Dehydrated Rescue Won't Open Eyes

Hi all - Peet is still hanging in there!

I took him back to the vet yesterday for observation. The news is very good!
-He has gained a third of his starting weight (the vet was very impressed by this.)
-He is unable to open his eyes fully or for extended periods of time because his eye muscles are severely weakened.
-He said his color is incredible, so much so that the staff had trouble finding him in his enclosure.
-He expects recovery to be slow but successful.

Care moving forward:
-Handfeeding gutloaded crickets on a dusting schedule. 6-8 medium a day. Since he can't hunt I try to feed him all 8. He legit spits them out if he is full so I'm not too worried about overfeeding him.
-Muscle building. Need to work on his eyes, tongue, and body. Eyes: light handling to encourage eye movement, moving him away from the heat source makes him open his eyes, artificial tear rinses make him move his eyes, heavy mistings several times a day. Tongue: stick dusted, soggy crickets to his mouth so he has to use his tongue to dislodge them. Not much I can do with this until we get his eyes fixed. Body: put him in different climbing situations to make sure he's not having any of his other muscle groups degrade.

Overall, he is doing much better. He will probably never be what he could have been with the correct care from the start, but I think all of this hard work is paying off and he might have a chance at a simi-normal chameleon life. The vet said give him another month and don't give up.

Thanks for reading!


Chameleon Enthusiast
They recover extremely slowly, you will be surprised how much he turns around <3 keep up with him. Have you gotten liquid calcium or a vitamin combo shot from the vet? Honestly he may be a bit deficient. I don't remember sadly, bit tired this morning and just skimming things right now, so forgive me for my poor response. *bows*


Chameleon Enthusiast
So glad you are on the right path with him! My 4 1/2 year old Cecil is "lazy" in my vet's words, due to having too thick branches in his cage at the horder's house before i got him. Once Peet is more stable, you may want to think about giving him skinnier vines to hold onto to climb. Again, only once he's much more stable and secure, but it's a way to improve their grip - my guy went back for a checkup a month later and she felt an increase in his grip strength just by doing that. Keep it up! :D
@Andee, a vet that saw him right before I got him gave him a B12 shot. My vet wants him to be a bit more stable before we start sticking him but I have been giving him liquid calcium. I think he is probably very deficient in, well...everything.

@absolutbill thanks for the advice! I have some skinny vertical branches in there even though he doesn't use them on his own. After I feed him I put him on the small branches and have him practice climbing. Any more workout recommendations are appreciated! I'll be spending this weekend building him a rehab "gym" :D

When I get home I'll try to remember to take some pictures of him and his enclosure.


Chameleon Enthusiast
It's very important for deficient chams to have a place to safely work out and for us to encourage muscle use because their muscles get so atrophied. I learned that a lot with my mbd rescues and vitamin deficient chameleons. You are going the right way just don't push too hard too fast.
EYES ARE OPEN! I was very worried about him because he was getting dull and brownish. Well duh, he was getting ready to shed! But he is now regularly opening his eyes and watching me. I first noticed it right before bed and when I woke up the next morning I thought maybe I had dreamt it. Nope, it's real life! Can't believe it.

This weekend we went out of town on a camping trip (nothing crazy, drive-up camping in an urban-ish area.) I couldn't leave him at home because I don't know anyone to take care of him. So I built him a hanging shelter out of hardware cloth and industrial sun-screen material. Basically it's a pest-wire mesh box with branches etc inside, wrapped in sunscreen hardware cloth and suspended off the ground. It has rope on the top and bottom so it hangs suspended to keep critters away but doesn't fly around in the wind. I'm actually pretty proud of it. It's kind of similar to the way people store food off the ground when camping. We were staying around the campsite during the day and at night when it was cooler I just put him in my car. I wouldn't want to do this if we were gone a lot but it worked for our situation. I was worried about stressing him out but he actually seemed to enjoy it.

Fiona's Mom

Chameleon Enthusiast
I started reading your story today and could not stop. I love happy endings. I am so happy he found someone like you...without you he would not have survived. You are one awesome responsible person. Thank you for sharing everything you went through so others can learn from it.
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