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  1. #91
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    Smile #89---Reptile Gout......Kenneth Lopez, DVM & others


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    Contributed by JIMI -- June 2014:


    Reptile Gout: Causes, Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
    Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

    Gout is a common disease among reptiles, including snakes, iguanas, monitor lizards, and tortoises.

    What causes gout?

    Uric acid is one of the breakdown products of dietary protein in certain animals, including some reptiles. The uric acid is removed from the blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Gout can occur if the level of uric acid in the blood exceeds the ability of the kidneys to remove it. The uric acid may crystallize in the joints which is termed "articular gout". It may also be deposited in various organs ("visceral gout"), such as the liver, spleen, pericardial sac (the covering of the heart), kidneys, and lungs, and mucous membranes, such as the mouth. When the uric acid crystallizes in tissues it forms small, white nodules called "tophi."

    There are two types of gout. In primary gout, the high uric acid level is a result of an abnormal breakdown of protein. Primary gout is thought to be hereditary in humans. In secondary gout, the high level is due to the inability of the kidneys to adequately excrete the uric acid. This can be caused by medications, chronic diseases, kidney disease, starvation, improper diet, decreased water intake or chronic dehydration, and other environmental factors which affect the kidneys' ability to eliminate uric acid. A common cause of gout is feeding animal proteins (e.g.; dog or cat food) to vegetarian reptiles, whose digestive systems cannot properly digest and metabolize animal-based protein. In these cases, large amounts of uric acid are produced and the kidneys cannot adequately eliminate them.

    What are the signs of gout and how is it diagnosed?

    Tophi may be visible on the inside of the mouth in animals with gout. Joints may be enlarged, stiff, and painful. If there is renal failure or there are large deposits of uric acid in the kidneys, they may be enlarged.

    After examining the animal and obtaining a thorough history of the diet; availability of water; the temperature and humidity of the cage as well as other environmental factors; and previous health problems and treatments, the veterinarian will suspect gout. Radiographs help to substantiate the diagnosis; the identification of uric acid crystals in joint fluid, biopsies, or tophi confirms it.

    How is gout treated?

    Any underlying dietary or environmental cause will need to be remedied. Diets such as Hill's Canine u/d, which are low in those proteins which are metabolized into uric acid, may be used in carnivorous reptiles. Proper hydration is necessary and fluids may need to be administered. If arthritis from gout is severe, it is possible to surgically remove the uric acid crystals from the joint. Unfortunately, severe and sometimes irreversible damage to the joint may have already occurred. Medications such as allopurinol, probenecid, sulfinpyrazone, or colchicine may be used, but the exact dosage and safety of these drugs in reptiles have not been determined. Most reptiles will need to be treated for life or the condition will quickly reappear if therapy is discontinued.

    Gout can be complicated by a secondary bacterial infection in the joints. If this occurs, antibiotics are added to the treatment regimen.


    References and Further Reading
    Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. Treatment of Articular Gout in a Mediterranean Pond Turtle, Mauremys leprosa. Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians 7[4]:5-7 Winter 1997.

    Donoghue, S; McKeown, S. Nutrition of captive reptiles. In Jenkins, JR. (ed) The Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; January 1999.

    Highfield, A.C. Practical Encyclopedia of Keeping and Breeding Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles. Carapace Press, London; 1996.

    Mader, D.R. Gout. Mader, Douglas R. (ed.) Reptile Medicine and Surgery. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 1996.

    Raiti, P. Snakes. In Meredith, A; Redrobe, S. (eds.) British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Manual of Exotic Pets, Fourth Edition. BSAVA. Quedgeley, Gloucester, England; 2002.

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    Contributed by Elizabeth Freer -- June 2014:


    Gout Basics
    by Kenneth Lopez, DVM

    "I will try to give the Readers Digest version as this is a complex topic. Proteins (animal or vegetable) from the diet are degraded to amino acids. Purine and pyrimidine bases are synthesized from the amino acids, primarily by the liver. Let's forget about the pyrimidines and focus on the purines. Purines are degraded (in most reptiles) to the end product, uric acid, which is cleared from the blood by the kidneys. Gout comes in a few different forms: articular (in the joints), peri-articular (around the joints), and visceral (in the gut). It can also be classified as primary and secondary. Primary gout, such as humans get, comes from hyperuricemia (i.e., excessive uric acid in the blood) due to dietary factors or to a defect in amino acid metabolism. Secondary gout comes from hyperuricemia due to a problem in the excretion of uric acid such as renal disease. When this happens, urate crystal deposits can form in many places, hence, articular, peri-articular, and visceral forms. The deposits are called tophi and the disease is considered tophaceous gout. Some animals, such as Dalmations may have genetic reasons for the formation of uric acid uroliths ("stones") and must take Allopurinol to inhibit the enzyme, xanthine oxidase, which is responsible for converting oxypurines to uric acid. Iguanas, which should be vegetarians, get gout when fed animal protiens which are high in purines. Chameleons usually get hyperuricemia due to dehydration or renal disfunction, a secondary gout. I see a lot of articular gout in chameleons. On X-rays this may appear similar to a bad arthritis and visually as swollen joints, usually on the extremities. For the sake of brevity, this is a very simplified version of a complex process."

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    Contributed by Sg612 -- May 2019:
    "Your vet should have discussed a plan. In particular, hydration and pain management. Don’t hesitate to show her this article."
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 05-04-2019 at 07:17 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  2. #92
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    Exclamation #90---Sand Removal Surgery on a Leopard Gecko -- LIVE video coverage!

    FYI: LIVE coverage of the actual operation



    With much appreciation to Sabrina Crawford for her FB share -- 24 April 2015
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 07-07-2017 at 11:25 AM.

  3. #93
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    Smile #91---Articles: "Vitamin D3 & Calcium" and "Vitamin A"......Kenneth Lopez, DVM

    Click: Information on Vitamin D3, Parathyroid Hormone, Calcitonin and Calcium.


    Vitamin D3 and Calcium
    by Kenneth Lopez, DVM
    "Here are the players:
    1. Calcium
    2. Vitamin D
    3. Parathyroid Hormone
    4. Calcitonin

    Calcium: Calcium is very poorly absorbed through the intestinal mucosa, as are most bivalent cations. When there is excess calcium in the diet much of it binds with phosphate and forms insoluble compounds which are excreted in the feces. Everyone should be aware of the need for calcium in bone formation and muscular contraction, reproduction, etc. (life in general). Too little Calcium causes, among other things, tremors, tetany, and death. **Too much Calcium causes muscles to become sluggish and weak. It has cardiac effects as well as causing obstipation and lack of appetite due to decreased contractility of the intestinal walls.

    Vitamin D: Vit D has the job of increasing calcium absorption from the intestinal tract. It also affects both bone deposition AND bone reabsorption. Vitamin D3 is NOT the active substance for these effects. Vit D3 (Cholecalciferol) is formed in the skin by the ultraviolet rays from sunlight. Cholecalciferol is converted by the liver to 1,25 Hydroxycholecalciferol, which in turn is changed through reactions in the kidney to the ACTIVE form; 1, 25 Dihydroxycholecalciferol. **The creation of Hydroxycholecalciferol is limited by a feedback loop, which inhibits the transformation from D3 to Hydroxycholecalciferol. **Vitamin D3 is stored for a long time in the liver, while Hydroxyholecalciferol lasts only a short while. *Now the kidneys take effect and change Hydroxy to Dihydroxycholecalciferol. Remember this when we discuss renal damage. Without the kidneys there are NO active vitamin D effects that can occur. Dihydroxycholecalciferol has its effects upon intestinal epithelium and calcium absorption primarily through the creation of a calcium-binding protein. ** Calcium-binding protein remains in cells for several weeks after the 1,25 Dihyroxycholecalciferol has been eliminated from the body.

    Parathyroid Hormone: This hormone causes rapid absorption of calcium salts from the bones in response to decreased calcium in the blood. It also causes phosphate to be lost in the kidneys. Parathyroid Hormone takes many hours to take effect and has a long-term effect.

    Calcitonin: Calcitonin DECREASES blood calcium ion concentration. It works very quickly, within minutes. Consider it the opposite of Parathyroid Hormone. **Calcitonin has its greatest effect upon young, rapidly growing animals. **An increase in plasma calcium concentration of about 20% causes immediate two-to-three fold increase in the rate of secretion of Calcitonin.

    Back in the 70's and 80's it was very common to see reptiles come in with curved spines, multiple fractures, muscle tremors. Supplements were not commonly used and deaths were common and reproduction of many species was limited. This disease, Metabolic Bone Disease (secondary nutritional hyperparathyroidism) was one of the most common problems seen. Once MBD became a household word and supplements such as Miner-all and RepCal became available MBD, thankfully, became less common. Now we are seeing another distressing trend. I commonly have chams brought in with obstipation, decreased appetites, wasting away, and severe dehydration despite vigilant misting or watering. A common finding in the husbandry goes as follows: " I take great care of her. I water her frequently. I dust her crickets every-other day with Calcium Powder with Vit D3 alternated on off days with a multivitamin powder. When she started becoming depressed I started giving her Neocalglucon and later my vet gave me Baytril". If you only knew how common this scenario is from my perspective it would frighten you.

    My question is this: Are we over-supplementing our chams? Here is my reasoning behind the question. 1. Excess calcium causes muscles to become sluggish and weak. It causes decreased appetite and causes obstipation (intractable constipation) due to decreased contractility of the intestinal walls. 2. Excess Vitamin D actually causes ABSORPTION of bone. It actually mimics hyperparathyroidism. 3. Vitamin D causes calcification of bone. Excess Vitamin D causes inappropriate mineralization of organs such as the kidney or soft tissue. Excess Vit D3 and Calcium has been implicated in mineralization of large blood vessels, causing cardiac disease. 4. If we fry the kidneys with excess Vitamin D we cannot get the active form, 1,25 Dihydroxycholecalciferol. Of course, there are many other problems that come along with fried kidneys. 5. The body will only allow so much Hydroxycholecaliferol before the conversion of Vit D3 in the liver is stopped. What happens to the excess Vitamin D3? It is stored in the liver doing no good but potentially causing problems in the future. 6. If the Calcium-binding proteins remain in the cells for weeks after the 1,25 Dihydroxycholecalciferol is gone, why are we redosing two or three times a week? 7. When we over supplement our baby chams with Vit D and Calcium, Calcitonin is secreted which has the job of DECREASING serum calcium. This effect is much more important in young animals. Their young, growing bones are more easily affected by subtle changes in nutritional balances.

    SUMMARY: I get way too many consults and patients with signs I feel are suggestive of chronic over-supplementation. It is another case of "A little is good, so a lot must be better" It is not known how much supplementation, if any, is needed for different species. In monkey medicine, for example, Old World monkeys do not need Vit D3 supplements at all while New World monkeys NEED Vit D3 added to their diets. Can we meet their needs better by better gut-loading of our insects and by using a variety of insects in conjunction with proper lighting? Then we can supplement with much less frequency. Please see Susan's Cricket food recipe. I think is well balanced and I have a few of her babies which are remarkable in their health.


    The information provided on this site is for your consideration only. You should contact your veterinarian for specific questions concerning your chameleons."

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    Click: Information on Vitamin A, Benefits of Vitamin A.

    Vitamin A
    by Kenneth Lopez, DVM

    "Vitamin A and it's effects are more complex and less understood than vitamin D. I am simplifying the subject for a few reasons. One is to avoid losing readers due to 3-block-long words, another is because there are a few great references that spell everything out, and third, because I don't want to work that hard right now. I know parts will be in direct disagreement with other veterinarians points of view. These are only my thoughts, do with them what you will.

    The players: Carotenoids: Provitamins that occur with chlorophyll in all green plants Retinol: The form vitamin A takes in animal tissues. Usually changed from carotenoids to retinol by cells in the intestinal mucosa and/or the liver. Stored (as esters) in liver. Chylomicrons: Lets call them "escorts" for simplicity. They grab the newly formed retinol with one main mission in life, to get the retinol to the liver. Vitamin D3 (see previous post, someone should still have it) Vitamin E

    So, here are some more complexities. How many times have you read posts on these lists that go something like this: "I alternate Calcium plus D3 on one day with Multi-Vitamin Powder every other day" The same people often later ask "What causes swelling under the chin of my cham?"

    With vitamin A, which can potentially store in the liver for up to 6 months, and vitamin D, which can store for a couple months in the liver as well, we should be seeing big problems, right? If you remember from the vitamin D post, excessive D3 is associated with calcium mobilization from the bones as well. Working together (A & D) the cham should look like Gary Larsons rubber chicken ranch, right? Actually, vitamin A and vitamin D are antagonistic (incompletely)to each other. While both may be at toxic levels, the effects are not as evident due to their interaction. The funny thing is, once signs of MBD show up, people often start shoveling in the calcium and D3, in an ALREADY hypercalcemic cham! This is kind of like hating how tired Valium makes you so taking an amphetamine with it. Some species are EXTREMELY sensitive to vitamin A. Some (few) can take a boat-load without signs of problems.

    Conclusion:
    My opinion (for what its worth) is preformed vitamin A is a medication used to treat severe cases of hypovitaminosis A and symptoms suggestive of such. It is too dangerous to use as a supplement. I use it carefully to elevate vitamin A levels. I sometimes use it to treat vitamin D toxicosis. I also use it when there is liver dysfunction. Bile salts are required for the uptake of retinol into the liver. I also use vitamin D to treat vitamin A toxicosis (along with vitamin E which seems to help).

    Chams do not have much opportunity to zap preformed vitamin A in the wild. There is probably some small amount in most insects, especially king mealworms that pass through the liver while eating their way through another chams body (just kidding, I always liked that wives tail). There are so many successful breeders out there who properly gut-load their insects and DO NOT use preformed vitamin A, how can it be considered a good idea to take the risk? If supplementation is needed, the provitamins are a good choice. There is another consideration on which provitamins, but that is too long for this post.

    Once again, these are my thoughts from my personal experiences. Your results may vary. (standard disclaimer). Discuss all concerns with your herp vet before making drastic changes to your husbandry. If anyone desires references for any of this info, I can send it upon request.


    The information provided on this site is for your consideration only. You should contact your veterinarian for specific questions concerning your chameleons."
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 07-24-2017 at 10:51 PM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Likes Yuk liked this post

  4. #94
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    Smile #92---Nutritional Analyses of Feeders charts......Mark Finke, PhD + DubiaRoaches.com

    Contributed by hmaire186 -- July 2014:


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    Feeder Chart #2: Mark Finke + DubiaRoaches.com

    17342539_1319514908116112_444175116466682477_n.jpg
    (click to enlarge)
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 08-25-2018 at 02:31 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  5. #95
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    Smile #93---Springtails......Hilde -- Aug 2014 & CrestedRick -- May 2015

    sprngrs1 (1).jpg sprngrs2 (1).jpg

    "Springtails normally live in damp soil, and eat mold and fungus. Springtails don't bite or sting people, nor do they damage buildings or the contents. If anything, they'll help with enclosure maintenance.

    "You don't have to worry about them, unless they really get out of hand and multiply too much. Normally you'd just have to lower the humidity and let the soil dry a bit, to kill them off. However, that won't work with your geckos, so you could trap them using fruit or the gecko's leftover food. Put some in a tube-type affair with just a small hole for them to get into. Remove it daily, or as needed, dump them outside so they can do their work in the garden. Another way is to replace the soil, wash any plants and whatever you have in the enclosure.

    "Either method will work for a while, but you'll probably end up with lots of them again. They're very fertile little things, not much chance of getting rid of them completely once they get started, unless you start over from scratch, including new perches, plants, soil, etc.

    "Springtails could wander around outside the tank, but they won't last long. They really need high humidity, so, unless you have your room humidity really high, they'll dehydrate in no time. They won't last long at all outside the enclosure. There's nothing to stop them from climbing over everything in the enclosure, even the gecko, but they won't bite him or you.

    "(If you compare the picture you posted to the top one of my pictures, you can see they look quite alike.)

    "If you're really in doubt, see if they 'jump' if you put something close to them, even a finger or toothpick. They also float on water, even jump on it and bounce off."

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    3 May 2015 tips from CrestedRick
    "You don't need to worry about offering additional food for isopods or springtails. They eat the mold and waste from your geckos as well as dead plant material. I have crushed leaf litter over my substrate that they also eat."
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 07-07-2017 at 03:45 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  6. #96
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    Smile #94---Successful Rescue Thread links

    Remarkable Rehab of 2 Severely Emaciated Leopard Geckos......Sunflowerqueen -- September 2017
    Click: Is Luna impacted?

    Saskia's Rescues with 2014 radiographs, discussions regarding highly varied feeder diets , and supplement usage---begin with post #13 onward
    Click: http://www.geckosunlimited.com/commu...estions-2.html

    Click: http://www.geckosunlimited.com/commu...-help-him.html......keeper dynaMOna -- May 2014

    Click: http://www.geckosunlimited.com/commu...e-succeed.html......keeper Tara.R -- June 2014
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 11-07-2017 at 04:14 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Likes dynaMOna liked this post

  7. #97
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    Smile #95--Vit A in Chameleons: Friend/Foe?.....Alfonso, DVM & Gecko Time article interview

    Elizabeth Freer:
    Rep-Cal's Herptivite, Exo Terra multivitamins, and some other reptile multivitamins, only contain beta carotene as the sole source of vitamin A. These multivitamins are insufficient because research has shown lizards, geckos included, need a wee bit of pre-formed vitamin A acetate (retinol) in order for pro-formed vitamin A beta carotene to be absorbed.

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    Click: Vitamin A deficiency in Insectivorous Geckos - Gecko Time - Gecko Time

    Click: Vitamin A in Chameleons: Friend or Foe?

    Vitamin A in Chameleons: Friend or Foe?
    Ivan Alfonso, DVM on 15 June 2011

    "Vitamin A has a long history in reptile medicine and unfortunately, most of that history isn’t good. It started mainly with turtles developing puffy eyes which was determined to be the result of Vitamin A deficiency. Supplementing with vitamin A became popular and almost every eye ailment in turtles and tortoises alike was attributed to Vitamin A deficiencies. Unfortunately it is a lot easier to overdose with vit A than underdose, and many turtles and tortoises (especially tortoises) developed severe issues due to the overdose. Since then, vitamin A became public enemy and many supplements switched to its precursor (beta- carotene) as the source for vitamin A. The reasoning being that you can’t overdose beta-carotene and reptiles, like mammals, would be able to manufacture Vitamin A from it. And so was the understanding for many, many years until reptile medicine advanced and research, true research, was done with vitamin A and its benefits.

    "Recently, and I say recently in relative terms, vitamin A has been discovered to play an important role in eye function, skin health and reproductive function in reptiles among other things. In chameleons, vitamin A plays an important role in keeping the overall health of the reptile and some species need it more than others. It has been my experience that species that are known to include vertebrate prey as part of their diet will need vitamin A in larger quantities than those who are strict insectivores. Panthers, Veileds, Mellers, Oustalets, Verrucosus and to some degree Parson’s all have shown some degree of vitamin A needs. Jackson’s, Mountain, Four-Horned, Giant Three-Horned and other montane species seem to benefit from vitamin A but at much lower levels.

    "So how much vitamin A is really needed? So far nobody knows for sure and that’s why it is better to not use too much and be safe. But, when used sporadically and responsibly, vitamin A is an invaluable ally in keeping chameleon health, especially in actively breeding females. I normally recommend using vitamin A in its palmitate form once every 14 days and only 1 little drop at that. On montane species, the dose can be every 21 days. For breeding females I like doing it every 10 days for lowland species and every 14 days for montane species. I use my own mix of vitamins that I make myself for my reptiles and have had great success, but any vitamin A palmitate should work just as good.

    "But what about the study that says vitamin A deficiencies are rare? There is such a study and it has been used as a rule in many places. However, the study failed to actually examine every lizard species. The study likely used Iguanas and maybe some carnivorous lizard such as Tegus or Monitors as the subjects. Herbivorous lizards are capable of deriving their vitamin A from precursors found in high carotene items such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash among others. Carnivorous lizards can get all the vitamin A they need by ingesting the flesh of their prey, being that vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and found in the fat and tissues of vertebrates. So yes, it is very easy to overdose vitamin A in herbivores and carnivores, but what about insectivores? Where is the study on them? A small study was done many years ago where Panther chameleons would show a dramatic health improvement when provided with pre-formed vitamin A. Why would that be? Think about it…..chameleons and all insectivores depend solely on their insect prey to pass along all their nutrition. In captivity, our feeder insects never get the same nutrition they would in the wild therefore providing less than optimal vitamin levels to our chameleons.

    "Add to this an even more recent study where it has been proven that reptiles in general do not metabolize beta-carotene into vitamin A, they actually use different precursors for this. We immediately find ourselves depriving our chameleons entirely of vitamin A and then thinking that’s ok because too much vitamin A is bad. Extremes are bad, we need to aim for the balance, the middle of the road, and it is hard to do when you don’t know just how much to give.

    "My advice is to not neglect vitamin A in your chameleon’s diet regardless of the species. They need it but maybe in very small amounts. If you use vitamin supplements that contain the active form of vitamin A or pre-formed vitamin A, then use them sporadically as stated above. If you use the liquid form of vitamin A, be careful and use also very sporadically. Aim for very little exposure to the vitamin but some exposure none the less. I have managed to treat many chameleons, mainly panthers, with chronic health problems with a protocol of vitamin A dosing. Not every chameleon issue is due to vitamin A problems and with proper nutrition and supplementation, vitamin A issues should be rare, but don’t think that vitamin A isn’t necessary because you will be running into issues sooner or later."
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 07-15-2017 at 02:42 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  8. #98
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    Smile #96---Supplementation & Diet: bugs, worms, & geckos......Hilde -- July 2014

    Part 1
    "I don't use Ca in the enclosure. Way back, almost 20 years ago, and up until 2000, yes, I did use it, because that's what everyone said. After doing some research, including some detailed articles from experts, not forum posters, I removed the Ca and changed my insect feeding routine. Like I've said before, build a better cricket body, and your geckos will benefit.

    "My gutload (insect food recipe) changes every time I fill the crickets' food bowls. I have a staple mix, something that's there all the time, but even the proportions of that change with each batch. The only thing that's the same is the ingredients, the amount of each varies. Then the extra food items like fruit, veggies, oddball things, changes daily. Even though some of the food doesn't have the recommended Ca:P ratio, sometimes it's off on the 'bad' side, it's never that way for long. Give them some banana slices today, considered a 'bad ratio', they won't have any for a few more days, maybe weeks. Tomorrow they might get prickly pear for their fruit, which more than balances out the bananas from the day before. Same with veggies, even 'bad' ratio ones will get balanced out by the 'good' ones they'll get.

    "The crickets get a lot of variety in their diet. I buy the smaller ones so I have a few weeks to gutload them, improve their overall nutrition. The staple diet is a mix of various whole grain flours and/or other ground grains, dried legumes (grind them myself if need be) as well as monkey chow biscuits. This mix is always present, the fruit and veggies change daily, heavy on the prickly pear because it's good food, great water source, and they love it.

    "If you use only one gutload all the time, same brand, or even a couple of brands, you are really limiting the nutrients that the crickets get, and pass on to the geckos. Not one brand is complete, some are better than others, but there's a limit to what's inside. It's not just a matter of how well the ingredients work in a mixture, but also cost - if the ingredient is too expensive, it won't be in a gutload no matter how nutritious it is. That's why I vary the diet. Wild insects have access to a variety of foods that grow in their area, very few stick to just one food source. Crickets will eat must about anything growing around them, they'll even nibble on animal carcasses, though they're not really carnivores, just opportunistic scavengers.

    "Since using that gutload method, I haven't had to use Ca in the enclosures for any leopards, AFTs, U. milii, Teratoscincus, chameleons, or any of the other species. The crickets get dusted once a week, mix of Ca and vitamins. The rest of their Ca comes from the crickets.

    "It's a well known fact that too much Vit D3 and/or Ca can cause 'reverse' MBD. Dusting with D3 can cause problems, you might not realize you're giving too much, or too little. A young, growing, leo will show the signs a lot faster than an adult. Give too much D3, the Ca gets leached out of the bones. Don't give enough Ca, or D3, and again, the bones suffer. If letting them self-dose with Ca improves the situation, then obviously you're not doing something right. No gecko should have to lap up Ca to get enough. Something is off in the Ca : D3 ratio.

    "Even just a couple of licks of Ca can supply a heck of a big dose of it. Consider a tongue full of Ca for a hatchling, compare that to a human adult getting a lick of Ca the same 'size'. That would be like a tablespoon of Ca. Have you ever had that much Ca daily, or weekly, in one sitting? I bet not. That much would be the equivalent of several weeks' worth of Ca for you. Yet we don't think there's anything wrong when we let the geckos dose themselves with that much? The amount the gecko licks would coat the inside of the intestines and hinder absorption of other nutrients, like D3. If by any chance the gecko is getting too much D3, licking the Ca by the tongue full will actually prevent it from absorbing the excess D3, making it look like the gecko needed more Ca to fix the problem, when it actually used the Ca to stop the excess D3 from being absorbed."

    Part 2
    "I'm not saying that is the problem with the juvie geckos you mentioned, but it is one possible reason they improved after self-dosing. Considering that most dusted insects are actually so loaded down with powder that they look like snowmen instead of just lightly dusted, there's a really good chance that the geckos were overdosed on D3. Most supplements contain a rather high dose of D3, heavily dusting the crickets would give a big dose of D3.

    "It's a bit of work to keep the gutload routine, lots of variety, but it's worth it. It doesn't even have to be expensive. Summer is a good time, lots of free plant sources outside. When I go out walking the trails, I'll gather a few things for the crickets. There's lots of variety from the garden too. Dandelion blossoms and leaves, chicory, lambs' quarters, even herbs. Sunflowers are really good sources. The leaves (torn into pieces because they can be a bit tough for the crickets to bite into), even slices of sunflower stalks in the fall after the flowers are done. A chunk of blossom, complete with seeds can be used, another favourite food.

    "There are so many choices available for feeding the crickets, many free or dirt cheap. The variety adds nutrients that are probably not found in commercial foods, or maybe just in minute amounts. It also serves up the vitamins and minerals in a more natural way, safer dosage, and probably more delicious (might help with those picky geckos who don't like to eat dusted bugs)."

    In the end, the geckos are the winners.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 07-07-2017 at 11:36 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  9. #99
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    Smile #97---Butterworms: Nutritional Content & Care......Frank Indiviglio, herpetologist


    butter_in_a_blizzard.jpg
    Thanks to Hilde

    Caution added by Elizabeth Freer: Butterworms are NOT suitable for crested geckos. Butterworms are known to cause severe facial burns on crested geckos!

    Posted by: Frank Indiviglio in Amphibians, feeding and diet, Reptile and Amphibian Health September 16, 2014

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    Butterworms as Reptile-Amphibian Food: Nutritional Content and Care

    Introduction
    Butterworms, also known as Trevo Worms, are highly nutritious caterpillars that deserve more attention from reptile, amphibian and invertebrate keepers. They have many of the advantages associated with wild-caught insects yet lack most of the risks. Their calcium content of 42.9 mg/100g (as compared to 14 and 3.2 mg/100g for crickets and mealworms) is especially-impressive. Simple to use and store, and accepted by a huge array of species, Butterworms are in many ways superior to the more commonly-used feeders. I promoted their use throughout my long career as a zookeeper, and today would like to introduce them to those readers who may be interested in adding important nutritional variety to their pets’ diets. Please also see the articles linked below for information on other “alternative” foods such as sow bugs, sap beetles, leaf litter invertebrates, earwigs and many others.

    Natural History
    Although they resemble beetle grubs, Butterworms are actually the larvae, or caterpillars, of the Chilean Trevo Moth (Chilecomandia moorei). As far as is known, they are found only in Chile, where their diet is comprised entirely of Trevo Bush (Trevoa trinervis) leaves.

    Butterworms are collected rather than captive-reared, and are subjected to low levels of radiation before being exported from Chile. Irradiation prevents them from pupating, thereby addressing US Department of Agriculture concerns that the species could become established in the USA. This process, and the fact that they cannot be bred commercially, renders Butterworms a bit more costly than similar insects, but I believe their value as a food source merits the extra expense.

    Nutritional Information
    Being wild-caught, Butterworms likely provide nutrients absent from commercially-reared insects. They also exceed all other typical feeder insects in calcium content (please see Introduction, above), with only silkworms and phoenix worms approaching them in this regard (some find silkworms to be delicate, and phoenix worms are quite small, but both are also worth investigating).

    The Butterworm’s protein content of 16.2% is on par with that of crickets, phoenix worms and waxworms, and below that provided by silkworms and roaches. Fat content stands at 5.21%, which is less than (considerably so, in many cases) that of all other commonly-used feeders.

    Please Note
    The nutritional needs of reptiles and amphibians vary by species and by individual age, health, and other factors. The fact that a food is “low in ash” or “high in protein” does not necessarily mean that it is a good or bad choice for your pet. Please post specific nutrition/feeding questions below.

    Why Use Butterworms?
    In addition to their nutritional value, Butterworms are readily accepted by a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, tarantulas, fishes, scorpions, birds and small mammals. They vary in coloration through shades of yellow, red and orange, and have a distinct, “fruity” scent. I’ve not seen any research on the subject, but these qualities perhaps may make them attractive to predators…in any case, Butterworms often incite interest from reluctant feeders.

    Butterworms range from ½ inch to 1 ½ inches in size, with the average in most containers being ¾ inch. They are far plumper than waxworms, and ideally suited for both small and larger pets.

    These colorful, chubby caterpillars are more active than waxworms and phoenix worms, yet can easily be confined to a shallow bowl or jar lid. I’ve found this to be especially useful when keeping certain treefrogs, geckos and other arboreal species that are reluctant to feed on the ground. Butterworms may also be used to provide important dietary variety to insectivorous snakes (Smooth Green Snakes, etc.), terrestrial salamanders and others that tend to accept relatively few traditional feeder species.

    Storage
    Butterworms can be kept under refrigeration at 42-45 F for at least 4, and possibly up to 6, months. I keep my refrigerator at 39 F, and have had no problems with losses at that temperature over periods of 2-4 weeks.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 08-24-2017 at 02:42 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  10. #100
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    Smile #98---Common Mealworm & Superworm Dry Diets & Beddings -- Use something else!


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    See below for low phosphorus mealworm and superworm dry diet and bedding recommendations.


    We wish to approximate a 1.5-2.0 calcium : 1.0 phosphorus ratio with the insects and worms we feed our geckos.

    With the exception of Phoenix worms (BSFL) all the bugs and worms we feed our geckos are much higher in phosphorus than calcium. Phosphorus impairs the absorption of calcium. Feeding high phosphorus foods to the bugs/worms makes correcting that imbalance impossible. That's why supplements containing very low amounts of phosphorus as well as very low phosphorus content in the feeders' diets are important.

    We lightly dust bugs and worms to correct this imbalance. Dusting should be secondary. Build a better feeder body! Feed bugs and worms the highest quality dry diet possible 24/7 + add low phosphorus/high calcium veggies in a dish off to the side (for example: pesticide-free collard greens and dandelion greens).

    Wheat germ, wheat bran, and oats contain HUGE amounts of phosphorus in comparison to calcium. Check out the ratios! I don't recommend the following beddings either for keeping or for breeding mealworms or superworms.

    EXAMPLES OF HIGH PHOSPHORUS MEALWORM BEDDINGS!
    Click: Foods List
    Enter some food like wheat germ
    Scroll down for calcium and phosphorus per 100 grams, for instance, and compare

    • Wheat Germ -- Show Foods
      calcium 39
      phosphorus 842
      ratio: 1 part calcium : 22 parts phosphorus

    • Wheat Bran -- Show Foods
      calcium 73
      phosphorus 1,013
      ratio: 1 part calcium : 14 parts phosphorus

    • Oats -- Show Foods
      calcium 54
      phosphorus 523
      ratio: 1 part calcium : 10 parts phosphorus
    Kretschmer's Wheat Germ is commonly sold in the USA.


    WHAT CAN BE USED INSTEAD? Here are some low phosphorus mealworm and superworm dry diets and beddings sold in the USA.

    Finely grind the following foods in a coffee/spice grinder or place them in a tough plastic bag and pound them with a hammer.
    1. Already ground ---> Click: 1 lb Pro Gutload - Professional Reptiles
    2. Albers’ All Purpose Poultry Feed
    3. Purina Layena Crumbles

    Here’s a caution about poultry feeds in general.
    I only recommend Albers' or Purina Layena Crumbles' brands of poultry feed. If you cannot find those in the USA, don't buy poultry feed. Some poultry laying feeds contain diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a natural antiparasitic for bird flocks. If ingested by insects, diatomaceous earth is fatal.

    If diatomaceous earth is in a product, it should be listed on the label.

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    I encourage anyone who is thinking about keeping mealworms, superworms, et cetera, on a bed of wheat germ to check out the ratios of calcium : phosphorus first! According to this USDA Foods List, wheat germ is hugely high in phosphorus and extremely low in calcium. Judging by those numbers how could we ever approximate the recommended 1.5-2.0 calcium:1.0 phosphorus levels that way?

    On the 14 September 2015 I confirmed in person with an experienced Registered Dietitian that this USDA foods database provides excellent and very reliable information.

    For additional help click this USDA link: Foods List. Just enter almost any food in that link and then scroll to see calcium, phosphorus, et cetera.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 04-29-2019 at 02:18 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Likes kvnsu liked this post

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