are correct in the vivarium. In particular make sure they’re warm enough at basking end and at cool end. The yellow fungus will prefer a cooler vivarium with too much humidity. If your temperatures are correct the risk of your dragon picking up this infection are much reduced. The growth of CANV is inhibited by temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius and your vivarium should be at least that at the basking end. Ensure your UV lamps are functioning correctly and for long enough throughout the day. The fungus won’t like the UV light.
Check our article about Bearded Dragon Heating And Lighting for more information about correct temperatures and UVB lighting.
BeardedDragonsRock have never experienced Yellow Fungus Disease for themselves (thankfully) so this page is largely the result of our own research. Information has been obtained from The Veterinary Information Network and other veterinary sources.
The featured image used for this article is sourced from Pixabay by TheOtherKev and is generic in nature due to the difficulty sourcing pictures of bearded dragons with yellow fungus disease. We do not intend to imply that the bearded dragon used in the featured image has yellow fungus – the colouration pictured is very much natural colouring.