Vitamin D3....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Justin Carl, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Okay, I have been thinking.
    Once again this isnt good.....:D
    We try to do our best to make sure out chameleons are healthy.
    My question is about D3.
    Over supplementing with D3 can lead to all kinds of problems, some include; kidney failure, the calcification of blood vessels and organs, and death.
    When chameleons bask on there own they have not been reported suffering from these problems.(hypervitaminosis-D)
    They have a safety mechanism that prohibits them from producing to much vitamin D.
    The bulbs we use, Retisun 5.0, for the most part supply our chameleons with the "proper UVB" they need.
    These are sufficient for our animals to produce Vitamin D3 on there own.
    Which is only after it travels through the blood stream, into the liver, and processed
    Studies have proved that they can keep our animals from developing MBD.

    After reading Eric A's post about how he raised chameleons without any UVB lighting, and properly administering calcium with D3.
    For years he had no problems with MBD or similar calcium deficiency.

    So, why do we even supplement with D3?
    Is it really needed?
    Is one-two times a month a good saftey precaution?
  2. dodolah

    dodolah Retired Moderator

    i think it is for a safety precaution.
    If you can supply ample access of sunlight, then supplementing D3 will be absolutely unnecessary.
    therefore, in this case, a minimalist approach is best.
  3. AFH

    AFH Established Member

    Justin, I've thought the same thing about d3 supplementation. There seems to be a wide variety of supplementation methods by keepers on this site. Kinyonga does mineral supplements 1-2 times a month, others supplement w/d3 2-3 times a week.

    I've got 8 chams, all under 1 1/2 years old. My oldest female panther developed edema, which is most likely an vit d excess. I'm still working on getting that taking care of, though it is a very slow process. My oldest female veiled was exibiting the nose crusties, which is also indicitive of over supplementation. That seems to have resolved.

    The thing is, all of my chams have been raised under the exact same conditions. In the same building, same lights, same food, same supplement schedule - everything.

    Here's what I was doing, supplement-wise:
    MWF calcium
    T TH Sat Reptivite w/d3
    Sun - off

    I've changed to:
    MWF calcium
    T Sat Minerall w/o d3
    Th Reptivite w d/3- except for Wendy who gets that day off too, due to the edema.

    Everyone else seems to do fine with either schedule, so I'm actually catering to the ones that seem to need less. Most everyone has passed the critical growing stage where MBD is such a concern, so I'm not too worried about the reduced d3 supplementation. Also, if I lived in an area where my chams could get a few hours of real sunlight often, I think I would be on the Kinyonga schedule of 1-2 times a month.

    I'm thinking it may be individual to the particular cham on what there supplementation needs are. Unfortunately, you can't really tell until there are signs of something wrong.
    Chanellelily likes this.
  4. dectr6

    dectr6 New Member

    I agree, I've always given d3 only twice a month and have recently cut it to once a month for my veileds and panthers and once every 3 months for the camaroon sailfin. I guess only time will tell.
  5. Brad Ramsey

    Brad Ramsey Retired Moderator

    I think this is all good.
    And not as random as it may seem, these gradual changes are the result of new information, lots of observation and good hubandry "tweaking"
    Kinyonga's animals never don't go outside much (if at all) by the way.
    Mine haven't been outside since August, and I am down to one very light dusting of Calcium w/D3 per month.

  6. Thanks guys!
    This thread really went where I wanted it to.
    Alex, I use to be on that first scheduel too.
    Not any more though, I can remember the last time I gave my chameleons D3.
    I think it was about a month ago....
    Lets hear what everyone else has to say.:)
  7. ChrisnLisa

    ChrisnLisa New Member

    This is very interesting to us as well. I would like to see everyones schedule they use for chameleons that are able to get natural sunlight vs. those that live in a climate that is too cold to take them outside.

    For our adult veileds we use calcium w/d3 twice a month and for our juvenile panther we use it once a week. We live in Michigan so our guys still haven't seen outside yet. What are your opinions on this?
  8. Ok here's the question: Has ANYONE been able to maintain animals for generations indoors without D3? Grow an animal from egg to adult, develop eggs, hatch eggs and grow hatchlings - with zero D3 supplementation and JUST UVB bulbs?

    I know of nobody that has done this. I'm sure someone has, but I'd like to hear!
  9. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    AFH says..."Kinyonga does mineral supplements 1-2 times a month, others supplement w/d3 2-3 times a week"...I supplement with phos.-free calcium (NO D3) at most feedings, with VITAMINS that have a beta carotene source of vitamin A twice a month and phos.-free calcium/D3 twice a month.

    AFH also said..."if I lived in an area where my chams could get a few hours of real sunlight often, I think I would be on the Kinyonga schedule of 1-2 times a month" chameleons almost never get direct sunlight as Brad my dusting schedule is really for indoors.

    AFH said..."My oldest female panther developed edema, which is most likely an vit d excess"...why do you think its the D3 that's causing the problem?

    Eric said.."Has ANYONE been able to maintain animals for generations indoors without D3?"...its difficult to know how much D3 from supplements is enough and where you step over the line and give too much. With UVB exposure being used to allow the chameleon to produce D3, ias long as the chameleon can get away from the UVB it shouldn't get an why go through having to try to figure out what the exact right amount of D3 supplemenation is when that's more difficult to do?
  10. AFH

    AFH Established Member

    Kinyonga, I don't know were I got the natural sunlight idea for you. I must have been thinking of someone else.

    Also, in doing some research on gular edema, I got some information from one of your posts on edema. I think you got it from

    "Vitamin D3
    Excess vitamin D3 supplementation especially in combination with calcium may result in organ toxicity. Metastatic calcification and gout are common results. Gular edema or pseudo gout is a common clinical sign of these problems. The pseudo-gout (calcium hydroxyapatite) deposits usually appear as irregular firm swellings over joints in the limbs and on ribs."

    You're right, it could be many things, vit a or d3 excess. But it seems to be a result of too much of something, so I've cut back on her supplements.
  11. mczoo

    mczoo New Member

    When you say edema do you mean localized swelling of the joints or generalized leg swelling?
  12. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    When you are talking about edema regarding oversupplementing its usually gular edema that is being referred to.

    Gout usually shows up as joint swelling but can show up in other places too.
  13. Here's some food for thought. When I was first breeding veileds, about 15 years ago, I did not know most of what I know now. All I knew was what I read from Tremper's caresheet, and what I read from TFH books. So I kinda learned on my own, and later from my friend Pete Mackevich.

    So, to everyone's horror, here's what I did:

    Every feeding, every food item, every day, was dusted heavil with repcal. From fritflies and pinheads to superworms - thickly coated wiht rep-cal.

    Never had any problems with my animals, young and old. No edema, nothing. Some of them lived many years. Even when I moved to NC, and was keepign them outside in the summer, they got some repcal - cause they didnt' make D3 free stuff at the time (and I was thouroughly out of the loop, and on my own, so if they did make it I didnt' know!)

    I was giving my animals probably 50X the amount of D3 that they needed. Never had any signs it was too much. And I'm not talking one or two - I raised hundreds like this, and held many back.

    I'm sure it will cause problems (especially mineralization of the intestines), but I dont' think it's going to be an obvious choice in a situation where edema has developed - I'd look elsewhere before I decided on D3 being the cause.

    in fact, in nearly every case of edema I've seen in the past several years (only one of them was mine - I didn't have any vitamins for a while), the cause was a lack of vitamin A. A few dustings of preformed A and it went away.
    AFH likes this.
  14. CleanLineChameleons

    CleanLineChameleons Avid Member

    Ok, first and foremost we need to keep in mind that chameleons are not humans (but their digestive systems are relatively similar). However I do know osteoporosis (MBD) is a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences. This means D3 and Calcium are at their utmost importance when the chameleon is young. As the chameleon ages during their adult years maybe Calcium and D3 aren't as important as long as their diet consists of a variety of options. That being said it is important to keep in mind that as the chameleon ages to its elderly years this may be a time to consider additional supplementation again.

    D3 is used for things other than calcium uptake, including: cardiac function,
    neuromuscular function, and several other metabolic activities. This means that it is important to include in the diet, however the proportion of vit D to the other vitamins and minerals found in the diet is just as important. For example, a chameleon that is given enough vitamin D but not enough calcium may still develop bone and muscle problems. On the flip side a chameleon given ample supply of calcium but not enough vitamin D will have the same problems.

    That all being said, a human on an 1800 Kcal/day diet will probably need a multi vitamin to help digest their food. However someone on a 5000 Kcal/day diet will likely get enough (and more) vitamins and minerals in their diet. An overfed chameleon will surely get enough vitamins and minerals through their diet. When supplements are added to this we tend to see not only obese chameleons but chameleons with edema, gout, and many other problems. Even by feeding your chameleon one food source (crickets) that have a minute amount of many vitamins and you do this times 10 per day it is more than what they would get in the wild. This coupled with supplementation is the likely source of many of these problems discussed.

    I have over 25 chameleons, many of which were wild caught. These chameleons do not exhibit any of the problems we have discussed. Anyone who has gotten WC chameleons know that they come in thin, not obese. It is a great indicator of their health in the wild, they are able to eat a variety of food in limited amounts (providing enough calcium and other minerals) and obtain ample sunlight (providing efficient amounts of vit D). Consider that the only WC chameleons that tend to exhibit edema (most likely through the increased consumption of foods and therefore vitamins) are gravid.

    While I recognize that chameleons are not humans, it is safe to say that everything in moderation is wise advice.

    I feel that young chameleons should be supplemented with D3 as often as twice per week. When the chameleon reaches the adult age of about one year is when I begin to pull back on the D3 supp. to about 2x per month. BUT please keep in mind that my adult chameleons are not eating 10 crickets, etc. per day. They are eating a wide variety of insects (silkworms, crickets, hornworms, roaches, etc) at about 6-8 food items every other day. Therefore if your adult chams are eating more food than I feed mine, you probably need to supplement a lot less. If your adult chams are eating less than I feed mine, you would likely need to supplement more!

    jpdorsey4, AFH and Justin Carl like this.
  15. Chris, I really enjoyed reading you post, but I do still wonder.
    I know there might be cause to worry when the chameleon is young.
    If people didnt over feed thier baby chameleons there would be a reason to worry about there bones not developing correctly.
    I have noticed a dramatic growth spurt in my 5 month old female Veiled and I'm not coming close to over feeding her.
    She gets 8 1/2" crickets, 3 super worms, or 3 1/2" dubia per day.
    I still think she is fat! She came in at 63 grams today.
    I may cut back if I continue to see her put on large amounts of weight.
    My 14 month old Veiled in starting to put on weight.
    He weighs 153 grams, and is feeding on 2 superworms per day.
    He has gained 3 grams in a little over a week.
    He refuses to eat anymore or any less, and only superworms.
    Reptiles are great at producing calories to body mass.

    They are still getting UVB to produce there own D3 through artificial lighting.
    Yes, I know "artifical" light.
    Could giving your chameleon artifial light and natural light, plus the adding D3 supplements to their diet effect them in a negative way?
  16. AFH

    AFH Established Member

    Eric and Chris, thanks for the insight!
  17. Kinyonga - I agree - UVB in lieu of artificial supplementation is the best route. But the question I ask is not a hypothetical one, not was it meant to insinuate that artifivcial supplementation is preferable to UVB.

    I truely want to know if anyone here has first hand experience raising babies with UVB bulbs as the primary source of D3. With little or no supplementation.

    I have heard from a few idividuals, but most of them DID use D3 occationally. What makes me worry is the varying wavelengths of UVB in sunlight, and I wonder exactly HOW effective our UVB bulbs are at replicating the portions of the spectrum needed by reptiles for D3 systhesis. I have never been able to bring myself to try to raise some babies without D3, simply because I only have one clutch or two a year!

    I trust in them to a degree, but I still supplement a tiny bit a few times a week (minerall 0 with a small bit of repcal with D3 - so it's a tiny dose of D3.)
  18. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    Justin Carl said..."If people didnt over feed thier baby chameleons there would be a reason to worry about there bones not developing correctly"...if people overfeed their babies there is concern that the bone growth will not keep up with the overall growth IMHO. Overfeeding leads to health issues such as shorter lifespan, obesity (obviously) and constipation.

    "Overfeeding herps can be relatively easy to do and, in amphibians, is considered the second most common nutritional health problem. It can lead to breeding problems, decreased organ function, and shorter life spans."
  19. Kinonga, I've heard you say this before - and I have to add that it is so refreshing to see it said. Far too many people think plump and fat chameleons (reptiles and amphibians in general) are healthy. It really cannot be repeated enough!
  20. zarko

    zarko New Member

    Eric Adrignola's
    i have 2 calyuptratus. male is 3-4years old .femail is the same.
    if i give D3 as a supplemenet i do it about every 2-3 months...the powder that i use is from grided tablet so it does not stick as good as calcium. i have female eggs now.
    so one can say that i dont gve D3. i do it just when it is most needed in pregnesy or so...
    after winter rest...
    and i had no problem with bouth

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