Urate crystals

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Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:39 am

I’ve had a look through previous posts and it seems this is something quite a few people have had problems with.
Ventress just went to the loo, and although his urate was bright white and with a squidgy (slightly chalky) texture one end had tiny orangey tinted sparkly crystals on it. From what I’ve read this is to do with too much calcium so I will knock the calcium out of his diet for a few weeks straight away, what other advice is there to prevent this happening again? Am I okay to do these things and see if it improves or is it a straight to a bet scenario?
I’m worried sick, being made redundant on Friday though so I can watch him like a hawk for a few weeks until I find another job. Poor ventress, he likes to be left alone haha
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby kayla990 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:06 pm

If it's a one off thing - I wouldn't worry yet :D I believe the orange crystals can also be from not drinking enough. If he's been hiding more (from the colder temps/lower humidity from possibly using the radiators) it's likely he's not been coming out much for drinking. Maybe try add in water to his next feeding and see if it continues. Sorry to hear about the redundancy, but glad you'll be able to watch him!
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:09 pm

kayla990 wrote:If it's a one off thing - I wouldn't worry yet :D I believe the orange crystals can also be from not drinking enough. If he's been hiding more (from the colder temps/lower humidity from possibly using the radiators) it's likely he's not been coming out much for drinking. Maybe try add in water to his next feeding and see if it continues. Sorry to hear about the redundancy, but glad you'll be able to watch him!


Thankyou, Yeh im glad I’ve been made redundant now just so I can keep a constant watch on him haha. Il add water to his next lot of food, has been hiding more as he’s overdue a shed. I’ve put His fogger on for half an hour now to get more humidity going on to see if that helps any aswell (although humidity is usually 80%) I’ve been feeding dog food and veg, could the amount of calcium in dog food be causing this?
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby mb606587 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:19 pm

Dog food, itself usually contains the required calcium. Try supplementing every other feeding and see if there is improvement.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:21 pm

mb606587 wrote:Dog food, itself usually contains the required calcium. Try supplementing every other feeding and see if there is improvement.

Ah right Thankyou, yeh il cut right down on the calcium if dog food has enough and just add it to fruit/veg etc that I give when he doesn’t have dog food. Fingers crossed it clears up, I’d never forgive myself if I’ve done something to harm him!
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby mb606587 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:31 pm

The orange crystals are usually associated with excessive vitamin d3, which is almost always added to the calcium powder. In every case I've heard, there was immediate improvement and no ill effects to the skink once use of the powder was cut back.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:38 pm

mb606587 wrote:The orange crystals are usually associated with excessive vitamin d3, which is almost always added to the calcium powder. In every case I've heard, there was immediate improvement and no ill effects to the skink once use of the powder was cut back.

Thanks for the reassurance, I didn’t realise there was d3 in his calcium powder, I know you can get it with it In but this one doesn’t specify it on the front so thought it didn’t have any in. I will cut back and report back after a few more urates. Thanks again
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:40 pm

A week on, he’s had two meals without additional calcium, urates are now appearing smaller but still some crystals. Will see how he goes for one more week as two meals probably can’t fix the problem that quickly.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:39 am

Ventress still seems to be passing orange crystals in his urate, I’m starting to really worry. He is eating fine and I’ve stopped using any calcium since I spotted the crystals in the hopes they’d go. Any ideas or is it v-e-t time?
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby mb606587 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:26 pm

I'm out of ideas. I think it's time to let a vet make a determination.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:28 pm

mb606587 wrote:I'm out of ideas. I think it's time to let a vet make a determination.


Thanks for getting back to me. Il get a sample off him tomorrow and see if I can get him in at the vets.il let you know what’s said.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:12 am

kayla990 wrote:If it's a one off thing - I wouldn't worry yet :D I believe the orange crystals can also be from not drinking enough. If he's been hiding more (from the colder temps/lower humidity from possibly using the radiators) it's likely he's not been coming out much for drinking. Maybe try add in water to his next feeding and see if it continues. Sorry to hear about the redundancy, but glad you'll be able to watch him!



Orange tinge in the urates ( indicates excess dietary calcium , it's precipated in the kidneys in the urates as calcium oxalate crystals ).
This has nothing to do with dehydration.

If this continues there a risk the skink will develop a condition called hypercalcemia which is a very serious health issue .

I suggest reducing the dietary calcium intake. Will also be very wise to have reptile vet take bloodwork and test for indicators of hypercalcemia .
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:17 am

kingofnobbys wrote:
kayla990 wrote:If it's a one off thing - I wouldn't worry yet :D I believe the orange crystals can also be from not drinking enough. If he's been hiding more (from the colder temps/lower humidity from possibly using the radiators) it's likely he's not been coming out much for drinking. Maybe try add in water to his next feeding and see if it continues. Sorry to hear about the redundancy, but glad you'll be able to watch him!



Orange tinge in the urates ( indicates excess dietary calcium , it's precipated in the kidneys in the urates as calcium oxalate crystals ).
This has nothing to do with dehydration.

If this continues there a risk the skink will develop a condition called hypercalcemia which is a very serious health issue .

I suggest reducing the dietary calcium intake. Will also be very wise to have reptile vet take bloodwork and test for indicators of hypercalcemia .


Thanks for this. I have stopped using any calcium for the last couple of weeks. I am just waiting on him going to the loo today then I am going to save the sample and ring the vet. I’m worried sick, I really hope it’s nothing I’ve done, I’d never forgive myself if I’ve somehow harmed him.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:40 am

mb606587 wrote:The orange crystals are usually associated with excessive vitamin d3, which is almost always added to the calcium powder. In every case I've heard, there was immediate improvement and no ill effects to the skink once use of the powder was cut back.


This is possible too, it's because the D3 used to fortify the calcium is a different isomer that that formed naturally in vit d3 photosynthesis and has a "buffering" type of effect on the up take of dietary calcium in the blood , can result in a very serious condition called hypervitaminosis D . Often missed by even experience reptile vets.

The form the skink needs is Vitamin D metabolite 25-hydroxy D3
Image

which formed from 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to produce vitamin D3 on exposure to UVB , the most common form found in Ca and vitamin powders is epimer 3-epi-25-hydroxy D3
Image
which I believe is more stable in powder form.

Vitamin D toxicity is associated with hypercalcemia, and can result renal failure, and sometimes progresses to tissue calcification.
Severe hypercalcemia can be life threatening. Treatment of vitamin D toxicity includes rehydration, cessation of vitamin D supplementation, and restriction of dietary calcium; more severe cases may require the use of glucocorticoids and bisphosphonates to normalize the plasma calcium concentration.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:13 am

Just got back from the vets - ventress wouldn’t pass anything before we went so it was of limited use.
Got to collect a sample (including liquid) and return for Saturday. He said ventress looks good from the examination, had a good feel of his stomach, listened to his chest, looked in his mouth.
He asked about his diet and noted that dogs have come out with heart problems due to grain free and so maybe I should move away from grain free.
He seemed to think the crystals are more to do with too much protein/phosphorus so said to keep an eye on that.
Once I have the sample over to him he will decide what f we need an X-ray - he says some amount of crystals is normal so it’s to do with the amount and size more than anything. (He is an exotic trained vet who has worked in quite a lot of countries so I do trust his judgement with reptiles)
So the next few days are going to be a case of trying to catch wee and urate in a pipette and then we will go from there
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:48 am

Suzle87 wrote:Just got back from the vets - ventress wouldn’t pass anything before we went so it was of limited use.
Got to collect a sample (including liquid) and return for Saturday. He said ventress looks good from the examination, had a good feel of his stomach, listened to his chest, looked in his mouth.
He asked about his diet and noted that dogs have come out with heart problems due to grain free and so maybe I should move away from grain free.
He seemed to think the crystals are more to do with too much protein/phosphorus so said to keep an eye on that.
Once I have the sample over to him he will decide what f we need an X-ray - he says some amount of crystals is normal so it’s to do with the amount and size more than anything. (He is an exotic trained vet who has worked in quite a lot of countries so I do trust his judgement with reptiles)
So the next few days are going to be a case of trying to catch wee and urate in a pipette and then we will go from there


Park him in a large tub with no substrate til you get a sample . This is by far the easiest way to get a sample of his pee and poo , he goes, and it's got no where to go , and wont soak into anything.
Soon as he's gone, Collect the sample ( can likely just tip the tub on it's edge and have a smaller tub handy to catch the liquid puddle , then simply transfer to sample bottle.

This way there's no need to be messing about trying to collect a sample with a micropipette or eyedropper while he's doing his pee and or poo.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby Suzle87 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:29 am

It’s a nightmare to be honest, he seems to hate me at the moment, every time I come in the room he shots under a hide. So yeh he’s gonna end up hating me more by the time I’ve got this sample from him but yeh, Friday il try and pop him in a plastic tub and get the sample, think it’s the easiest way like you say.
Starting to feel like I’m a big failure with him to be honest. We seem to be moving backwards with any kind of connection since I’ve been home all the time the last 2 weeks.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:12 am

Suzle87 wrote:It’s a nightmare to be honest, he seems to hate me at the moment, every time I come in the room he shots under a hide. So yeh he’s gonna end up hating me more by the time I’ve got this sample from him but yeh, Friday il try and pop him in a plastic tub and get the sample, think it’s the easiest way like you say.
Starting to feel like I’m a big failure with him to be honest. We seem to be moving backwards with any kind of connection since I’ve been home all the time the last 2 weeks.


He may be grumpy because he's feeling sick or in pain.

So bare with him and the best you can do for him is help the vet work out what the health issue , the vet then then come up with a treatment plan and odds are in few months you'll have a friendly BT back who's a pleasure to interact with.
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby kayla990 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:57 am

kingofnobbys wrote:Orange tinge in the urates ( indicates excess dietary calcium , it's precipated in the kidneys in the urates as calcium oxalate crystals ).
This has nothing to do with dehydration.


Thanks for highlighting this. It’s the first time coming across orange urates possibly not being related to dehydration. Would you be able to provide a source for further reading? :D

As anecdotally, the Uni course, Zoo keepers I worked with and many individuals in reptile communities (especially Chameleon and Bearded Dragon sites, along with some stand-alone vet sites) still mention orange (solid) urates being associated with dehydration.

While it is an article based on tortoises, in the Vet Times they also mention that liver failure can be caused from dehydration – and describe a dehydrated appearance as “… anorexic, have sunken eyes and very dry skin, pass dark yellow or even orange urates and will not pass urine often”. It seems once it’s in the stage of actual liver failure then the urates are described to be green instead (which is also found in Clinical Veterinary Advisor 2013) “In these cases, diarrhea may be evident, and if the urates are pigmented yellow-green, excretion of biliverdin may indicate severe liver compromise and bile stasis”

Looking further into it, it seems in order for reptiles to balance out water levels the concentration of Uric Acid is increased (which are described as being red-orange-brown coloured). The Herpetology 4th Edition book notes: “Uric acid has a low solubility and requires very little water for excretion. Most snakes and lizards excrete uric acid, which aids in conserving water in species living in arid areas…. Reptiles in general take in much less water than amphibians and are capable of retaining more of what they take in. As a result, they produce relatively concentrated urine, often including uric acid as a concentrated waste product.” Going on logic alone, this seems to still relate with discoloured urates from increased Uric Acid.

It seems possible to find links towards increased levels of Uric Acid and dehydration, quoted directly from Clinical Veterinary Advisor “Uric acid, sodium, chloride, and total protein will be elevated with severe dehydration.”

But agree, dehydration is not a one-and-all cause of discoloured urates. That wasn’t the intention :) Due to the time frame, it does seem unlikely this is now the cause. According to different sources, it can be related to parasites (from even an overwhelm from pinhead worms), fungi infections, diet (too high protein, potentially from specific food “Depending upon what has been eaten the day or so before, such as raspberries, carrots, or cactus pear, the urates may be tinged with red” - Melissa Kaplan; in addition to many account of it being related to high calcium as previously mentioned); along with liver failure (but arguably, that is seen by orange urates in diarrhoea form, in addition to urates being described as green).

And just something I found interesting and new info when looking into this, it seems that lizard hydration is affected quite a lot by relative humidity - not just from drinking directly..

Suzle87 wrote:Starting to feel like I’m a big failure with him to be honest. We seem to be moving backwards with any kind of connection since I’ve been home all the time the last 2 weeks.


Awww don't feel discouraged! Both of you have been fantastic through all the unlucky events that's happened! You're crazy good for being so alert to the changes (and having to deal with the hardships so early, like the mites etc too!). Our dude is still silly at times, hiding/running away when he sees us, despite having him since so tiny. I like to think of it as evolution; getting any trust from a critter who lives alone in the wild - and not seeing us 'giants' as a threat every moment is pretty special in itself :) Keep at it!
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Re: Urate crystals

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:51 pm


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