Enough Vitamin A?

Cherron

New Member
What is the best way to introduce vitamin A into your gutload? I currently use mixed grain (rice, oat and barley) baby cereal, collard greens, mustard greens, and alfalfa. When they are growing around here I also use dandelions. I know that mustard greens contain some vitamin A but is it a sufficient amount? Is this enough to gut load with or are there things that I should add or remove? Thanks in advance for any responses.
 

Heika

New Member
What is the best way to introduce vitamin A into your gutload? I currently use mixed grain (rice, oat and barley) baby cereal, collard greens, mustard greens, and alfalfa. When they are growing around here I also use dandelions. I know that mustard greens contain some vitamin A but is it a sufficient amount? Is this enough to gut load with or are there things that I should add or remove? Thanks in advance for any responses.

Hey Cherron.. this has been one of those issues I have been struggling with also. After doing some research on the subject, my big concern has been providing a preformed source of vitamin A in healthy, sustainable quantities. Everything I have read points towards a suspicion that chameleons can’t readily convert beta carotene sources into usable vitamin A, and the health consequences of low vitamin A mask themselves as other illnesses. Even the researchers are reluctant to positively say that chameleons require doses of preformed vit A, though. Even now, there is still so much to learn about how to care for chameleons properly.

I have done a couple things to try and meet what I see as a need for preformed vitamin A. In the past, I provided a wet gutload along with dry gutload. As time went on, I moved away from that a bit and started providing more fruits and veggies along with the dry gutload. Now, I am back to it. Egg yolks have 244 IU of vit A in them. The whites themselves don’t have any. I feed yogurt or cottage cheese with a raw egg yolk and dry gutload (WER) mixed in as my gutloading routine now. Most of the time, I grate some sort of veggie or squash and mix that in as well, and toss in a few other ingredients as the mood strikes me. I prepare for feeding the evening before by pulling the insects I plan to feed and placing them into a container with just gutload to eat. It is a bit of a pain in the butt, but I think it is better for the chameleons.

Because I am not sure if that is good enough to cover my chameleon’s requirements for vitamin A, I have started supplementing half of my subadult and adult panther chameleons with liquid vitamin A once a week. I cut open a liquid tab and use a q-tip to soak up the contents, and then wipe a small amount inside the chameleon’s mouth, as suggested by Jim at ChamCo. At some point, I expect to see results one way or the other, and when I do, I will either discontinue the vit A supplement, or move to supplementing all of my chameleons with it.

So, there ya go.. a really long, not very definative answer to your question! Do I recommend you do this as well? I am not comfortable enough with any of the vitamin A stuff to recommend anything right now. You will have to decide yourself what course to take with your chameleon. I believe that I have seen some issues with vitamin A deficiency in some of my chameleons, but misinterpreted the symptoms. I hope to alleviate things like bad sheds, eye infections, etc.

Heika
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Heika provides some very good information based on what we know right now and I am prepared to start a moderate introduction of vitamin A as well.
I am curious to see what those of us who carefully introduce this supplementation will discover.
Other than the very good roundtable discussion that Heika provided us with earlier, I have little knowledge or information regarding vitamin A.
Anxious for others to post here.

Humbly,

-Brad
 
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Brad

Administrator
Staff member
This is definitely one of those topics I wish I knew more about. For anyone that is not already aware, there has been some previous research in this area with panther chameleons. Ferguson briefly describes his results and offers suggestions in the book, The Panther Chameleon.
We recommend a chronic daily dose of 5-10 IU of vitamin A, obtained by gut-loading crickets or mealworms a diet containing roughly seven times that concentration


He also presents an alternative weekly oral dose similar to what Heika suggested above.
A weekly oral dose of 30-40 IU for an adult chameleon fed crickets gut loaded with a low vitamin A diet has also been reported to be sufficient.
 
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Creampuff

New Member
Question: Is it really alright to serve raw egg that has the possibility of having salmonella to any living animal?

As for vitamin A I have a rabbit that eats a whole bunch of veggies and needs at least some vegetable each day that contains Vitamin A. Heres a list of veggies high in Vitamin A for possible gutload:

Beets and their tops
Broccoli
Carrot (this is sugary tho at least for my rabbit anyway)
Collard Greens
Endive
Kale
Mustard Greens
Parsley
Chinese Pea Pods
Romaine Lettuce
Watercress

I hope you found the list helpful, I got it from a bunny site if anyone wants I can look for the site for you but its really only a list of fruit ands vegetables.
 

Jordan

New Member
Question: Is it really alright to serve raw egg that has the possibility of having salmonella to any living animal?

Reptiles commonly carry salmonella in them. I really would not worry about them contracting it. Most cases of salmonella that could be connected to eggs have orginated in the northeastern U.S. at least as far as the states go.
 

Creampuff

New Member
THANKS!!! that makes me feel so much better feeding my crickets raw eggs *sarcasm* i live in New York making me a northeastern U.S. state :( sigh... lol.
 
Reptiles commonly carry salmonella in them. I really would not worry about them contracting it. Most cases of salmonella that could be connected to eggs have orginated in the northeastern U.S. at least as far as the states go.

It is their ability to carry and progress the virus that worries me- and hence why I wont use egg crate from egg sources.
 

Heika

New Member
Question: Is it really alright to serve raw egg that has the possibility of having salmonella to any living animal?

As for vitamin A I have a rabbit that eats a whole bunch of veggies and needs at least some vegetable each day that contains Vitamin A. Heres a list of veggies high in Vitamin A for possible gutload:

Beets and their tops
Broccoli
Carrot (this is sugary tho at least for my rabbit anyway)
Collard Greens
Endive
Kale
Mustard Greens
Parsley
Chinese Pea Pods
Romaine Lettuce
Watercress

I hope you found the list helpful, I got it from a bunny site if anyone wants I can look for the site for you but its really only a list of fruit ands vegetables.

This is a great list of veggies that are high in vitamin A, but they are all beta carotene sources of vitamin A.
 
Can you elaborate on this, Will?
Not well. I'll do my best to find the article regarding transferring the salmonella bacterium to reptiles, but I totally stumbled upon it by chance and so I am not sure how to "search" for it again. It wasn't too in-depth but it read about not using egg cartons, egg shells and any possible contaminants with reptiles.

Whats wrong with cooking the egg though? Why does it have to be raw?
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I have no idea either.
I have always cooked my egg for gutload without considering vitamin A.
I know with vegetables that have a good content, microwaving them for a few seconds actually enhances the vitamins ability to be soluable.
Don't ask me where I got that but have read it more than once from reliable sources. I'll do some searching.

-Brad
 

Cherron

New Member
Thanks everyone for your replies.. though I am as confused as ever! I think I may just try the vitamin A supplements for now. My male veiled just had his first "bad" shed and I think that this may be the culprit. His humidity and water intake are great and I had a fecal run that came back normal.

My next question is, where do I get the vitamin A capsules? A health store or GNC?
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Howdy,

If you are referring to regular good-old vitamin A liquid caplets then just checkout the typical cheapie drug store vitamin section. I use a std syringe to remove the liquid vitamin and then put a very tiny droplet on the back of a live feeder that will be immediately eaten. Remember, it is easy to overdose. Buy caplets with the lowest concentration of vitamin A when possible.
 

roo_71

New Member
I look forward to hearing about your results Heika. I wish I had multiple chams of one species to test with – my pygmies are out of the question since they are so small but I plan on trying this with my veiled. He doesn’t have any eye problems that I am aware of but consistently has sheds that take awhile to come off – seems like he has pieces of shed on him more so then not. He also is a picky eater and doesn’t usually eat feeders that I can properly gut load.

-roo
 
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