Research into vitamin D production of reptiles and amphibians

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Research into vitamin D production of reptiles and amphibians

$ 1,100 donated by Herpetofauna
2013 - present Project duration

Vitamin D is essential for the growth and general health of many animals. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to a variety of disease symptoms like deformities, vibrant toes and the development of inflammation. All of these symptoms have a major impact in these animal’s welfare. A few years ago research showed that developing bearded dragons, if exposed to UV radiation, are able to produce enough vitamin D to prevent those symptoms. Amongst others, this research has led to better advice regarding the use of UV lights with bearded dragons, leading to a reduction in vitamin D deficiency related problems and an increase in animal welfare.

However, for most reptile and amphibian species it is unclear if they produce vitamin D under the influence of UV radiation. If we could clarify which species benefit from UV radiation exposure we can improve their UV light advise and in that way reduce vitamin D deficiency problems.

Therefore the faculty of Veterinary Sciences at Utrecht University is doing research into the vitamin D production in reptile and amphibian skin under influence of UV radiation. The research is a cooperation of the departments Biochemistry & Cellular Biology and the department of Pathology. Goal of the research is to obtain insight into the vitamin D metabolism of reptiles to determine which animals need UV exposure. The gain of this knowledge could hopefully benefit animal health and wellbeing and the prevention of disease.

The Herpetofauna Foundation supplies the faculty with various animals, thereby hoping a large number of animals can be researched to obtain as much data as possible.