Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

Metabolic bone disease is not just one disease, but rather a general term for a collection of medical disorders that affect the bones:

  • Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (NSHP, most common)
  • Renal Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (RSHP)
  • Hypertrophic Osteopathy (HO)

MBD is a highly-preventable disease of neglect, and it is not typically seen in wild reptiles. A properly-kept ackie monitor should never develop MBD.


  • Inactivity
  • Sluggishness
  • Muscle twitching/tremors
  • Seizures
  • Jerky movements
  • Swollen or soft bottom jaw
  • Palpable bumps on the bones of the legs
  • Swollen limbs
  • Curved limbs
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bone fractures
  • Cloacal prolapse


  • Not enough UVB
  • Low basking temperature
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Vitamin D overdose
  • Imbalanced nutrition


If you suspect that your ackie monitor has MBD, schedule an appointment with an experienced reptile vet immediately. Early-stage MBD is much easier to treat and has fewer permanent consequences than later on.

UVB is a requirement for ackie monitors. Strong, high-quality UVB can help a sick ackie monitor heal by prompting vitamin D3 synthesis. Visit the Lighting section of this guide for UVB lighting recommendations. If you already have a UVB bulb installed, it may be a bad brand or too old. The bulbs that ReptiFiles recommends should be replaced every 12 months.

If the weather is good, it’s may be a good idea to take your ackie outdoors between 10am-2pm when the sun is strongest. This is a way to expose them to natural UVB, which can speed recovery. However, take special precautions to make sure your ackie doesn’t run away!

Make sure to double-check your ackie’s basking temperatures as well. Heat and UVB are both needed for a reptile’s body to synthesize vitamin D properly. Use a temperature gun to check the basking surface temperature. If it reads below 130°F (54°C), then your basking temperature is too cool and you need a hotter (higher wattage) heat bulb.

Further treatment will be prescribed by your vet. Exact treatment may vary based on what form of MBD your ackie has and how far it has progressed.

More ackie monitor health topics:

Return to the Ackie Monitor Care Guide by clicking here.