Chameleon x-rays (radiographs)

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
An x-ray from above of my male panther Oscar:


Nothing wrong on his x-ray that I can find. Just thought I'd post it for fun since I think they're cool looking! Couldn't get one from the side with my machine while he was awake - they're not too thrilled when you tell them to lay on their side. He's been dangling his feet off his perches more than usual so I was looking for signs of arthritis (he's going on 5). Bloodwork is next for him.
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
I have a question. Why are his rear limbs and tail area around the bones denser with white? Muscle? Seems strange that the front limbs arent the same.
 
Might not actually answer the real question Ataraxia, but I know for X-Rays, muscle tissue is generally scene as an opaque (is that the right word?) white around the bones and joints that obtain the most muscle. So I have a hunch that chameleons have a tendency to have more muscular back legs since they are generally supporting their entire weight when reaching out for branches. Same goes for their tail when hanging from branches and such. But that is just what I have observed from human x-rays.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Correct! The more tissue is present the more dense it will be and therefore more white. The shades on a x-ray correlate to density of tissue. The more white a tissue is the more radiopaque (or just opaque) it is. True white is metal, mineral or bone. Then the shades of grey are soft tissue. Thicker or denser tissue will be more white than thinner tissue. And if two soft tissue stricture overlap their opacities can combine to make that area appear more opaque. Black is gas or air. So you can see most of his body is black because that is lung and air sac area. Unlike mammals reptiles don't have a diaphragm so the lungs can extend pretty far back there. His back legs and tail are meatier than his front legs with larger muscles so they will show up a little more white (or opaque) than the thinner front legs. Has he always been that way because that's just the muscle structure or has he been slowly losing muscle mass because his front legs hurt since those are the ones he dangles the most? (This has only been going on for a few weeks but you know how good they are at hiding probems.) I don't have old x-rays of him to compare to so either one is possible.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Based on the x-rays of my veiled George (anesthetized) showing the same increased opacity of the hindlimbs compared to the front limbs I'm more inclined to believe this is just a normal structural difference between the musculature of the legs.

 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
A lateral (from the side) view of veiled (anesthetized).



Want to get an x-ray of my panther when gravid and post it too. I just think they're cool. :)
 
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radstusky

Avid Member
In the X-ray of the veiled, is that normal for his arm bones, the radius and ulna I believe, to be bent like that? Or is it just the view that we see there?
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
So unfortunately Oscar's x-rays are not as normal as I originally thought. There was one area that was bugging me from the beginning but I kept dismissing it. Well the more I stared at it the more worried I got that I shouldn't be dismissing it. Especially since his bloodwork came back completely normal. Dr. Alfonso was nice enough to look at them too and he confirmed my suspicions (he's awesome btw). There is abnormal mineralization in the soft tissue around Oscar's elbows. He isn't painful when I squeeze his elbow and there's no swelling. But today I checked and he can't extend his elbow fully. It just stops like something is blocking the movement. Like mineralization....which means more likely than not gout. :(

 
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Carrie Anne

Member
Thanks for sharing the x-ray pics. Does anyone else think that the x-ray pictures, besides being extremely useful and informative, would be awesome to turn into pictures to hang on the wall or am I the only one?:)
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Poor Oscar! I hope it's not gout. Gout is terrible. Years back one of the females that someone gave my daughter had gout. She should have let her go way before she did.

Dr. Mader uses the dental Xray machine, the one that goes around to get the side views so he never puts my guys under for X-rays.

Dr. Alfonso is an awesome person and vet! He just came last week to check my new babies and everybody while he was here. It's so nice for him to come to the house since I have so many instead of trying to take everybody in.

I'm hoping the best for Oscar. How will you treat the menerialazation?
 

Julija

New Member
Sorry to hear Oliver is not doing well, but it looks like you caught it early, an at least now you know it and can provide him with care and conditions most suited for his situation.

Also, thank you so much for sharing this! Really interesting information. After all, one never knows, when/what might come in handy, and it's always better to know smth and not need it than the other way around. These forums have been and continue being a treasury of information ever since I joined them. And, Ferret, I really admire people like you, who don't spare time and effort on education others. If people were more like you, world would be a much better place ;)

Best wishes to you and Oliver,
Julija
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Thank you all for the support! This is actually Oscar. ;) I do have one named Oliver too and he's doing great!

Unfortuntely there isn't much we can do about what has already mineralized. If his blood uric acid levels were high I could try allopurinol, which is also used in people with gout, to try to prevent further mineralization. But his uric acid levels are normal. Extra hydration will help kidneys filter out the uric acid better. Fortunately with his string drinking I can get more hydration into him pretty well. But subcutaneous (under the skin) might be needed every so often to force more into his system. Otherwise just anti-inflammatories/pain meds to keep him comfortable and out of pain. He still gets around well and has a strong grip but if he starts to have difficulty getting around he may need some alterations to his cage. But we'll just have to see how he does with meds and fluids. Poor Oscar. :(
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Did you have the x rays taken for a reason, or did you find the mineralization after the fact? What I am after is what signs might alert me that my cham could need an x ray to see it there is a problem?
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
It's okay Julija! Even though it's silly when I first read your post I actually thought to myself "wait, what's wrong with Oliver?". Haha, no worries.

Laurie - he has been dangling his front legs off his branches a lot recently. Like it was uncomfortable to grip the branch and more comfortable to just let them hang. So I took X-rays looking for arthritis hoping that was the cause since he's getting old.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Thanks Dayna, since vets are a hike, I like to plan ahead. My poor chams must get really tired of me checking them all time, but maybe I would catch a problem early.
 
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