Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

This page contains affiliate links.

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)
  • Osteopetrosis

MBD is a highly preventable disease. A properly-kept plated lizard should never develop MBD.


  • lethargy
  • twitching/tremors
  • seizures
  • jerky movements
  • palpable bumps along the bones
  • swollen limbs
  • curved limbs
  • swollen or soft bottom jaw


  • not enough UVB
  • low basking temperature
  • calcium deficiency
  • vitamin D deficiency
  • vitamin D overdose
  • imbalanced nutrition


If you suspect that your plated lizard has MBD, schedule an appointment with the vet immediately. Early-stage MBD is much easier to treat and has fewer permanent consequences than later on. UVB is an absolute requirement for plated lizards. Strong, high-quality UVB (I only recommend Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 T5 HO or the Arcadia Desert 12% in an Arcadia or Vivarium Electronics fixture) can help a sick plated lizard heal by prompting vitamin D3 synthesis. If you already have a UVB bulb installed, it may be a bad brand or too old. The bulbs mentioned here should be replaced every 12 months.  

If the weather is good, it’s also a good idea to take your plated lizard outdoors between 10am-2pm when the sun is strongest to get natural UVB, which can speed recovery.

Make sure to double-check your plated lizard’s basking temperatures as well. Heat and UVB are both needed for a reptile’s body to synthesize vitamin D properly. Use a digital probe thermometer like the Zoo Med Digital Thermometer, with the probe placed on top of the basking surface. If it reads below 104°F (40°C), then your basking temperature is too cool and you need a hotter heat bulb.

A plated lizard with MBD should also receive supplementary calcium powder with added vitamin D3, like Miner-ALL Indoor, to restore vitamin D3 reserves. Feeder insects should be properly gut-loaded for maximum benefit.

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

Other plated lizard health topics: