vitamin a


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so ive read 2 different things that chameleons do need this supplemented and that they dont. ive also read that they can convert beta carotene into to vitamin a. so i was just wondering what everyones routines are and if you feel that i should supplement vitamin a. i have yet to get a chameleon and want to learn as much as possible.
it is my belief that chams cannot convert beta carotine into pre formed vitamin a. it has been found that chams deprived of preformed vit a in their diets develope eye problems & problems shedding among other things. Some may disagree but you will find that they, more than likely, use a huge variety of feeders. it is not proven which feeders can make the conversion. i dont think that crickets can. if you are feeding mostly crickets, i would use a multivitamin like reptivite, which contains preformed a. I also wouldnt use a product containing performed a if it doesnt contain d3. With more research on the subject you will find that ones who dont use a multivitamin with preformed a offer d3 only once or twice a month. i use reptivite with d3, 3 times a week, with the belief that the d3 & pre a balance eachother out. No ill effects to date. YOur best bet is to go over what you feed & gutload & figure out whats best for your situation.
I have raised veileds for years without using any prEformed vitamin A....and the females live to be over 6 and the males even older. Being that they eat some vegetation I think it might be that they do convert beta carotene.

This site also makes me wonder....if chameleons can't convert beta carotene what is the purpose of carotenoids in the yolk of the egg of a chameleon???..."Measurable concentrations of retinol at all stages of egg development in the chameleons suggests effective conversion from carotenoid precursors, with concentrations similar to those measured in other lizard eggs"...

I think that more studies have to be done that take into consideration the relationship between the prEformed vitamin A, beta carotene, D3 and calcium before we can be sure. In the meantime, I will continue to use a vitamin powder with a beta carotene source of vitamin A and watch for signs of vitamin A deficiency in my chameleons before giving them any prEformed. I have only ever had one necropsy indicate that a chameleon had a vitamin A deficiency and the odd part of it was that it came from the eggs of a WC that was only in my possession for about 6 months before the egg was laid, both the parents and the hatchling were being supplemented with Nekton-Rep that had prEformed vitamin A in it and it was obvious by the time the hatchling was 2 months old that it had a problem.
no one knows for sure, but people have their (often very strong) opinions, and that's why you find conflicting advice.

I use only beta carotene. Even IF chameleons do not convert beta carotene to vitamin A, that doesnt necessarily mean my chameleons get zero pre-formed vitamin A. I use a wide variety of insects (including some wild caught ones) that may themselves convert beta carotene to vitamin A, or the wild ones may have eaten meat prior to.

Caution is warrented when providing pre-formed vitamin A, because too much is toxic. I believe it is safe to include a small amount of pre-formed vitamin A to your chameleon from time to time, and perferably via insects gutloaded with something that contains vitamin a rather than using oil.

You may find this blog entry useful:
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What would be some red flags for vit a deficiency?
I know chameleons hide their sickness very well.

I use rep-cal multivitamin about 2-3 times a month, and gutload my dubia with mostly kale, apples and carrots...

What are recomended vitamin a Gutloads?
Repahy calcium ICB is a great form to get Vit A into your Chams diet, at the same time you can also use a Vit A with retinol palmitate in it which is not in beta carotene form, those that are in beta carotene the chams would have to convert into palmitate
Is gutloading crickets with primarily carrots and some mustard greens and a dusting of reptivite about 3 times a month (3 month old male panther) sufficient specifically for vitamin a? Obviously I dust with calcium w/ and w/o D3, asking specifically about Vit A for a baby panther.

Thanx Kinyonga, that was pretty helpful.. I been having a tough time out here in Chicago keeping humidity up. I free range him so its probably way more dificult..
His eyes swell up a bit when the humidity drops in the room, and i had read on the forum that it might be linked to vit a deficiency.
Hes a really healthy guy so i was a bit concerned..
Is gutloading crickets with primarily carrots and some mustard greens and a dusting of reptivite about 3 times a month (3 month old male panther) sufficient specifically for vitamin a? Obviously I dust with calcium w/ and w/o D3, asking specifically about Vit A for a baby panther.

You could gutload better than just using carrots and mustard greens, then you wouldnt need to rely so heavily on the Reptivite. Reptivite contains pre-formed vitamin A, so if you are using that three times a month you are indeed providing plenty of vitamin A. And perhaps too much D3, since reptivite contains D3 and it sounds like you are also using a calcium product with D3. Too much Vitamin A and D3 over the long term would be hard on the chameleons organs. I encourage you to consider improving the gutload, and reducing the use of reptivite to only once or twice per month.
I was under the impression that as babies they would need more of any given vitamin. I would say with your given information I am providing too much D3 and I will cut back the calc w/ d3, but am I throwing too much vit A at him? I just want to make sure with him being only 2-3 months old that he has everything he needs to grow properly.
I dont supplement with pre-formed vitamin A, for babies or adults at all. So I say you could reduce what you are providing. Certainly I wouldnt increase. Short term effects of insufficient vitamin A are reversable. Overdose can be fatal. So I guess you could try providing less, and see how it goes. However, you might consult with those who believe in the imparative use of preformed vitamin A, to see what they suggest.
If you use Repashy calcium ICB it had preformed Vit A in it already, however one of the more common things with Vit A defficientcy are tongue and eye issues among Chameleons
I haven't used a prEformed vitamin A vitamin powder in years and I've only ever had two chameleons with tongue issues...both were WC's that had only been in my care a couple of weeks when the tongue issues occurred. The only chameleons I can only recall 3 incidences of eye had cancer in the eye, one came to me with a infection in the area near the eye and the surgery to remove the infection from the swollen lumps resulted in the eye swelling and the third was a WC that had only been with me for a couple of weeks and we suspected that it was a parasite blocking the fluid flow.

I will add one thing...its possible/likely that what the insects were fed before I got them contained prEformed vitamin A...but I almost always buy the insects ahead of time and feed them with my own gutload/food before feeding them to the reptiles. you have a paper that talks about tongue issues in chameleons being the result of a vitamin A deficiency? I'd be interested in reading it.
I don't have a paper, but will ask the vets at the zoo and see if they have any. This is information that was given to me directly by the zoo vets.
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