Crooked spine and bruised back? Help!

Lingling

New Member
Chameleon Info:
Cham - Male veiled, about a year old. I've had him since last June.
Handling - Once a month, perhaps.
Feeding - Crickets, occasional waxworms and hornworms. Crickets are gutloaded with fruits and veggies. He eats like mad.
Supplements - Cal. w/o D3 5 days a week, Cal. w/ D3 and multivitamin twice a month.
Watering - Dripper, I rarely see him drink. Actually, I almost never see him drink.
Fecal Description - Urates are still a little yellow, I've been working with new dripper locations and misting more, hoping this will change.
History - Within the last 2 months or so, his casque has become noticeably bent. Straight limbs, though.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - Large free range.
Lighting - Reptisun 5.0 and 60 watt house bulb for basking.
Temperature - Room is unusually warm for a winter in IN... stays between 75-80.
Humidity - Humidity is lower than I'd like, but we just have to stick it out.... it's Chicago, it's winter, it's a lost cause! :rolleyes:
Plants - Plenty, all cham safe.

Current Problem - I first noticed that his casque was bent about 2-3 months ago. I didn't worry much about it because it limbs were straight and he showed no other signs of MBD. He gets his calcium and UVB, and the bulb is new. Over the last month, his back (along his spine) has become crooked and now is black like it's bruised. Hard to describe, so I tortured the poor guy with the camera (which he hates almost as much as me). Sometimes the black patch is super dark, other times it's hardly noticeable. Notice the crooked spine.


Any ideas what's going on? Could this simply be genetic?

Also, I think his casque looks thin. Is this caused by dehydration?
 

Attachments

Lingling

New Member
Here's a pic of his whole body... his limbs look straight to me, but I'm not experienced as most keepers on here, so please point out any problems.
 

mardithepanther

New Member
what are his basking temps and how much does he eat on a daily basis? I know the casque is where they store the fat. You may want to try giving him a shower for the dehydration. But ill let the experts help you with the rest. The blackness could be bruising or burn. idk. how far is the bulb from the basking branch?
 

alexbrock

New Member
very pretty guy. skin issues are not something i'm experienced with but try searching for skin issues. i've seen some nasty fungal infections. i hope the best for you, 60 watts doesn't sound like much but it is enough to burn, depending on the bulb and placement.
 

Lingling

New Member
He can't get burned by his own basking lamp - I've checked that, and I've run my hands over the entire fixture to make sure there was no place he could climb onto the dome and burn himself. My sister has told me though that she's seen him crawl underneath the linear fixture on my panther's cage... if it looks like a burn to everyone, then that might explain it. I just don't understand the crookedness of his spine if it is a burn. Perhaps it's just genetics?

And I have taken him to the shower a time or two - he HATES it. I panther absolutely loves it, and he showers with me (we try to conserve water... lol) a couple times a week. I've never seen this guy drink aside from a time or two since I got him a year ago. He won't drink if I'm around (the times I have seen him drinking, I was watching from around the corner and he hadn't seen me). So hopefully he's getting enough water... I just never see it happen.
 

alexbrock

New Member
He can't get burned by his own basking lamp - I've checked that, and I've run my hands over the entire fixture to make sure there was no place he could climb onto the dome and burn himself. My sister has told me though that she's seen him crawl underneath the linear fixture on my panther's cage... if it looks like a burn to everyone, then that might explain it. I just don't understand the crookedness of his spine if it is a burn. Perhaps it's just genetics?

And I have taken him to the shower a time or two - he HATES it. I panther absolutely loves it, and he showers with me (we try to conserve water... lol) a couple times a week. I've never seen this guy drink aside from a time or two since I got him a year ago. He won't drink if I'm around (the times I have seen him drinking, I was watching from around the corner and he hadn't seen me). So hopefully he's getting enough water... I just never see it happen.
good point about genetics. stuff just "is" sometimes.
 

jojackson

New Member
The black area along the spine may be bruising from an injury, but its location seems to imply a burn of some kind, this is certainly worth investigating with your vet if possible, if only to determine how he got it so you can prevent it happening again.
I see a slight 'crookedness' that your talking about, but its tough to determine from the pic if its unusually so, or related to the dark patch.
Does he have any slowness or hesitation when moving/climbing that might indicate pain?
If it has injured its spine somehow, its certainly worth a vet visit.

Burns can be treated topically if not too deep (if its a burn its not dangerously deep or open to infection) but you tend to see burns afterward looking like shed, aka pale colorless, ive never seen a burn look like that, though it may, I havent had a burn with my chams.

Re the casque bend, it may be genetic or not, your husbandry sounds ok. If its calcium deficient, the only thing I can think of is perhaps something your using regularly for gutloading, contains calcium binding content. Brocoli, spinach are two such that come to mind, should be avoided.

Do check carefully to be sure your lizard cant get too close to heat above, anywhere in its environment, they do climb well. Im told (though I cannot confirm, never having experienced it) that intense UV itself may burn. This may be worth investigating also.
Sorry I cant offer you any concrete advice other than that.
best wishes :)
 

Lingling

New Member
I see a slight 'crookedness' that your talking about, but its tough to determine from the pic if its unusually so, or related to the dark patch.
Does he have any slowness or hesitation when moving/climbing that might indicate pain?
No problems moving or climbing, his behavior has not changed in any way.

Re the casque bend, it may be genetic or not, your husbandry sounds ok. If its calcium deficient, the only thing I can think of is perhaps something your using regularly for gutloading, contains calcium binding content. Brocoli, spinach are two such that come to mind, should be avoided.
No brocoli or spinach... mostly carrot, orange, escarole, grains, apple, grapes. Any thing that could bind calcium?

Do check carefully to be sure your lizard cant get too close to heat above, anywhere in its environment, they do climb well. Im told (though I cannot confirm, never having experienced it) that intense UV itself may burn. This may be worth investigating also.
His free range is safe, and the only possibility of a burn was when he climbed onto my panthers cage. That's been adjusted so it can't happen again. I never saw this happen, but my sister said he crawled underneath my panther's UVB light, which is only a couple inches from the top of the cage. So this is a possibility, but it's been fixed now.


Mardi: His basking temp is 83-86. He eats like a pig... probably 12-15 medium/large crickets before I get tired of holding his dish.
 

jojackson

New Member
I never saw this happen, but my sister said he crawled underneath my panther's UVB light, which is only a couple inches from the top of the cage. So this is a possibility, but it's been fixed now. ....

That sounds a likely explanation for the 'burn'. A cream from your pharmacy called 'silvazene' (or similar, contains colloidal silver) is great for burns.

Your lizard looks pretty healthy all round apart from that. Nothing in your gutload list binds calcium.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I never saw this happen, but my sister said he crawled underneath my panther's UVB light, which is only a couple inches from the top of the cage. So this is a possibility, but it's been fixed now. ....

That sounds a likely explanation for the 'burn'. A cream from your pharmacy called 'silvazene' (or similar, contains colloidal silver) is great for burns.

Your lizard looks pretty healthy all round apart from that. Nothing in your gutload list binds calcium.
The typical UVB lights won't burn him. This looks like a classic thermal burn to me. If he got too close AND spent too long under a basking light he can get a thermal burn. It is duration of time in addition to temp. The problem is, chams don't have many pain/heat receptors in their skin so they can spend too much time under a focused heat source (as opposed to sitting on a branch in full sun outdoors) before realizing they are too hot. By the time they move away there can already be some damage. The burn cream you want is Silvadene. A vet should have it or give you a sample tube. It will protect the tissues by keeping them moist and by preventing infection. The burned area may scar but it should be self limiting. Over time the skin may heal to look pretty normal but he might lose some of the spines. He may be showing a "crooked back" because he's in pain. The crooked casque isn't extreme, he looks great other than that, so I doubt it is nutritional. Many veileds have slightly asymmetrical casques.
 

jojackson

New Member
UV tubes dont typically output much heat but if it was right up against the tube for a length of time?
he crawled underneath my panther's UVB light, which is only a couple inches from the top of the cage.
The ballast does get hot though. dont think the type UV light was mentioned? (my assumption it was a tube (linear) :)
 
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