ISSN 2398-2985      

Pyramidal growth syndrome

Jreptile

Introduction

  • Pyramiding of the shell in chelonians is regarded as a syndrome of captivity and rarely occurs in the wild.
  • Cause: multifactorial: diet (too high in protein) and environmental (low humidity) have been implicated as causative factors.
  • Signs: excess growth of scutes on the carapace, resulting in a pyramid shape on each scute.
  • Treatment: none. Address environmental factors.
  • Prognosis: depends on severity and other underlying factors/diseases.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • It is often associated with tortoises kept under unnatural conditions, with inadequate diet Chelonia nutrition and humidity being main contributors Chelonia husbandry.
  • Over-nutrition (too high in protein), low humidity and inadequate shelter in a basking vivarium are all factors speculated to contribute to pyramiding.
  • The syndrome is not fully understood with speculation about various factors. One controlled trial shows a specific cause and effect between nutrients, humidity and pyramiding.
  • In the wild hatchling tortoises consume little food during dry periods and growth rate is slow. In the rainy season, they consume more food with the resultant increase in growth rate. It is only in captivity that tortoises are exposed to an abundance of food in an environment of low humidity, the proposed causative factors of shell pyramiding.

Predisposing factors

General

  • It is often associated with tortoises kept under unnatural conditions.
  • Inadequate diet (over-nutrition).
  • Inadequate humidity.

Specific

  • Over-nutrition (too high in protein).
  • Low humidity.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Wiesner C S & Iben C (2003) Influence of environmental humidity and dietary protein on pyramidal growth of carapaces in African spurred tortoises (Geochelone sulcata). J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr 87 (1-2), 66-74 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Kischinovsky M, Raftery A & Sawmy S (2018) Husbandry and Nutrition. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery in Clinical Practice. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 45-60.
  • Donoghue S (2006) Nutrition. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Eds: Mader D. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 251-298.

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