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Leopard Gecko Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

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Leopard Gecko Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease in Leopard geckos (MBD) is the most frequently seen nutritional disorder in this species. It has become a very important condition in South Africa and probably in other countries too. Leopard gecko metabolic bone disease is defined as a syndrome including a range of bone diseases associated with metabolic diseases, e.g. secondary hyperparathyroidism. It is mainly a chronic, or long-term result, or combination of a dietary deficiency of Leopard gecko supplementation, mainly calcium and vitamin D, and a negative dietary calcium to phosphorus ratio (Ca:P).

Leopard Gecko MBD Signs

Leopard gecko metabolic bone disease is a condition most commonly seen in young growing Leopard geckos without adequate Ca supplementation. Gravid adult females are also at risk. Common clinical signs include:

  • Softening of the legs / bones
  • Bone fractures
  • Scoliosis
  • Kyphosis
  • Hyperreflexia of the extremities

Leopard Gecko MBD Diagnosis

Any one or a combination of the first seven signs are very indicative of Leopard gecko metabolic bone disease. A thorough history is most often enough to diagnose the condition. Additional tests include radiography and blood calcium level determination.

Leopard Gecko Metabolic Bone Disease Treatment

After a diagnoses of metabolic bone disease is made or even upon a high suspicion, it is recommended that these animals are started on treatment as soon as possible. Although there are more experimental treatment on the horizon, the current treatment of choice resolves around parenteral calcium injections. This condition might need hospitalisation. Additional symptomatic treatment might include parenteral fluids (drips) and tube feeding. The treatment will be continue at home after most clinical signs have subsided. The animal can then be discharged with oral calcium for further treatment or future prevention. The condition should always be diagnosed and treated by or under the supervision of an experienced reptile veterinarian.

Leopard Gecko Metabolic Bone Disease Prevetntion

Metabolic bone disease can be prevented by proper Leopard gecko supplementation. Usually a shallow dish with a powdered calcium / vitamin D3 combination available at all times will prevent this disease.

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