Bumps/ Bubbles in Rib bones.. MBD?

Xelkaia

New Member
Hey everyone,
This post was really just an outreach to anyone with veterinary knowledge or experience with MBD, the reading of X-rays and/or any other bone conditions.

Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, Male, approx 18 months old. Owned him since he was a wee baby.
Handling - He's very friendly, so he's handled daily, but usually allowed to free roam on a plant and vine network I set up on the windowsill for 2-3 hours a day.
Feeding - Locusts and various veggies, 3 extra large Locusts fed every 2-3 days.. Sometimes fed more locusts if he wants them. Kale, Celery leaf, spring greens 1-2 times a week. Feeders gutloaded on pro rep bug grub and same veggies as fed to chameleon.
Supplements - Komodo premium insect dusting powder - chameleon.
Watering - Misting daily, hand watering 1-2 times a week, water dripper always available.
Fecal Description - Poop is normal brown and pellet shaped, urate is creamy yellow, has been tested for parasites, had a mild case but was treated for them and is now clean of parasites.
History - No previous medical concerns.

Cage Info:
Cage Type -
2ft(deep) by 4ft (tall) approx, glass exo terra viv with mesh roof.
Lighting - Arcadia, 6% UVB D3 reptile lamp, On from 9am till 9pm
Temperature - Currently around 87 F at basking spot. I use an analogue temp gauge.
Humidity - Currently around 50, I use an analogue humidity gauge.
Plants - Plastic ivy around the glass walls and a large living ficus plant.
Placement - Bedroom, nowhere near any high traffic areas, Vivarium is around 3ft off the ground.
Location - Scotland, UK.

Current Problem -

Just yesterday I was cleaning out my chameleon Pierre's vivarium and as I was placing him back on his branch.. I noticed his symmetry was off and it looked as though his hip was out of place. My first assumption was that he had fallen at some point and I had not realised, regardless, I called for an emergency appointment and took him to the vet first thing the next day.
My vet is not a chameleon specialist, but he does deal with reptiles on a regular basis so I trust his advice.

However, Having taken Pierre in with the fear of broken bones, The xray came up with no breaks.. and nothing to show why Pierre has something protruding from his hip.
I've always lived in fear of my dear chameleon contracting MBD and thus i've always kept on top of replacing bulbs and dusting his feeder insects but my vet informed me that my poor guy has mild signs of MBD in the spine, legs and ribs.
The only way i could have imagined this happening was when he was younger and he'd stopped eating for 3 weeks, eventually he did resume eating, but was this the cause of his MBD? Or is his X-ray showing signs of the condition worsening recently?
The vet also mentioned something about his ribs dissolving? He was unsure about the bubbles that showed up on a few of his ribs, but was confident that with an increase in Calcium and a stronger bulb, that he would be alright.
After he was home from the vet, he was adventurous as always and he's eating as if nothing were ever wrong.

Can anybody shed any further light on whats going on with my little Pierre?
Any advice/ suggestions will go greatly appreciated, and I am willing to answer any questions!
I've attached images for reference.

Thanks in advance.
 

Attachments

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Does your supplement contain vitamin D3?

His bones definitely show signs of MBD, the most dramatic being his front left leg where the radius is doing something really bizarre. Too much D3 actually interpheres with calcium absorbtion, so if your supplement has a lot of it then this may be the reason why. I'm not sure what is happening in his ribs, however. Perhaps breaks (healing?), they seem to be coinciding with the bright white pin-points on his ribs in the x-ray.
 

lancaster0861

New Member
sorry if this is a dumb question but what is in his supplement powder? MBD is something that tends to happen over a period of time. Its very unlikely the amount of time he went without food when he was younger would cause this. more likely he hasn't been getting the right amount of calcium in his diet or he has been having problems absorbing the calcium. Most people have good luck with a schedule of... calcium with no d3 at every feeding, calcium with d3 twice a month, and a multi-vitamin twice a month. The color of his urates sounds like he may be a bit dehydrated. its great that you caught it this early and i wish you luck! I just thought of this also, his basking temp might be a tiny bit low but im not sure if that would be enough to matter or not. he might not be able to digest his food efficient enough? just a thought?
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Does your supplement contain vitamin D3?

His bones definitely show signs of MBD, the most dramatic being his front left leg where the radius is doing something really bizarre. Too much D3 actually interpheres with calcium absorbtion, so if your supplement has a lot of it then this may be the reason why. I'm not sure what is happening in his ribs, however. Perhaps breaks (healing?), they seem to be coinciding with the bright white pin-points on his ribs in the x-ray.
As cham ribs are not true hardened bone they won't look quite the same on x-rays. However, they can suffer a sort of break (maybe more like a cartilage tear) and then heal. The breaks can show as lumps under the skin or probably as thickened spots where calcium was laid down during healing. Dr O or ferret...am I describing this right?
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
sorry if this is a dumb question but what is in his supplement powder? MBD is something that tends to happen over a period of time. Its very unlikely the amount of time he went without food when he was younger would cause this. more likely he hasn't been getting the right amount of calcium in his diet or he has been having problems absorbing the calcium. Most people have good luck with a schedule of... calcium with no d3 at every feeding, calcium with d3 twice a month, and a multi-vitamin twice a month. The color of his urates sounds like he may be a bit dehydrated. its great that you caught it this early and i wish you luck! I just thought of this also, his basking temp might be a tiny bit low but im not sure if that would be enough to matter or not. he might not be able to digest his food efficient enough? just a thought?
This is why UV lighting is so important. All the supplements in the world won't help if the cham can't get the right exposure to metabolize nutrients in the diet.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
As cham ribs are not true hardened bone they won't look quite the same on x-rays. However, they can suffer a sort of break (maybe more like a cartilage tear) and then heal. The breaks can show as lumps under the skin or probably as thickened spots where calcium was laid down during healing. Dr O or ferret...am I describing this right?
That's what I was thinking. I had a chameleon that broke a couple ribs from a fall onto a hard edge and he had the nubs instantly and forever, but I assume that on an x-ray (had some time passed) you would be able to see some healing thickness going on at the injury site.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
As cham ribs are not true hardened bone they won't look quite the same on x-rays. However, they can suffer a sort of break (maybe more like a cartilage tear) and then heal. The breaks can show as lumps under the skin or probably as thickened spots where calcium was laid down during healing. Dr O or ferret...am I describing this right?
Yes! When a bone breaks the ends of the bone where it's broken start to develop new bone pretty much in all directions initially to try to make contact with the other part and form a strong bridge between the break to keep it from breaking again. The lump is called a callus. Over time the bone will remodel this disorganized lump into a more regular skeletal structure like the one that was there before. So the callus usually gets smaller over time. However, it may not go away completely.

Kale, Celery leaf, spring greens 1-2 times a week.
None of those are great for gutloading as kale has a lot of phosphorus which will interefere with calcium, celery is very poor in nutrition, and spring greens are only okay. Here is some more info on gutloading to maximize calcium absorption: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/food/

Here are some examples of x-rays to compare to your cham's x-rays. https://www.chameleonforums.com/chameleon-x-rays-radiographs-110850/
His bone density isn't terrible, but his front arm bones are definitely abnormal they way they twist like that. And I don't think it's just positioning. There are several areas on his ribs that are abnormal. There is a bright spot on the ribs right under where the lump protrudes - that's most likely brighter because of a callus. There are also several lucencies like the eye of a needle on ribs higher than that - most notably on ribs 9 and 10 (count down from the top rib), more on the left. Those could be areas of weakness, or infection of the bone itself (less likely), or something else unusual.
Here is some more information on MBD: https://www.chameleonforums.com/wha...ase-mbd-looks-like-how-happens-how-fix-95071/
 
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Xelkaia

New Member
Does your supplement contain vitamin D3?

His bones definitely show signs of MBD, the most dramatic being his front left leg where the radius is doing something really bizarre. Too much D3 actually interpheres with calcium absorbtion, so if your supplement has a lot of it then this may be the reason why. I'm not sure what is happening in his ribs, however. Perhaps breaks (healing?), they seem to be coinciding with the bright white pin-points on his ribs in the x-ray.
Ohhh my goodness.. You know I've read this in posts by others thousand times and I never thought to check my supplement powder.. HUGE fault on my part.
It doesnt state anywhere on the front of the bottle that it contains D3, but looking at the ingredients.. it does contain D3.
Ingredients:
vitamins A, D3 and E.
Ugh.. Well, first thing I'll do tomorrow is change his calcium powder.
Looking at his UV bulb.. its a D3 lamp too... should i change this too? or just the supplement?
Ive never really tried multivitamins.. my local reptile store doesnt really sell anything other than the calcium supplement ive been using..
Can you suggest anything in particular? like a known good brand? that i could source online?

Thanks for your input :)
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
No, keep the uvb bulb(they should be changed out about every 6 months btw) and just supplement with the d3 a few times a month or so.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Looking at his UV bulb.. its a D3 lamp too... should i change this too? or just the supplement?
Reptile make D3 in their skin by absorbing UVB rays. Without UVB the conversion to Vit D3 isn't triggered. Impossible for them to make too much D3 in the skin that way. However, when eaten they can be overdosed on it. So the UVB is critical to calcium absorption in addition to D3 so you definitely need it.
 

Xelkaia

New Member
sorry if this is a dumb question but what is in his supplement powder? MBD is something that tends to happen over a period of time. Its very unlikely the amount of time he went without food when he was younger would cause this. more likely he hasn't been getting the right amount of calcium in his diet or he has been having problems absorbing the calcium. Most people have good luck with a schedule of... calcium with no d3 at every feeding, calcium with d3 twice a month, and a multi-vitamin twice a month. The color of his urates sounds like he may be a bit dehydrated. its great that you caught it this early and i wish you luck! I just thought of this also, his basking temp might be a tiny bit low but im not sure if that would be enough to matter or not. he might not be able to digest his food efficient enough? just a thought?
Thanks for your reply! i think my last post pretty much covers the first part of your question.
I have always had problems with his hydration.. even with daily misting and hand watering.. he's a charismatic lad.. but really does hate getting wet.. he's pretty good at hand watering but only drinks one dropper full then usually locks his jaw shut afterwards.. I do my best though and i regularly go to the vet for check ups to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong.
Yeah, that was just the current temperature when i was writing the post.. his viv is usually above 90.. its been quite cold today, often its difficult to keep his temps constantly high because i live in scotland, when my room is freezing cold the temps come down :( But i usually turn it up, plus try to keep my room temp up. Gotta keep em cosy! :)

I'm really quite torn about this MBD situation though.. I noticed a bend in his spine around 8 months ago and rushed to the vet.. he assured me it was just the way the muscle was forming up his spine.. false reassurance i guess.
I regret not coming here sooner. :(
The Xray does show a really frightening bend in his front leg but it doesnt show outside at all.. once again, my vet assured it was just the angle of the X-ray.
I know his leg bones aren't straight, but they certainly aren't curved enough to affect his walking. I intend to keep it this way too!
 

Kate

Established Member
Hi Becky. I'm in Aberdeen too. I use Komodo cricket dust daily. It is plain calcium without d3 and I also use nutrobol every 7-10 days. It contains d3 and multivitamin. You should be able to get these locally.
 

Xelkaia

New Member
None of those are great for gutloading as kale has a lot of phosphorus which will interefere with calcium, celery is very poor in nutrition, and spring greens are only okay. Here is some more info on gutloading to maximize calcium absorption: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/food/
Ahh.. I've seen this thread before.. Often my problem is finding the UK equivalent of the best greens for gut loading. Even diet variety is tough since we're so limited to certain things in the UK.
I'll need to have a look into ways i can source the better gutloading ingredients.


His bone density isn't terrible, but his front arm bones are definitely abnormal they way they twist like that. And I don't think it's just positioning. There are several areas on his ribs that are abnormal. There is a bright spot on the ribs right under where the lump protrudes - that's most likely brighter because of a callus. There are also several lucencies like the eye of a needle on ribs higher than that - most notably on ribs 9 and 10 (count down from the top rib), more on the left. Those could be areas of weakness, or infection of the bone itself (less likely), or something else unusual.
Well.. the way you talk of his front arms worry me :(
It doesn't look as though my vet was entirely thorough with the X-rays which did really bother me, I was sure he would put him under anaesthetic to get the best possible views but he didn't.
I do know there are specialist vets down south of where i live.. (at least a 4 hour journey by car) Money is not an option when it comes to the health and wellbeing of my chameleons. Do you think it would be worth taking him on a journey to be seen by a specialist who will know how to handle/ treat MBD effectively? Do you think theres any way he could receive surgery to untwist his arms?
It brings me to tears thinking that Pierre's quality of life is in any way poorer due to my lack of knowledge and experience as a chameleon owner.
I want to do whatever I can to make this right.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't believe there is any surgery that can be done to "untwist" his arms. They will just stay that way basically. You can halt mbd but you cannot reverse it. Sorry your little one is having problems.
 

Xelkaia

New Member
Hi Becky. I'm in Aberdeen too. I use Komodo cricket dust daily. It is plain calcium without d3 and I also use nutrobol every 7-10 days. It contains d3 and multivitamin. You should be able to get these locally.
Ahh..Thanks! did you get it from A1? or Pets at home?
Also, where do you buy your gutloading veg? Since my variety clearly isn't the best.. I must be going to the wrong places! In Tesco, Asda and sainsburys I can only ever find spring greens, Kale and rocket :/
 

Kate

Established Member
For a good gut load I will suggest you check sandrachameleons blogs. Most of what she uses you can get from Grampian Health Foods in Market St. You can use many fruit and veg from any supermarket. Also you can get Repeshey bug burger, super load. And super pig on line from uk stockists. Aberdeen is very poor for feeders but apart from crickets and locusts I get most of mine on line and I breed my own. Can I ask which vet you used? If you would like any more info about gut loads and feeders please pm me as I would like to help.:)
 

Kate

Established Member
Ahh..Thanks! did you get it from A1? or Pets at home?
Also, where do you buy your gutloading veg? Since my variety clearly isn't the best.. I must be going to the wrong places! In Tesco, Asda and sainsburys I can only ever find spring greens, Kale and rocket :/
Pets at home have Nutrobol and A1 has cricket dust. Locusts will eat spring greens but if you cut very thin strips of courgette , butternut squash ,sweet potato they will eat that too. Crickets will eat anything. Have you tried silkworms?
 

Xelkaia

New Member
Ahh ok! Thanks!
Silkworms? We can get them here??
I thought we were restricted to waxworms, calciworms and mealworms.. Where do you get silkworms from?
 

camimom

New Member
What about carrots, oranges, apples, mustard greens?

Or any other fresh fruits?

Dandelion leaves (yea from a grocery store)

I also use some nuts and such
 
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