Hypocalcemia in Reptiles | Vetlexicon
reptile - Articles

Hypocalcemia


Synonym(s): Low calcium levels

Introduction

  • Cause: low calcium diet, inappropriate dietary calcium: phosphorus ratio, hypovitaminosis D, nutritional or renal secondary hyperparathyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, pregnancy toxemia.
  • Signs: weakness, muscle tremors, seizures, lameness, cloacal prolapse.
  • Diagnosis: biochemistry, diagnostic imaging.
  • Treatment: calcium supplementation, treat underlying cause, correct diet and husbandry.
  • Prognosis: good if mild clinical signs; poor if severe, advanced underlying disease. Can be life threatening.

Presenting signs

  • Muscle tremors/fasciculations.
  • Generalized weakness.
  • Seizures.
  • Pathological fractures.
  • Cloacal prolapse.

Acute presentation

  • Collapse.
  • Seizures.
  • Lameness.

Age predisposition

  • Hypocalcemia due to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism is more common in younger animals.
  • Hypocalcemia due to renal secondary hyperparathyroidism or primary hyperparathyroidism more common in older animals.

Breed/Species predisposition

  • Common in reptiles.

Cost considerations

  • Diagnostics can be expensive and treatment is usually prolonged.

Special risks

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Secondary to renal secondary hyperparathyroidism in geriatric animals.
  • Secondary to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Low calcium, high phosphorus diet.
  • Hypovitaminosis D.
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism due to parathyroid neoplasia (adenoma, adenocarcinoma) is reported in reptiles.
  • Hypocalcemia may also occur with hypoproteinemia.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Lack of UVB exposure and adequate temperature range.

Specific

  • Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Renal secondary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Parathyroidectomy.

Timecourse

  • Acute or chronic depending on underlying cause.

Diagnosis

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Treatment

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Prevention

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Outcomes

Subscribe To View

This article is available to subscribers.

Try a free trial today or contact us for more information.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

Other sources of information

  • Boyer T H & Scott P W (2018) Nutritional Diseases In: Mader’s Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Divers S J & Stahl S J. Elsevier, USA. pp 932-950.
  • Raiti P (2018) Endocrinology In: Mader’s Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds. Divers S J & Stahl S J. Elsevier, USA. pp 835-848.