Many different types of viruses can cause disease in reptiles, but the adenovirus is of particular concern to owners of bearded dragons. Other reptiles, including some snake and lizard species, can also be infected, but young bearded dragons are the most susceptible.
Typical symptoms of adenovirus infection include:
Unfortunately, some animals may die so quickly that these clinical signs do not have a chance to develop fully.
Uninfected reptiles contract the virus when they ingest contaminated feces.
Diagnosing adenovirus infections can be difficult. A veterinarian will want to rule out other diseases that cause similar symptoms with fecal examinations and occasionally blood work. A reptile’s history, physical exam, and clinical signs may all point to an adenovirus infection, but currently, a definitive diagnosis is only possible if a sample of liver tissue is sent to a pathologist for testing.