Vitamin A Deficiency - Andrew's Diary

JasonSinger

New Member
Hi Everyone:

I just wanted to share with you the recent troubles I had with Andrew, and his recovery. I posted a little while back about the problems I had seen with Andrew's behaviour, including refusing crickets, sitting near the bottom, and overall sluggishness. I took him to a vet who did a fecal and uncovered nothing unusual, nor when I posted my basic care information was anything out of the ordinary indicated by any members.

Things took a turn for the worse about 1.5 weeks ago. I noticed he had his eyes closed and his colours had faded - I was extremely concerned. I contact my breeder (Harry) and with all the information he beleived it was a Vitamin A deficiency. From the time I purchased Andrew, the aupplement I had been using contained beta carrotene - A compund that chameleons convert into Vitamin A. There are differing views on the topic, and some people contest that not all chameleons can digest the compound. It seems like Andrew was one of these chameleons.

I followed Harry's instructions, which included getting Vitamin A capsules and applying a drop on the head of a feeder once a week for 3 weeks, then every third week after that. After only 4 days I noticed Andrew was eating normally again, his colours inproved, he was basking again, and had a bowl movement for the first time in two weeks. Because of this recovery, I skipped his last dose and will following the regiment reccommended by Harry.

I also changed the supplements I am giving to Andrew to one that contains Vitamin A that does not need to be digested for chameleons to absorb.

I will keep everyone updated on Andrew's recovery, but I just wanted to let everyone know what was up and to thank Harry for all his help.

Jason
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
I also have worried about vit a issues. Even now I have a female Jacksons with a tongue problem that I was told she has had since birth. I just haven't worked up the nerve to give her vit a - she is a fragile little girl.

It is great news that Andrew is doing better. Hope his progress in perminate.
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
awesome glad to hear he is doing better!!! that is very interesting that some chams bodies will not convert beta carotene. learn something new everyday!!thanks for the post.
 

JasonSinger

New Member
awesome glad to hear he is doing better!!! that is very interesting that some chams bodies will not convert beta carotene. learn something new everyday!!thanks for the post.
I thought it was also - I figured by sharing my experience it could help other members in identifying the problem.

Thanks all for the kind words.
 

fluxlizard

New Member
I also have worried about vit a issues.
Me too- I still provide some vit a.

I can't help but notice a lot of problems that pop up here on the forums concern eyes and tongues and egg laying. It makes me wonder if advice hasn't gone from one extreme (too much vit a and vit d) to the other (almost none) over the years.
 

Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
Hi Everyone:

I just wanted to share with you the recent troubles I had with Andrew, and his recovery. I posted a little while back about the problems I had seen with Andrew's behaviour, including refusing crickets, sitting near the bottom, and overall sluggishness. I took him to a vet who did a fecal and uncovered nothing unusual, nor when I posted my basic care information was anything out of the ordinary indicated by any members.

Things took a turn for the worse about 1.5 weeks ago. I noticed he had his eyes closed and his colours had faded - I was extremely concerned. I contact my breeder (Harry) and with all the information he beleived it was a Vitamin A deficiency. From the time I purchased Andrew, the aupplement I had been using contained beta carrotene - A compund that chameleons convert into Vitamin A. There are differing views on the topic, and some people contest that not all chameleons can digest the compound. It seems like Andrew was one of these chameleons.

I followed Harry's instructions, which included getting Vitamin A capsules and applying a drop on the head of a feeder once a week for 3 weeks, then every third week after that. After only 4 days I noticed Andrew was eating normally again, his colours inproved, he was basking again, and had a bowl movement for the first time in two weeks. Because of this recovery, I skipped his last dose and will following the regiment reccommended by Harry.

I also changed the supplements I am giving to Andrew to one that contains Vitamin A that does not need to be digested for chameleons to absorb.

I will keep everyone updated on Andrew's recovery, but I just wanted to let everyone know what was up and to thank Harry for all his help.

Jason
sounds like you did a good job taking care of your cham, i am curious what is the vit a u are using now, i have a cham with no tounge and like Laurie i am hesitant to use the vit i have, any suggestions would be great.
 

JasonSinger

New Member
sounds like you did a good job taking care of your cham, i am curious what is the vit a u are using now, i have a cham with no tounge and like Laurie i am hesitant to use the vit i have, any suggestions would be great.
For the treatment I am using Vitamin A capsules from the drug store - I poke a hole in it with a pin and place a tiny drop on the feeder.

As for the supplements for dusting my feeders, I am now using Reptivite with D3 and a calcium supplement without D3
 

Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
For the treatment I am using Vitamin A capsules from the drug store - I poke a hole in it with a pin and place a tiny drop on the feeder.

As for the supplements for dusting my feeders, I am now using Reptivite with D3 and a calcium supplement without D3
kool thx alot
 

JasonSinger

New Member
A month and a half later and we are making great progress. We still have a ways to go but at this rate he should be better in no time.

He now ventures back to the top of his cage in the afternoons, and sleeps near the top as well. He is also no closing his eyes during the day and is eating and drinking normally, except he still is turned off the crickets.

Pictures to come soon :)
 

pantherlover

New Member
Harry O strikes again. Once hes back to normal, try using some reptivite with d3. You probably already know that by now...

As for the mixed views on supps containing pre formed vs pro formed vitamin A, Do what works for you. Some great keepers, like one who posted above me, go the route of using a product containing beta carotine and have tremendous success. Its all about finding the right balance for your own animal.

Ive been using reptivite with d3 for my indoor kept chams for about a year now. Ive done this since I almost lost a a store bought cham to a lack of vitamin A. I brough his health back to par using methods similar to Jason. Louis has passed within the las month living approx 4.5 to 5 years, Me being his fourth or fifth owner.

From then on reptivite with d3, paired with a fairly educated gutload found me a sufficently balanced diet for my chams using mainly crickets and supers as feeders. Time will tell how things will work out in the long run but for now Ive got a breeding pair going strong and a hopeful 26 on the way. I have found only one slight case of edema in my female using reptivite with d3 3 times a week. This was easily corrected by going with calcium only for a week straight and going back to the same schedule just dusting a bit less. The edema never returned. No supplement related issues in my male. It is very important to do your research and keep track of what you are feeding your animal. Observation in behaviour will tell you if you are giving too much or too little of one thing. I believe that reptivite without d3, being used on a regular basis could be dangerous to indoor chams. Other than that, I think using reptivite with d3 and plain phos free calcium is simple way of providing you animals a balanced diet if your gutload is right.

Glad to hear your cham is getting better.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You said..."I believe that reptivite without d3, being used on a regular basis could be dangerous to indoor chams. "...how so??
 

jojackson

New Member
Presumably because like me, he questions the reliability and consistency of artificial UV sources where used exclusively, in contrast to outdoor keeping or combination of natural uv and D3 use indoors.
I think he is referring to its use exlcusively without D3, indoors?
 

pantherlover

New Member
I think that the amount of pre formed a would be too much without the presence of d3 in the product for indoor panthers.
 
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kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
So giving that amount of prEformed vitamin A needs to be balanced by the D3 then? If so wouldn't it be best to use less of both so that the kidneys and liver wouldn't have to work so hard?
 

pantherlover

New Member
Yes, you could be right. Maybe I could sand to dust a little less. Please correct me if Im wrong, but my understanding is that the kidneys are only damaged when there is too much of one thing. Overworking the kidneys is something I myself never thought of. If the cham is drinking well would it not be flushing the kidneys regularly?
 

jojackson

New Member
Question might be weather vit A beyond a certain level can be processed or if it can build up in the liver (maybe excess is excreted?) and lead to an overload of the renal system? A lower or higher level of one thing may effect its ability to metabolise another? Its a fine tuned system no?
I prefer the less is best approach myself, who am I to meddle with millions of years of evolution. :)
Loving this discussion....Renvet, where are you mate? :)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
pantherlover...excess vitamin D causes mineralization of organs such as the kidney. With too much prEformed vitamin A the liver can become swollen and the kidneys damaged. While both the D3 and the vitamin A can be at toxic levels, the effects are not as evident due to their interaction according to Dr. Lopez. (see chameleonjournals articles.) I don't think water can flush these out of the kidney since they are both fat soluble...I'm not a vet...its just my opinion.
 
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