Treatment of Severe MBD Leos ...

Treatment of Severe MBD Leos ...

Postby Spikelet » Fri Jul 07, 2006 9:58 am

I managed to get my hands on 2 x 3 month old Leopard geckos exactly a month ago :D. After a week of letting them settle I noticed that the front leg of the now Rex was broken and in a panic took them to a well known Reptile Vet ...

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This is Rex - he weighed 10grams and is protecting his broken front leg

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This is Crinkly Angel - I thought she was fine but as will be revealed it was not so ... She weighed 6grams

The Vet did some tests like trying to open Crinkles Jaw with was very, very rubbery - he managed to open it to 90deg where there was not joint on the jaw bone :shock: and confirmed that Rex's front leg was broken, in 3 places, - hence him not putting weight on it and that the other one was on its way (I also did not realise at this stage that both Crinkles back legs were broken as she seemed the stronger of the two :evil: - clever Dr Verseput did it turns out later … )

Basically the prognosis wasn't good - they were underweight, both had severe metabolic bone disease and my choice was to return them to the previous owner or struggle to treat them understanding that I could lose one or both of them due to the stress of constant handling and treatment. He assured me that if either one of them dropped their tails in treatment it would be over as they were in a bad way already and wouldn't survive the ordeal of losing a tail as well. By then we had named them so it would be treatment at home which was not a very cheerful prognosis but still better than euthanasia …

How did they get to this?
1. In this case they had not had a calcium stash constantly in their house,
2. food was not dusted with calcuim very often, about once a week (Dr Verseput suggests that this is not sufficient anway as he sees lots of leo and beardie patients with mbd and all their live food has been dusted - so he recommends calcium in the salads for salad eaters and dusting and leaving a fine layer of calcium in the bottom of the feeding bowl so that the predators get an extra lick of calcium each time they eat stuff),
3. Another possibility was that they had intestinal parasites that were impeding the absorption of calcium into their bodies
4. With babies apparently if the parents have a calcium deficiency (not necessarily mbd) then it is possible that the babies have MBD – passed from mother to egg (read this off many American forums as I have not bred leos and know nothing about it :wink: )

What to do now that I know my leos have MBD (besides stress …) …
1. Due to them being MBD and being under treatment and having to ensure the food consumption of both leos, they both needed their own houses … this to give them equal access to food and less sibling stress in an already stressful time …
2. 1 x high output reptile uvb fluorescent tube (either a 10.0 or an 8.0 – no brands mentiond :wink: ) each (I added a reflector to each so that they could be on the ground and still get uv – this is to help them metabolise the calcium as their bodies have forgotten how to do it and they need all the extra help they can get at this stage. I checked this with the overseas forums and they all agree that it is standard procedure to have uvb for mbd leos and the higher the better. However unlike the Bearded dragons whose uvb needs to be changed every 6 months, the uvb tube can be left in the leos house longterm …

On this note apparently some states breeders are experimenting with low level uvb tubes or old bearded dragon tubes in their leos houses and they are finding that their leos will come out and bask for about an hour or two each day under the uvb – sometimes as close as they can get. Dr Verseput is doing this with his leos at home and finding the same thing too …

New research is also suggesting that Lizards and geckos know how much uvb they need and can self regulate it unlike us who sit in the sun and burn they will actually leave the uvb area before they get sizzled . I am doing informal research with my Beardie and I am finding that he is choosing between the basking light and the uvb tube, separated by 15 cm sideways span and which he can get to within 5 cm of (he is only 2 months old). He will spend hours hanging out under the uvb tube – migrating back to the basking light to get hot every now and then and then back to the uvb – this is after a huge house rearrangement to get him closer to his uvb and a reflector and boy does he love it. PS access to the uvb ranges from 5cm to 30 cm in his case so he can decide on what levels he wants but most often he is in the 10cm mark and his basking spot averaged is about 38C (baby beardies need a higher basking temp than adults …)

Dr Verseput also suggested outside time if the weather was fine for the leos – this with a shelter for them but about an hour a day each. In nature the uvb will bounce off the rocks and into their hide outs making them get uvb each day and also they come out early evening and bask in the last rays of the sun for uvb in the wild. Please note that I did not say put them in a box with nothing and dump them in the sun! Big shelter for them to ‘hide’ under and protected house for uvb bouncing – ie like a large Rubbermaid container or box etc (not glass as that cuts uvb out!) also a widely spaced mesh top to prevent the neighbourhood cat munching on fine lizard ...

3. Instant deworming/deparasiteing at the vet … to try and eliminate this as a problem
4. A slurry of Hill A/D prescription catfood and Calcium and a touch of water in the following formula – about ½ tsp of hills cat food and ¼ tsp of calcium (a cooks pinch :wink:) mixed with a few drops of water to make it runny enough to go into a de needled insulin syringe. Dr Verseput then showed me how to hold them to not damage the tail and then inject 0.1cc of slurry down their throats every night for 6 weeks or more … Will make a separate page on how to slurry leos or this will be way too long …I have since found/been given another 2 neat slurry mix recipes that are stupendous … I found I had to force them the first 2 days and then they decided they liked the slurry and Rex would start licking and looking for the syringe as soon as I picked him up silly boy :D Crinkle however was a different story completely … This was followed up with food in their houses each night …
5. a kick butt calcium with D3 (if you have no uv light) or straight calcium if you have a UV light as they use the uvb to convert calcium to D3 so their bodies can absorb it, I am now using T-Rex Bone aid which is specifically for animals with mbd, disease or trauma – think mine are good candidates :wink: However I am mixing this with a calcium with D3 to keep their odds up … this is to be placed in a bowl or cap in house at all times, as well as severely dusted on all living things in a bowl preferable to keep the calcium on the live prey, liquid calcium in the water as well …

3 weeks treatment findings …
1. the leos love the uvb light and one spends all her time under the uvb, with log for shelter, exposing bits of herself to the light all day long … Rex comes out and spends about an hour or two a day basking and then slinks back into his humid hide … Surprisingly enough both lie directly under the uvb tube and not to the side which they can easily do as there are lots of hides in their houses and logs etc.

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Crinkle with her slurry nose and new uvb enhanced colouring …
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Crinkles uvb enhanced leg spots – she is a real uvb goddess – in retrospect I now know why …

2. Rex loves the slurry and Crinkle hates it – she won’t even open her mouth now and it is a huge battle …

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Rex 2 weeks into treatment after not being able to put any weight onto his front legs …
3. problem sheds are the symptom of health problems, in Crinkles case severe mbd and she will be a battle for the rest of her days.
4. some leos handle the stress of treatment better than others – Rex doing brilliantly and Crinkle really limping along …

3 Week Verseput check – after calcium slurry every night for 3 weeks (more than 0.1cc if I could)
1. huge improvement and apparently both doing superbly even though Crinkle looks so terrible …

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Crinkle who I thought would have to be put down but apparently this is good … she is now 11grams and swinging 1 or 2 grams in each direction but Verseput is happy with tail, look and improvement in weight. She can still flight if need be which is good too. She is walking funny due to 2 previously broken back legs (one in 3 places, the other one break) but he recons she will get some mobility back with time. She is not coping with the treatment stress and we are now trying to keep her eating herself with lots of added calcium to every thing and then slurry once a week of super charged calcium. If she doesn’t eat she will be back on calcium slurry once a day which will not be good in her case at all … Also I have to watch her carefully for weight change – weigh in once a week and of course watch her shedding as both have been super problematic due to her illness. I am quietly hopeful that she will make it but she is still one very sick leo who seems to have given up the fight – I hope she turns the corner soon …

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Rex is doing superbly and is apparently an overachiever :wink: his prognosis is fantastic and he is on food and lots of calcium with slurry once a week much to his disappointment I am sure – hee hee. He has gained from 10 grams to 18grams and is getting bigger and bigger each day. A few more breaks in limbs discovered but he is mending and putting weight on them so he is good to go – will keep uvb tube in but he is not in need of another check up by super Verseput …

Any further discoveries?
1. if your leo is eating sand – can be seen in the stools – then there is a problem and they are severely calcium deficient. I have since grouted the tiles in Crinkles house and will be making a frame to stop her access to the grout - she is a determined girl this way. With no other options hopefully she will only eat calcium – silly child!
2. Silkworms are a fantastic feeder for sick leos – best meat ratio to non-existent chitin – high protein and meat content etc. This followed by super worms and crix then mealworms – this is what I have found after hours of research (google nutritional comparison of … or nutrition value of …) Dr Verseput feeds his superworms, Silkworms and occasional crickets. It’s a good enough endorsement for me, especially as he is a long term leo owner :wink:

PS I have been liasing with someone on skype about his mbd leo and he is not getting as marked results – no uvb tube but outside time for the leos for some time a day – will ask him to add to this and give his findings …
'We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner' Bilbo Baggins
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Postby Bushviper » Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:12 pm

This is really ground breaking stuff and gives hope to a hell of a lot of leos out there who have the same predicament.

UV light in moderation seems to be the key and not nuking the poor lizard which is more of a nocturnal creature.

Thanks for the info and please keep us posted.
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Postby Spikelet » Sat Jul 08, 2006 7:11 pm

Thanks BV - there have been many tears in the last month so if I can help other people with their leo problems that would be good ...

Rex is doing well and coming along beautifully - little Crinkle is still touch and go and I am not optimistic that she will make it however I am quietly hopeful that she will pull through - she has been through a real ordeal so I hope she does make it ...

I thought I would post some pictures of my Leos MBD injuries so that everyone knows what to look out for,

firstly the rubbery jaw – watch the leo eat – their jaw should be stiff and should not bend on the straight bits of the jaw ie bending between the front of the jaw and the jaw hing is not good …

than visible injuries …

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This is Crinkly Angels bendy back left leg (notice the bend between knee and ankle – this is not normal, this is a two way bend: u bend to the back of the tail and a u bend inwards towards the body which is a break)

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Crinkly Angels broken back right leg …

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Close up of Crinkles back leg …

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Rex broken front right arm …

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Rex bendy front left arm …

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Rex from above – note the not straight front arms …

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This is Leia and she is MBD free and healthy – no broken bones – stiff jaw, good tail, walks well, lifts herself off the ground to walk …

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This is Leia being miffy with me – hee hee. Her tummy is clear of the floor and she is ready to zoot off at a moments notice, good straight boned legs and arms. When she hunts she has lifts herself up and sneaks along almost on her tippy toes …

If you manage to get pics of your leos mbd injuries please post them as well as …
Some pics of healthy leos would be good too so that people could compare them …
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Postby Bushviper » Sat Jul 08, 2006 7:30 pm

Thanks for sharing the info.

Now that you have lots of mealworms you can start them on that.

Sorry I did not come say Hi but I was clueless about who wanted the mealworms till we leaving.
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Postby Spikelet » Sat Jul 08, 2006 7:45 pm

LOL ...

Yep lots to keep them going so thanks a ton and for diverting for me to pick them up :D

I am trying to offer Crinkle a variety to spice up her interest but she seems determined to live on air and her tail weight alone ... so slurry syringe for her tomorrow night at this rate - silly girl!
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Postby Bushbaby » Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:27 am

Hi Spikelet,

How are your Leo's doing??
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Postby Spikelet » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:12 pm

Well My leos have been under UV and added calcium treatment for 5 weeks during which 3 weeks was forced calcium slurry once a day. This is what I have now ...

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This is Rex who now weighs 29 grams from 10grams at the start of the exercise. He has healed well and still eats a ton of calcium and gets all food dusted with calcium and he basks under his uvb light for more and more each day - at present he must be spending 3 to 4 hours under the light a day.

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Just because he is so adorable - his favourite is dusted crix that he chases around his house, mealworms are really not worth the effort as far as he is concerned and the superworms nip him on the tummy which he is rather wary of but they do wiggle in such an alluring way

This is my little problem Angel ... she is coming along very slowly however much joy over the fact that her last shed was the least problematic of them all - I only had to help shed her feet which is a huge improvement ...

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She goes up and down the scales - she started at 6 grams, hung at 10 and 12 grams for ages, shot up to 17 grams and now is at 16 grams hmmm.

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she doesn't eat as well as Rex but favours dusted crix as well as loving superworms - she ate one as big as her last week :shock: . I think she is just going to be a struggler and not a thriver like her brother but she is happy to limp along so ...

this is about the first week I have not stressed about her which is fantastic :D .
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Postby Mongoose » Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:09 pm

Very nice Spiklet, seem like i must send my little one to you for a while.hehe
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Postby Bushviper » Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:19 pm

That is great to hear. I probably would have fed them to something when they were in the condition you got them in.

Luckily you have the patience to see it through and that is an example to others out there (and me) to not give up on these guys.

Well done
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Postby arcadies » Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:05 pm

that is AWSM, really, coodles to you buddy
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Postby Spikelet » Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:07 pm

Thanks guys - couldn't feed them to anyone as they had names when I discovered how bad their mbd was :shock: . Ok so I am a little fanatical about my babies :D .

Also all worth the stress when I get to see Rex jumping around on the roof of his humid hide pretending to be a stick to pounce on the crickets from above -cute boy :D

PS the weight thing may sound psycho but Dr Verseput (considering his excellent advice I am gonna stick to it to the T) says I have to keep an eye on their weight as if they drop for any reason I have to start panicing and take them back ASAP as well as putting them back on the extra calcium slurry mixture. Hence why they get weighed and journaled once a week - also have to use my zooty digital gram scale for something other than baking :twisted: Also I am finding with Angel that every time she looks for her daisy to hold it is reassuring to confirm that her weight has not dropped too much :-? as she usually picks up a gram or two a few days later - did I mention she is my worry babe?
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Postby arcadies » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:56 pm

shame u really love them :D agg to sweet agg siestog :smt116 :smt083
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Postby Bushbaby » Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:49 am

Very well done Spikelet, and thank you for sharing it all with us. They are in fantastic hands and I know they will both pull through because of the love and attention you have given them.

Well done!!
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Postby Spikelet » Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:32 pm

Thanks everyone - and yes I do love them to bits, stunning critters have stolen my heart *big big smile*
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Postby Spikelet » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:51 am

Well it is just short of 3 months of my leos being under UVB and calcium treatment for their MBD. I am delighted to say they are doing fantastically so you will all be subjected to big pics of them ;)

My star child - Rex has gone from 10 grams , on the 14th of June 2006 to a very impressive 50 grams yesterday :D (40 grams in 2.5 months - just looked back on dates in my notebook now!). :D

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He loves mountaineering all over his house which I am taking as a sure sign that he is happy and now healthy!

Even more impressive is my problem child who has just had her first problem free shed! :D Angel is finally on the mend and is proving it by eating about 20mls of calcium in a month (actually eaten as there are no calcium tracks in her house :shock: ) She will sit for ages just shoving the calcium into her mouth - she is like a kid pigging out on a packet of chips - no sedate licking just shovel it all in as quickly as possible!

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She is finally walking and moving around a little more comfortably instead of dragging herself around like she was before :D . She proved her good spirits by climbing up on her humid hide last week - yay! :D

She has had a weight hike from 6 grams on the 14th of June 2006 to a rather good 30 grams now - this is apparently normal and I will keep watching her.

Both are still under UVB and will be for at least a year as well as constant access to calcium and all food items dusted. Rex is eating about 10 ml of calcium in a month while Angel is eating a good 20ml if not more a month ... The side effect of this is that I am constantly filling both their waterbowls from eating all their calcium - serious dry mouth after that :twisted:
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