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Last updated : 01/04/2007

This page is indexed on our home page under Aspect: 4. Information & care sheets and the Section: Health Issues

Overdose of vitamin D3

In doing research for this web site we noted unrelated pictures of reptile livers and kidneys that show obvious signs of calcification, in the form of white dots. This prompted further attention and we did a little more in depth research and found some articles on the subject. Enough for us to believe that this could be a cause of more problems that that is generally believed and the need for caution in care sheets that advise on the use of supplements. These are the links we have managed to find to date on the subject.

Should you have any other sources of information please let us know.

Brief introduction

An overdose is cause by the ingestion of vitamin D supplements and not by the use of UVB lights that allow the reptile to manufacture its own vitamin D3 requirements.

Links on Vitamin D

White-Lipped Python death caused by organ calcification

Nutrient Requirements - Merck Veterinary Manual

Makes reference to the following:-

"Excessive levels of oral vitamin D3 can lead to the excessive absorption and utilization of calcium."

Vitamin D Toxicity - general background info on vitamin D.

Care of the Green Iguana - Valley Vets Limited

Makes reference to the following:-

"Calcium only supplement. This is probably preferable for daily or frequent use as it prevents the potential overdose of vitamin D. Neocalglucon is a readily available safe source of calcium that is a very palatable liquid. Use approximately 0.10 ml per each 100 - 200 grams of body weight daily or every other day in babies and juveniles. Use tone 1-2 times a week in adults."

Reptile Nutrition - Pets

Makes reference to the following:-

In general, avoid calcium supplements that contain phosphorus and extra vitamin D. These supplements are more likely to induce metastatic calcification. As a rule, most reptile diets are already too high in phosphorus from meat and fruit. You can use Neocalglucon syrup as a calcium supplement. The sweet syrup is readily lapped from a syringe or dropper by most reptiles allowing individual dosing."

Acute & Chronic Renal Disease in Lizards (cont'd) - Animal Planet

Makes reference to the following:-

"Acute hypercalcemia (i.e., from acute vitamin D3 overdose) can result in calcification of the kidney"


We will try and find more info on the subject in due course. In the interim we await your comments.

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Last update : 01/04/2007