clumsy and falling


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Chameleon Info:

Your Chameleon - Panther Chameleon, Male, 2 yrs old, I've had him for just a few weeks
Handling - I handle the chameleon about every other day
Feeding - I hand feed Karma every other day about 5-6 crickets, roaches, or meal worms (some times some of each). I put the gut load into the insects containers and then dust them with calcium w/o D3 at every feeding
Supplements - I use calcium w/o D3 at every feeding (Rep-Cal), Calcium with D3 usually once a week (Flukers) and Herptivite about twice a week (Rep-Cal). I've been giving him a little extra calcium and vitamins because his front leg is limp and his previous owner said this was due to MBD which im starting to think is NOT the case.
Watering - Karma has an automatic mister that goes off for 2 minutes 3 times a day. occasionally I drip water into his cage after he's eaten or if his mouth looks dry (this has only happened once and he had thick saliva which is not a problem anymore)
Fecal Description - his droppings are grey-ish brown and he excretes a sticky white slime when he poops.

Cage Info:

Cage Type - 24x24x48 screen cage
Lighting - He's got 2 UVB lights, one is a fluorescent tube, one is a spiral bulb in a dome fixture, and his basking lamp is a combination UV/basking light.
Temperature - His cage is usually a steady 72-74 degrees, with his baking lamp about 6 inches from his basking spot and about 80-85 degrees. I have a thermometer on the side of the cage to measure the temp.
Humidity - humidity is about 30% according to the gauge on his cage, but increases when he is misted
Plants - he has one large ficus tree in his cage.
Placement - his cage is in front of a window and an air vent (the vent is about 3 feet from his normal perch spots) and the top of the cage is about 6 feet off the ground (his cage sits on a table). I put his cage in front of the vent so i could control the temp of his cage.
Location - I live in fairfax VA

Current Problem -

I just got Karma about 3 weeks ago and was told that he had MBD that was affecting primarily his right front leg. After posting on this forum I was given the impression that it was probably a broken arm because MBD would affect his whole body. I decreased his cage size by putting a shelf halfway up the cage (so he had about 12x12x24 in of space) and gave him wider, lower-to-the-"ground"-perches with towels underneath in case of falls. I also got a second UV lamp (third if you include his combination basking/UV lamp) in hopes that this would all help him recover. We increased his calcium with D3 and multivitamins. Karma did not seem to be enjoying his new space. He fell often and couldn't quite figure out how to move between perches.

I put Karma's tree back in his cage so he could be in familiar surroundings. At first he grabbed right onto his regular perch spot, was fed a couple of times and seemed to be a bit more stable, but today he seems to be having a hard time grabbing onto his branches and he's gone back to grabbing that front leg and confusing it (i assume) for a branch. when he falls, he kind of attempts to support himself, but he more or less accepts the new position he's gotten himself stuck in. It seems like he wants to move but is too distracted (I dont know by what) to be able to focus on where he's going, and in turn, he falls. He's got lots of towels under the plant to cushion the fall, but he mostly just lands in between two branches under him.

He hasn't had any falls that seemed terribly alarming or painful, but it breaks my heart to see him struggle and I just want to make sure his health is good. I've included some pictures so you can see his "problem" leg. It usually just hangs by his side and he'll grab it for support but occasionally he uses it to grip or climb.

I'm hoping someone can tell me if I'm giving him the appropriate amount of light/food/water/etc. In my understanding he should be a healthy boy at this point but the falling behavior does not seem normal to me and his poor little leg is obviously an issue that i am unsure of how to deal with.

You can see his wonky leg and the rest of his legs which do not look to be affected by MBD but please let me know if you disagree!


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Hi Molly. Sorry your boy is not well. First off giving extra d3 and extra uv will not reverse MBD. In fact the extra d3 could be making things worse. Go back to plain calcium daily and calcium with d3 twice a month and a multivitamin twice a month. All these lights! He needs 5% uv tube and an ordinary household bulb to give sufficient heat to around 85f. If he is falling you are correct to make his viv smaller or just lower his vines so he can't climb too high. Could you add in a fourth misting?:)
Thanks so much for the quick response Kate! I will certainly slow down the D3 and vitamins, I don't want him to get worse! I will add a fourth misting as well. The UV bulbs are both 5% but I don't want to overdo it, I just want to make sure he's getting all of the light he needs (my window does not let in much sunlight and when it does come through, the window pane is obviously a filter). If this is excessive I'll tone it down! I'm just a worry-wart :). I will also place more vines in his cage that extend across it rather than up which is how his tree grows. If you have any more advice for me please let me know!

In your opinion does his arm look like its affected by MBD or does it just look like he injured it? I've also been trying to give him some calcium glubionate (just a drop or two) about once a month. Is this sufficient?
what do you gutload with?
Can you describe what you mean by his leg is limp?
have you taken him to a vet at all for a check-up recently?
chameleons are not "clumsy" - if they are falling or not holding themselves up well or grabbing their own legs, there's a problem
His arm could be the result of an injury. If mbd it would affect all limbs not just one. Too much supplementing is just as bad as under supplementing. Is your uv less than six months old. They need to be changed every six months. If you are still worried about his leg then I would advise a vet visit.:)
Molly, it is obvious that you care very much about Karma.

As others have mentioned, too much D3 and too much multivitamin supplement are harmful.
It is difficult to say if it is or isn't the added D3 and vitamins that are causing his symptoms now or if it is truly MBD.
It can be MBD, since MBD will cause chameleons to grab at their owns legs, as well as falling, bent limbs, etc. or he might have originally just injured the one limb and now the excess of vitamins is making him discoordinated.

The best is if he can be treated by a vet with plenty of reptile knowledge and experience.
To find a vet with a special interest in reptiles, look here:
The vet should be informed of what his supplements have been, so he can avoid adding to the problem accidentally, due to not knowing about the extra D3 and vitamins Karma has been receiving.

There are a number of causes of MBD, including internal parasites, so bringing a fresh stool sample to the vet is a great idea.

Here is an excellent article, written by a vet, about MBD, what causes it and how to treat it:

Regardless of what you do, I would stop the D3 and multivitamin for the next couple of weeks and be sure he gets plenty of water to help his body flush out excess vitamins.
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