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Beware of thyaminase


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Posted by Chris_Harper on October 23, 2000 at 09:49:24:

In Reply to: Drymobius margaritiferus - Catfish Dinner (pic) posted by Sacha Korell on October 20, 2000 at 23:17:45:

Sacha,

First of all, let me state that I am insanely jealous
as I have always wanted to work with Drymobius ssp.
Hopefully, due to the effort of yourself and others
like you, someday I will.

I visited your website and it is clear to me that
you have a lot of experience and background (not to
mention great taste in reptiles), but I thought I
should warn you about some problems associated with
feeding fish. I appologize if I am being presumptuous
and you are already aware of this.

Thawed fish strips tend to be very high in an enzyme
called Thyaminase. Thyaminase breaks down thyamine,
which is essentially vitamin B (B-12 I believe).
Thyamine deficiency brought on by thyaminase cannot
be counter-acted by available reptile vitamins, or any
"over-the-counter" vitamins for that matter. It can
only be treated by a veternarian.

I am writing most of this from memory so some of the
details may be incorrect. You might want to read up
on this some more.

This condition is very often fatal to snakes, and I
might add the death it causes if pretty horrific,
with the snake ofteb convulsing for hours before
death ensues. Trust me, you don't want to see it.

At any rate, it sounds like you are already planning
ways to avoid feeding thawed fish in the future so
this message is probably not needed.

For what it is worth, I have switched fish eaters to
rodents by sticking a strip of fish in the mouth of a
mouse and feeding the whole thing to them. Soon
enough, you don't even have to use the fish.

Best of luck and I look forward to looking at your
website more completely.


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