Intraerythrocytic iridovirus in central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps)

Claire Grosset, James F X Wellehan, Sean D Owens, Sabrina McGraw, Patricia M. Gaffney, Janet E Foley, April L. Childress, Susan Yun, Kirsten Malm, Joseph M. Groff, Joanne R Paul-Murphy, E. Scott Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Three adult central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) originating from a commercial breeding facility presented with clinical signs, including anorexia, dehydration, white multifocal lesions on the dorsal aspect of the tongue, blepharospasm, and weight loss. In 1 of 3 lizards, a marked regenerative anemia was noted, and all 3 bearded dragons had erythrocytic intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Nine bearded dragons housed in contact also had identical, but fewer intraerythrocytic inclusions. Inclusion bodies examined by electron microscopy had particles consistent with iridoviruses. Attempts to culture the virus were unsuccessful; however, amplification and sequencing of regions of the viral DNA polymerase by polymerase chain reaction confirmed the presence of an iridovirus. One of the bearded dragons died, while the 2 others showing clinical signs were euthanized. The remaining 9 infected bearded dragons of the teaching colony were also euthanized. Postmortem examination revealed a moderate, multifocal, lymphoplasmacytic or mononuclear adenitis of the tongue in the 3 bearded dragons, and a lymphohistiocytic hepatitis with bacterial granulomas in 2 lizards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-364
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Bearded dragons
  • intraerythrocytic inclusion bodies
  • iridovirus
  • Pogona vitticeps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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