Chameleon treated for parasites still won’t open eyes

kamaechameleon

New Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - A female Jackson Chameleon. I’m not sure of her age but I know she’s on the younger side. I’ve had her for one week
  • Handling - A few times a day because I have to give her water and food myself due to her eyes being closed.
  • Feeding - I’ve been feeding her crickets that have been eating oats and carrots. I’m going to diversify her diet more, I am only just learning about chameleons. When I found her (I live in Hawaii) she was incredibly thin and has only wanted to eat one cricket a day (they are fairly large) but has put on weight and looks much healthier. I want to feed her more food and on a regular schedule, her appetite just doesn’t seem too big right now
  • Supplements - None yet, I will buy them tomorrow. Any suggestions would be very appreciated!
  • Watering - Though it is quite humid where I live (currently 93%) and I live in a screened hut in the jungle (much like a chameleon cage haha), I spritz her area 2-3 times a day. I have never seen her drink, and I give her water with a small dropper. I must open her mouth gently to get her to drink
  • Fecal Description - I’ve only seen her take one poop and it was today. It was large, solid, and had a white section in it (which is the urine I believe? Forgive me I never planned on getting a chameleon, she was very ill when I found her and I’m trying to rescue her). She was diagnosed with parasites and was treated for them exactly a week ago today.
  • History - She was a wild chameleon hence her parasites. I found her on the ground by my house severely thin with her eyes closed. She’s much plumper now :)

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - currently she is in a cardboard box with branches because I did not anticipate finding her and wasn’t even sure she would survive, but am going to the store tomorrow to get her a lovely cage! Recommendations are much appreciated
  • Lighting - I am using a “Nano” ceramic heat lamp and I put it on from morning until night when she seems to go to sleep (hard to tell with eyes closed). I do not know the brand, I was lent this heat lamp but I will buy a new better one if you guys think that’s better!!
  • Temperature - Temperature range is very hard to tell because I still need to get her into an actual cage. It never really dips below 66 degrees here even at night
  • Humidity - The humidity here is very high (currently 93%) as I live in an actual jungle in a screened hut. I don’t have real walls so I can’t keep out the humidity even when I want to. I also spritz her area and she seems to enjoy that, turning more green when I do so
  • Plants - I picked some leaves off of the tree she appeared to have fallen out of (some sort of palm maybe?) but now I’m realizing I should find a list of safe plants to use. If you recognize the plant in the picture let me know
  • Placement - I put her in the center of the room by my bed, but there’s really no way to prevent drafts because as I said, no true walls. She is blocked by my couch and bed though so she is more shaded from wind.
  • Location - Haiku, Maui, in the jungle

Current Problem - One morning, I walked outside to get lilikoi and saw her out in the open on the forest floor. The chickens were sprinting over (I often feed them, they belong to my landlord) so I scooped her up because I knew they would peck her to death. I noticed something was very wrong because her eyes were shut, she was very skinny, lethargic, and dark in color. That day I brought her to a vet who deals with exotic animals and has treated Jackson Chameleon’s before. He said she had parasites and gave her some shots and deworming medicine, as well as an anti-inflammatory. I fed her a nutritional gel he gave me through a syringe he provided me, and have been feeding her crickets by gently opening her mouth and putting them in. She gobbles them right up once in her mouth, but doesn’t try to grab them herself even if she feels them on her nose. I also use a syringe to put water in her mouth. I brought her back to the vet today, a week later, and he said she was much healthier, more active, and had put on a good amount of weight since I found her. What puzzled both of us is that even after examining her eyes, he found find nothing wrong with them. No swelling, pus, discharge, or abnormalities, yet she will not open them. He told me typically they open their eyes once they are feeling better, and she has been treated for the parasites and has gained weight. She looks so great compared to before, the vet was shocked at how quick she recovered. He was thinking that there could be some sort of issue where she can’t open her eyelid, but wants to research the topic more because this is unlike what he’s seen before. As I said, when he opened her eyes, they looked healthy and clean and had no swelling, puss, discharge or abnormalities. She just won’t open them. Please please tell me if you know what this may be! I love her so much and want her to live a happy, healthy life (I’m aware I need to make many changes with her cage, feeding, supplements, etc, forgive me I am very new to this and I’m just trying to learn as fast as I can. If I knew I was getting a chameleon I would’ve done my research beforehand, but this happened very suddenly)

she’s a little dark in the image I’m attaching because she was stressed from the doctors visit, and around her eyes she has dark/black marks due the vet opening her eyes (he did it very gently but of course, still stressful). She also has a dark mark on her shoulder area where she got her shots, which the doctor said is normal. I don’t feel comfortable having her perch high up because her balance isn’t the best due to her eyes being closed. I know I’m probably doing so many things wrong so I am very very open so all suggestions! Could her eyes being closed be due to a vitamin deficiency like vitamin A? Is she just taking her time opening them?
 

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Shanar808

Avid Member
That’s very sweet of you to take on this challenge for that little girl. I cannot say what could be wrong with her eyes and I hope someone here will have some experience with that. Yes vitamin A is important for eye health which needs to be in the multivitamin you give her (once a month). Check if that multivitamin also has vitamin d (if not a calcium with d supplement will need to be given once a month) and a calcium no d should be given at every other feeding (so about 3 times per week if feeding everyday/2 times per week if feeding every other day).
Also, do you give her natural (indirect) sun during the day? She will need a T5HO linear UVB if she’s kept indoors. It’s hard to say how much light she’s getting thru your screen, but do not leave her outside without ample foliage or she will heatstroke.
You can learn more at the Chameleon Academy website and listen to the great podcasts. CaskAbove.com has great info with setup and care instructions and product shopping links.
Hope this helps a little and I pray your chameleon gets better soon! Keep us posted!
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
You seem to have found a good vet.

They will keep their eyes shut when they are ill or in great pain, Even then they will usually open them briefly if disturbed. Hopefully as she improves she will begin to open her eyes. A monthly dose of multivitamin wouldn't be a bad idea just don't give too much too often.

Be careful not to overheat her with the lamp. Too much heat will dehydrate her. She will need a UVB source, natural sunlight daily will work as long as it's not thru glass or plastic. She will need at least an hour a day with the ability to move out of it if necessary. I know this will be a challenge in her condition.

You are giving her great nursing care. Kudos
 
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