What is MBD?

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What is MBD?
MBD or metabolic bone disease is a common illness that affects exotic pets like reptiles. This disease typically occurs in reptiles that have problems with the calcium and phosphorus levels in their bodies. Although experts believe that the actual cause for developing MBD in reptiles cannot be pinpointed to a single cause, many consider this disease as diet-related since the most common feature involves an imbalance in nutrients.

MBD commonly occurs in iguanas, tortoises, and even lizards. The imbalance of nutrients involve in MBD is considered fatal to the pet reptiles but is highly preventable. What happens in MBD is that calcium is low and the phosphorus is too high. Because of this, the reptile’s body will try to get some calcium from the bones where there are plenty. When this happens, the bones of the reptile pets become brittle and may easily get fractured. This will then debilitate the reptile pet and affect other nutrients and functions in the body.

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Causes of MBD may include inadequate calcium in the diet, low Vitamin D, not enough exposure to the sun, disease in the kidneys and livers, and rarely, problems involving the hormone secretions of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Common manifestations of MBD include lameness, lethargy, deformities in the reptile’s spinal column, bowing of limbs, twitching of limbs, deformities on the jaw, and broken bones.

Proper diet and feeding takes the bulk in managing pets with MBD. Some pets also need to be treated with UV bulbs to help them produce Vitamin D and absorb more calcium. Some are given calcium injections while others will have to go through calcitonin therapy. In all cases, treatment depends on the symptoms and severity of MBD. For the best care, pet owners must consult with licensed veterinarians to give their pets the best treatment and management options.

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