Broken tail

Hi everyone this is my first time posting on here in a while. I have a question about my veiled chameleon, Ralphie. Ralphie is a male chameleon and is 4.5 years old. The back story is that he is in a reptibreeze 4x2x2 terrarium that is lighted with a t8 5.0 tube light and a 90w heat lamp. I usually keep a very strict routine with my reptiles but over the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of things come up and I have not been doing the absolute best I can for my reptiles and im really starting to regret that. 2 days ago I woke up to make some breakfast at 9am and found Ralphie sitting on the floor of his cage. Which is very odd because his lights do not turn on until noon, so he should not have even been awake at this time, none the less on the ground. My assumption is the a/c was on and his room got a little chilly so he tried to go towards the back of the terrarium in the middle of the night for some warmth. He’s clumsy and I would assume he miss stepped and fell what I could only image would be about 2-1/2 feet. When I found him he was sitting on his bottom with his rear legs bent (normally) and his front legs are holding him up. (Kind of like how a dog or cat would sit) i quickly picked him up and Checked him out but he was a little stiff and slow moving so I put him back on a branch and turned his lights on so he could warm up and really wake up. A few hours later I checked on him again and seemed to be okay, except his tail. He has some movement for about the last 2 inches of his tail but the movement does not look normal (kind of like a worm just wiggling from time to time.) the 5-6 inch section of his tail that meets the rest of his body does not seem to move, or atleast he can’t move it. I was able to gently move it by hand (was really just trying to feel for any breaks or kinks but didn’t feel any) so I know it can move but it feels very stiff. The 2 inch section that he can move is still able to some what curl around my finger but the rest of his tail does not curl up how it should. He seems to move around okay but he does not stick his tail up when he is walking around (used to always stick his tail up, I’m assuming that is to keep his balance because he seems very off balance while walking. But while he is moving around different branches he seems to move fine. He just does not use his tail to grab anything anymore. I am in the process of looking for a good vet with reptiles in my area but in the mean time I was wondering if there was anything I could do to help him out. I shut all the vents in his room (it’s like a sauna in there now). And have just been keeping a very very close eye on him. I also added a blanket to the bottom of his terrarium just in case he does fall again. Again he will be going to the vet asap but in the mean time while I’m looking for one I was curious if there was anything I could do to make hime feel better, or any home remedies.
Thank you for the help
 

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Hi and welcome back. Sorry that your guy isn’t doing so great. I’m not a vet and can only really take guesses at what may be happening. A few things do stand out to me. The first and most important is that your uvb is a T8 with a 5.0 bulb. This really isn’t going to provide the level of uvb that your guy needs. It’s ok to use a T8, but you’d need to use a stronger uvb bulb, like a 10.0 or 12% and then you’ll need your basking area about 7” or so below. Also, how often do you change your uvb bulb? Then I’m wondering what supplements you use and by what schedule. If these aren’t spot on, that combined with not enough uvb can be enough to cause the weakness you’re seeing. If too much is off with uvb and supplements, you would be seeing weakness and some neurological changes as well…mbd basically. Then there’s his age. He is technically old by veiled/chameleon standards and may be getting some arthritis or other age-related changes.
While I don’t think it’s related (at least not directly) to his current issues, I’m wondering about your lights coming in so late in the morning. Generally we have the lights turn on as the day brightens - around 7-8AM and then have them turn off 12 hours later. Running a schedule so very different than the natural one can mess a bit with his internal clock/circadian rhythm. That would be a bit of a chronic stressor. He wouldn’t at all be bothered with a cool temp btw, unless it’s going below 55-60.
 
his head is kinda lumpy, and his spine is kinda curvy.

As missskittles said, id up your UVB or Vit-d supplement. His bones might be very soft. The bones get "puffy" first, then they start breaking. It might not be broken, but might have inflammation or other items due to age.

So id up the UVB OR(not both) the vit-d, and reevaulate your vit schedule. You may find just 2 hours a week of outdoor sun is enough to correct in a few weeks, and this lasts for months.
 
Hi and welcome back. Sorry that your guy isn’t doing so great. I’m not a vet and can only really take guesses at what may be happening. A few things do stand out to me. The first and most important is that your uvb is a T8 with a 5.0 bulb. This really isn’t going to provide the level of uvb that your guy needs. It’s ok to use a T8, but you’d need to use a stronger uvb bulb, like a 10.0 or 12% and then you’ll need your basking area about 7” or so below. Also, how often do you change your uvb bulb? Then I’m wondering what supplements you use and by what schedule. If these aren’t spot on, that combined with not enough uvb can be enough to cause the weakness you’re seeing. If too much is off with uvb and supplements, you would be seeing weakness and some neurological changes as well…mbd basically. Then there’s his age. He is technically old by veiled/chameleon standards and may be getting some arthritis or other age-related changes.
While I don’t think it’s related (at least not directly) to his current issues, I’m wondering about your lights coming in so late in the morning. Generally we have the lights turn on as the day brightens - around 7-8AM and then have them turn off 12 hours later. Running a schedule so very different than the natural one can mess a bit with his internal clock/circadian rhythm. That would be a bit of a chronic stressor. He wouldn’t at all be bothered with a cool temp btw, unless it’s going below 55-60.
Thank you for the help. I have had the t8 and 5.0 bulb for him his whole life and the upper part of the terrarium is very open and his basking spot is about 6-7 inches away from the bulb, however I just noticed one of his vines moved and there’s an area where he can bask about 3-4 inches away from the uvb bulb. I moved the vine back to where it’s supposed to be but do you think that being 3-4 inches is too close to the uvb bulb. I change the uvb bulb twice a year, last change was 3 months ago. The supplements is were im starting to lean towards. I also have a beardie and tend to feed both of them at the same time and I think I may have switched up their crickets (beardie gets d3 2-3 times per week and chameleon gets d3 once a week) or at least that is the usually routine I keep, but with everything else I have going on I can’t remember how often I have been dusting with d3 over the past few weeks. I am also worried about his age and will do my best to pay close attention to him and my supplement routine from now on. And his lights are on for about 10 1/2 hours per day. I think I will switch them to come on at 11am and go off at 10:30pm to give him some more daytime hours.
Thank you again
 
his head is kinda lumpy, and his spine is kinda curvy.

As missskittles said, id up your UVB or Vit-d supplement. His bones might be very soft. The bones get "puffy" first, then they start breaking. It might not be broken, but might have inflammation or other items due to age.

So id up the UVB OR(not both) the vit-d, and reevaulate your vit schedule. You may find just 2 hours a week of outdoor sun is enough to correct in a few weeks, and this lasts for months.
Thank you, I will give that a try. Do you think upping the vit-d and letting him get 2 hours of sunlight will be too much?
 
I’m glad that you’re changing your uvb bulb every six months, but it still isn’t strong enough. You need to either get a T5 with a 5.0 or 6% bulb or get a 10.0 or 12% bulb for your T8.
You need to get your supplements in better order as well as currently you’re giving too much D3, which can be just as bad as not enough. You want to use a phosphorus free calcium without D3 lightly dusted over every feeding except when using a different supplement. Your guy needs a multivitamin and a D3, each given once every other week. There’s several ways to achieve this. The easiest way is to use a combination product of multivitamin and D3 combined for one feeding every other week. There are two that are a bit better than most - Repashy calcium plus LoD or ReptiVite with D3. Right now since your guy has been getting too much supplemental D3, I’d hold off on giving any for at least 2-4 weeks. Instead, while the weather is still nice it would benefit him greatly to take him outside for even just 15 minutes a few times a week. Put him on a small plant and stay with him outside. Do not leave him unattended for even a few seconds. Not only are chameleons very fast when they want to be, but predators can be even faster.
The D3 that’s obtained through the sun or uvb light is very different than the dietary supplement. Ideally, our animals should get most, if not all of their D3 through light. Living bodies synthesize just enough D3 from the sun/uvb that it needs. Supplemental D3 is a fat soluble vitamin which can easily build up to toxic levels in the body.
Since your guy’s supplements are off and with his age, I’d definitely advise taking him to a good vet with chameleon experience/knowledge. Getting some basic labs would be a great idea to see where his organ function is as well as his calcium levels.
I know it can get confusing with the supplements and feeding when you have other reptiles. I also have beardies and leopard geckos and it can be crazy to keep track of who gets what and when. I have to keep it all written down (prefer a paper calendar) and also I use a different multivitamin/D3 supplement for my chameleons than the others. To try to make it even more idiot proof for myself, I keep the different supplements by each animal’s enclosures. Whatever works for you to keep track, do it.
I know we’re talking about your chameleon, but I’m now curious about your beardie’s uvb and supplements. I really hope you have a T5 with a 10.0 (or 12%/14%) and are giving him a good multivitamin too. It’s taken me a while to find a supplement schedule that makes sense for my beardies. 3 days a week I use calcium without D3, 2 days a week is calcium with D3 and 1 day is Repashy calcium plus multivitamin/D3 combo. Then for one wonderful day they get a break and get to eat and enjoy without any crap on their food. :)
 
Thank you, I will give that a try. Do you think upping the vit-d and letting him get 2 hours of sunlight will be too much?
Short term it is not too much. Too much vit-d takes about 90 days to take effect and you will start getting edema around the head.
 
his head is kinda lumpy, and his spine is kinda curvy.

As missskittles said, id up your UVB or Vit-d supplement. His bones might be very soft. The bones get "puffy" first, then they start breaking. It might not be broken, but might have inflammation or other items due to age.

So id up the UVB OR(not both) the vit-d, and reevaulate your vit schedule. You may find just 2 hours a week of outdoor sun is enough to correct in a few weeks, and this lasts for
I’m glad that you’re changing your uvb bulb every six months, but it still isn’t strong enough. You need to either get a T5 with a 5.0 or 6% bulb or get a 10.0 or 12% bulb for your T8.
You need to get your supplements in better order as well as currently you’re giving too much D3, which can be just as bad as not enough. You want to use a phosphorus free calcium without D3 lightly dusted over every feeding except when using a different supplement. Your guy needs a multivitamin and a D3, each given once every other week. There’s several ways to achieve this. The easiest way is to use a combination product of multivitamin and D3 combined for one feeding every other week. There are two that are a bit better than most - Repashy calcium plus LoD or ReptiVite with D3. Right now since your guy has been getting too much supplemental D3, I’d hold off on giving any for at least 2-4 weeks. Instead, while the weather is still nice it would benefit him greatly to take him outside for even just 15 minutes a few times a week. Put him on a small plant and stay with him outside. Do not leave him unattended for even a few seconds. Not only are chameleons very fast when they want to be, but predators can be even faster.
The D3 that’s obtained through the sun or uvb light is very different than the dietary supplement. Ideally, our animals should get most, if not all of their D3 through light. Living bodies synthesize just enough D3 from the sun/uvb that it needs. Supplemental D3 is a fat soluble vitamin which can easily build up to toxic levels in the body.
Since your guy’s supplements are off and with his age, I’d definitely advise taking him to a good vet with chameleon experience/knowledge. Getting some basic labs would be a great idea to see where his organ function is as well as his calcium levels.
I know it can get confusing with the supplements and feeding when you have other reptiles. I also have beardies and leopard geckos and it can be crazy to keep track of who gets what and when. I have to keep it all written down (prefer a paper calendar) and also I use a different multivitamin/D3 supplement for my chameleons than the others. To try to make it even more idiot proof for myself, I keep the different supplements by each animal’s enclosures. Whatever works for you to keep track, do it.
I know we’re talking about your chameleon, but I’m now curious about your beardie’s uvb and supplements. I really hope you have a T5 with a 10.0 (or 12%/14%) and are giving him a good multivitamin too. It’s taken me a while to find a supplement schedule that makes sense for my beardies. 3 days a week I use calcium without D3, 2 days a week is calcium with D3 and 1 day is Repashy calcium plus multivitamin/D3 combo. Then for one wonderful day they get a break and get to eat and enjoy without any crap on their food. :)
Thank you. it sounds like our beardies have a similar set up and supplement routine, but he’s doing great still has the energy level of a juvenile bearded dragon, can I ask what vegetables you feed yours? Mine loves fruits but he doesn’t want to eat his veggies all the time. I usually try collard greens, mustard greens and occasionally kale (I know it’s very acidic which is why I only feed him that once maybe twice a month for kale). But as for my chameleon I think getting him into some true sunlight and finding the paper that had my feeding/supplement schedule on it will work for now. I found a vet and have an appointment for tomorrow.
 
Thank you. it sounds like our beardies have a similar set up and supplement routine, but he’s doing great still has the energy level of a juvenile bearded dragon, can I ask what vegetables you feed yours? Mine loves fruits but he doesn’t want to eat his veggies all the time. I usually try collard greens, mustard greens and occasionally kale (I know it’s very acidic which is why I only feed him that once maybe twice a month for kale). But as for my chameleon I think getting him into some true sunlight and finding the paper that had my feeding/supplement schedule on it will work for now. I found a vet and have an appointment for tomorrow.
Thankfully my beardies are pretty good about eating their salads. I try to give them a variety of greens - dandelion, turnip, mustard, escarole, watercress and arugula. Neither are big fans of collards and I never give kale. Usually I’ll get 2 different bunches for the week. I also add in a few small pieces of 1-2 of the following - summer squash, shaved butternut squash, baby bell pepper, green bean, fresh peas, carrot and about 2-3 times a week I give a small amount of fruit…usually berry. Along with their supplement, I also add a tiny pinch of bee pollen for flavor and a light misting of water. I give salads every day, but bugs are only 1-2 days a week.
 
I’m glad that you’re changing your uvb bulb every six months, but it still isn’t strong enough. You need to either get a T5 with a 5.0 or 6% bulb or get a 10.0 or 12% bulb for your T8.
You need to get your supplements in better order as well as currently you’re giving too much D3, which can be just as bad as not enough. You want to use a phosphorus free calcium without D3 lightly dusted over every feeding except when using a different supplement. Your guy needs a multivitamin and a D3, each given once every other week. There’s several ways to achieve this. The easiest way is to use a combination product of multivitamin and D3 combined for one feeding every other week. There are two that are a bit better than most - Repashy calcium plus LoD or ReptiVite with D3. Right now since your guy has been getting too much supplemental D3, I’d hold off on giving any for at least 2-4 weeks. Instead, while the weather is still nice it would benefit him greatly to take him outside for even just 15 minutes a few times a week. Put him on a small plant and stay with him outside. Do not leave him unattended for even a few seconds. Not only are chameleons very fast when they want to be, but predators can be even faster.
The D3 that’s obtained through the sun or uvb light is very different than the dietary supplement. Ideally, our animals should get most, if not all of their D3 through light. Living bodies synthesize just enough D3 from the sun/uvb that it needs. Supplemental D3 is a fat soluble vitamin which can easily build up to toxic levels in the body.
Since your guy’s supplements are off and with his age, I’d definitely advise taking him to a good vet with chameleon experience/knowledge. Getting some basic labs would be a great idea to see where his organ function is as well as his calcium levels.
I know it can get confusing with the supplements and feeding when you have other reptiles. I also have beardies and leopard geckos and it can be crazy to keep track of who gets what and when. I have to keep it all written down (prefer a paper calendar) and also I use a different multivitamin/D3 supplement for my chameleons than the others. To try to make it even more idiot proof for myself, I keep the different supplements by each animal’s enclosures. Whatever works for you to keep track, do it.
I know we’re talking about your chameleon, but I’m now curious about your beardie’s uvb and supplements. I really hope you have a T5 with a 10.0 (or 12%/14%) and are giving him a good multivitamin too. It’s taken me a while to find a supplement schedule that makes sense for my beardies. 3 days a week I use calcium without D3, 2 days a week is calcium with D3 and 1 day is Repashy calcium plus multivitamin/D3 combo. Then for one wonderful day they get a break and get to eat and enjoy without any crap on their food. :)


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Thanks for the advice, your advice is very useful for a newbie like me. I will keep it in my mind.
 
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