UV lights in the care of caudates

oregon newt

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Hi everyone, very interesting forum, just thought I would share what I got told and the outcomes on having a UV or not with newts.
I got my first Chinese fire-bellied newt a few years back I wasnt told anything by the breeder about needed a UV light and after asking he said I didnt need one for a juvenile, just adult. However, my newt contracted metabolic bone disease due to an insufficient amount of vit. D and I was then recomended by a vet to get a UV light. Unfortunately that newt had to be put down because of his condition. I was still keen to keep these amazing animals so I did get another newt and hoping that I had solved the problem by getting a UV all would be well. Unfortunately about 18 months after I got him he contracted these very wierd lumps down the sides of his body. I took him back to the vet where he was operated on, and survived at 0.8 g), and was told that the lumps were once again due to metabolic bone disease which was causing his spine was curved so much it was pushing his organs to either side of his body. He picked up remarkably after his operation but sadly he has reduced movement again as the lumps seem to have "come back". His life is now shorter but he is still active and feeding well so im just letting him be at the moment. So after all this I cannot say whether the UV was needed or not but the latest suggestion I have had is to add calcium to his diet which I would like to do with him to see if it helps in anyway as it may be too late but am sceptical sbout getting another newt as I do not want to watch another little one go through this aweful disease again as I cannot care for them and provid them with what they need to live properly.

Lydz
Does anybody have an answer as to why this might have happened? It seems unusual.
 

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Does anybody have an answer as to why this might have happened? It seems unusual.
I have never heard of this. I've heard of people having problems not far from what has been described but with large-bodied Triturus, and this was attributed to MBD. I've never heard of MBD in Asian newts. I can only imagine most newts having MBD if they are fed the wrong foods. I rank the UV light requirement of salamanders up there with creationism in terms of credibility (*ducks*).
 

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FWIW my vote is that salamanders do not require UVB. Some frogs may, but there is no data that I have seen which is solid evidence that any amphib needs UVB.

Our Kihansi spray toads did seem to improve dramatically with the addition of UVB producing halogens, but so much was changed simultaneously that I cannot say for sure it was the lighting. Metabolic bone disease did cease to appear on histopathology. They also would be subjected to pretty intense insolation in their natural habitat, which cannot be said for the vast majority of salamanders.

-Tim
 

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Assuming isolation is illumination correct?

I do know that most frog keepers reccomend using reptile supplements...usually Repcal with D3 and Herptivite. I know in some reps D3 is synthesized with help from the sun. So does that mean that animals that need it in captivity need UV or in the wild somehow get it from their diet.

On nutrition...newt keepers do tend to use more worms than others. I s'pose worms are much better than crickets as a staple nutritionally(not saying rep keepers should start feeding them to animals who don't eat them naturally!). I've heard quite a few stories of sals being raised solely on worms.

I did have one case of an orientalis that had an unusual tiny bump in its spine. But it was their when the newt was acquired and this specimen never thrived. I went ahead and assumed congenital defect.

On UVA I've heard since many lizards can see into UVA/have patches on their body that reflect UV light it may assist in communication. So providing it for welfare of the animals could be in order.

Actually, according to some sources the white stripe on the tails of Triturus also reflects UV quite well.
 

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I have seen and/or read about enough cases of spinal curvature in newts (developing during adulthood, not congenital) to make me think that there is SOME unmet need in captivity. Whether light is a factor or not is debatable.

The experiment I really want to see done is this: do captive-bred amphibians have the same bone density as wild-caught? If not, then we need to be looking at how to make captive nutrition (and possibly light) more like wild.
 

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Hi all,

This is just an update of an email correspondence i received from one of the exotics vet. If you would like his contacts/vet webpage, i can pm it to you. Unfortunately as we can only keep axolotls in australia, the information is rather species specific. Hope it does lend in to the discussion though.

Cheers.

------------
Hi Rayson.

Nice to hear from you.

The provision of UV light to amphibians is a debatable subject. Many believe that, as mostly nocturnal animals, they don't require it. Although this could not really be stated true for across the board of all amphibian species. Axolotls don't appear to tolerate high light levels - especially with the abscence of eyelids. Many recommendations suggest keeping them with no light at all.

In the textbook "amphibian medicine and captive husbandry' (Wright & Whitaker), they state that using a low level of UV light for limited time daily may be beneficial. they don't however state specifically what axolotls require. I have not come across any references stating that axolotls require UV access. The low level light is not conducive to growth of most plants (though there are some plant species that will grow in low level light). Wright & Whitaker suggest providing normal daylength lighting as would be experienced by the amphibian in its natural habitat. They also state - especially for nocturnal species - to simulate the 'moon-light' cycles.

Sorry I can't be more specific.

Best wishes

David
-----------------------------------------------
 

Darkmaverick

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Hi all,

Another correspondence update on the matter. For your information.

---------------
Hi Dr Tan,

I cannot find any reliable resources that state the UV requirements of axolotls.

A lot of amphibians live in thick forest away from direct sunlight, so I think that even if they need UV light, it would not be very much.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh
BSc BVMS MPhil (Vet Path) MACVSc (Aquatic Animal Health) CMAVA DipPM
------------------------
 

fishkeeper

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I have seen and/or read about enough cases of spinal curvature in newts (developing during adulthood, not congenital) to make me think that there is SOME unmet need in captivity. Whether light is a factor or not is debatable.

The experiment I really want to see done is this: do captive-bred amphibians have the same bone density as wild-caught? If not, then we need to be looking at how to make captive nutrition (and possibly light) more like wild.
How many animals affected and what diet were they getting?

As an aside...if animals are not getting what they need will the whole group of only a select few be affected?(say, if you have a bunch of bearded dragons and do not provide UV...will they all succumb to MBD, or only a few at a time?)

Because many times hobbyists who see only single animals affected pass it off as not nutritional/environmental if all the animals are getting the same. Is this reasonable?
 

herpvet

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How many animals affected and what diet were they getting?

As an aside...if animals are not getting what they need will the whole group of only a select few be affected?(say, if you have a bunch of bearded dragons and do not provide UV...will they all succumb to MBD, or only a few at a time?)

Because many times hobbyists who see only single animals affected pass it off as not nutritional/environmental if all the animals are getting the same. Is this reasonable?
Hello,

I would have to say in my experience the answer is no to the latter. I've seen several cases where one or a small minority of a group on similar husbandry have shown signs of problems while the others show none. Animals are individuals and can react differently to the same husbandry. In the group situation, with a (generally) relatively slow-acting problem like deficient diet, the animals will almost certainly show varying degrees of problems.

Of course depending on circumstances, the fact that only a minority of the group are affected might drop nutritional or environmental factors down the priority list of differential diagnoses, but it rarely rules it out in my opinion.

Bruce.
 

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Hi all,

Here is yet another of my email correspondence from another exotics vet.

--------

Hi Rayson,

Axolotls in the wild live near the edge of lakes in Mexico. The assumption would be that
they would be exposed to UV light on a regular basis. We always recommend UV light but at
lower levels for a normal day night cycle and for their vitamin D -but this is purely
anecdotal. I have not seen an axolotl with signs of UV problems from high exposure but as
many owners do not bring the axolotls to the vet it may still be happening.

Hiding areas should also be available to axolotls.

regards

Alex
*****************************
Dr Alex Rosenwax
BVSC MACVSc (Avian Health)

Bird and Exotic Veterinarian
 

fishkeeper

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Hello,

I would have to say in my experience the answer is no to the latter. I've seen several cases where one or a small minority of a group on similar husbandry have shown signs of problems while the others show none. Animals are individuals and can react differently to the same husbandry. In the group situation, with a (generally) relatively slow-acting problem like deficient diet, the animals will almost certainly show varying degrees of problems.

Of course depending on circumstances, the fact that only a minority of the group are affected might drop nutritional or environmental factors down the priority list of differential diagnoses, but it rarely rules it out in my opinion.

Bruce.
Thanks for the input!

I wonder if it may be due perhaps to too fast of growth? Newts in captivity seem to grow much faster than in the wild. Wild former Triturus generally are mature at age 3...but in captivity 1 year olds breeding is a rather common happening. Same with Cynops. Most people report first breedings at year 3 or so when in the wild they begin at age 5.
 

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Hi all,

This is my last email correspondence post. In summary, all 4 of the exotics vet i contacted, shared the same opinion with me of just needing to provide very little quantities of light and also the the provision of hiding spots to retreat to for shade.

Regards

---------

Hi Rayson

The commonly held opinion is that most amphibians do not require a UV light as is
definitely required for some reptiles. Some sources say they need a small amount of
exposure to UV others argue it is not necessary. There have been a small number of cases
with signs similar to metabolic bone disease but in the amphibian cartilage, so I feel
that a gentle, subdued light is worthwhile and total darkness should be avoided. Make
sure the Axolotl can escape and move away from the light. Do not have light exposure
longer than a normal day length. Be sure your light does not overheat the tank. The
temperature of the vivarium should not exceed about 25 °C during the summer. Aim for a
range 15-23 °C.

Mike Cannon
 

John

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Rayson, all of your literature links are to an inaccessible proxy server at your University (i.e. useless links).

I found this study on Ambystoma eggs/larvae (specifically A. maculatum and A. talpoideum) while doing some unrelated lit searching. PDF of paper is attached - if anyone has a problem with me attaching the actual paper I can remove it but I think it's the most relevant paper I've seen, if not overly illuminating.

Journal of Herpetology, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 35-42, 2006. "Sensitivity of Two Salamander (Ambystoma) Species to Ultraviolet Radiation", Robin D. Calfee, Christine M. Bridges, and Edward E. Little.
 

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yagoag

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Hi all
That's a very interesting theme. Two weeks ago was held in the Zoo of Barcelona a 3 days conference on The Year of The Frog organised by Jersey Zoo, Barcelona Zoo, Fuengirola Zoo, Amphibian Aark, Gerarld Durrell Wildlife, etc. 40 people attended from Spain, Portugal and England with different profiles: biologist, herpetologists, societies, specialised veterinarian (I was stunt about the veterinarian expertise), private breeders, and so on. All veterinarian talk about UVA-UVB, and some did some research along with other specialists around the world. They took different species of wild and captive amphibians (mainly frogs, toads, newts and salamanders), and they X-Ray them. All captive breed animals show BIG BONE DEFICIENCIES OF CALCIUM, even broken bounds on dendrobates species! And non of the wild animals show any problem. The conference was really technical, so unless you were a veterinarian you can hardly follow the presentation. But, to sum up, they basically agreed that low levels of UVA-UVB light was essential for most species (obviously not for cave ones, underground burrows species as a. maculatum, purely aquatic ones, etc ), further research was needed due to huge variations on species. If new captive breed animals were expose to natural light they didn't show the problem any more: F3 generation if was keep outdoors didn't show any calcium deficiency or deformity as they parents do in indoors facilities. Regarding D3, Calcium and other vitamins, they also agreed that a big variety of food along with vitamin supplements were essential too. Research on the amount of each specie vary so they agreed that further research must be done on those issues urgently.
It was very interesting conference, and though all captive animals seem absolutely healthy by bare sight when they X-Ray them the images on the projector compare to wild ones were revelling: huge bone malformations and calcium deficiencies. The main issue is that amphibians without UVA-UVB light can live and breed but those animals are not healthy and can be week as a glass
 

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... and though all captive animals seem absolutely healthy by bare sight when they X-Ray them the images on the projector compare to wild ones were revelling: huge bone malformations and calcium deficiencies.
This is something I have wondered about (and wished that someone would investigate) for a long time. Have any of these findings been published, or are going to be published?
 

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Regarding D3, Calcium and other vitamins, they also agreed that a big variety of food along with vitamin supplements were essential too. Research on the amount of each specie vary so they agreed that further research must be done on those issues urgently.
Thanks for passing along this information. Was there any discussion/differentiation regarding captive animals' radiographs showing calcium deficiency and their intake or lack thereof of calcium/vit D3 vs. exposure to UVA/UVB? i.e., were there different groups - captive caudates supplemented with Ca/D3 and those not supplemented? And if so, were there differences on x-rays?
 

yagoag

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May be I should invite one of the veterinarian to participate in this forum since he show many pictures and references. The UVA-UVB was just a part of the conference since he covered many illness and issues. I will email him and see if he can participate or give us some references. Many pictures were from other collegues too, one well know from England and another from USA.
 

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Yago - were you able to obtain any further follow-up from this conference that could be posted here?
 

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Hi All,

Sorry to be coming to this discussion late.. so unfortunately I need to expand this a little outside of just amphibians and caudates...

There was an interesting study performed with two anoline lizards that demostrated that species that live in lower UVB exposure are much more efficient in converting provitamin D to D3 (see http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/427055). Many caudates are active during the day when humidity levels are optimal which would allow for some exposure to UVB lighting and conversion of provitam D to D3.

Snakes have long been considered to not need UVB supplementation in thier diet yet some recent research is indicating that at least in the wild they do bask to optimize UVB exposure as a method of increasing D3 levels (whether it is circulating or stored was beyond the scope of the current research that I could locate) (see http://etd.tcu.edu/etdfiles/available/etd-12072006-084741/unrestricted/brinker.pdf) and in captivity see http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/ajvr.69.2.294.

Using the studies that have shown that UV exposure is detrimental really doesn't address the issue with respect to caudates that have access to shelter as at least some caudates can see in the UV portion of the spectrum (see http://jgp.rupress.org/cgi/content/abstract/108/1/27) and could readily modify thier exposure to UV to optimize D3 levels.

While there are a lot of studies that indicate that increased exposure to UV is detrimental to amphibians, Based on this newer data, I would be more inclined to supply very low levels of UVB to caudates as dietary supplementation may be inadequate for optimal metabolic needs and can supply a fail safe mechanism. Exposure levels should be limited at and lower levels as this would be closer to those that would normally be found in nature. For example, crepuscular behavior would allow for exposure at very low levels for a very short period of time. The exposure to UVB can be further controlled by choosing the appropriate caging materials (a good review can be found in the article referenced here http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/114294886/abstract).

On a further note.. there is now some non-anecdotal data on lizards modifying thier behavior to maximize UVB exposure depending on circulating D3 levels (see http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/597525)

I think that while the jury is still out on the need to expose caudates to UVB lighting, there as John noted should be prudent decisions made when choosing it as exposing albino and leucistic animals to UV is going to be problematic regardless of the level of exposure.

Some thoughts on the whole topic (which I find interesting...)

Ed
 
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