a very peculiar insight from the vet

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beaniebaby12
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a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby beaniebaby12 » Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:58 pm

Hello everyone! I hope everything is going well in life and with the sausages with legs. I wanted to bring something up because I would like to hear some more insight on this particular topic.

If you have seen my previous posts, I took Beans to the vet because I suspected a respiratory infection and low and behold, it was. Of course, bringing any reptile to the vet, they will ask questions about your husbandry to see if any issues could arise from that. The vet I talked to (curbside due to covid) told me that everything sounded good with what I’ve been doing for him, but she recommended that instead of wet dog food as a meat source that I use insects.

Now, I am certainly not trying to cause any debate over wet dog food vs. other meat sources. I am just wondering if anyone else has ever been told that by a vet because when I said that, she said that insects would be more appropriate, as if it were silly to feed him dog food. I know blue tongue skinks are opportunistic omnivores so in the wild, they will basically take what they can get. However, it was just very peculiar as to ~how~ the vet said to feed him insect and not dog food. Does anyone have any comments on this? Any other experiences like this? I can’t say I know more than a vet, especially as a pretty new skink owner, so I was wondering if anyone else could comment on this.

Again, NOT a debate. Please don’t, lmao. There are other threads for that I believe. I just want to know if it’s odd or not.
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IvanDanko
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Re: a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby IvanDanko » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:51 pm

Every vet has an opinion - but generally they will provide justification when providing education on husbandry and best practice keeping etc. My vet is one of the premier specialists in the reptile field in Australia over a long period, and he advocates the use of cat/dog food as a useful staple. I wouldn't say its unusual for them to advocate one way or the other, but generally id expect a justification for what they are advising you to do.
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Re: a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby rixusaku » Tue Mar 23, 2021 12:11 am

From what my vet told me, who spent years studying BTS in Australia, he says that dog food is fine to feed them but reccomended not as a staple unless you're going to breed them. I forget exactly the reason why, but it had something to do with the nutrients and vitamins in the food that helped them breed more. He told me that if I didn't plan on breeding my skink that my skink would do better and live longer (even if it's just by a couple or few years) on a higher insect diet than meat diet. He still advocated for the omnivorous ratio to give them and told me that snails and quail eggs would be highly beneficial to feed to them in addition to insects for protein sources.

Based on what he told me I started feeding mine more prepared BTS insect diets, like Arcadia Omni Gold, Repashy Bluey Buffet, and Blue Tongue Skink and Tegu canned food (as some examples, I feed him other relatable things too). He also told me to add some extra veggies and leafy greens in addition to the foods I mentioned above, and then add in either a snail or two or quail egg too. I still feed my bluey dog food once a month though because why not. My bluey looooves the food I give him and has never turned down a meal. He also looks very healthy, so a high insect diet is definitely not going to hurt them at all.

So that being said, I personally think it can go either way on this topic based on what I've learned about it. You can either feed your BTS dog food as a staple or you can feed them more insects as a staple. Either choice is healthy but each have their purpose.
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rixusaku
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Re: a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby rixusaku » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:13 am

I do agree with Ivan though, it's very odd to have a vet tell you to do something or change what you're doing without giving you a reason for it, especially if you ask them why.
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Re: a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby Janella » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:28 pm

It has been an on going debate for years. Some people believe it is fine and others believe it isn't. I believe in a rotation diet of proteins personally so my skink doesn't rely on eating one source of protein and become picky about foods. They eat snails, eggs, dog food, chicken gizzards and hearts, ground lean turkey, quail, and insects from time to time. Some may say I am wrong. Some people feed just dog food. Are they wrong? Nope not all all. It is all what works for the lizards and the owners. Successful skink keepers will tell you both sides.
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Re: a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby beaniebaby12 » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:51 pm

rixusaku wrote:From what my vet told me, who spent years studying BTS in Australia, he says that dog food is fine to feed them but reccomended not as a staple unless you're going to breed them. I forget exactly the reason why, but it had something to do with the nutrients and vitamins in the food that helped them breed more. He told me that if I didn't plan on breeding my skink that my skink would do better and live longer (even if it's just by a couple or few years) on a higher insect diet than meat diet. He still advocated for the omnivorous ratio to give them and told me that snails and quail eggs would be highly beneficial to feed to them in addition to insects for protein sources.

Based on what he told me I started feeding mine more prepared BTS insect diets, like Arcadia Omni Gold, Repashy Bluey Buffet, and Blue Tongue Skink and Tegu canned food (as some examples, I feed him other relatable things too). He also told me to add some extra veggies and leafy greens in addition to the foods I mentioned above, and then add in either a snail or two or quail egg too. I still feed my bluey dog food once a month though because why not. My bluey looooves the food I give him and has never turned down a meal. He also looks very healthy, so a high insect diet is definitely not going to hurt them at all.

So that being said, I personally think it can go either way on this topic based on what I've learned about it. You can either feed your BTS dog food as a staple or you can feed them more insects as a staple. Either choice is healthy but each have their purpose.


Thank you all for your responses! I wanted to quote this post in particular for the fact that I will try some insect based diet for him. It’s certainly worth a shot, and I appreciate your recommendations! He is such a picky eater, so much so that I have to mix his vegetables and greens in with his protein in order for him to eat them. We’ll see how it goes! :)
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Re: a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby rixusaku » Tue Mar 23, 2021 7:19 pm

I had to mix in my veggies, but not the greens, with the food I gave mine the first month I had him. However, after giving him the varied meals for the past two months he has no problems anymore eating his veggies (but it probably mostly has to do with him being more comfortable in his new environment). I don't even have to mash up the green beans, peas, and zucchini anymore! :lol: He always seemed to like carrots though.

I put the veggies and greens on top of the base food I prepare (with a sprinkling of vitamin and calcium powder between the veggies and base) and he pretty much licks the plate clean every time. To save money I actually bought myself some Healthy Herp Veggie Mix since I personally won't eat all the rest of the fresh veggies for that week. I've read on a lot of places that corn is a mixed review. Some people say that corn is unhealthy while others think it's fine in moderation. Because of that I just decided to personally go ahead and remove all the corn from the Healthy Herp Veggie Mix since I'm using it as his main source of added veggies and greens.

I think my vet also said that chicken gizzards and hearts were also healthy for them on either diet plan but I dismissed it since...I don't really want to deal with those. I think some of the prepared foods I have for him have some in it anyway (like the Omni Gold that has poultry meal). I say "I think" because I don't 100% remember, but after reading it on Janella's post, it sounds familiar.

Good luck getting beans out of his picky eating phase! Let us know how it goes. :D
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mb606587
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Re: a very peculiar insight from the vet

Postby mb606587 » Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:05 pm

It's pretty common for veterinarians to discourage the feeding of canned dog food. For most reptiles, Savannah monitors in particular, the diet is linked with fatty liver disease, obesity, and shortened lifespans. There is clear factual evidence of that so it's not surprising that vets are leary when seeing another reptile that is being fed this diet. I have yet to see any actual evidence that a dog food diet produces these same harmful results in Blue Tongue Skinks, of course when fed responsibly. On the contrary, there is evidence that these skink can and often do outlive the expected lifespans on dog food diets, with many living well beyond 30 years. I couldn't name any other reptile where this holds true. My oldest skink was imported 23 years ago and has eaten nothing but canned dog food and veggies since. I've seen a vet twice. One told me to change his diet 8 years ago. The second vet told me to keep doing what I'm doing.

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