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MBD - Leopard Geckos

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Rich, Apr 18, 2005.

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  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I am looking for opinions on the ability for Leopard Geckos to contract MBD.

    I have been following a thread on another forum, where the vet has said that they believe that the Leopard Gecko presented to them had somehow contracted a case of MBD. I disagree with the vets diagnosis of the problem, with reason, but want to hear what everyone elses opinions are on this. Here is the basic information:

    Here is the leo in question:


    This is the exact thread I responded to as well as the image I responded to.

    What do you think caused this? If you believe it appears to be MBD, please tell me why you believe this is possible.

    If you believe that a diagnosis of MBD in this leo is innacurate, please post why as well.

    I am very curious as to what everyone percieves this to be and why.
  2. Joe

    Joe Elite Member

    I would say that MBD would be unlikley in a Leo that is given the adequate amount of calcium, but not impossible.

    As I understand it, as in all reptiles, the animal requires D3 to process the calcium. As leos do not require a source of UVB then to aquire that D3 they must be supplemented, and obtian it from the food they eat. If the correct levels of D3 were not met then yes MBD is a possibility, but as all the leos where kept the same I would say not in this case.

    I would have thought going on what you posted that i would be a genetic problem of sorts, one of our beardies has a crocked back and walks funny but this is not MBD as again she has been kept the same as all our other beardies.
  3. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The picture above offers more than the writing does. MBD is the inability to absorb/utilize dietary calcium. Crooked limbs, rubber jaw, etc. are signs of advanced MBD. Now look at that picture, and in conjunction with the story, why else would this be hard to swallow as a case of MBD?

    (Joes note on the leo recieving the same calcium is one of the reasons I have listed, but it isn't the main supporting factor for why I believe that this leo is being misdiagnosed.)

    Thanks for your input Joe. If you have more to add, please share. I plan on responding to this thread later on when I return from work. Both on this site, as well as the site where this was originally posted.

    I greatly appreciate the input from those members on this site that would like to add to this thread. I want to see what everyone else thinks when they are presented with this type of situation.
  4. Joe

    Joe Elite Member

    I can't see the pic, all I'm getting is a pretty white box with a red x in it lol
  5. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    This was the response that I recieved after inquiring about the vets diagnosis of this ailment. As you may have noticed, the above post was her diagnosis. This is what she writes:

  6. Joe

    Joe Elite Member

    Sorry I can't be more insightful, but I find it hard to believe that MBD is the problem as I have never heard of a case of a leo having it before. I can't see the pic either for some reason (stupid works computer :D) so I'm only going on what has been written.
  7. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    I can see the pic and the thing that seems quite worrying is the apparently regurgitated or undigested meal worms? Or are they just meal worms that have not yet been eaten? >is that the thing you were pointing at when talking about the pic Rich?

    Could be a genetic abnormality??
  8. Lyn

    Lyn Elite Member

    Honestly Rich, I would agree with the MBD...I have recently adopted my aunts 2 female leos, one of which is absolutely fine and the other has slightly crooked front legs like the pic you are showing. She never dusted crix or provided a calcium bowl (they dove into it when I put one in their enclosure). While she eats fine, and is fat and sassy, she has a prob with her front legs and prolly will never be normal. She is about 2 yrs old. Thats what I can offer....Lyn
  9. steel rip

    steel rip Elite Member

    The leo in question looks to young to have got MBD in such a short time, I think its a genetic defect too..
  10. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Are you suggesting, Rich, from the mealworms in the pic, that the damage could be from paralysis, from too big or the wrong food items?
  11. CodyW

    CodyW Elite Member

    My understanding is that some effects of MBD can be reversed once the problem is addressed. I think the front leg paralysis could be due to one of two possible problems, possibly even both. As Rachel said, wrong size food items may have been offered to this young leo causing paralysis in the front legs by impaction or possibly something else.

    I have troubles believing that this is diagnosible as MBD. For one, it seems as though the entire group was provided with the same husbandry practices (same supplements, feeding schedule, etc.), why would one develop this and not the others? For two, it was provided calcium, MBD isn't necessarily hard to combat as long as Calcium is provided.

    In my opinion it was either something secondary caused by a possible impaction from too large or too small of food items. Or it's a biological condition that this one is expressing and it is a good idea of the owners not to breed this trait back into the community. I believe something is wrong with the leo's capacity to metabolize the calcium from the calcium carbonate/bicarbonate in the supplements into calcium ions, he may not be producing enough calcium carbonase/bicarbonase, which would be necessary to metabolize the substances.
  12. CodyW

    CodyW Elite Member

    I just re-read Rich's followup :eek:

    I would like to retract all the 'paralysis' and replace them with 'deformities.' :)
  13. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Sorry for the lack of a response, as some of you are aware, I was experiencing some technical difficulties with my PC.

    Ok, this is how I see it. This Leo was born healthy. If it wasn't, it wouldn't have grown. Now this Leo was raised by the same people that raised the other healthy Leos that she purchased. It would be very safe to assume that they were all fed the same diet on the same schedule.

    So, at that point in time, the Leo was eating fine, and was growing. (If it is growing, it is getting calcium.) So we can safely say that the Leo was not having any problems in the beginning stages of its life.

    So we can rule out any previous medical condition stemming from its rearing. (If it had the early stages of MBD when it were younger, it would not have grown.)

    Remember, this Leo is not very old. Keeping that in mind, the disfigurement of the Leo is not an early indication of MBD. Deformities like that are in advanced cases. So this MBD would have had to been present for some time. In fact, almost this Leos entire lifespan.

    MBD doesn't strike overnight. It doesn't show a healthy Leo today, and then disfigurement the next day. That is not caused by MBD. MBD is a slow killer. What happened to that Leo, if the bent limbs weren't previously detected before the actual day it was noticed, was the sudden onset of something different.

    I would speculate to say the the problem is neurological and not MBD related.

    I wanted to see the bloodwork, so I could see if there were any chemical agents in the stream or some other foreign toxic.

    I wanted to see the x-ray so I could try and locate an impaction pressing against the spinal column.

    There are 3 things that I know could also cause this. The first being the digestive of a foreign toxin/chemical.

    The second being impaction. Similar to hind leg syndrome in Bearded Dragons, oversized prey/food items can become impacted. This can cause the impacted object to become logged in a location of the intestinal tract that is close in proximity of the spinal cord. The food item attempts to pass through, but becomes impacted between the spinal column and a body organ. This places pressure on the spinal column. In turn, the pressure interferes with the signals being transmitted through the central nervous system. This can cause paralysis, partial paralysis, involuntary muscle movements, and muscle expansion and contraction.

    The third way would be head/spine injuries.
    Head and Spine injuries can also cause the nerve damage that could have caused this. A fall from a shoulder, another high object,etc. would be accountable for this type of injury.

    Or perhaps something "fell" on the Leo. Again, another trauma that could cause neuro damage.

    If this Leo only presented this disfigurement for a few days, and showed no other signs of illness, it couldn't have been MBD. There would have been noticeable signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, weight loss, and an extremely thin tail. MBD moves slow, but it is a progressing illness not a sudden illness.

    With Leos, the mildest of pathogens or parasites would cause it to stop eating. That is a tell tale sign that something is wrong. With advanced MBD, that Leo would have weighed nothing and would have looked to be dieing.

    From what I know about MBD, I wouldn't even have considered it an option when told it appeared over a 3-4 day period. I would run the blood first, and then x-ray for injuries/impaction. (The blood work would also show if it were MBD as would the x-ray.)

    Does that sound like good reasoning for ruling out MBD? It was good enough for me. lol
  14. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    LOL Excellent diagnosis Dr. Rich :p - did you post this for the person whose gecko it is? Very interesting observations, thanks for sharing.
  15. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    When I first approached the original thread, I was more curious than anything. I didn't believe it was MBD, so I wanted to see what the vet did to determine it was MBD. I think they took the easy way out by speculating. I just didn't see it the way they were.

    This leo has had several owners. One of them may have been neglectful, or perhaps the leo encountered an injury while under their care.

    The day the leo arrived, those limbs would have been noticeable. You don't over look bent limbs like that.

    So that means that whatever caused this, presented while under the new owners care. Either the prvious owner injured the little guy by over supplementing, tank cleaning agents, or physical occured at the new owners home and any of the above things could be the cause.

    I am not a vet, but my research and experience with both the disease and the reptile wouldn't put me in a position to rule it as MBD. I would need definitive proof before I succombed to that belief.

    BTW, I did repost that in the original thread.
  16. steel rip

    steel rip Elite Member

    I found this piece on leos with certain illness or deformities and at the very bottom of the page shows pictures similar to yours of a leo with MBD, and the front legs appear to be the same MBD
  17. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Very distressing pictures but very educational.. thanks for the link Donna. Pauline is a well respected leopard gecko breeder, and her website is excellent.

    The pictures do show similar signs in the gecko, although as it is listed other symptoms of MBD include lethargy, distorted/swollen/rubbery/bendy limbs and/or a soft/flexible jaw. And as Rich said, MBD doesn't occur overnight,.

    I'm curious Rich, what treatment are they receiving or what are they doing for this gecko in question? I hope it's ok.
  18. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The Leo is doing great. It eats, defecates regularly, its mobile, etc. The only thing this girl did as "treatment" when she recieved this leo was feed him a regular diet and increase his calcium intake.

    Christina brought up a good point. Its possible that this leo had hypocalcemia. That would allow the leo to grow at a slow rate, while still having a calcium deficiency. With the several owners that this leo had, none of them may have noticed the decrease in speed of growth.

    The only part of this that I would question is that all of the previous owners would have had to been neglecting this Leo to some degree. It must not have been fed supplemented insects. The insects must not have been gut loaded. And the feeding frequency must have been disruptive at best and not regular intervals.

    A diet consisting of gut loaded insects that are fed on a regular basis would have been enough to prevent hypocalcemia and MBD. Obviously, a dish of calcium should be available at all times as well. The leo knows when it requires additional calcium.

    Without the bloodwork and x-rays, we will never have a definitive answer. I did find this thread to be interesting though and I was glad that others had chimed in. A number of different illnesses and causes were brought up during the initial thread, so at least some awareness of causes have been listed.
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