Chameleon cannot shoot his tongue

wangsk1997

New Member
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Veiled chameleon, male, less than 3 years old . I have him about 2 and half years
Handling - twice a week
Feeding - Crickets and superworms. I feed him 5-6 times a week, about 10 crickets everytime. And I gave him superworm once a week. I feed my crickets with carrots and cricket quencher from Flukers.
Supplements - Repti Calcium with D3 from Zoomed 5 times a week.(I noticed that I should not give him too much D3, so I switch to calcium without D3, and I just got REPTIVITE)
Watering - I have a water dripper at the top of the cage and I mist the cage three times a day.
Fecal Description - before he has this tongue problem, I see fece and urate almost very morning. Now, he doesn't eat a lot, so I see him pooping 2-3 times a week.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - Screen cage 16*16*30
Lighting - Zoomed UVB 5.0 light bulb and basking light. The light is on from 8am to 8pm.
Temperature - highest point of the cage: 31C. At night: 26C
Humidity - 30-40
Plants - I don't have plants in the cage
Placement - On the ground near a window.
Location - New York City

Current Problem - My chameleon could not shoot out his tongue and his tongue could not stick the food. He is not interested in hand feeding, so I usually put his food in a cup. I stop feeding him crickets because they are too fast for him to catch. Now I give him waxworms, superworms, and hornworms. Now he usually eat 2-3 worms a day.
I noticed this problem at the beginning of March, maybe 3/7. I took him to see the vet on 3/15. We did x-ray and blood test. The vet told me his muscle enzymes (CK, AST) are very high, so it is probably muscle damage. But she did not know the cause. She gave me some metacam and fortaz injection. I gave my chameleon injection based on vet's instruction, but I don't see much improvement by now. The vet suggested me to hospitalize my chameleon or give him a CT scan. I don't know what to know, because the cost is too high and I am going to leave this country in June, and I cannot take him with me.
I will attach the x-ray and blood test result in this thread.

Video of him trying to eat:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QAYlf5EsR5eqMNn4A16i4C4-IJN00609/view?usp=sharing


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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
First of all...welcome to the forum.

Also...I'm not w vet...what bonsai comes from exprience and what I've learned from others and from what I've read.

In the xray the bones look pretty good from my non-vet perspective.

There are a few possibilities...
Could he have injured his tongue on something? Sounds like this is what your vet thinks.

Could be that because of your overdoing the D3 he's starting to have issues...but you've caught that now. I don't think I'd use a supplement with D3 for a while if he has a good UVB light. Is it the long linear tube light? Reptisun 5.0? Vitamin A could be playing a part in it too.

Another possibility would be a tongue infection...but I don't know if the levels are high enough for that or not...and from the sounds of your vet, it would have been mentioned.

Comments on your husbandry...I would drop the orange cubes and use greens, veggies and a very small amount of fruit to feed the crickets, superworms, etc.

I would add some more live plants and branches to the cage.
I would also move the cage away from the window.

What color are his urates?
 

wangsk1997

New Member
First of all...welcome to the forum.

Also...I'm not w vet...what bonsai comes from exprience and what I've learned from others and from what I've read.

In the xray the bones look pretty good from my non-vet perspective.

There are a few possibilities...
Could he have injured his tongue on something? Sounds like this is what your vet thinks.

Could be that because of your overdoing the D3 he's starting to have issues...but you've caught that now. I don't think I'd use a supplement with D3 for a while if he has a good UVB light. Is it the long linear tube light? Reptisun 5.0? Vitamin A could be playing a part in it too.

Another possibility would be a tongue infection...but I don't know if the levels are high enough for that or not...and from the sounds of your vet, it would have been mentioned.

Comments on your husbandry...I would drop the orange cubes and use greens, veggies and a very small amount of fruit to feed the crickets, superworms, etc.

I would add some more live plants and branches to the cage.
I would also move the cage away from the window.

What color are his urates?
The urate color is white
 

Grayson Payne

Avid Member
So my panther chameleon, Gatsby, recently had an issue with his tongue. Granted this only lasted a day, he shot his tongue at something thinking it was food and got it stuck around a branch (it was the end of the branch). Luckily, I was in the room doing some work and heard this. He was really struggling to get it off of the branch and was freaking out so I just used my finger and pushed his tongue up. This only happened for 30 seconds or so but when I tried to feed him a little later, he barley shot his tongue out and it was very weak. I called my vet and I assumed he was either scared that it would happen again or he was just sore from the incident. The next day he was completely fine and hasn't had any issue since. Maybe it's possible that he hurt his tongue doing something when you weren't around? To be honest, I don't have nearly as much experience as someone like @kinyonga and some of the other forum members but I figured I'd share my story. I hope this sheds some light on your situation.
 

DeShawni Green

Established Member
I am also not a lizard vet but have experience in lab values/meanings - took a look at the flagged numbers from the labs.

HIGH AST, HIGH CPK, low monocytes/basophils (immunity), HIGH azurophilic monocytes.

These together could be indicative of a muscle injury compounded by stress like the vet mentioned, or because of the other numbers I listed... something a bit broader like immune-related issue such as a chronic inflammatory disease or perhaps even a blood cancer. Kind of ruled out parasites and bacterial infections because the other labs didn't really point to that.

Probably going to need more tests unfortunately. I hope for the best. I hate seeing a cham that isn't doing well. Once we take them into our care, they depend on us to do the best for them.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
In my previous post it's not "what bonsai" it's what I say". Dumb spellcheck!

I looked at all the "phils" and "cytes"...but I don't know what the levels should be in chameleons and I can't ever remember which should be high and which should be low to be good.
 

wangsk1997

New Member
First of all...welcome to the forum.

Also...I'm not w vet...what bonsai comes from exprience and what I've learned from others and from what I've read.

In the xray the bones look pretty good from my non-vet perspective.

There are a few possibilities...
Could he have injured his tongue on something? Sounds like this is what your vet thinks.

Could be that because of your overdoing the D3 he's starting to have issues...but you've caught that now. I don't think I'd use a supplement with D3 for a while if he has a good UVB light. Is it the long linear tube light? Reptisun 5.0? Vitamin A could be playing a part in it too.

Another possibility would be a tongue infection...but I don't know if the levels are high enough for that or not...and from the sounds of your vet, it would have been mentioned.

Comments on your husbandry...I would drop the orange cubes and use greens, veggies and a very small amount of fruit to feed the crickets, superworms, etc.

I would add some more live plants and branches to the cage.
I would also move the cage away from the window.

What color are his urates?
I got a plant and remove the substrate today. I feel like he is more active this morning after I rearranged his cage. I think this might be a good sign.


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LukeTheLizard

Avid Member
Aww you have a very handsome chameleon! So a few things: First, a 16x16x30 is too small for a adult chameleon, especially a male. You need to upgrade to a 24x24x48 sized cage. Second, you are over feeding him and he is overweight. You should be feeding him around 4-6 insects every other day. Third, you should remove the fake plants that you have in his cage and get real ones, because veiled chameleons in particular eat plants so with fake plants you run the risk of your chameleon eating the fake plants which could result in death. Fourth, what is his basking temps? And how’s his tongue doing today?
 

wangsk1997

New Member
Aww you have a very handsome chameleon! So a few things: First, a 16x16x30 is too small for a adult chameleon, especially a male. You need to upgrade to a 24x24x48 sized cage. Second, you are over feeding him and he is overweight. You should be feeding him around 4-6 insects every other day. Third, you should remove the fake plants that you have in his cage and get real ones, because veiled chameleons in particular eat plants so with fake plants you run the risk of your chameleon eating the fake plants which could result in death. Fourth, what is his basking temps? And how’s his tongue doing today?
I was thinking about getting a new cage before covid. I don't know why I keep procrastinating🤦‍♂️. And I will reduce the number of insects. As for the fake plant, I guess he is not very interested in leaves, I never saw him eating any leaves, even when I tried to feed him. The basking temp is around 30C.
 

LukeTheLizard

Avid Member
Yeah it took me forever to get my newer bigger cage and I don’t know why.🤨

As for the plants, even if the chameleon isn’t interested in the plant, you still always run the risk, and maybe because you got a live plant, he will start getting interested in it, and can’t tell the difference between live and fake, and could get impacted. You just never know what could happen, which is why so many chameleon enthusiasts choose to only use live plants. But in the end it’s your choice.

The temp is a tiny bit on the high side, but not very much, but look out for burns on his back and casque.

Is he still drinking ok?
 

wangsk1997

New Member
Yeah it took me forever to get my newer bigger cage and I don’t know why.🤨

As for the plants, even if the chameleon isn’t interested in the plant, you still always run the risk, and maybe because you got a live plant, he will start getting interested in it, and can’t tell the difference between live and fake, and could get impacted. You just never know what could happen, which is why so many chameleon enthusiasts choose to only use live plants. But in the end it’s your choice.

The temp is a tiny bit on the high side, but not very much, but look out for burns on his back and casque.

Is he still drinking ok?
I don't always see him drinking in front of me, but I find his urates in the cage almost everyday. For the cage, I'm not sure, because I will only keep him for 2 more months.
 

wangsk1997

New Member
Update

I happened to see my chameleon pooping this morning, the feces and urates are very runny. What does this mean?
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Andrew1283

Established Member
If I am reading this correctly you are worried about your pet chameleon’s tongue, he’s in an enclosure that’s too small, but you won’t get a bigger enclosure because you’re leaving to go somewhere on a plane in two months and can’t take your chameleon with you. Is he going to live with someone else or have you called a local pet store or chameleon rescue for rehoming? I’m confused as to what’s going on here.

I see you’re in New York City. If you can’t find a good home for him please drive him to me in Philly. I’ll make sure he is well taken care of when you leave, even if it’s just temporary until you return.
 
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wangsk1997

New Member
Update:
He still had the muscle problem in his jaw area. I will leave in June, I am packing everything and sold lots of stuff in my apartment. I cannot take care of him afterward. So two days ago, I shipped my chameleon to Reptile Rapture in WI. He arrived safely yesterday and the staff there sent some pictures of him to me. I think he will be taken care of. I will miss him😭
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