Guaranteeing hand hygiene when it matters most

Vetark, along with parent company Candioli, have been working tirelessly to bring their new hand sanitiser product, Defense, to market in record time. In light of the current pandemic and the global shortages of hygiene products, Vetark is proud to be able to provide customers with vital products at a critical time.

The new antibacterial gel replaces the existing product Amprotect hand rinse, available in 80ml and 200ml dispensers Defense is perfect for use in the office and home environment as well as when travelling, using public transport or handling money.

Striving to make their products available to all, Defense is available to all consumers with no minimum order quantities. Perfectly complimenting Vetark’s expert range of exotic and companion animal supplements, Defense is the latest release to receive a complete overhaul, bringing it in line with the new branding showcased last year.

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Vetark Nutrobal and geckos

Based on email questions there seems to be misinformation being spread around about Vetark's Nutrobal. We are hapy to answer questions about this or any of our products, and would always prefer to put abnswers here on our website

Nutrobal is a calcium balancer, it supplies loads of calcium AND a useful multivitamin and mineral supplement. We formulated it to comply with the best information many years ago, we have made minor tweeks over the years but generaqlly it is unchanged. We make it in a superb specialist plant.

The summary analysis of Nutrobal is on our website ie what it provides: 200mg calcium & 150IU vitamin D3, plus vitamins A C E K B1 B2 B6 B12 folic, nicotinic & pantothenic acids, biotin choline niacin and minerals P Na Fe Co I Mn Zn Se Cu.

A fuller breakdown is attached expressed in a per gram measure. Average pinch being 0.1g.
In general, dust crickets etc at every feed, for geckoes provide a small bowl of calci-dust as extra calcium. If you are confident that your UV lighting is good and your geckos are producing vitamin D3 (bear in mind that the more crepuscular species may not need or be able to use UV) then you might choose to alternate dusting of crickets between Nutrobal and Calci-Dust.

The vitamin A in our products is as retinyl acetate rather than beta carotene  The conversion from beta carotene to vitamin A isn’t reliable for all species so we don’t use it.

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Reptile Habitat Management Handbook

 This excellent handbook written by Paul Edghar, Jim Foster and John Baker of ARC in Bournemouth brings together habitat management advice for all native UK reptiles. All have suffered declines  and all are now priioriies.

This brings together over 20 years of experience in managing habitats for rare reptiles. It can be bought from the  ARC trust website, or even downloaded free as a pdf.

You can also join the trust at the website, becoming a Friend!


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Practical Reptile Magazine

Read the featured Q&A article in Practical Reptile magazine

The two questions we recieved can be found at the top of this page, followed by the answer covering both points.

Question 1: Is nutrobal designed to be used with each feed, or on a less regular basis? It states one pinch per kg of animal, though clearly many lizards weigh significantly less then a kilo and adding say a 5th of 10th of a pinch to a bag containing say 6 crickets to spread the dust over them, is quite hard to accurately do. For this reason, especially in small reptiles such as Anole lizards and dwarf  species of desert gecko, is it better not to use nutrobal with each feed to avoid hypervitaminosis? I've noticed some websites appear to suggest Nutrobal dusting of livefood only 1-2 times a week, and sometimes suggest using a pure calcium carbonate powder the rest of the time.

Question 2: Is the 200mg calcium per gram of nutrobal a sufficient enough amount that the addition of a calcium powder along with nutrobal is unnecessary? An example would be if nutrobal was used for one days feed, then a pure calcium powder the next. Is just using nutrobal instead of this switching method an acceptable practice? There seems to be some confusion on websites about whether nutrobal is designed to supply all of a reptiles calcium needs.

Answer: Nutrobal is a calcium balancer and multivitamin product. A lot of time went into every stage of the product research and development, including selecting a particle size which 'sticks' to crickets and other livefoods without getting into their spiracles and killing them. We have maintained this carefully for over 20 years, and have launched Calci-Dust containing the same calcium we use in Nutrobal. The product has been used by the majority of reptile vet in the UK and a large number of zoos keeping reptiles. We also ship Nutrobal worldwide.

Nutrobal was designed to be used at every feed, but it was designed at a time when UV lighting was very poor, often dangerous. Now with better UV (when set at the correct height,  bulbs changed regularly) Nutrobal could be sufficient every second feed. You should also consider whether a species is crepuscular/nocturnal where UV isn't factor. The data doesn't exist to show that leopard geckos can actually use UV efficiently, however they can use Nutrobal.

There are of course many variables at play, however we have never had a report of hypervitaminosis / overdose from its use every feed, and that is the recommended dose. If UV is used then we recommend alternating Nutrobal and Calci-Dust.

It is important that crickets and other livefoods are always dusted with something. Even reptiles soon learn that if they don't eat the 'white ones' then brown ones will appear. If you aren't going to use Nutrobal then dust with Calci-Dust.

Don't worry about per kg dosing if you use crickets and mealworms. The per kg dosage isn't relevant if you are dusting - the animals self dose in that what they eat is size related (bigger animals eat more crickets and so more Nutrobal).

The amount of calcium in NUTROBAL is plenty to supply the animals needs, if its on every feed. If it isn't then as said Calci-Dust should be used. Owners tend to grow reptiles in captivity quicker than they would grow in the wild, that means that they need optimum calcium levels for health bone development or they will get metabolic bone disease. Once reptiles are adult then they have lower calcium needs and I suggest switching to ARKVITS which has enhanced levels of vitamins A, C & E  which can be useful for long term maintenance, support of immune system and encouraging breeding.

NUTROBAL isn't just calcium, the vitamin D3 is vital as without it the calcium goes straight through the animal.

Whilst I'm writing, I should also mention our new NUTROGRUB product. I have worked on this for 2 years, Our GRUB GRUB and BUG GRUB are now withdrawn and replaced with NUTROGRUB. Insects find it much more palatable and its a great way of keeping the feeder insects alive, whilst at the same time gut-loading their calcium levels. We have increased the calcium in mealworms by x 7-8 and in crickets by x 12. These are stunning results, but you should still dust at the time of feeding, loading calcium and providing lots of vitamins.

I'm honestly pleased that people feel comfortable enough with NUTROBAL after 20 years to play around, but it is well tried and tested. We are very responsive, asa vet i speak to other reptile vets regularly and follow the published literature. We try to do our best, and since we manufacture NUTROBAL every 3 months  for quality and maximum shelf life we can always make any changes that science indicates.

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Amphibian Conservation Research Symposium 2012

At Chancellors Conference Centre, Manchester

This was a relatively low key specialist meeting, but very enjoyable. There were some really good papers and chats.  In addition to Peter presenting a keynote lecture on Amphibian Nutrition we were sponsors of the meeting.

The meeting worked well and brought together researchers from around the UK looking at the overall strategy, various research projects under way etc (mainly nutritional). The hope is that the meeting will go on and in future years can get more vets, and even more zoos involved (this time ZSL, Jersey and Chester were there).

There was a lot of interest for us in Nutrobal and our new gut loading product Nutrogrub.

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BCG Spring Symposium 2012

Chelonian News Update - whats happening with tortoises

A day with:
Professor John Cooper DTVM, FRCPath, FRCVS University of Cambridge/University of Nairobi
             A joint presentation with
 Mrs. Margaret Cooper LLB, FLS Wildlife Health Services (UK), Honorary Research Fellow, DICE, University of Kent, Visiting Lecturer, University of Nairobi 
                          Title: Reptile Workshops in Kenya 
Dr. Justin Gerlach PhD, MA, FRGS
Nature Protection Trust of the Seychelles
Title: The end of the Seychelles Giant Tortoise Project and An overview of early turtle evolution: from 220 million years ago to somewhere nearer the present day
Mr. Martin Lawton BVetMed, Cert V Ophthal, Cert LAS, CBiol, MSB, DZooMed, FRCVS. The Lawton and Stoakes Veterinary Practice
            Title: Chelonian Respiration – In Sickness and in Health
Miss Emma Wood
 BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology University of Exeter
Title: Marine Turtle Conservation in Northern Cyprus and A New Tool for Regulating the UK Tortoise Trade?
Look at or email


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The Tortoise Garden - should it close?

this is a splendid sanctuary for long-term pet tortoises but this week they were served a notice instructing them to close to the public

The Tortoise Garden rescues long term pets often when their owners have died or simply become too old to look after them.

To raise money the site is open to the public who are encouraged to donate. Allowing the public in, with or without donation, brings them under the definition of a zoo.

'The definition of a zoo under the ZLA is 'an establishment where wild animals (animals not normally domesticated in Great Britain) are kept for exhibition to
the public (otherwise than for the purposes of a circus and otherwise than in a petshop) with or without charge for seven or more days a year.'

DEFRA control the interpretation of this, the local authority is forced to work within the definitions.

The Tortoise garden is displaying an animal which the law says is 'not normally domesticated in GB', - ie. the tortoise. The tortoise is a nice tractable animal which can be kept in domestic circmstances relatively easily but it has not been changed to make it more domesticated. DEFRA does not view tortoises as domesticated and therefore displaying them makes a sanctuary a zoo.

The Tortoise Garden is doing valuable welfare rescue work - taking in tortoises from various welfare societies and from private indviduals no longer able to cope.

Please write to your MP to challenge this. Only DEFRA can change this interpretation.

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Reptile Roadshow 2010

Vetark was pleased to sponsor this excellent day

Reptile welfare first came to the Manchester RSPCA’s attention in late 2008/early 2009 when the RSPCA inspectorate working in the Manchester & Salford area investigated several cases involving reptiles.
The branch had by now established a programme of animal welfare promotion, mainly involving the delivery of free pet health clinics to communities that did not have easy access to veterinary services whether that be through geographical or financial restrictions. Rarely were reptiles seen at these clinics despite always having (and advertising) the presence of an exotic vet specialist.
When the branch secured a grant from the national RSPCA to deliver ten pet health clinics during 2010 the idea of trialling a Reptile Roadshow came to mind. The branch had long been running very successful specialist Rabbit and Guinea Pig Roadshows and so the hope was that an event specifically for reptiles might reach these creatures and their owners and offer a wealth of advice and support to all.

The had expert help on the day fromenvironmentalist and conservationist Crocodile Joe ( , tortoise expert and welfarist Debs Glanville, trainee exotic vet Sarah Pellet and one of the most prominent exotic vets in the country, Molly Varga.

This was a great bridge builder. Relations between reptile keepers and RSPCA have not been of the highest and it was excellnt to see such an enlightened approach.

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ARAV / AG ARK conference

This was a really good meeting!

The attendees report that this was a really good meeting and the proceedings hopefully will be available. 

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Animal Health & Welfare Strategy

For the reptile and amphibian sectors this is currently led by FOCAS and Chris Newman. The fish sector has been led by OATA and Keith Davenport. A large group have been working on rabbits and PAC have led the dog and cat sectors

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