Chameleon eyes closed all the time didn’t eat for three weeks and barely moved

MaryLP

New Member
Hey guys! I’m just posting this for educational reasons I already took him to the vet who diagnosed a simple eye infection, flushed out his eyes with saline, game him a vitamin B shot and picked some dried up shed out of his eyes. They gave me some oral medication to give him over the next few days and said he should do just fine. I thought he was gonna die y’all he was NOT looking good. He’s only one year old and he was shedding for 5 days, he was sort of stuck in it because of his lack of movement. The vet removed part of it and said he would get the rest on his own. The vet also recommended more misting and upping the humidity a bit. When in doubt guys, go to the vet. It’s better to lose $300 than have a dead chameleon. Before and after ⬇️⬇️
 

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hello and welcome!
Im glad he’s feeling better :)


i know you already went to the vet and all but would you fill out this husbandry form just to check out his husbandry and see if we can help with anything in giving him to have a long and happy life.

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

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Please Note:

  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 
So first off welcome to the forum. I know you said you are just posting for educational reasons. But I think something more is going on here. Chameleons do not go into total shut down like he is in that first picture based off what he was diagnosed with. I am willing to bet there is a secondary cause leading to the eye issues. Most commonly this has to do with incorrect UVB type being used and or incorrect supplementation.
 
Thanks for your concern guys I’m happy to comply here’s all his info ⬇️⬇️

Male veiled chameleon, around a year old, 40g, I’ve had him for 8 months
I handle him once a month to every other week, but lately I’ve been force feeding him medicine every day so that definitely stresses him out
I feed him every day to every other day, hes fed one or two horn/superworms with 10ish Dubia roaches or BSFL
No supplements on the BSFL, on roaches+worms every time supplemented with Rep-Cal no phosphorous no vitamin D3, once a month with Repashy superfood Calcium plus LoD. However, I did miss the last vitamin supplement.
I mist in mornings 30 mins before lights on and at night 30 mins after lights out for around 2 minutes. I usually see him drink at night when he’s like half asleep lol.
He hasn’t pooped since he stopped eating but his last one was brown firm and not watery, whitish cream color urates. I never had him tested for parasites but they told me when I bought him he had been tested.

Screen 3x3x2 ft enclosure
ZOO MED repti basking spot lamp bulb 50 watt, raised a few inches above the enclosure
T5 HO ZOO MED reptisun linear fixture
Lights on at 6-8am, lights off at 7-10pm
Temp at his basking spot is around 82 and it’s around 70 at the bottom of his cage. It’s also around 70 at night.
I live in TX so it’s supes humid already, just misting keeps them high. 40%ish humidity during the day and 60%ish at night.
I measure temp with a temp gun originally meant for barbecue, I measure humidity with a humidity gage from petsmart
I don’t have live plants but I do have fake plants and it’s well covered but not too full that he can’t move around. I’ll attach pics tomorrow morning when his cage isn’t dark.
The cage is located in my room, not directly under the ceiling fan but close enough to feel the breeze. There’s also a window in my room which is sometimes open sometimes closed. I’m in San Antonio Texas
I haven’t changed any of my care in the 8 months I’ve had him so if there’s something wrong it’s been wrong for a long while. This is my first chameleon so I’m still new to this and as much research as I’ve done, I don’t have very much experience.

Feb 19th-21st one of his eyes was closed for around half of the day but he was still moving around active and eating
Feb 22nd-29th he started having his eyes closed more frequently and grew more sluggish, my BSFL were turning into flies at this time so I didn’t cup feed so I’m not 100% sure how much he ate. March 1st I got my vet appointment for the 5th, exotic vets were packed in my area, and from the 1st-5th he stopped moving at all except during misting, and only 5 inches max. He began shedding too and since he wasn’t moving it began to start constricting around him until the time of his vet appointment. He didn’t eat at all during this time and his eyes were never open. When I brought him to his vet appointment, he grew much more active in the car and got most of his shed off, he was already looking much better. He even opened one of his eyes in the car after rubbing at it. He was rubbing both of them a lot but only opened one. He closed it like 6 minutes later though. At the vet he was given a vitamin B shot, I wish I could be more specific but they didn’t give me the sheet telling me what exactly I was given. They rinsed out his eyes with saline and told me to soak him to get the rest of his shed off (first red flag-dw y’all I did NOT soak him) he gave me three medications to continue to give him daily which I have been but I haven’t seen rigatoni(my Cham) get any better. Medications are Meloxicam, Panacur, and Enrofloxacin. I also squirted some saline solution in his eyes(cvs saline for sensitive eyes) and rubbed gently with my VERY thoroughly washed finger. I’ve fed him “critical care carnivore” as prescribed by my vet as well. Also important to note, before I took him to his vet his coloring was always his regular calm green color but since the vet it’s been dark green/brownish which is probably just from the stress of me force feeding him.

Again guys, I understand I should’ve taken him to the vet sooner but at the time I thought it could resolve itself on its own after reading other forums I just tried to hydrate him more. Never again, I will take him to the vet ASAP after first sign of sickness. I really just want him to be okay so please give me all the tips you have to offer. I’ll do anything
 
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I'm in Texas as well. My Cham is sick as well. I think my Reptisun uvb bulb was faulty. I installed a new bulb in December and all my issued started a few weeks later. The Reptisun uvb has to be changed every six months. When did you last install the bulb?
 
I replaced the UVB October 15th, so I don’t think it’s that
The bulb is almost 5 months old. It might be worth it to change the bulb since your Cham is experiencing some challenges. Also, sometimes its difficult to decide when a Vet is needed. I took Carmelo to the Vet in December - he received a great review. Here we are in March - back at the Vet repeating some of the same test. I waited longer the second time because I wasn't sure he needed the Vet. I changed the uvb bulb. Saw some progress then 2 days later it was back to the same symptoms.
 
Just going through your care it is mostly on point with the exception of the fake plants but the basic most important components are all there... I think your cage size may be off. I have not seen a screen cage that is 3X3X2. Here are the things that stand out for me though. At roughly 1 year old he should be at least three times his current weight. The fact that you feed him really well daily to every other day means something is interfering with him gaining. This most commonly is a parasite issue.

My concern is all the meds they gave you to use... So not sure if they explained their uses. Meloxicam is a pain medication/anti inflamitory. I would be very hesititant to use this one unless there is a real reason to. This one can reduce appetite. Panacur is a broad spectrum de wormer. Will treat quite a few parasites this one also has the side effect of reduced appitite along with a few others. However I have not heard of giving this daily, everytime I have heard of this one being used it is more like one dose every week to two weeks until a fecal tests negative. Enrofloxacin otherwise known as baytril is an antibactieral medication. Used to treat all sorts of infections. Quite commonly used in the reptile hobby... Now all meds can compromise their little bodies. And even cause issues with their renal function.

I personally would not be giving the meloxicam. Not sure why they gave this and with the other meds it is just a lot to throw on his little body. I also do not understand why they would want you to give the panacur daily. I would double check with them about this. But I do expect that they figured there was a parasite issue. Granted without a fecal sample they would not know what parasite to treat for. Issue here is that there are some parasites that panacur does not treat which is why a fecal is generally recommended to make sure the correct medication is being used to solve the parasite issue. The baytril I think they perscribed because if there is a bacterial infection this would clear it.
 
I’m not thrilled about the fake plants either but I’m actually incapable of keeping a plant alive. I will replace his UVB bulb today. My cage size measurements are correct, roughly, I got it second hand so I don’t have details on that.
They definitely prescribed all three to be used daily, they even wrote it down for me. He was supposed to have a follow up appointment soon but should I find another vet for him? I mean they suggested I soak him which seems kind of crazy to me, albeit I’m inexperienced. In the meantime the best thing for me to do is stop the meloxicam, switch the pancur to once a week, and continue baytril daily? I will go get him a new UVB light today and I was thinking a shower may be beneficial? Like putting him on a big tree then having the shower face the wall so there’s a lot of mist to inhale or drink. I haven’t seen him drink since March 5th, his vet appointment. Speaking of, the vet also said chameleons drink through their skin which I know is incorrect so idk how good his word is. I’ve been using the panacur every day up until now, has this/will this cause him harm?

I am really grateful for the replies
 
Hello, welcome, I am so sorry for everything you are dealing with :/ I was just going to suggest a dripper (which could be as simple as a solo cup that you poke a hole in with a pin) fill it with water and set it on top of his enclosure, positioned to drip onto the leaves of a plant . I’ve seen this method suggested for this exact reason (when meds are being administered ) to keep them well hydrated. I hope your guy gets to feeling better :)
 
I just bought a fresh UVB thing, I brought my chameleon because I go to a very specialized reptile store and they told me he seemed healthy except for the eyes and he was a little dehydrated so increase my humidity. The person helping me said it also seemed like an eye infection - could the low weight just be caused from the starvation? I bought Repta+Boost to use instead of the “critical care carnivore”. They told me to up my humidity which my vet also said so I bought the Reptifogger, any recommendations on what times I should set the timer?
 
I’m not thrilled about the fake plants either but I’m actually incapable of keeping a plant alive. I will replace his UVB bulb today. My cage size measurements are correct, roughly, I got it second hand so I don’t have details on that.
They definitely prescribed all three to be used daily, they even wrote it down for me. He was supposed to have a follow up appointment soon but should I find another vet for him? I mean they suggested I soak him which seems kind of crazy to me, albeit I’m inexperienced. In the meantime the best thing for me to do is stop the meloxicam, switch the pancur to once a week, and continue baytril daily? I will go get him a new UVB light today and I was thinking a shower may be beneficial? Like putting him on a big tree then having the shower face the wall so there’s a lot of mist to inhale or drink. I haven’t seen him drink since March 5th, his vet appointment. Speaking of, the vet also said chameleons drink through their skin which I know is incorrect so idk how good his word is. I’ve been using the panacur every day up until now, has this/will this cause him harm?

I am really grateful for the replies
See if you can find a new vet that maybe has more experience with chameleons. I can not tell you want to do with the meds. I am not a vet... But if it were mine I would not use the meloxicam. How long are they wanting you to use the panacur for? That I would question. Baytril like I said is a common daily one. Again I am not a vet... Just basing what I am telling you off of my over 5 years in the forum and in this hobby.
Depending on where you live we may be able to help find a vet.

There are plants that literally live through anything like Pothos.
 
I've killed two Pothos plants 😭
They gave me 5 pre-made syringes of Panacur to use daily, so 5 days. Rigatoni sat below the fogger for a bit and fully opened one of his eyes for a few minutes, he seemed to be doing much better after I gave him the Repta+Boost. He turned back to a green color too. Gonna leave him alone the rest of the day and I'll update if anything changes.
 
I've killed two Pothos plants 😭
They gave me 5 pre-made syringes of Panacur to use daily, so 5 days. Rigatoni sat below the fogger for a bit and fully opened one of his eyes for a few minutes, he seemed to be doing much better after I gave him the Repta+Boost. He turned back to a green color too. Gonna leave him alone the rest of the day and I'll update if anything changes.
Just be really cautious with anything you are giving orally. Their airway is in the very front of their mouth so you have to aim to the very back of the mouth or you can aspirate them. Go ahead and complete the course of panacur. If there is an issue with parasites this should kick them. But I would still run a follow up fecal a week or two after treatment ends to ensure there is no parasite load. http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2014/05/how-to-give-different-medicines.html
 
Remember with a fogger you only want to use it at night when his temps are 67 degrees F or lower. They do absorb moisture like fog through breathing it in so it’s a great way to rehydrate him. Using a fogger during the day when his temps are higher can cause a respiratory infection so only use it at night below the 67 degree mark.
 
Well did you notice him rubbing his eyes on brancches when he was molting? Its possible that he pushed the dried molt into the eye. Next time he molts when it starts to lift on the eye, you might want to try to dislodge it by blowing on the eyes with short hard blasts of air. I do this for one of my chams that had her eye lids burn from being left out in the sun. The eye lids healed but are scarred and molting is an issue. You boy quit eating cause he couldnt see to hunt. Hopefully this wont happen again but i imagine the meloxicam is for inflamation to the eyes from the vet remving the molt. If there us no inflamation i agree with beman that it shouldnt be given. Best of luck to you. Btw plant grow lights will help keep the plants alive. A shower with mist is scary for them. Its best to get a tuperware and fill it only part way to soak. with luke warm water and let him sit in it. If you hold him he wil try to climb out. Also since there is a paradite isdue you need to do a complete cleaning of his cage. Including all vines, branches etc.
 
Well did you notice him rubbing his eyes on brancches when he was molting? Its possible that he pushed the dried molt into the eye. Next time he molts when it starts to lift on the eye, you might want to try to dislodge it by blowing on the eyes with short hard blasts of air. I do this for one of my chams that had her eye lids burn from being left out in the sun. The eye lids healed but are scarred and molting is an issue. You boy quit eating cause he couldnt see to hunt. Hopefully this wont happen again but i imagine the meloxicam is for inflamation to the eyes from the vet remving the molt. If there us no inflamation i agree with beman that it shouldnt be given. Best of luck to you. Btw plant grow lights will help keep the plants alive. A shower with mist is scary for them. Its best to get a tuperware and fill it only part way to soak. with luke warm water and let him sit in it. If you hold him he wil try to climb out. Also since there is a paradite isdue you need to do a complete cleaning of his cage. Including all vines, branches etc.
Actually soaking chams is no longer recommended. There's no evidence that they absorb water through their cloaca and as far as shedding goes, they're dry shedders, so soaking him will make the shed much much more difficult to remove. They're also temperature sensitive so even luke warm water can be scalding to them. It's just not worth the risk for zero (or negative) reward.
 
Actually soaking chams is no longer recommended. There's no evidence that they absorb water through their cloaca and as far as shedding goes, they're dry shedders, so soaking him will make the shed much much more difficult to remove. They're also temperature sensitive so even luke warm water can be scalding to them. It's just not worth the risk for zero (or negative) reward.
Good catch... you are 100% correct.
 
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