There's no such thing as URI

Discussion in 'Health Clinic' started by luckykarma, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. luckykarma

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    Before all the senior people get upset this is what I found after battling it with two chams.

    There is no such thing as URI. My vet admonished me and he contributes to the reference journals. He said there is Lower Respiratory Tract infection. The reference journal states:

    The chapter in Mader's book is "Pneumonia and Lower Respiratory tract
    Disease". It starts out:

    "Pneumonia is a common problem in captive reptiles. Often called "respiratory" by lay herpetologists pneumonia, with its multiple etiologies, can easily be life threatening if not aggressively managed. Although a number of infectious agents are capable of causing primary pneumonia, many clinical cases are the result of the intermingling of any of several
    predisposing deficiencies including husbandry, sanitation, and nutrition."

    I recommend all of us who want to sound intelligent to our peers and vets stop calling it URI. There is no such thing.

    One interesting trick the vet had me do and I was skeptical was to increase the humidity to 80% by using a warm air humidifier. I thought for any respiratory disease you would want it dry and I've read that on this board.

    Before I go on the humidity rarely falls below 60% and temp is 80º and the Chams can get up to the 90º if they want.

    Well the one worse off would just hang out over the warm mist. I tried treating him twice with Baytril for what I thought was merely URI by reading he probably had Pneumonia all this time. The extra humidity really helped this Cham. He would position himself over the mist and sleep there. If I turned it down during the day he would come down to a lower branch to be closer to it.

    Then, unfortunately, he spread it to the other Cham. This Cham is practically aquatic. When he's in his sunning cage he lives under the dripper for maybe an hour at a time. He drinks normally so he's completely hydrated. This Cham also enjoyed the warm mist and would hang out on his tree above it and sleep in it. The humidity was 80-85%.

    The drug that finally broke the infection was Fortaz. After observing I'm sure the humidity helped a great deal. The vet wanted them to breath in warm humid air to generate as much mucus as possible and clear their system.

    While we're on the topic I've been told studies show Chams can't cough to clear their lungs. Not so. I've observed the sickest Cham coughing, not hyperventilating but coughing up the phlegm and swallowing it. I witnessed this several times.

    I know there's incredibly experienced keepers on this board. I hope this adds to the knowledge base somehow and helps people. I'm not an expert but I've been keeping Chams (exclusively free-range) for close to 7 years and working at home I see their behavior all day long. They never cease to amaze me...

    Thanks to Dave Weldon "the keeper who knows more than most vets" for referencing the Mader passage and letting me read the entire chapter on the subject at the last meeting
    #1 luckykarma, Jul 31, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008

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    hhmmm.. pretty interesting fact thanks for sharing..
  3. Eric Adrignola

    Eric Adrignola
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    I've never really had to deal with a "URI" personally - I thought I had one with one, but it turned out she was just dying of liver failure.

    I did start to think about it - as lungs are lower respiratory, and one would think an upper resp. infection in a chameleon would be the same as that in a human - nose, sinus, trachea, etc...

    Just never bothered.

    Makes sense to me.
  4. studiocham

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    Dang it, Eric, stop reading my mind!:D

    I was wondering if it gained the name "upper" because so many cases of pneumonia develop after the animal's head is infected- starting with mouth ulcers, sinus infections, eye irritation progressing to infection, etc. You may hear a vet refer to a respiratory infection as secondary to the initial sinus/eye infection. The overall infected state of the animal was "technically" primarily an upper. Just a rambling thought.
  5. luckykarma

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    My guys had no 'upper' symptoms that migrated to the lungs.

    One other point I forgot is when I discussed the topic with Dr. Greek who has seen thousands of Chameleons by his own admission.


    Remember that bacterial infections, viral infections, fungal infections, cancer, heart disease and even some parasite infections can all cause excess fluid in the lungs and show symptoms of a "respiratory infection".

    I believe this is very important to realize for those of use that have drugs around and think we know what it is and treat it accordingly.

    I was actually quite nervous after Greek mentioned that since Baytril had absolutely no effect on the infection. I knew my guys are clean as one of our Chameleon patriarchs here (read Weldon) has done a lot of fecals on my guys as they were battling Coccidia. So I was hoping it wasn't pointing to more severe things.

    On a different topic I'm pretty impressed with Fortaz right now.

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