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A few months ago Esmerelda had her first vet visit and I had a huge scare! There were a lot of factors. I had been really busy for a few weeks and hadn’t taken as much time to care for Esmerelda as usual. In that time all I fed her was kale and some of Schnucks frozen mixed vegetables. Normally, I get a different type of green every week or whenever she finishes one. If she has kale one week then I will get her mustard greens the next and collard greens after that, etc.. But for various reasons (in a rush, the other greens at the store looked moldy one time) I bought kale at least three times in a row. So #1 her food had very little variety and I afterwards read that kale should only be fed sparingly because of bad calcium to phosporus ratio. I did not know that.

#2 Esmerelda spent very little time in her cage during this time. I was giving her free roam and she was really enjoying it. It didn’t occur to me that that also meant she wasn’t spending time under a UV light!

So one night I went into the room to see her sleeping on the table and I saw that all of her toes were twitching and tremors were going through her legs and chest. I was so scared! I knew this was a definite sign of calcium deficency in many reptiles so I immediately mixed calcium and water and fed her some with a syringe. That’s when I noticed the lump on her jaw – another sign of MBD! I felt so terrible.

I called the vet first thing the next morning. When I woke up her toes were still twitching, but not as badly. I fed her more of the calcium mixture at that time. By the time I got to the vet, a few hours later, the twitching was almost nonexistent and the vet told me that what I had done was definitely the way to go.

The vet approved of her diet and was mostly concerned that she wasn’t getting enough UV light because (and I had strangely never heard this before) even if there is calcium in the food or dusted on the food, most reptiles require the UV rays to actually use the calcium in their body. He also took a blood sample (which she did NOT appreciate) and I got the results the next day. She did have slightly low blood calcium, but otherwise a clean bill of health. The Dr. said to continue with the calcium mixture until the twitching stopped and also prescribed some sunshine. Twitching never occurred again and the bump on the jaw went down dramatically.

As far as how she handled the vet visit, Esmerelda was not a happy camper and did a great job of scratching up my arms and the vet assistant’s. Halfway through it occurred to the vet to put a towel over her head and she calmed down. Why didn’t I think of that?

So in conclusion, feed kale sparingly and make sure you have a UVB bulb!

I also took the vet’s sunshine prescription to heart and have been taking Esmerelda out to a local park. People LOVE her. But since I can’t find a leash that she can’t get out of, I have just been herding her on the beach and carrying her. I have been going on the weekdays when I am off work so that I don’t have to worry too much about a lot of people or their pets. She really loves it and she’s great at striking up conversations. 😉

People are always coming up wanting to pet her or take pictures.

fun in the sun