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A graphic warning against impaction.


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#13 Guest_RosenKrieger_*

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 10:42 PM

QUOTE (Palor @ Jan 8 2008, 08:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sand is BAD for almost anything one could own as a pet. Not even Petsmarts keep their herps on sand.


I'd like to object by saying that the petco here keeps their juvie leos on sand... luckily, they have the sense to stay the hell off of it and in the multilevel hide... sader1.gif

#14 RandomWiktor

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:01 AM

I wonder if we should pin this? I think it is a VERY important topic, and we got some good responses to common questions about "well why don't they get impacted from sand in the wild" etc. in it. If not pin the topic, I think we should totally make a sticky topic explaining impaction, why it happens, why it is dangerous, and what substrate you SHOULD use. What say ye, wise moderators of the reptile board?

#15 Saucy

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:07 AM

Of course, Ren! Pinned.

Petsmart DOES keep lizards on sand. They keep adult leopard geckos on it even.

I should post the email I sent to T-rex and the response I got. They admitted it does cause impaction and jumped around it a lot...
Here's my email:

In a message dated 10/07/2007 01:17:24 GMT Standard Time, xxxxxxxxx@wi.rr.com writes:
I have a concern about your "safe" calcium sands. I'm wondering how you can label them as 100% digestable and safe when there is proof that they do NOT dissolve in HCl much stronger than that in a reptile's stomach. (http://www.pythons.com/calcium.html)

I, personally, would never use ANY of your sand products for my geckos. I work at a pet store, and I have never recommended yourcalcium sands to ANY customer, nor will I ever.

Also, your sands are made a calcium carbonate; this, in essence, is like a Tums. Tums is meant to neutralize stomach acid. So the small amount of acid that is in a reptile's digestive system will dissolve a small amount of the sand. This in turn will just neutralize the acid that was breaking it down in the first place.

Many reptiles become impacted from this type of sand every year. Your bags even say it is "beneficial when eaten," but with something that clumps when it gets wet, how can it ALL possibly pass completely through the digestive system of a reptile? Long-term impactions can take years of sand consumption and crystallization in the intestines to cause a blockage. But when it does happen, a complete blockage will cause necrosis of the intestines and, ultimately, death.

This sand has already been taken off the market for its link to bird death. Then it was just repackaged for reptiles. Why not change the formulation?

I would like to know what types of testing you have done on the digestability of this sand on reptiles? Have you consulted a veterinarian about their experiences with Calci-sand and reptiles? I know my vet will never recommend ANY loose substrates, as they can all be an impaction risk.

Change the wording on your bags to say that it can be an impaction risk, and change the wording so it does not say 100% digestable and beneficial when eaten.

Sincerely,

Alison


*********************

And his response...


Hi Alison,

First let me congratulate you on asking questions about our T-Rex product Calci-sand in a more informed way than is usual. Ignorance is voluntary and too many people today volunteer for it in excess in my opinion.

The reason that we first introduced calcium sand to the reptile hobby over ten years ago was essentially for two reasons.

First, unlike silica, it is digestible, though at the grade size we use it for a substrate, this digestion process is, as you kind of point out, slow and can therefore be overwhelmed if the reptile deliberately ingests a lot of it. We use the exact same calcium carbonate in our insect dusting powder MicroStick and this much finer grade is digested quickly. It has to do with smaller particle sizes presenting a much greater surface area for the stomach acids to work on and so dissolve it quickly.

The particle size that we use for our calcium sand is actually very carefully thought about. It needs to be fine enough to pass through the gut in small quantities and/or be digested, but large enough to support a reptile without it sinking too far into it. It is after all designed as a substrate. Think about yourself say trying to walk on a two foot layer of say beans - you'd find it tough trying to walk across it because you would sink down into it, then consider how easy it would be to walk across a two foot layer of potatoes? Get my point? It is all about particle size.

Secondly, unlike silica sand, calcium sand forms a paste with stomach contents rather than a cement, as does silica sand. This impacted paste in the gut can be readily treated by a qualified vet with liquid paraffin or an intestinal peristalsis modulator, such as metroclopramide, which is given orally. Impacted silica sand concrete does not respond to this treatment and so invariably has to be surgically removed.

The obvious reason why a Gecko would eat its sand substrate to excess is because it is deficient in calcium and/or vitamin D3. The less obvious, but increasingly common reason is that protozoan parasites, such as coccidian and cryptosporidium, can cause extensive discomfort to a Gecko by destroying the lining of its intestines. This discomfort seems to stimulate the Gecko to ingest sand and other substrates to excess. It is rather like the Gecko is trying to treat itself. Maybe a raw and sore intestine full of sand feels more comfortable to it than an empty one. Unfortunately, as we know, the Gecko can do itself even more harm if it ingests a lot of any type of sand or other particulate substrate.

This is an increasing problem, and one hardly ever seen when we first introduced Calci-Sand over a decade ago, because coccidia is estimated to now be endemic in practically the whole captive bred Bearded Dragon population and cryptosporidium is endemic in the captive bred Leopard Gecko population. It does not usually become symptomatic until triggered by stress. This stress can be caused by many things but insufficient temperature is a particularly common one. Coccidia is usually easy to treat once it becomes symptomatic. Drugs such as BayCox 5% solution from Bayer (0.5cc/kg as a single dose), Trimethoprim, sulfonamides or sulfa drugs are used. One brand of drug that is frequently used in the USA is called Albon.

I hope the above helps you to understand that it is not normal for a Gecko to voluntarily eat its sand substrate to the extent that it fills its stomach with it. It is usually a symptom of some underlying disease or nutritional problem. So it is not the fault of the sand itself.

However I take you point that a warning that any gecko exhibiting metabolic bone disease and/or suffering from diarrhoea should not be kept on any kind of particulate substrate that it can deliberately eat would be a sensible approach. At the next opportunity to update our packaging we will be looking at making this point more clearly.

Best regards,

Jon Coote - Director of Research, T-Rex Products Inc.


#16 sarae

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:12 AM

QUOTE (Saucy @ Jan 9 2008, 11:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Of course, Ren! Pinned.

Petsmart DOES keep lizards on sand. They keep adult leopard geckos on it even.



It depends on the store. None of the stores I've worked in uses any sand for anything other than the hermit crabs (who get a 50/50 mix of sand and cocofiber bedding). I threw away all the sand when i started working there and would go back and remove it when someone put it in a tank. After a month or so, people quit trying.

The official store policy is "no sand for any lizard under 6 inches STL"..so at least there shouldn't be any babies on sand.. and most of the stores in my area just use carpet even for adults.

#17 Guest_RosenKrieger_*

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 01:17 PM

The petsmart I got my AFT from had all their lizards on carpet.

#18 Lucky_and_Comet

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 03:18 PM

I agree that it varies, because I've seen plenty of small lizards on sand at petsmart.

Also
QUOTE
The obvious reason why a Gecko would eat its sand substrate to excess is because it is deficient in calcium and/or vitamin D3


No the obvious reason is they hunt their crickets which they eat off the ground....

#19 Stormphyre

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 07:56 PM

Definitely depends on the store. All the managers at my Petsmart know my warnings against sand, as do my coworkers and they're doomed if I find out they suggested it ;D There is no putting the herps under my care on sand in my store. (wish I could put our hermit crabs on sand though, just not calci).
So.. They kind of admit to 'Oh hey smile-222.gif we'll send your pet to the vet but we're not gonna publically announce it or try to change it.', didn't they?

#20 Saucy

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:37 PM

QUOTE (Lucky_and_Comet @ Jan 9 2008, 03:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree that it varies, because I've seen plenty of small lizards on sand at petsmart.

Also


No the obvious reason is they hunt their crickets which they eat off the ground....


HAHAHA yes! I agree completely. Leos lick EVERYTHING. You'd think these people had never seen a lizard.

#21 Stormphyre

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:43 PM

QUOTE (Saucy @ Jan 9 2008, 11:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
HAHAHA yes! I agree completely. Leos lick EVERYTHING. You'd think these people had never seen a lizard.

Saucy, I wouldn't be surprised if they hadn't! Especially if who ever responded to the email was just PR and customer service. Especially about the vit D3 thing. Are they saying they have vitamin D3 in their 'sand' which can potentially cause an overdose?

#22 Mushu_Jade

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

What do you mean "they have to hunt their crickets on sand"?!
Don't you realize that crickets stand neatly in a dish to be eaten? Oh, and they don't bite the lizards and cause damage either. [/sarcasm]

I won't use their calcium sand either. It begins to rot when it gets wet and smells NOXIOUS! I don't see how a lizard would really have the foresight to eat the sand BECAUSE of a deficiency. That's ridiculous!

Great post, very important!

#23 Mushu_Jade

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

Oh, about the D3. If I remember correctly, calcium helps metabolize D3. But the easiest way to handle a deficiency is sunlight, or uva/b bulbs. Not shoddy "sand"




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