A bunch of our young captive born anoles are coming down with an illness that results in swollen eyes, blindness, inability to feed, and, ultimately, death. The material that is causing the eyes to swell does not appear to be retained shed, but rather a membranous mass that gradually expands to cover the entire eye. We sent some animals off for necropsy and the preliminary results indicate hypovitaminosis A. At least one published study identifies this condition in captive green anoles, although the symptoms reported in that case were more widespread [pdf link]. We feed our anoles two types of crickets: Acheta and Gryllodes. The crickets, in turn, are fed chicken mash and limited quantities of fresh vegetables. We also dust our crickets with a calcium + D3 supplement during 2/3 of their weekly feedings. We’ve been housing hundreds of adult anoles on this feeding regimen for the last few years without trouble (the putative hypoviaminosis A is cropping up only in our 6-8 month old juveniles). We’re going to add a multivitamin to our dusting routine and will begin supplementing crickets with more fresh vegetables (including things high in vitamin A like sweet potatoes), but we’re also wondering if anyone else has had experience with hypovitaminosis A in anoles. We’re particularly interested to know how treatable the condition is once diagnosed and whether it results strictly from a dietary deficiency or if other aspects of the animals environment may be contributing.
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