Vitamin D deficiency can lead to several health problems collectively called metabolic bone disease (MBD). One commonly kept reptile species prone to develop MBD if managed incorrectly is the bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). This study aimed to determine the extent to which adult female bearded dragons fed a diet low in vitamin D can use stored vitamin D and its metabolites to maintain plasma 25(OH)D3 and 1,25(OH)2D3 concentrations after discontinuing UVb exposure. Blood samples of healthy adult female bearded dragons, exposed to UVb radiation for over 6months were collected (day 0) after which UVb exposure was discontinued for 83days and blood was collected. Blood plasma was analysed for concentrations of total Ca, total P, ionized Ca, uric acid, 25(OH)D3 and 1,25(OH)2D3. There was no significant change in plasma 25(OH)D3 and 1,25(OH)2D3 concentrations during the study. While total Ca and P in whole blood was found to significantly decrease over time (P<0.0088 and 0.0016, respectively), values were within the reference range. Plasma ionized Ca tended (P=0.0525) to decrease during the study. Adult female bearded dragons, previously exposed to UVb, are able to maintain blood vitamin D metabolite concentrations when UVb exposure is discontinued for a period of up to 83days.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part B: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Department of Clinical Genetics

Oonincx, D. G. A. B., van de Wal, M. D., Bosch, G., Stumpel, J., Heijboer, R., van Leeuwen, H., … Kik, M. (2013). Blood vitamin D3 metabolite concentrations of adult female bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) remain stable after ceasing UVb exposure. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part B: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 165(3), 196–200. doi:10.1016/j.cbpb.2013.04.006