Chameleon Eyes Closed and Deteriorating

NDO

Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Panther Chameleon, Age 4
  • Handling - Never, but my small cousins just came and handled him
  • Feeding - Every 1-2 Days, Crickets/Hornworms/Superworms, gutloaded with oranges/carrots/greens
  • Supplements - Calcium every feeding, calcium with D3 and vitamin rotating on bi-weekly schedule
  • Watering - Automatic Misting 4 times per day 1:30 time, I spray often as well
  • Fecal Description - No parasite testing, poop was relatively orange but this is due to no water since his eyes are closed (visibly sunken now)
  • History - No history of sickness or bad health

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Dragon strand keeper
  • Lighting - UV 5.0 tube, white heating lamp
  • Temperature - 70-90 @ basking, overnight is around 65-72
  • Humidity - 40-60% measured
  • Plants - Pothos
  • Placement - By window
  • Location - IL

Current Problem - He was completely fine, then my cousins handled him and the next few days he started to shut both eyes and not move as much. Yesterday, he would open his eyes when I would tap his cage but today his eyes are sunken in and he will not open them at all. He does not even exhibit the cleaning (rolling eye thing) eye mechanism, he is just completely still. I put some antibiotic on his eyes as I assumed that he must have gotten sick from something my cousins had on their hands and thus developed an infection or viral/bacterial illnesses. He has been completely fine and active all his life so I doubt that this is an underlying disease or long-term issue that has been plaguing him. This whole process from fine ---> nonfunctioning eyes has lasted about 5 days. No pus or mucus, but he is very colorful now which I assume means he is stressed or uncomfortable.
 

AnamCara

Chameleon Enthusiast
Were you there while the cousins handled him? Did they do anything intensely stressful? I would not put any more antibiotic ointment on the eye unless directed to by a vet. Could we please see pictures of the enclosure and the chameleon eyes.

has the chameleon been in your care 4 years?

I would make a vet appt.
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree with ^. Were your cousins supervised the entire time? A vet appointment is a For sure thing at this point.
 
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NDO

Member
Were you there while the cousins handled him? Did they do anything intensely stressful? I would not put any more antibiotic ointment on the eye unless directed to by a vet. Could we please see pictures of the enclosure and the chameleon eyes.

has the chameleon been in your care 4 years?

I would make a vet appt.
Yes, all 4 years. I don't think anything stressful was done to him during the handling, but he is never handled so I presume the activity in itself was most likely very stressful simply due to the novelty. I have 3 other chameleons which were also handled, but they are 1-2 years old. I will call a vet and see what the options are and will post a picture when I get home. Thank you!
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, all 4 years. I don't think anything stressful was done to him during the handling, but he is never handled so I presume the activity in itself was most likely very stressful simply due to the novelty. I have 3 other chameleons which were also handled, but they are 1-2 years old. I will call a vet and see what the options are and will post a picture when I get home. Thank you!
You just gave me a thought. What kind of chameleons are the others? Did they wash their hands in between handling? What isn’t pathological for one chameleon, can kill another if it hasn’t built up an immunity. Cross contamination.
 

AnamCara

Chameleon Enthusiast
You just gave me a thought. What kind of chameleons are the others? Did they wash their hands in between handling? What isn’t pathological for one chameleon, can kill another if it hasn’t built up an immunity. Cross-contamination.
5 days since contact. What could form in that time? (Genuine question. I missed the cross-contaminate -- good catch.) Seems a fast decline for a parasite, no? Although -- you're probably onto something here.

OP -- if his eyes are sunken in he is likely dehydrated or pulling them in because something is in them/they are hurting him. I would give a couple of extra mistings for hydration. Also, try to get your humidity to or above 80% at night to hydrate. The other aspects of the cham health are important to try to keep up with while you wait for a vet visit. Do you have a vet you trust? We could possibly help you find one if you need it.
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don’t actually know if any large parasite would have an effect that quickly. However, I think the quickly multiplying protozoans can explode in an animal without immunity. Bacteria and viruses can also have short incubation times. Then again, I’m just spitballing ideas here. I think the idea of trying to keep humidity near saturation at night is smart! Your Cham will loose fat less water via breathing at night if the air it breaths in is as moist as the air it breaths out.
 

NDO

Member
You just gave me a thought. What kind of chameleons are the others? Did they wash their hands in between handling? What isn’t pathological for one chameleon, can kill another if it hasn’t built up an immunity. Cross contamination.
He was handled on a different day than the others, but they are all panthers. The only difference is age.
5 days since contact. What could form in that time? (Genuine question. I missed the cross-contaminate -- good catch.) Seems a fast decline for a parasite, no? Although -- you're probably onto something here.

OP -- if his eyes are sunken in he is likely dehydrated or pulling them in because something is in them/they are hurting him. I would give a couple of extra mistings for hydration. Also, try to get your humidity to or above 80% at night to hydrate. The other aspects of the cham health are important to try to keep up with while you wait for a vet visit. Do you have a vet you trust? We could possibly help you find one if you need it.
I've never had to go to a reptile vet, but there is one nearby and I left a message a few minutes ago. As for the eyes, they went from completely fine to very sunken overnight, so I don't think it is dehydration (at least not the majority cause). I told my brother to place a humidifier in the room and to mist a few times while I'm gone to try to maximize the humidity, so I believe it should be good on that front. Thank you for your help.
 

NDO

Member
Thank you all for the advice. I took him to the vet this morning, but he was already significantly worse. The vet said it was most likely an underlying disease or cancer that he was trying to hide for a while but could no longer handle, leading to the swift unavoidable decline. The vet told me to place him under a heating light in a shoebox at home during his final moments, which we did. He passed around an hour ago and I was there with him through it.

I'm very sad but also astounded at this decline. It sucks that this was out of my hands. 100 to 0 in practically 48 hours... :(
 
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Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you all for the advice. I took him to the vet this morning, but he was already significantly worse. The vet said it was most likely an underlying disease or cancer that he was trying to hide for a while but could no longer handle, leading to the swift unavoidable decline. The vet told me to place him under a heating light in a shoebox at home during his final moments, which we did. He passed around an hour ago and I was there with him through it.

I'm very sad but also astounded at this decline. It sucks that this was out of my hands. 100 to 0 in practically 48 hours... :( Don't take your chams for granted.
sorry for your loss, I know its hard to lose a companion
 
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