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Possible problems with D3

Discussion in 'General Tegu Discussion' started by Jeremy Hodges, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Jeremy Hodges

    Jeremy Hodges New Member

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    Hello everyone, Im new here but I have had my first Blue/Red tegu "Kaiju" for a little under a year now(I bought him as a baby in August last year). He went into hibernation for around 4 months last winter and is about 26-28", with still a bit of a green/olive head. He has been a great pet and currently lives in a walk in closet with a MVB bulb under his basking spot, a 18" UVB tube bulb and a large pool along with a humidifier.

    When doing research before getting him, I wanted to get a B/W due to the size but bought this guy at an expo due to his color and demeanor, and was told due to him being a hybrid he would get around 4' anyways. When I first got him home and examined him, I dont believe the seller had been keeping him well as there was some stuck shed around his tail and one of his hands was almost stiff as a board. It drove me crazy trying to get him better.

    As of now he is great other than two kinks in his tail and many times has the tip of his mouth is slightly open. Curious I began to look to see what may help him and stumbled on many topics about D3 which I had not really heard much about when doing research. Once I read up on D3, I stopped using the calcium and am now using the version without D3.

    What im worried about is even though I stopped using the D3 could my tegu eventually get any problems by using it in the past? He eats every day a portion of ground turkey, occasional salmon, grapes, chicken hearts/livers, some crab (he hates it) scrambled egg, occasional mouse and some dubia roaches for treats. All lightly coated with calcium, but as mentioned, up until recently with D3 along with some multivitamin every other day.

    I hate that I never really looked into the matter and did not know the problems with D3, but I just hope that there is no problems with my little guy. I love the fella more than my dog, lol and hope he is okay. As I mentioned he seems healthy, poops everytime he gets a bath (2 times a day) or when I take him outside for a walk, and sheds good. His only issues is the kinks in the tail and the slight opening of his mouth. He is scary smart and already knows the layout of our house. Here is a few older pics I took of him, he did rub his nose when trying to escape his old enclosure. The last picture is the "open end" of his mouth that im talking about .

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    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  2. Zyn

    Zyn Active Member

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    I don’t see it being a problem personally. Not a vet so take it how you will. He’s off if now and should be fine with the right UVB. It’s mostly for reptiles/lizards who don’t need UVB like leopard geckos, I don’t think you’ll any issues.
  3. Jeremy Hodges

    Jeremy Hodges New Member

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    Great, thank you. Could his bottom lip being slightly open be a genetic thing or could it be do to the D3? He did not have it when he was little and ive only started to notice it now. I hope it does not cause any problems long term and maybe fixes itself. He doesn't have mouth rot or any swelling, ect. I know sometimes dirt gets in his mouth, although I only feed him out of his home and I help keep his mouth clean when he gets a bath.
  4. Skeep

    Skeep Active Member

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    I'm not a vet either, and actually I have not been able to find a lot of science to say if D3 is good or bad, or what the correct dosage is. But I believe moderation is a good plan. I've been giving D3 once a week and regular calcium the rest of the time, for 4 years and have had great results. I think you can only skip D3 completely if your tegu gets lots of natural sunlight outside.

    I might be mistaken, but I believe a kinked tail is more likely a symptom of a lack of UVB than of overdosing D3? I know overdosing causes calcification of soft tissues, but I'm not sure how that would manifest itself (and I'm too lazy to Google =p)

    I would take him to a vet to get testing done and see what they say. If he's not getting enough UVB then removing D3 might make it worse instead of better. Best to know the right solution for sure.
  5. Jeremy Hodges

    Jeremy Hodges New Member

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    Okay, i'll see what I can do. He has not gotten checked yet by a vet, as the closest exotic vet is about 3 hours away but its something I need to do. At first I believed the kinks in his tail are from bad constricting shed by the seller that I bought him from, but got worried when I read the whole D3 thing. He can use his tail just fine and wags it on occasion.

    His UVB should be up to par, or at least I hope so. He has a MVB 160 watt and a 18" UVB tube bulb. He also get a few hours of sun every day. I coat his food in calcium and add a bit of multivitamin every other day, although I just started with the non D3. I gave him a bath this morning and noticed that his bottom lip was fully flushed and not cracked open so he must open it for relaxation or something, ive just never read anyone else's tegu doing something similar. I do believe he has a slight underbite which may be the reason too. Ive seen several tegus with underbite so, like humans, I guess it just happens.

    Thank you for all the input, if theres any other helpful hints or ideas on why he slightly opens his mouth, Id appreciate anything. I currently have many bearded dragons, a blue tongue skink, chameleons, frogs and 22 species of tarantula, and I must say even with them I was not fully prepared for a tegu, but it has been rewarding.....almost like owning a child.
  6. Skeep

    Skeep Active Member

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    It doesn't sound like he has a UVB shortage then, but I would still check with the vet. Sucks they are so far away. :-( How close is his basking spot to the MVB bulb? Is the natural sunlight outside? Regular glass filters ~99% of UV light so through a window doesn't count :)

    Anyway see what a vet says and maybe someone else here has more ideas.
  7. Jeremy Hodges

    Jeremy Hodges New Member

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    The basking spot MVB is about 10-13" away, depending of if Kaiju has moved his basking log, and ive been keen on not blocking out the UVB. That was one thing I read about and made sure to prevent. Basically all his heat bulbs are hanging from metal bare shelving, if that makes since. He even has a dog bed in the living room with a MVB on a stand right on top, this is also where I feed him. The temp in his room stays a constant 75-80 with his basking spot around 105, although he tends to not stay under it for long. He also has a hanging ceramic heater on the other side but its up much higher and is there to keep a nice gradient. Its pretty hot and humid right now in TN so he spends a lot of time outside in the sun with me by him.

    Ive noticed that for a blue he really doesn't much care for heat, could him cracking his mouth open be him releasing heat? Maybe he's too hot. My other reptiles do this but they do a full on mouth wide open, not just the tip of their snout.

    I do really wish we had a vet close by. There are several small animal vets near me but after going to a few for my other reptiles, I think I know more than they do, lol.

    Here is a quick shot of his home. He's napping under his basking spot.

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    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  8. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Kinked tails are an odd thing. Tegus can be born with them, bad sheds can leve them with mal-shaped tails especially near the end, or can be a result of severe calcium deficiency.
  9. Zyn

    Zyn Active Member

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    I’m not telling you not to worry or see a vet but he looks healthy to me. You should see some muscle spasms before any kinking if it was a UVB issue. In my not vet opinion he looks healthy.

    The Mouth thing could be many things, including just your average birth defect. The only thing I see is the redness on the nose. Does he rub the side of his enclosure a lot?
  10. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Sounds on the mark.
  11. dpjm

    dpjm Active Member 5 Year Member

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    If you have adequate UV levels, and you probably do, you should not use supplemental D3. The open end of the mouth may be due to a calcium deficiency, but I would guess from what I am reading that this is not due to a D3 deficiency but from insufficient calcium intake. I see you are feeding meat (ground turkey, salmon), which has almost no calcium and lots of phosphorus. Unless you are using a significant amount of calcium supplement, this will lead to problems. You should seriously look into whole prey items like rodents and ditch the meat.
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  12. Zyn

    Zyn Active Member

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    I know most can’t, but like dp said whole prey is a must. I started a small rat colony for sev, right now it’s just three females and 1 male but I get enough babies to feed the snakes, and three or more rats for sev a week. Producing on average 40ish babies a month just feeding them off over the course of two months as they grow. Then restart the cycle giving the females time to gain some weight back before breeding them again. Sev gets all the whole prey he can handle.

    With that said I know not everyone can do this or stand rats in general lol. Rodent pro has pretty good prices, you can get them even cheaper at your local reptile show. Here in Ohio there are two a month.
  13. Skeep

    Skeep Active Member

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    Good call, could be a lack of calcium and I agree D3 doesn't seem necessary. You can't overdose on calcium, so go nuts!

    I wouldn't ditch the current diet completely, but definitely I would add a meal of whole prey twice a week. Whether or not more than that is good or bad is up for debate so it's up to you to decide. Make sure the ground turkey is whole ground turkey (which includes the bones and organs and everything) and not the ground turkey you get at the grocery store.
  14. dpjm

    dpjm Active Member 5 Year Member

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    You sure can overdose on calcium. The issue is a bit complicated, so bear with me.

    The amount of calcium that passes from the gut into the bloodstream is fairly tightly regulated by D3 levels. D3 levels, in turn, are regulated internally IF the D3 is being produced in the body as a result of UV exposure. So if you get little or no dietary D3 then your blood calcium levels tend to be regulated quite well, even if you consume too much calcium in the diet. However, D3 that is taken in through the diet is not regulated at all and you can end up with D3 levels that are too high. The high D3 levels can permit too much calcium to enter the bloodstream, and you end up with a condition called hypercalcemia.

    This is why getting D3 through UV light alone is safe, there is no danger of D3 overdose. When you start combining UV light and supplemental D3 then you run into issues, especially if you oversupplement with calcium as well.

    Even if your D3 levels are in check, there are still issues with too much calcium in the diet, mainly constipation, so don't go nuts with it.
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  15. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Dpjm, Thanks for chiming in.

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