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Nsof89   Icearstorm   Nsof89   Icearstorm  

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 Sick basilisk, strange symptoms

Checking to see if anyone out there has experienced anything like this. So far I’ve stumped two different vets, one being a reptile specialist. My female basilisk, 5 years old is showing neurological symptoms, which have been progressively worsening over the past few months. She has major issues with balance, and has a severe head tilt, which is most noticeable when trying to eat because she will aim for her food, then flip her head back usually to the point where she falls over, which makes feeding difficult.

Besides that, she shows no other symptoms and appears perfectly healthy by both vets. Normal appetite, level of activity, not in any pain, etc. After describing living conditions to vets, they agree she should have everything she needs, proper lighting, diet, cage size, humitidy, etc. We ran blood work which came back with super high levels of calcium and phosphorus (normal calcium level is 10, hers is 83). At those levels, calcium should be forming to soft tissue like joints, tendons and causing swelling and limited mobility, but it’s not. The vet seems to think it’s an inability to digest and secrete the calcium, rather than ingesting too much, as I gutload her food and only give supplements sparingly.

The vet says that although she has never seen this type of reaction personally, that it is possible the calcium is hardening inside her brain tissue causing the neurologic symptoms. It’s hard to research as basilisks are fairly uncommon pets. For now, we are slightly altering her diet to remove supplements completely and switching to red palm oil as a supplement source, giving an anti-inflammant drug by mouth, and upping the humidity and will recheck blood work in two weeks to see if anything has changed.

Unless there is a whole separate issue causing the neurologic symptoms, some initial suggestions are early kidney disease or a non functioning parathyroid gland.

Has anyone out there experienced anything like this? All I can find researching anything calcium related is MBD, which is the opposite of the problem. I understand that there may not be much I can do for her if the problem is neurologic, but I definitely want to try everything I can to at least stop any progression of symptoms.

05/04/16  09:29am


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  Message To: Nsof89   In reference to Message Id: 2318273

 Sick basilisk, strange symptoms

I’m not sure about the calcium; it definitely seems odd. Has she had a stool sample? A lack of useful bacteria or an overabundance of another kind could be contributing to that. A respiratory infection like tuberculosis can cause an excess of calcium, as well as some forms of cancer. Have you used any medicine on your lizard recently? One type, Aureomycin, acts as a calcium ionophore and therefore contributes to a higher calcium concentration in the blood.
The head tilt you describe is probably torticollis, but may also be stargazing syndrome. Both of these are often symptoms of another disease and may be brought on by thiamine (B1) deficiency, head trama, or some infection. Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to stargazing, though I highly doubt that’s what caused it considering your use of full spectrum lighting. I’ve never heard of anything linking torticollis or stargazing syndrome with abnormally high blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, though it seems fairly likely that they are related.
Hope this helps.

05/05/16  03:46pm


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  Message To: Icearstorm   In reference to Message Id: 2318289

 Sick basilisk, strange symptoms

Thanks for the feedback, I’ll share this with the vet on her follow up visit next week. We haven’t done a stool sample, but I will probably request one. There were no signs of infection from the blood work though.

With the torticollis and stargazing syndrome, what kind of diseases could those be associated with? And is there a way to treat those symptoms?

05/09/16  11:25am


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  Message To: Nsof89   In reference to Message Id: 2318323

 Sick basilisk, strange symptoms

I’m not sure about reptlies, but head trauma, severe vitamin deficiency, and non-inherited neurological disorders can cause those symptoms. Administering vitimins D and B1 can help, but if it is not a vitamin deficiency, then these will likely not help. I do not know of any reptile-based websites that could help, but here’s what a raptor site, The Modern Apprentice, says about it:

Stargazing (sometimes called Twirling or Ataxia)
Stargazing is an affliction of the nervous system, particularly inflammation of the brain, stemming from nutritional deficiencies (primarily Vitamin B1 or D3), metabolic problems, or poor management. The nutritional deficiencies themselves may be stemming from another disease or affliction or may be due to the particular diet the bird is eating. Typically the muscles to the sides of the neck will be contracting causing a twitching and twisting if they contract singly, or pulling the head directly back pointing the beak to the sky if they contract together.
Stargazing’s effects can be reversed with sunlight and Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and a whole food diet with proper supplements, although if another disease is causing the bird to not create or process vitamins, then that must be identified. Frequently a poor diet consisting solely of fish or organ meats will cause this. Birds fed fish must be considered for thiamine supplements, especially if the fish is not absolutely fresh. Thiamine deficiency, lack of B1 in the diet, can also come from only feeding muscle meat. This will also tend to present a bird with floppy feet and seizures. Valium can be used to treat the seizures, and thiamine can be given IM.
Similar symptoms to Stargazing will be seen in birds with head trauma. This is typically referred to as Torticollis where the bird displays the "upside-down" head posture with some amount of spasm or twitching. Some of these may be treatable, but others are irreversible effects of trauma. Seizures should be treated with Valium.

Torticollis (sometimes called Wry Neck)
Torticollis is typically a symptom of another disease. It is an affliction of the nervous system stemming from a variety of problems including trauma to the head, heat stroke causing nerve damage, West Nile Virus, or a variety of other diseases and shows similar symptoms to Stargazing in that the head is held in an odd position. Unlike Stargazing, the head may be twisted forward and bent up as if looking forward, but upside-down. Other behaviors may include walking in circles instead of a straight line.
The effects of Torticollis can be lessened with Metacam (meloxicam), vitamin B, and NSAIDs such as aspirin, although there are many irreversible forms of this.

05/14/16  05:04pm

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