If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right. Switch to Accessible Site

WARNING

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Close [x]

Captive Reptiles May Have Nutritional Deficiency

captive_reptiles_200.jpg
Common Nutritional Disease Can Be Recognized Early in Pet Reptiles

Your pet reptile may have a nutritional disease that is commonly referred to as metabolic bone disease.  Reptile pets in captivity typically show signs and symptoms of the nutritional deficiency early in the disease.  Owners can look for:

  • Shakiness
  • Bone knobs and bumps
  • Weight loss
  • Changed or reduced appetite
  • Jerky walking
  • Abnormal tail and torso dragging
  • Abnormal activity levels
  • Bones that appear broken
  • Bones that don't feel firm

Your veterinarian will check your pet's behavior, observe signs and symptoms and guide you with supportive nutritional decisions.

Pet owners keeping reptiles in captivity as household pets may sometimes find that their pets have a nutritional deficiency.  Metabolic bone disease is "the most common nutritional deficiency affecting captive reptiles," advises veterinarian Fredrick L. Frye in Reptile Care:  An Atlas of Diseases and Treatments.  Dr. Frye suggests that the disease is a result of dietary intake creating an excessive amount of phosphorus in the animal's body.

Metabolic bone disease (MBD) in reptiles can often be overlooked until the pet seems to have broken toes or a leg that presents as impaired.  Bone produced by the animal's body is brittle, fragile and can be spongy in texture.  When your pet lizard or iguana jumps from one hard surface to another the bone can easily fracture.  Normal movements your pet makes can be painful with the disease.  Your pet reptile may experience discomfort when walking or moving around a cage, terrarium or your home.

Young lizards with metabolic bone disease may have skulls that fail to grow larger and become longer.  They can retain the rounder shape seen at birth.

Early signs of metabolic bone disease in reptiles can be recognized when watching your pet closely.  If you see that your iguana or lizard is using its front legs to move and the back legs are dragging you'll want to contact your veterinarian for an immediate appointment.

Lizards and iguanas, for example, use all four legs to move around.  Their tails do not remain limp behind them with normal movement.  There is a natural lift to many reptile tails that supports their forward motion.  An iguana may be able to lift the front of its body, yet the torso and tail will be dragged due to the disease.

Watching your pet you'll be able to see if it looks jerky while it walks.  Its limbs or muscles may show twitches and tremors.  You may experience your pet's shakiness when holding it.

When handling your pet, you may also find that it has knobs or bumpy places along the bone ends and between the bones of its back or tail.  Your vet will always check for knobs and bumps during an office exam.  Eating may become decreased and weight loss may occur if your pet's jaw is affected by the disease.

Advanced cases of metabolic bone disease may also include anorexia and fractured bones.  Dr. Frye advises that "severely deficient reptiles tend to be lethargic and may only be able to drag themselves along the ground. A reptile lacking the ability to lift it's body from the ground when sitting or walking often suffers from a moderate to severe case of MBD."

When a diagnosis is made for metabolic bone disease, your veterinarian will guide you with treatment recommendations and nutritional guidelines for your pet.

Online Store

Sign up using the form below or call 303-794-1188 to make an appointment.

THIS ---->https://covetspeccom.vetmatrixbase.com/index.php

Specialty Clinic Hours

-- EMERGENCY OPEN 24 HOURS --

DayOpenClose
Monday7:30am6:00pm
Tuesday7:30am6:00pm
Wednesday7:30am6:00pm
Thursday7:30am6:00pm
Friday7:30am6:00pm
SaturdayClosedClosed
SundayClosedClosed
Day Open Close
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7:30am 7:30am 7:30am 7:30am 7:30am Closed Closed
6:00pm 6:00pm 6:00pm 6:00pm 6:00pm Closed Closed

Testimonial

Absolutely amazing! Dr. Imhoff performed knee surgery on my little chihuahua Caesar. I was very nervous about it but he and the office regularly called me through out the day to give me status updates. It really helped to calm my nerves. Dr. Imhoff then checked Caesar weekly for the next six weeks to check his healing progress. He explained everything to me and was very friendly and knowledgeable. One night, midway through Caesar's healing he had wiggled out of his e-collar and ripped his bandages off. I panicked and brought him into the ER next door. The staff and doctor on duty were so incredibly calming and friendly, even though I was freaking out. After checking him over the doctor re-bandaged Caesar and didn't even charge us the ER fee. Absolutely amazing service and friendly staff. I never felt like they were trying to nickel and dime me, unlike other places. I will always recommend them! Thank you Dr. Imhoff for doing an amazing job on Mr. Caesar!

Tanya Robinson
Littleton, CO

Newsletter Sign Up