Metabolic Bone Disease in Reptiles

Green Iguana

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) is commonly found in reptiles that eat plants and/or insects. Because iguanas are popular reptile pets, MBD is seen most often in these creatures.

The primary cause of MBD is a breakdown in the metabolism of calcium. Calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D are out of balance. These three act together to maintain healthy bones, muscle contractions and blood coagulation.

Signs of a problem can be lumps on tail, back, jaw,legs; a jerky gait; muscle tremors when resting; softening or swelling of lower jaw. In advanced cases, the animal may not eat and lose weight, be constipated and suffer fractures.

If the disease has not progressed too far, the reptile can recover with proper diet and exposure to ultra violet light. Advanced cases may require vitamin injections, fluids and care of any fractures present.

MBD can be avoided by feeding the proper diet and making the habitat as close as possible to what is normal for the animal.

Before choosing a reptile as a pet, research your choice thoroughly. Then decide whether you can devote the commitment, time and finances required to care for these creatures.

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