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Amphibians, reptiles and fish
Nutritional fibrous osteodystrophy with chondroid metaplasia in a Nile monitor, Varanus niloticus
  1. Gregory N Scott1,
  2. John Cullen2,
  3. Robert S Bakal3,4 and
  4. Gregory A Lewbart1
  1. 1 Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2 Population Health and Pathobiology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  3. 3 Animal Health & Welfare, National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  4. 4 Veterinary Services, Banfield Pet Hospital, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gregory A Lewbart; galewbar{at}


Carnivorous reptiles are not usually thought of as being prone to metabolic bone disorders. A constant diet lacking in calcium or bone and/or high in phosphorus or low in vitamin D3 can lead to this nutritional disorder in certain situations. Nile monitor lizards are carnivorous lizards native to Africa and common in the pet trade and as display animals in zoos. They normally consume whole vertebrate prey but will readily take muscle and organ offerings. This is a case of a Nile monitor that suffered fibrous osteodystrophy and chondroid metaplasia after being fed mostly muscle tissue for over two years. Once the diet was corrected the clinical signs resolved.

  • varanus niloticus
  • chondroid metaplasia
  • fibrous osteodystrophy
  • nile monitor
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  • Contributors All authors contributed to this work. GS wrote the first draft of the manuscript. JC performed the pathology and made treatment recommendations. RB assisted with the surgery and case management. GL was the primary clinician, communicated with the owner and revised and formatted the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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