Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)


  • twitching
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • jerky movements
  • palpable bumps along the bones
  • swollen or soft bottom jaw


Calcium, vitamin D3, or phosphorous deficiency. Can also be a vitamin D3 overdose. Most often seen in bearded dragons with weak or no UVB exposure.


Mild cases can be treated by:

Improving diet. Dust all feeder insects with a high-quality calcium supplement which contains vitamin D3. Also, avoid offering vegetables high in oxalates, which inhibit efficient calcium absorption. (See my page on bearded dragon diet for supplement and vegetable recommendations.)

Fixing UVB. Use the Lighting page of this guide to check your UVB setup: are you using the right T5 HO bulb? is it mounted in the right fixture? what’s the basking distance? If possible, check your basking UVI with a Solarmeter 6.5. Exposing your bearded dragon to unfiltered natural sunlight under supervision can also accelerate healing.

Ensuring adequate basking temperatures. If a bearded dragon can’t get warm enough, it can’t make D3 from UVB efficiently. Use the Heating page of this guide to check your basking temperatures, and make sure that your heat lamps are placed in a way that overlaps with the middle of your UVB lamp for simultaneous infrared and ultraviolet radiation.

If the above measures do not seem to be helping, get your bearded dragon to an experienced reptile veterinarian ASAP! Severe MBD can kill, and even when it doesn’t, the structural damage that it does to the animal’s body is permanent.

Other bearded dragon health topics: