Calcium Deficiency and MBD in Leopard Geckos

Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pet lizards. They are easy to care for and come in a variety of colors and patterns. However, calcium deficiency and MBD in leopard geckos are common if their diet is not correct. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms and causes of Metabolic Bone Disease or MBD in leopard geckos, as well as how to treat it.

Causes Of Calcium Deficiency Or MBD In Leopard Geckos!

Leopard geckos are prone to developing calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease (MBD) if their diet is not correct. The most common causes of calcium deficiency and MBD in leopard geckos are:

MBD in Leopard Geckos
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Low Calcium Levels In Your Leopard Gecko’s Diet

Leopard geckos need to eat lots of calcium-rich foods like crickets and mealworms. If your leopard gecko’s diet is low in calcium, it will be at risk for developing MBD.

In Leopard geckos, calcium is essential for bone and teeth formation. Aside from that, calcium is a biochemical messenger, meaning it aids various biological processes in the gecko’s body.

Calcium is required for bone and tooth formation in leopard geckos. Aside from that, calcium is a biochemically active messenger that aids various biological processes in leopard geckos. When there is a lack of calcium, it will cause problems with the absorption of other minerals such as phosphorus and vitamin D. This can lead to MBD in leopard geckos.

Lack Of Vitamin D3 In The Diet

One of the most common causes of calcium deficiency and MBD in leopard geckos is a lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps leopard geckos absorb calcium from their food. Furthermore, vitamin D3 aids the body to absorb and utilize calcium reserves.

Vitamin D is prevalent in insects and bugs, so you should include them in the lizard’s diet. Alternatively, you may give your Leopard gecko vitamin supplements on a regular basis.

You may consider exposing your Leopard gecko to UVB radiation. In reality, according to gecko experts, it is necessary since it promotes intestinal absorption of calcium.

Low Temperatures Environment

Leopard geckos need a warm environment to absorb calcium from their food. When the weather is particularly cold, the food inside a gecko’s stomach takes longer to digest.

In addition to this, once the food has been digested, the lizard will not be able to absorb important nutrients like calcium. Metabolic processes in Leopard geckos and most lizards also tend to slow down when temperatures are extremely low.

If this happens on a regular basis, your Leopard gecko may have a calcium deficiency. Metabolic bone disease and other nutritional disorders are highly prevalent in leopard geckos with low calcium levels.

Imbalance – Calcium to Phosphorus

Leopard geckos need a balanced diet of calcium and phosphorus. If your leopard gecko’s diet is high in phosphorus but low in calcium, it will be at risk for developing MBD.

Hyperphosphatemia is a disease that results from an excess of phosphorus in Leopard geckos. Hypoparathyroidism, when severe enough, can cause the parathyroid glands to cease functioning. When this occurs, calcium begins to accumulate in the leopard gecko’s body.

The leopard geckos become vulnerable to metabolic bone disease and other illnesses caused by calcium deficiency.

What Are Symptoms Of Calcium Deficiency and MBD In Leopard Geckos?

Lethargy In Leopard Geckos

Lethargy in leopard geckos is one of the most common symptoms of metabolic bone disease. 

It encompasses inactivity, deep unresponsiveness, and a lack of energy. Lethargy is more likely to strike leopard geckos with Metabolic bone disease because their bodies are too delicate.

When leopard geckos are lethargic, they will usually spend most of their time hiding and will not eat. If your Leo becomes dormant, take them to the veterinarian for an examination since this might be a symptom of MBD.

Stunted Growth In Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos that are not getting the correct nutrients in their diet will often experience stunted growth. If your leopard gecko is not growing as fast as it should be, it may have a calcium deficiency.

Swelling Of The Limbs In Leopard Geckos

If leopard geckos are not getting the correct nutrients in their diet, they may develop swelling of their limbs. Swelling is more likely to occur in the leopard gecko’s legs and can sometimes be mistaken for an infection.

Loss Of Appetite In Leopard Geckos

When leopard geckos are suffering from MBD, they may experience a lack of appetite because the disease makes it difficult for them to digest their food.

The disadvantage of this disease is that it can also lead to other health issues. If your leopard gecko does not eat on a regular basis, it could be sick.

However, keep in mind that this is a common indication of most medical issues among Leos and other lizards.

Bone Deformities In Leopard Geckos

If leopard geckos are not getting the correct nutrients in their diet, they may develop bone deformities. In leopard geckos, common bone deformities include bowed legs and twisted tails.

Inability To Lifting The Body 

Your Leopard gecko will be unable to lift its body from the floor because of MDB. Furthermore, your leopard gecko may walk slowly as a result of this condition.

As a result, the lizard is likely to spend most of its time laying on its belly. If this is the case with your Leopard gecko, you should not force it to stand up.

You should not try to move an injured pet yourself as it could cause physiological injuries. Instead, you should call a vet for help. If you think your gecko may be sick, you should call a vet. You should also handle the gecko carefully to avoid hurting it.

Soft Jawbone In Leopard Geckos

If leopard geckos are not getting the correct nutrients in their diet, they may develop a soft jawbone.

MDB causes calcium loss, which leads to soft and brittle bones. The bones surrounding the mandibles are most damaged. When this occurs, it becomes difficult for leopard geckos to chew and eat.

Bumps Along The Spine In Leopard Geckos

If leopard geckos are not getting the correct nutrients in their diet, they may develop bumps along their spine. If your leopard gecko has bumps running down its back, it may have MBD.

Over time, the bones bend as they soften. Bone deformities are difficult to cure and may be irreversible. Bumps may also appear on the lizard’s legs and other locations around the body.

Limping In Leopard Geckos

You may also observe your Leopard gecko dragging one leg due to bone fractures. Pressure on brittle bones can cause fractures. If your leopard gecko is walking with a limp, it may have MBD.

In leopard geckos, limping is often the result of the disease affecting the lizard’s legs. The gecko may also exhibit a general weakness in the limbs.

If your leopard gecko is exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should take it to the veterinarian for an examination. MBD is a serious disease that can lead to death if not treated.

Greenstick Fractures

Over time, leopard gecko bones may become weak and bend, resulting in greenstick fractures. This is when leopard geckos experience a fracture as their bones bend.

The symptoms of Greenstick fractures are similar to those of other types of fractures, but the bones appear bent rather than entirely broken. Greenstick fractures tend to cause bowed legs in lizards.

A leopard gecko with a greenstick fracture will have a fracture that occurs along the curve of the bone. Leopard geckos with MBD may also experience broken bones as a result of the disease.

Twitching Of Limbs

The muscles in the Leopard gecko’s body may twitch or cramp as a result of hypocalcemia. Metabolic bone disease is a condition in which the body’s metabolism gets disrupted and this response, known as neuromuscular irritability, occurs.

This is caused by the disease affecting the leopard gecko’s nervous system. If your leopard gecko is experiencing twitching, it is a sign that the disease is progressing and should be taken to the vet.

Preventing The Calcium Deficiency

Calcium & Vitamin D3 – Importance

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of calcium to your leopard geckos. Calcium, in a nutshell, is what propels any sort of movement in your leopard gecko.

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for leopard geckos to prevent metabolic bone disease. It is important to provide your leopard gecko with a diet that is high in calcium as well as supplement their diet with a Calcium booster if necessary.

The lack of calcium causes their bones to dissolve and they are unable to move or eat. Leopards obtain calcium and Vitamin D3 from the UVB radiation of the sun and insects that are high in calcium when they are in the wild.

They should receive their required amount of calcium and Vitamin D3 from supplements mixed in with their feeders in a controlled setting.

Feeding Quantity  – Both Calcium & Vitamin D3

We can’t give you a precise quantity of calcium and Vitamin D3 to feed your leopard geckos since it’s impossible to predict. It’s all about trial and error, according to observation. As a result, you may utilize the instructions below and make changes depending on how effectively your Leo responds.

Age Frequency

  • 0-6 months – Everyday
  • 6-12 months – Every other day
  • 12+ months – Every three to four days

You may add the supplement in a ziplock bag and store the feeders with it to ensure that you are dusting your feeders correctly. In this situation, the feeders will be completely absorbed by the supplement. There will be no waste of supplements here!

Treating A Leopard Gecko With Calcium Deficiency!

If you have determined that your leopard gecko is suffering from calcium deficiency, there are several techniques for preventing MBD in Leopard geckos:

Utilize Calcium Enriched Foods

Ensure that you give your Leopard gecko calcium-rich meals. Butterworms, crickets, waxworms, and mealworms are just a few of the insects that are high in calcium.

To avoid starvation, give the lizard the appropriate amount of food on each feeding occasion.

Adding Supplements Along With The Diet

If your leopard gecko isn’t getting enough calcium from its diet, supplement with a Calcium booster.

Calcium is essential for strong bones and healthy growth. Your leopard gecko needs adequate amounts of this nutrient as well as vitamin D to use calcium properly. This will give the Leopard gecko enough calcium, which will prevent mineral deficiencies.

However, Leopard geckos may develop hypercalcemia as a result of too much calcium. This might cause additional health issues that are potentially fatal.

You should give your gecko vitamin D3 supplements in addition to calcium. Vitamin D3 is also required for the proper metabolism of calcium in geckos.

Setting Appropriate Temperature Conditions

Make sure that the leopard gecko’s environment is providing them with the correct temperature range. The ideal temperature for leopards geckos is around 78-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and a cooler 68-72 degrees at night.

If your leg isn’t getting enough UVB light, it may not be able to produce sufficient vitamin D. This can result in Leo gecko metabolic bone disease.

Give your leopard gecko a UVA/UVB light so they can produce their own vitamin D. You must replace the bulbs every six months to ensure that the leopard is getting enough UVB rays for proper calcium absorption and metabolism.

Can MBD Kill Leopard Geckos?

Unfortunately, leopard geckos can die from metabolic bone disease. If you are providing a Leo with the correct environment and diet, they have a better chance of overcoming MBD.

If your leopard gecko is not responding to treatment, it might be necessary to euthanize them. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions.

Is MBD Painful For Leopard Geckos?

Yes, leopard geckos with MBD will experience pain. Their bones are brittle and they may have difficulty moving because of the pain.

Their bones will also absorb a lot of calcium, which can cause leopard geckos to become very sick. Also, If leopard geckos are given too much calcium, they might die.

When their bones bend, they are subjected to excruciating and indescribable agony. This is one of the reasons why MBD lizards stay inactive.


Metabolic bone disease is a leopard gecko’s most common health issue. A leopard gecko with metabolic bone disease will be lethargic, have limited mobility and a lack of appetite, as well as jutting bones.

Metabolic bone disease is not just a leopard gecko’s problem. All reptiles can suffer from MBD if they don’t get enough calcium in their diet.

There are several things you can do to prevent MBD in leopard geckos, including supplementing their diet with calcium and vitamin D, providing them with the appropriate environment, and giving them the right food.

Untreated leopard geckos with metabolic bone disease may die as a result of their severe pain. If your leopard gecko is not responding to treatment, it might be necessary to euthanize them. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions.

Have you ever had a leopard gecko with metabolic bone disease? How did you treat it? Share your story!

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