D3 Poisoning

How did this Happen?
D3 toxicity is possible in any chameleon fed excess supplementation. It is most common in Jackson's and other montane, high altitude chameleons, because of their slower metabolism but it happens to other species as well. This can easily happen to any new keeper if they have been misinformed on supplements at the time of purchase. I hope this information reaches them before it is too late. Jackson's Chameleons should only have one dose of full strength D3 per month. Veiled and Panther chameleons can have 1 full dose very two weeks. If you are giving more than this you will likely give your chameleon D3 toxicity. If you are giving more than this without the direct supervision of a veterinarian stop immediately. The signs of D3 toxicity may include depression, as in lower activity level or sleeping during the day, poor or no appetite and weight loss.

Find A good Reptile Veterinarian
Treating D3 poisoning would best be done under the supervision of a veterinarian and I would seriously encourage you to do so. This is not a substitute for veterinary care in any way. Having an understanding of the condition is meant to help you avoid it in the first place or to help you to work better and more closely with your veterinarian should it occur.

What does D3 Poisoning Do
Understand that I'm trying to put some complex physiology in layman's terms. I may sacrifice accuracy a bit to keep things simple.
We know D3 is vital to the health of chameleons and is a good thing. To meet the needs of chameleons kept indoors in captivity we use two methods. One is UVB bulbs that allow the chameleon to make D3 in their skin in response to the light. They will not make more that they can use this way but may or may not get as much as natural sunlight would provide. So we also give supplements with D3. It must be done carefully. Sadly too much of a good thing is a bad thing and in this case it is actually a poison, Vitamin D toxicity, also know as hypervitaminosis D. D3 is a fat soluble vitamin that is vital for calcium absorption and distribution in the bones in proper doses. Excess D3 will actually pull calcium out of the bones and deposit it in the organs. This will eventually cause organ failure. A sign that this is beginning to happen is the chameleon will stop eating or have signs that mimic low calcium levels. Once a percentage of the organs have calcified they can not recover and the chameleon will die. Damage to the organs will shorten the lifespan of the chameleon depending on the amount of damage.

Immediately stop giving D3. How long to avoid D3 depends on species. It will be stored in the liver for up to a month in most low land species and longer in montane species. Follow your vets recommendation. Some keepers have fasted their chameleons for as long as a week when D3 toxicity was suspected to help it leave their system and avoid adding any more. How long depends on the age of the chameleon as juveniles can't go as long without feeding. They were kept well hydrated, only food was restricted.
While there is little information on a direct antidote there is discussion of Vitamin A as retinol balancing D3 in the body so getting a dose of Vitamin A may be helpful. There are some treatments used in human medicine, corticosteroids or bisphosphonates, but I am unaware of their use in reptiles. Your veterinarian may want to restrict calcium supplementation to avoid more calcium being deposited in the organs. This is where veterinary care will be come vital. You will be walking a fine line of preventing calcium deposits and creating a situation where low calcium creates muscle tremors and leads to death. Calcium is vital for muscle function and this includes the heart muscle. If you see any muscle tremors or weakness notify your vet. immediately. They may want to give liquid calcium or a calcium injection.

Additional Information


@JoXie411 do you think the graphic is a bit much?? Look who I'm asking. Ha:LOL:
I love the graphic! It shows how serious behind the situation. If it was me I would have put flashing lights lol :ROFLMAO: But in all honesty it was an amazing blog you broke it down enough to easily understand. I bookmarked it to share with others in the future
Your amazing mentor in the chameleon world happy you took the time to write this out and thanks for the work you put into it. I will have to read the links you attached later

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