Rio Reptiles
Rio Reptiles - A Rescue Resort


Vitamin D


As I was doing research, I found a lot of controversy over the use of D3, mostly that the "pros" don't use it or recommend it. Plainly stating if the animal gets adequate UV exposure, it isn't necessary.  I kind of took it as if they are saying you don’t take well enough care of your pet if you need to use it, but I understand where they're coming from.  And the fact that too much of it will also cause MBD and other problems.  Also the fact that animals don’t really absorb much D3 in that form so it isn’t doing much in the first place.

The minimum daily requirement of vitamin D for most animals is 10 to 20 IU per kg of body weight

Rep Cal brand contains 400 IU per gram or 1000 mg of calcium,
same ratio as a humans daily requirements

Zoo Med contains 122 IU per gram or 1000 mg, roughly 1/3 of the other

A teaspoon contains 3 grams, so 1 gram equals 1/3 of a teaspoon.  This might help in figuring out how much we use when dusting or mixing with greens.  I would estimate maybe 1/16 to 1/8 of a teaspoon or less, depending on how you use it.  Does anyone actually measure their calcium? It’s probably not a bad idea if you want to dose it correctly.

I wonder if it is safe to assume that neither of these contain enough D3 to cause problems?  Considering how much we use per serving, a dragon probably only ingests about half of it, if that. 

So with the Rep Cal I think the dosage would end up to be about  8 IU a day and the Zoo Med around 2.5 IU per day if 1/16 of a teaspoon was used. If you look at a 1/4 teaspoon and divide it into 4, it looks about right.  This would make approximately 302 servings from a 2 oz jar. 

I weigh 100 lbs and the daily recommended dosage for a human is 400 IU's, my dragon weighs 1lb (the biggest) and gets UV all day, so I would assume a safe level should be less than 4 IU daily since all living things probably synthesize D3 in a similar manner. 

If you want to get really picky, you could supplement with D3 partially by only using it with selected feedings or alternating with plain calcium.  Ultimately its going to be all about ratios and balance with a varied diet and other supplements.   The required ratio for vitamins  A to D to E should be 100:10:1 when choosing a multi vitamin.  The only problem with that is that many people suggest using a vitamin without added A due to the high amounts of a found in most all of the staple greens.  Your best bet is to get something with Beta Carotene so that the body can convert it into the vitamin A it needs which is a better method anyway. 




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