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Cause of underbite?

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:21 am
by Fatal_S
My 1y/o oddball Northern is developing an underbite, and I'm wonder what the cause might be? Over calcification? Under calcification? Genetics? Something else?

Neither of his parents have over/under bites. Does anyone know what causes these, and why some skinks have overbites and some have underbites?

And how do I prevent it from getting more pronounced?

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:52 am
by Linnea
How active is the skink? (by skink standards)

inactivity and calcium uptake can manifest as progressingly bad bone structuring, along with muscles being less pronounced in areas where decalcificaton issues usually start.

are there any photos of before and after for this thread?

maybe try to change the calcium source? i know vitamins/minerals in some shapes can be hard for some to process properly.

overfeeding calcium shouldnt be any problem. you already know im not a vet, but by human standards, its (nearly) impossible to give too much calcium, body wont pick it up.
however, the growth rate of the skink may be good to know? is he growing very quick/slow?
if growing too quick, the bone might be bad from being put together too quick, if too slow, it might point towards a genetic issue or inabilty to process calcium well or something completely else.

(this is all i can help with, but ideas might be worth something :oops: )

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:49 pm
by Lea
Actually, Linnae, too much calcium is a problem, causing calcification and hardening of vessels, tissues, muscle and eventually entire organs. It is also incredibly painful, as the calcium deposits restrict blood flow, which can lead to necrosis, but the deposits in the joints and tissues can also cause stiffness, likened to the pain in severe arthritis.

As for the underbite, mel, mammals are often born with a limb shorter than the other, or jaw over or underbiting, with no real explanation apart from a possibility of positioning in the womb which inhibits normal growth or supposition that genetics is involved. As the animal grows, the difference in length becomes more apparent and can lead to mobility issues. The big problem with the jaw, is those teeth! Obviously, when the teeth don't meet or are misaligned, the bite and chew action is affected, which may lead to malnutrition, pain and possible injury around the teeth, gums and rest of the mouth.

Advice from your vet may be helpful, but correction is usually surgical and most likely not an option for your skink. For the future, I'd be checking for bleeding gums, lack of appetite and perhaps, a gaping mouth, as the skink attempts to not let upper and lower jaw touch due to discomfort. Soft foods or a purée diet may be helpful in preventing problems.

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:27 am
by Karen
LeaBilby wrote:no real explanation apart from a possibility of positioning in the womb which inhibits normal growth or supposition that genetics is involved.


Is this Bomber that is developing the jaw problem Mel? Wasn't he born smaller than the others of his litter?

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:39 am
by Fatal_S
Yes, Bomber is the birth defect. Smaller and weird colours. So a birth issue could be the cause. Or it could be over-calcification. He definitely gets enough calcium, but with the recent test Brad and I did I may have been giving too much calcium. So those are both viable options.

The bite isn't causing him any distress at this point, but I'm just not a fan of that particular look. I think I shall have a discussion with my vet.

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:41 pm
by Bird_Brain
If it makes you feel any better, I have an underbite myself. While others may disagree, I think I am fairly normal and hasnt effected me. Winston my Frenchie also has an underbite, but he is a little special ;) Mine was corrected with orthodontia, however, over time it has resorted back to the same old under bite. Im starting to wonder if the old Owner and Dog look a like is more accurate than I ever though!

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:54 pm
by Karen
If it was an over-calcification wouldn't the others also be showing signs? Maybe he's just special, like Brad and Winston. :D I'd be interested in seeing what your vet says though.

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:57 pm
by Fatal_S
I'm not terribly worried about it, but I don't want it getting really bad. The over-calcification could be the cause because he was my only growing skink during the year, the others were all adult and therefore may not show the same signs. Much the same way my lack of calcium in a previous diet led to crippling MBD and death in some younger skinks, but didn't cause much damage to the adults.

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:03 pm
by Karen
Hmm, fingers crossed that the vet can give an answer. Is it the only physical defect he's showing signs of?

Re: Cause of underbite?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:33 pm
by critterguy
photos would be of interest.