Nutritional problems

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Nutritionally related problems are regularly seen in captive reptiles. This chapter covers metabolic bone disorder, ultraviolet lighting for reptiles, calcium requirements, nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, deficiencies in vitamins A, B1, C and E, biotin deficiency, gout, pyramidal growth syndrome in chelonians, secondary iodine deficiency, anorexia and nutritional support for sick reptiles.

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22.1 Some factors affecting blood calcium levels in mammals. Current information suggests the system is similar in reptiles. The two prime controls are PTH and calcitonin. 1,25 DHCC = 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol; P = phosphorus; PTH = parathyroid hormone. (Courtesy of Dermod Malley and Peter Scott)
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22.2 Photoconversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) to previtamin D in the skin of the nocturnal house gecko (green) and the diurnal Texas spiny lizard (red). (Reproduced from ) with the permission of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists)
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22.3 The utilization of all parts of the solar spectrum by reptiles. Natural sunlight contains the part of the electromagnetic spectrum from medium-wavelength UVB around 290–295 nm (depending upon solar altitude) to short-wavelength infrared. Earth’s atmosphere blocks solar radiation with wavelengths shorter than 290 nm. (Courtesy of Frances M. Baines)
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22.4 The spectral power distribution in the UV range of a subtropical midday solar spectrum and three lamps of types commonly used for reptile lighting. Solar spectrum was recorded under clear-sky conditions, solar altitude 85.4 degrees, San Bartolomé, Gran Canaria (27° 55’ N, 15° 31’ W), 21 June 2011, local time 14:00. Fluorescent tube: ZooMed 5.0 T5-HO 24 W fluorescent tube. Metal halide: ExoTerra SunRay 70 W metal halide lamp. Mercury vapour lamp: ReptileUV MegaRay 100 W PAR38 lamp. (Courtesy of Frances M. Baines)
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22.5 The UV Index as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international colour coding system. Since the solar altitude is a major determinant of the UV Index, it is possible to predict the likely range of UV Index readings which might be expected in the tropics at different times of day in fully exposed sunlit positions. Reptiles are rarely seen in full tropical sunlight between mid-morning and mid- to late afternoon.
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22.6 Characteristics of the four main types of UVB lamp often used in vivaria. (Courtesy of Frances M. Baines)
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22.7 Indoor accommodation for Galapagos tortoises at ZSL London Zoo. UVB, UVA and visible light are provided by four Arcadia SuperZoo T5-HO fixtures, each holding six 1150 mm, 54 W Arcadia T5 D3+ 12% UVB Reptile Lamp fluorescent tubes. Infrared radiation is provided by two ceramic heater panels suspended between the lighting units. (Courtesy of Frances M. Baines)
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22.9 The Ferguson Zones, as described by . The ‘zone ranges’ and ‘maximum UVI recorded’ were for the original 15 species of reptiles in their natural habitat in Jamaica and the south and west of the USA. The examples of typical species are species commonly found in the pet trade, assigned to Ferguson Zones based upon their known basking behaviour. Arrows link animals from each zone to either ‘Shade’ or ‘Sunbeam’ methods of UV provision, as proposed by the , and indicate typical lamp types used for each method. (Courtesy of Frances M. Baines)
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22.10 Examples of UVB lighting for vivaria. (a) Shade method using typical T8 UVB fluorescent tube, suitable for Ferguson Zone 1 reptile. 100 × 50 cm vivarium. Iso-irradiance chart for Arcadia T8 D3 6% UVB Reptile Lamp T8 (18 W 610 mm tube). (b) Sunbeam method using typical T5-HO UVB fluorescent tube with aluminium reflector, suitable for Ferguson Zone 3–4 reptile. 120 x 60 cm vivarium. Iso-irradiance chart for Arcadia T5 D3+ 12% UVB Reptile Lamp (24 W 550 mm tube) fitted with Arcadia T5 aluminium strip reflector. (c) Sunbeam method using typical UVB metal halide lamp, suitable for Ferguson Zone 3–4 reptile. 120 x 60 cm vivarium. Iso-irradiance chart for ExoTerra SunRay 70 W metal halide lamp. All methods may require the use of non-UVB-emitting lamps for warmth and additional visible light; these should be controlled by dimming thermostats. Hides, basking shelves and other fixtures should be added as appropriate for the species; shelter must always be provided. (Courtesy of Frances M. Baines)
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22.13 Lack of truncal lifting in a young green iguana with metabolic bone disorder (MBD).
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22.14 (a) Radiograph of a normal green iguana, showing distinct transverse processes in the tail. (b) In metabolic bone disorder the transverse processes are radiolucent and there are thin femoral cortices. Note the bilateral femoral fractures.
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22.15 Fibrous osteodystrophy in a green iguana.
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22.18 Hypovitaminosis A in a leopard gecko. (a) Appearance of the eyes before the removal of caseous deposits. (b) Caseous debris removed from the eyes. A round-ended earwax cleaner will usually remove the plug after moistening with saline.
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22.19 A large quantity of walnut-chip substrate removed from an anorexic leopard gecko.
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