Thiamine, also called vitamin B1, is an essential nutrient that helps the nervous system work properly. You may already know that people can become deficient in this vitamin, but toads, frogs and other kinds of amphibians can also develop thiamine deficiencies. Here are three things thiamine owners need to know about thiamine deficiencies.
What are the signs of thiamine deficiencies?
Since thiamine is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, amphibians with thiamine deficiencies tend to exhibit nervous system symptoms like tremors and seizures. You may also notice that your pet is arching their back or neck unnaturally or that they have developed scoliosis, an abnormal curvature in their spine. Paralysis of the hind limbs may also occur.
Why do amphibians develop thiamine deficiencies?
Amphibians develop thiamine deficiencies for two reasons: their diet doesn't contain enough thiamine, or their diet contains too much thiaminase. Insects like crickets, mealworms, silkworms, and soldier flies contain thiamine, so make sure that insects are a part of your pet's diet. If your amphibian is large, try to feed them larger insects since they would choose to hunt bigger insects in the wild. As a general rule, the insects your pet eats should be slightly smaller than their mouth.
Frozen fish contain thiaminase, an enzyme that destroys thiamine, so if your amphibian is eating a lot of fish, they may not be getting the thiamine they need. While large frogs and toads like to eat fish, make sure they're also eating other foods to ensure they get a well-balanced diet. If you're not sure if you're feeding your pet an appropriate diet, ask your vet for guidance.
Can vets treat thiamine deficiencies?
Your vet will treat your amphibian with thiamine supplementation. Fortunately, thiamine deficiencies are usually reversible, so as long as you get prompt treatment for your amphibian, they should be fine. Your vet will give your pet an initial injection of thiamine to boost their vitamin levels quickly, and then you'll continue supplementing them at home.
For every kilogram of fish you feed your pet, they'll need 250 millograms of thiamine to cancel out the effects of the thiaminase. You may be told to add thiamine either to their food or their water. You may need to continue giving your amphibian thiamine supplements indefinitely; your vet will advise you as to how long you should continue this practice.
If you think your pet amphibian has a thiamine deficiency, take them to an exotics vet at an animal hospital right away.