Adenovirus in Bearded Dragons

This is Charlie. He will be 9 years old in June and was born with adenovirus.

Electron microscopy colorized photo showing Adenovirus (red) and associated dependovirus (yellow).

Infection and consequencs

Many dragons are believed to be sub-clinically infected, or carriers of the virus. Although they show no signs they can infect others. It is known that the virus is transferable through fecal-oral contact.  Any animal that is suspected of having this virus should be isolated, never breed and great care taken when handling between animals. All animals in contact with another that is suspected of having it or confirmed should be isolated from each other, never bred, certainly never sold to others that may unknowingly start the cycle again with other animals.  Sibling clutches have been tested and some are positive, some are negative in the same clutch. This leads to the theory that some are infected when the eggs pass through the cloaca and pick up viral particles or some are infected before they are shelled when others are spared.

In the above photo, is one of my male dragons, Charlie. I have had all of my dragons tested, and now know I have healthy colonies and breeders, but Charlie is positive for Adenovirus. I rescued Charlie from a pet store when he was just 4 weeks old, in not so good living conditions. Right from the time I got him, until this passed couple of years I have known something was not right with him. He has always been a very poor doer, barely ate, tail always dragging the ground instead of being curled up like a healthy dragon would,  diarrhea, and constantly fighting paracites, even under the best possible living conditions. I knew he was not right, or healthy like the rest of my dragons. So a dear friend of mine as well as being an expert, sent me out swabs to have my dragons tested. It was heart breaking finding out Charlie is positive, but I guess I have always known because of his issues. Charlie will never be bred, and has always lived alone, and none of my other dragons will ever come in contact with him. Right now he is 10 years old, and he has his good days, and bad days. I have to offer him fluid treatments daily to keep him from becoming dehydrated, as well as daily soaks. I am doing everything in my power to give this sweet boy everything he needs to keep him as healthy and as comfortable as possible, and I can only hope he will live quite a few more years, and stay with me as long as he possible can. 


symptoms consist of chronic dehydration, chronic Diarrhea, constant paracite flair ups, even with treatment and perfect husbandry, some show symptoms of MBD because they cannot absorb calcium properly, some have spasms and or seizures, and some may even star gaze. They are basicly over all poor doers all their lives, poor appetite, etc with the exception of the few with adeno that thrive and do well, like Charlie. Some die quick also, because adeno destorys numerous cells, like the gut lining cells and the liver cells. It depends on the care I guess. A beardie with adeno needs fluid treatments, daily, to prevent dehydration. Some are also just carriers of the virus and never show symptoms, or later in life all of a sudden, you have a very sick beardie. This is why the tests are so important.

I am now having Charlie tested every 3-4 months. Why you ask? Because a few months ago he got a negative test! I have very recently had him tested again, because I was hopeful he may be shedding the virus, but it was again positive.

This is what the lab stated about this : From what we know from in-house testing and discussions with 'knowledgeable people' regarding atadeno virus in beardies, it appears positive animals are low level shedders. What this means is that they normally are shedding small amounts of virus throughou...
t their lives. It is possible that the viral level is so low that a small amount may not be collected, or detected. Given most swabs contain fecal matter which impairs the tests, if there are minimal amounts of virus present, then a negative result is certainly possible. There is no evidence of animals reverting to a negative status, but is certainly a possibility (minimal in my opinion). Due to the potential of continuing to spread this organism, a positive should always be consider as such and those animals excluded for your future breeding program.

I will always have hope for Charlie that one day he may have completely shed this virus. For the past few months he has been doing extremely well!

In the link below, is my dear friends website on adenovirus, and testing can be done through her if you contact her through this site. She has already listed me as a canadian breeder with healthy colonies and breeders, and our goal is that more breeders will come forward and have the testing done on their dragons to stop the spread of adenovirus. I fear if dragons all over this world are to kept being bred with adenovirus, it will wipe them out eventually, unless a cure is found. As of now, there is no cure. 

A big thank you to Tracie Kretzschmar for being such a dear friend, and helping me with all the testing on my dragons. I could not have done this without you

Update on Charlie. Aug 2014.

Charlie has very recently gotten 2 separate negative tests for adenovirus! We believe he just may be cured!  Another test in 3 months will tell us more for sure. He recently turned 8 years old and is doing wonderful. He is a very active, healthy boy. I know you're all wondering what I gave him to get these negatives, so here it is. I gave him Colloidal gold, similar to Colloidal silver. I gave him 2mls daily for 14 days, then followed by probiotics. I also have a friend, who had a beardie with adeno, and has recently gotten 3 negative tests also from using Colloidal silver. 2mls also, for 14 days. If any one wishes to give this a try for your positive dragon, here is exactly what I used...

I wish you all with positive dragons the best of luck, and will post another update with Charlie's next test in 3 months. God bless our precious scaly babies

June 18 2015.

Today is Charlie's Birthday! He is 9 years old today! He is still going strong, and doing very, very well. He is sure not letting this disease get the better of him. I hope Charlie can be an inspiration to all of you with positive dragons as well. They can thrive and do well if given the proper care and the right supplements. Happy Birthday Charlie. Love your devoted and very loving mamma

Charlie recently turned 10 years old! He is still doing very well, and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Way to go Charlie! You're much loved  

June 18/2017

Happy Birthday Charlie! He is still doing so well, and is 11 years old today! Mamma loves you Charlie. To the moon and back 

June 18/2018

A very happy Birthday to precious Charlie, who is 12 years old today! He is still doing so well! From chasing his feeders, to basking outside in the sun, to bobbing at the females, he is a very healthy boy  Happy Birthday my precious little man 

June 18/2019

A very happy Birthday to my sweet boy Charlie who is 13 years old today! As far as I know, he is the oldest dragon to have lived, and thrived this long with adeno! He is doing extremely well. No issues at all! Way to go Charlie. I hope he is an inspiration to positive dragons all over the world. With proper care and supplements, and lots of love, they can live a long and healthy life with Atadenovirus. Charlie is proof of that. Love you Charlie, my precious little man 

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Saiph | Reply 02.05.2019 10.23

Happy birthday little buddy. Is he still free of the vruis?
I'm having my sweet rescue girl tested for it, whom was ok for the first three years. :c

moe | Reply 31.05.2018 19.53

This is the best! Go Charlie, Go!

Pam | Reply 16.01.2017 01.51

My positive 6yr old has lost the ability to walk normal, is thriving else wise. It is neurological Can she continue to live a healthy life other than the tilt?

Jess | Reply 27.12.2016 16.55

Question: once a beardie starts showing the neurological signs of the virus, if it survives, will thise neurological symptoms ever go away?

Jessica 03.01.2017 16.45

I feel like he is leveling out symptom wise. Hes back to eating on his own, tho it takes more effort, and finds joy in his play and bath time again. :).

Nancy 03.01.2017 10.12

Most likely no, but depending on how bad the symptoms are, it can be controlled with supplements and proper care. They can survive adeno! My boy will be 11 soon

Nancy | Reply 23.10.2016 06.53

I offer him everything listed on the Natural remedies page. He gets a pinch added to the daily fluids/liquefied greens. I offer him human grade Acidophiliz.

Jen | Reply 22.10.2016 23.51

Could you please tell me which probiotics you give to Charlie & quantity? Also, in addition to the colloidal gold, does he take other supplements? Thank you!

Charlie S. | Reply 06.10.2016 05.17

I had 3 beautiful females and they were doing well. Bought a 1 year old male from a local pet shop and quarantined it. introduced them and have lost all girls.

Nancy 08.10.2016 19.04

I am so very sorry to hear this! I highly doubt it was adeno, but even if he was positive, it would not have killed them that quickly, if at all. So sorry :(

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Latest comments

21.06 | 05:16

You will need to get him antibiotics from a vet. An infection will not go away on it's own, and will continue to get worst if left untreated.

19.06 | 14:27

What can someone do for ear infection

02.05 | 10:23

Happy birthday little buddy. Is he still free of the vruis?
I'm having my sweet rescue girl tested for it, whom was ok for the first three years. :c

15.04 | 11:26

Can I give the pollen to a baby dragon? Is it good to put grape seed extract to his swollen nose? His nose is swallen from one side

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