Can tortoises get metabolic bone disease?

Metabolic bone disease (MBD), also known as nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (NSHP), can be a common aliment of pet tortoises. This is due to a lack of calcium in the diet or a problem absorbing dietary calcium.

How do you fix metabolic bone disease in tortoises?

Treatment of MBD depends on the severity of the disease. For very mild cases, a switch to a balanced diet and proper husbandry may be enough. Severe cases require intensive calcium and vitamin supplementation as well as an increase in high-intensity UVB rays under an exotics veterinarian’s care.

What does metabolic bone disease look like in tortoises?

Early symptoms of MBD include bowed or swollen legs, arched spine, bumps along the bones of the legs, spine and tail, bilateral softening of the jaw (commonly referred to as rubber jaw), and softening of the carapace and plastron in turtles and tortoises.

What animals can get metabolic bone disease?

Metabolic bone disease (MBD), often seen in herbivorous lizards and chelonians, is associated with a dietary deficiency of Ca, a negative calcium–phosphorus ratio in the diet, or a lack of exposure to ultraviolet UVB radiation (Boyer, 1996a; Barten, 1993). Metabolic bone disease is commonly seen in juvenile reptiles.

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What are the symptoms of metabolic bone disease?

Typical symptoms of metabolic bone disease include:

  • Limping.
  • Bowed legs.
  • Hard lumps along the legs, spinal column, or jaw.
  • Softening and unusual flexibility of the lower jaw.
  • Difficulty raising the body off the ground.
  • Decreased appetite.


Can a tortoise recover from metabolic bone disease?

If untreated, the tortoise will eventual die. This is often a slow, painful death. Metabolic bone disease can be prevented in several ways. First, a full-spectrum light source is needed in indoor enclosures.

Is MBD reversible?

Treatment and Prognosis

Fortunately, if detected early enough, MBD can often be corrected and reversed through making changes and improvements to the husbandry of the animal by providing the needed or adequate levels of UV-A and UV-B lighting and heating, proper supplementation, and other nutrients.

How do I give my tortoise calcium?

Calcium in your tortoises food

Dandelions are a significant source of calcium and are important for this reason. They are also generally very popular with tortoises who will eat the flowers as well as the leaves. Other similar plants such as milk thistle can also form a significant part of their diet.

What causes MBD?

MBD is generally caused by feeding an improper diet that is high in phosphorus and low in calcium or Vitamin D3 (caused either by a direct nutritional deficiency of vitamin D3 or a lack of exposure to UV-B light required for lizards to make vitamin D in their skin).

What are Metabolic Bone Diseases?

Metabolic bone diseases are disorders of bone strength usually caused by abnormalities of minerals (such as calcium or phosphorus), vitamin D, bone mass or bone structure, with osteoporosis being the most common.

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How do you prevent metabolic bone disease in humans?

Physical Activity. Weight-bearing, strength, and balance-training exercises are also an important part of any osteoporosis prevention and treatment program, regardless of age. They can help increase or preserve bone mass and may also help reduce the risk of falling.

Can Frogs get metabolic bone disease?

Metabolic bone disease only occurs in captive frogs and, of course, if you’ve got frogs that are diseased then you are not going to be able to breed them. So it’s quite important this research on metabolic bone disease to ensure that we have healthy frogs that are going to produce healthy offspring in the lab.

How long does it take for a leopard gecko to get metabolic bone disease?

Sadar finds that juvenile reptiles are the most likely suspects for MBD, and sometimes, it takes owners a long time – two to three months after purchasing their pets – to visit a veterinarian.

What doctor treats metabolic bone disease?

Orthopaedic surgeons are doctors trained in the care of patients with musculoskeletal conditions, such as congenital skeletal malformations, bone fractures and infections, and metabolic problems.

How do you test for metabolic bone disease?

The diagnosis of MBD is usually made based upon a careful history, physical examination, radiographic (X-rays) examinations, appropriate lab tests, and bone biopsy if indicated.

What hormone is used to strengthen bones?

Three calcium-regulating hormones play an important role in producing healthy bone: 1) parathyroid hormone or PTH, which maintains the level of calcium and stimulates both resorption and formation of bone; 2) calcitriol, the hormone derived from vitamin D, which stimulates the intestines to absorb enough calcium and …

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