Chameleon tongue not projecting - seems to have lockjaw??

MamyFr29

New Member
My veiled chameleon, Ziggy, seems to have lockjaw & can't project his tongue. He is not eating on his own. I feed him 3mL/day of carnivore care & add in a bit of calcium dust. I've taken him to the vet a couple of times for this issue. First, he said it may be a calcium deficiency, which I had a hard time with because (1) all of his food is gut-loaded and always dusted (2) we had just finished giving him daily doses of liquid calcium & (3) he had just had a calcium shot from the vet a couple of weeks prior. Anyway, he seems to have a really hard time swallowing & I can barely open his mouth to feed him the Carnivore Care with the syringe. I asked the vet to put him under to see if there is something wrong with his tongue. When he did, his heartbeat dropped & his body stiffened, so he woke him up before he got a chance to get a good look. He has lost 25g since he first saw the vet for an eye problem about a year or so ago and I would really like him to eat on his own again. Does anyone have any idea what the problem might be? I'd really appreciate some advice:) Please help!
 
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Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
you may want to look at your vit a suppliments some chams seen to not be able to process beta carotine forms of vit a and as a result eye, and tounge issues may become present i am by no means an expert on this and their are alot of different opinions.
is your cham getting a multivitmin?
 

MamyFr29

New Member
No, he isn't getting a multivitamin, but the Carnivore Care that I give him has vitamin A (25,000 IU/kg), vit D3, calcium, vit e, copper, taurine, l-carnitine, omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, & phosphorus, as well as crude protein, fat, & fiber. Seems like a multi-vitamin to me, but I'm open to any suggestions? Is there any multivitamin you can recommend?
 

Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
most members seem to use RepCall herptivite it has a beta carotine prOformed vit a, there is also Zoomed's Reptivite wich uses a prEformed vit a. both are quite different forumulas the repcal is quite srong and only typically used twice a month, the reptivite is more a few times a week formula.
with everything you have going on its hard to suggest what todo. one option ( but contraversial ) is to put a drop of vit a on A as in 1 feeder and give your cham 1 a month. for this i use a human vit a capsul and cut it open and just put a dab on the back of a cricket, keep in mind that a capsul has 10,000 iu in it so be very carefull not to use to much just a tiny drip on the end of a pin or something. TINY DROP as to much prEformed vit A can kill your cham.
if you want more info on tis PM me and i can out you in touch with someone.
 

bikesforme

New Member
the vet i took him to said she thought it was a jaw mucle inflamation problem. said i could put him on steriods and continue to force feed him. she said that vieleds get this rare jaw problem usually between the ages of 3 and 4. this info that she got from talking to other vets as he was very weak and very stressed by all the handling . this was a cham that would not eat if i was in the room, he was that kranky. i decided to put him down.
 

MamyFr29

New Member
I don't think I could give him the vitamin A on a feeder because he is not eating.....& has a really hard time swallowing so it's painful for me to watch him even try to eat. I will definitely try the Repcal or Zoomed as a first option & keep the Vit A as a 2nd option. He has gained 5g in the last couple of weeks & he is still active (as active as chams get), so I am hopeful:) Thank you so much for your help.
 

MamyFr29

New Member
I'm not ready to put Ziggy down. He's not cranky, just not able to open his mouth but a little bit. I will ask my vet about the steroids for the jaw problem. Thanks so much for the info. I'm so sorry about your cham:)
 

Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
i would not concider the put down option untill all else is lost, if you didnt know my cham camo acctually lost his tounge and had a broken jaw and i had to force feed him for weeks the vet said he wouldnt make it but hes a trooper, so i know what you mean about forcing him to eat being hard on you as well as him, but its worth the effort, the guys can be much more resiliant than we sometimes givethem credit for just do what you can and try to stay possitive.

best of luck Hoj
 

MomofZulu

New Member
I am having exactly the same problem with my veiled cham, Zulu. You can read everything we've done since December (or earlier -- not sure) if you search by my name, MomofZulu.

He has had months of continuous vet care -- I am doing my best to take care of each and every husbandry problem, one by one. The latest advice was from Dr. Ren re: Clyndamizine (not sure the spelling). Search for my posts -- you will see everything I've done. I am now having to force feed Zulu. Roaches have more protein, so I have gone to small b. dubia roaches -- Zulu doesn't like them -- he prefers the crickets.

It's been a long haul.

Good luck to you -- keep positive -- I am too. Keep posting and I'll do my best to keep up with you.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Please fill out the questions in the "how to ask for help" thread at the top of the health section. You said you have been supplementing...but if the supplements are in the wrong balance you can be causing health issues for your chameleon. I know a lot of vets recommend carnivore care...but it scares me with all that it has in it. IMHO its meant for carnivores not insectivores or omnivores such as veiled chameleons.

Also...some bulbs can cause eye/health issues....so what brand and type (compact, spiral, long linear tube, etc.) UVB light are you using?

Any signs of infection in the mouth? Any swellings/bumps/etc. on the head area? Along the edge of the lips?

Can you post some pictures please?
 

MamyFr29

New Member
Definitely not considering putting Ziggy down. He's had it rough from the get go. His tongue never projected the way he wanted it to as his jaw is somewhat crooked from when we got him as a baby cham. I have always had to feed him out of a cone shaped bowl, so no matter where his tongue projected to he would always get food. Also, has had eye problems, where his eyes are still swollen from past infection, but when the vet checks for bacteria, there is none. So yes, he has been resilient so far, & I am determined to find the answer. Talked to the vet today & he said that steriods are an immunosuppressant so he is weary of that, but he will look into it. He is prescribing Zig some Medicam (says it's kind of like Advil) that won't have any negative side effects & may help if there is any inflammation or pain. Also, am getting him some Repcall or Zoomed like you suggested. Vet said to remember that their metabolism is super slow, so anything we give him will take time. Basically, be patient. Thanks again for the advice. Very inspiring story about Camo. I need to hear that. Will let you know how it goes:)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Please fill out the questions in the "how to ask for help" thread at the top of the health section. You said you have been supplementing...but if the supplements are in the wrong balance you can be causing health issues for your chameleon. I know a lot of vets recommend carnivore care...but it scares me with all that it has in it. IMHO its meant for carnivores not insectivores or omnivores such as veiled chameleons.

Also...some bulbs can cause eye/health issues....so what brand and type (compact, spiral, long linear tube, etc.) UVB light are you using?

Any signs of infection in the mouth? Any swellings/bumps/etc. on the head area? Along the edge of the lips?

Can you post some pictures please?

Did the vet do a test to see the ratio of calcium to phos.?

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are all important players in bone health and in other systems in a chameleon and they need to be in balance. You need to look at the supplements you use, what you feed to the chameleon and what you feed to the insects to see if you have a balance. Imbalances can lead to MBD and other issues. Tongue problems can be a sign of MBD. Eye issues can be caused by many different things including the use of certain UVB lights.
 

MamyFr29

New Member
O.K. Here are the answers to the ?'s in the "how to ask for help" thread:

My male veiled chameleon, Ziggy, is a little over 3 years old. He has been in my care for almost 2 years. I handle him every day for meds & feeding. He doesn't seem to mind....the handling I mean, he minds the feedings. I am currently feeding him carnivore care because of his jaw problem, but before that he was eating mostly crickets, superworms, & hornworms. They were dusted with Chameleon Dust by T-Rex. He used to eat 3 to 6 feeders every morning, then he just started eating progressively less until he stopped being able to. His feeders are also gut loaded, usually with kale, collards, or mustard greens and sweet potato or oranges, but I use other stuff too.

I had a water bowl with a bubbler in his cage, but it would had slime & gnats in it every day & he didn't drink from it so I took it out. Also, had a dripper, but he didn't drink from it & it made a mess. I mist his cage 2-3 times a day with filtered water & I put Reptisafe in the water. He drinks right from the misting. I also give put him in the shower on a Pothos plant at least 1x, sometimes 2x a week for about 30 min. His droppings are a yellowish beige. Consistency is the same it's always been. I'm not sure if he's ever been tested for parasites. He's been to the vet about 15 times since he's been in my care.

He has a screen cage that is 24x24x48. On his cage there are 3 Exoterra Spiral 10 UVA flourescent bulbs & an Exoterra Solar 125W UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor heat lamp. He also has a night heat lamp which I turn off or on depending on the temp in his cage. His lights go on at 7:30 am & off at 7:30 pm. The temp in his basking spot is always around 95 and the cage floor around 75-80 during the day. I have 2 types of thermometers in 2 spots, 1 in the basking spot & 1 near the cage floor, as well as a hydrometer. Humidity stays around 60%. Right now I have 1 large pothos plant in his cage, two trellises on each sides with lots of fake vines going all over for climbing.

Right now, he is unable to open his mouth more than about an 1/8th of an inch, so I am giving him 3mL of Carnivore care/day, .25mL of Reptaid, & .1mL of Metecam which the vet says is kind of like Advil (for inflammation & pain). He had lost 25g since the vet 1st saw him 2yrs. ago, so since he is unable to eat, we are giving him the carnivore care to get his weight back up. I'm ordering Zoomed's Reptivite to add to it. He has no signs of infection in his mouth, swelling, bumps or anything on his head area or on the edge of his lips. He is still drinking water from his mistings. The vet did not do a test to see the ratio of calcium to phosphorus. The last time I took him in he put him under to look in his mouth, but his HR dropped & he stiffened so he woke him up. From what he did see, no signs of infection. Also, took x-rays. Bone density seemed to be good. Has had calcium shots, as well as liquid calcium we were giving him with antibiotics a couple of months ago. Zig has had it rough from the get go as his jaw is off center, so his tongue doesn't project where he is aiming. I fed him in a cone shaped bowl to overcome this. Also, his veil is tilted, probably a sign of neglect before I got him.

Please let me know any other info you would like....sorry I can't post pics right now, but I will soon. Any info or advice you have for me & Zig would be greatly appreciated:) Thank you.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would be very cautious about using Carnivor care. As noted previously, it is not intended for insect eating animals. You may be better off, if you have to force feed, to make your own food by smashing up Properly gutloaded crickets, butterworms, roaches, silkworms etc with a little water and a bit of supplement.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You said you use Chameleon Dust by T-Rex to dust with...I don't know what it contains in the way of phos., calcium, D3 or prEformed vitamin A so I can't tell you if its a good thing to use or not.

How long ago did you take out the bubbler? IMHO a dripper is something that I would be using.

You said you use 3 Exoterra Spiral 10 UVA flourescent bulbs...do you mean these?
http://www.exotic-pets.co.uk/exo-terra-repti-glo-compact-lamps.html
You said you use an Exoterra Solar 125W UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor heat lamp....this one?
http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/solar_glo.php
If so...IMHO that's a lot of UVB light which might not matter if he can get out of it all somewhere in the cage.

You said he also has a night heat lamp which you turn off or on depending on the temp in his cage....they don't need heat unless the temperatures drop below the mid 60's IMHO.

You said he had antibiotics a couple of months ago...which ones and for how long? Did he have this issue then (sorry if I missed it)?
 

MamyFr29

New Member
Ingredients of Chameleon Dust by T-Rex: Calcium (Ca) min 14%, Calcium (Ca) max 16%, Vitamin A Acetate 20,000 IU/kilo, Vitamin D-3 (min) 4,000 IU/kilo, Crude Protein 25%, Crude Fat 1.5%, Crude Fiber 3%, Moisture (max) 8%, Ash (max) 8%. It doesn't say anything about phos.
I took out the bubbler about 6 mos. ago. Yes, those are the bulbs I'm using. I was using 3 Exoterra Spiral 5.0 UVA flourescent bulbs, but I put the 10's in about 2 mos. ago when I thought that wasn't enough. He can get out of it, but not a lot of places to roam.
The antibiotic he was on was Enroflaxacin Suspension 10mg/mL (.2mL/day) as well as Liquid Calcium Glubionate (.25mL/day)....he's been on antibiotics before for his eyes & such. He was beginning to have this issue then. His tongue was only projecting about 1/2 and inch & having trouble eating, so eating less & less. And here we are....
I am taking off his night light & putting the bubbler in that spot in the a.m. I've ordered ZooMed Reptivite w/D3 & ZooMed Reptile Calcium w/o D3. I was not sure if I should get with the D3 or not, so please let me know if you have any input on that. I had to order it online, as I couldn't find it around here, so won't be here for 3-5 days. Frustrating.
It seems that nobody is a big fan of the Carnivore Care, except for my vet. sandrachameleon suggested that I smash up some gut loaded feeders & add my supplements to that and I also found this website that has an alternative recipe for tube feeding chameleons.......
I don't want to use the Carnivore Care anymore, so please let me know what you think.....
Thanks again for your input:) I'll post a pic soon!
 

MamyFr29

New Member
I tried to edit my last post, but was unable to. I just wanted to add some info. We just changed his UVB bulb to the Solar Raptor 100W UVB bulb, as it had been almost 6 months since it had last been changed. Also, the website for the alternative food I had found wasn't in my last post, so I hope it works this time. Here it is....webhome.idirect.com/~chameleon/owners/chapter5-sub5.html Please let me know what you think. I have an appointment with the vet on Monday to get his phos./calcium levels checked & am still waiting impatiently on the ZooMed Reptivite & Calcium that I ordered for him. I'll post a pic later:)
 
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