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Home » Archive » 2011 » Veterinary Session

Veterinary session

Effects of different dietary supplements on selected blood parameters and growth of bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps)
Simon Cecília - year 4
Szent István University Faculty of Veterinary Science Department of Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science
Supervisor: Nikoletta Hetényi

Abstract:

The bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is one of the most popular reptile species kept in captivity. Diseases connected to environmental and nutritional problems are common and blood parameters may help in the early diagnosis. Good quality dietary mineral and vitamin supplementations have a great importance in prevention of such diseases. As we have already seen, some of these products are not adequate, so they can not prevent the deficiency syndromes.

In our study we examined the long term effects of some of these supplements. One of our goals was to determine the reference values in selected blood parameters. The lizards (36 animals) arrived at the age of one month and were housed individually. Three groups were set up, two of them received complex products – which contained vitamins and minerals – and the third one received calcium only. In each of them two subgroups were made, number I. without and number II. with UV-B-exposure. Weight and length of the animals were measured weekly. Blood samples were taken from 18 lizards – three from every subgroup – seven times from the v. coccygea ventralis. Total and ionised calcium, uric acid, sodium, potassium, ALT and total protein were measured. In these animals additional X-ray examinations were made three times.

Between the groups no significant differences were found in weight and length. Animals received complex products had significantly lower total and ionised calcium levels (p = 0,0017 and p = 0,0125) than animals received calcium exclusively. The UV-B-exposure resulted significantly higher total and ionised calcium levels (p = 0,0003 and p = 0,0027). The UV-B-radiation did not have any effects on the measured parameters. Total protein increased with the age. Uric acid levels were highly influenced by the status of digestion and huge individual differences were also found. ALT and sodium levels were not affected by the treatments. The X-ray examinations did not showed differences between the groups.

In our study UV-B exposure combined with dietary calcium supplementation was effective and led to normal blood values. Although, none of our animals showed deficiency syndromes, we recommend the feeding of complex products. Namely, overfeeding of these pets by the owners is a big problem, which provokes the intensive growth resulting higher mineral and vitamin requirements. With the applications of such products deficiency syndromes can be prevented.



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