Preventing Metabolic Bone Disease In Bearded Dragons & Other Reptiles
Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is one of the most common diseases for captive reptiles. The common causes are diets too low in calcium or too high in phosphorus, or a vitamin D deficiency (either too little in the diet or not enough exposure to UVB light). Owners can take two key steps to minimize the chances of their bearded dragon getting MBD:
- Feed them black soldier fly larvae: these insect larvae are simply the best (yeah, we may be a bit biased but read on…). In addition to being a great, low chitin protein source, black soldier fly larvae have more than 10x the calcium levels of other leading feeder insects and are the only feeder insect that meets the vet recommended minimum calcium to phosphorus ratio, ensuring optimal calcium absorption and making black soldier fly larvae the best live feeder for providing the nutrients needed to prevent MBD.
- Replace your UVB bulb every 6-12 months: The problem here is that the UVB in the bulb burns out before the rest of the bulb does. We know it’s frustrating to throw out a bulb that’s still giving off light, but the reason you have the bulb is for the UVB, so if it’s gone, the bulb needs to go too.
Here are some great resources if you want to go in depth:
- VCA Pet Hospitals: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-diseases
- Reptile Guide: https://reptile.guide/metabolic-bone-disease-bearded-dragons/
- Pet Helpful: https://pethelpful.com/reptiles-amphibians/metabolic_bone_disease-2
- Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital: info provides perspective across reptiles. http://www.exoticpetvet.com/metabolic-bone-disease-care.htm l