Developing respiratory issues?

chloe924

Member
Hello! I hope you are all ok. =)

Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Male Panther chameleon. About 3 years 6 months old and I’ve had him for just over 3 years.
Handling - Daily but briefly. He has a free range that I run to his cage that he can use whenever he likes when I’m off work. I pick him up only to put him back into his cage.
Feeding - Locusts are his staple, with the odd box of crickets a month and morio/super worms. I also feed him wax worms on vitamin/vitD days so he definitely eats some as they’re his favourite. Sometimes I get silkworms too. I try him with food every other day & his pickiness varies. Currently he’ll snap up a medium locust or 3. I only keep a small amount of feeders at a time. I use bug burger & Arcadia insect fuel as gutloaders. With carrots added too.
Supplements - I use repashy plus LoD for most feedings and EarthPro-A for vit supplement every 2 weeks. Every month I give a feeding with Repashy HyD as I believe my daily supplement already has a regular low dose of vitamin D and I don’t want to overdo it. Please tell me if this is wrong though!
Watering - I have a mist king that is set to go off throughout the day. I will have to double check the times. Humidity usually sits around 70% upwards depending on recent spray. Once a week I will hand spray with luke warm water as he likes to walk under the spray and clean his eyes/drink. I also set a big dripper up that drips onto a repurposed exo-terra dripping plant that doesn’t use the pump system. I see him drink from it daily.
Fecal Description - Slightly creamy large urate and brown well digested faeces. He has been tested for parasites a few times but not in the last year, so due another one.
History - He has a large free range made out of bamboo sticks and rope that is over 6foot high and is over a good chunk of my living room. He is only out when I’m off work & at home and he has access at all times to his cage, which he regularly returns to in order to bask. I also return him for an hr or so if I notice he has been out a while. When he is out we both ignore each other, but he loves exploring the whole thing and is very active. I know time away from UVB isn’t great, but I hate to see him cooped up for long. I also let him out for an hour most days before work. I do work a lot though so the majority of his time is in the cage.

Cage Info:

Cage Type - XL reptibreeze with a shower curtain covering 2 sides and cork reptile background at the back. I can take a pic in the morning when he is awake if you like.
Lighting - Exo terra 70w basking bulb, it’s technically on a microclimate dimmer but water destroyed the screen and I can’t afford to replace it currently, so I dunno if it works. The lights still turn on & off automatically on time so hopefully! I just keep a regular check. I have a linear t5 550mm 6% UVB bulb from Reptile Systems with a reflector. It’s meant to last a year but I change it every 6months as I’ve not heard much about the brand. The lights turn on at 6:30am and off at 6:30pm. I also have an arcadia jungle dawn growth light, but I rarely use it as my chameleon then uses it as a basking light.
Temperature - The basking spot is 35C the last I checked and I will have to check the ambient/lower cage when he is awake. I know I struggle usually due to the mesh cage in winter but now it’s summer so around 19c ambient. Technically there is a dimmer (see above) and I also have a duel temp/humidity reader and a temperature gun I regularly use.

Humidity - Humidity goes from 70% at lowest to in the 90s. My house is super humid. I have a duel temp/humidity cage and I keep the humidity gage up in the top quarter.
Plants - 2 well grown pothos vines and a fake vine at the back.
Placement - The top of the cage is 6foot 3 inches off the floor. It is in my living room but I live alone and rarely have anyone over during the times he is awake. At night I cover over his cage with a thin bedsheet.
Location - Northern England

Current Problem
- I think he could be developing a respiratory infection? I do plan on taking him to the vets, but they’ve been pretty useless in the past, so I would love to see if I could get any opinions while I wait for an appointment please? Just so I can point them in the right direction really. So for the past two days he has occasionally been puffing up his gular pouch as much as he can and then exhaling air forcefully. I’ve also caught him slightly opening and closing his mouth as if chewing.

90% of the time he has behaved normally. He is just as active as ever and today I’ve seen him drink loads from his dripper and eat two locusts. I made him gape at me and there was no mucus/froth inside his mouth, nor anything caught that could be irritating him that I could see. I’ve not spotted him sitting with his head raised or mouth open either. When he forces air out, its more like he’s trying to force it from his nose. I did see a little bit of salt on the outside of one nostril, but they look clear otherwise. Trying to listen to his chest I don't hear wheezing, just the odd puff of air but that was probably irritably directed at me!

He is asleep now but I’ve poked my head under the sheet and can see no laboured breathing or hear any wheezing. I managed to video him with his strange exhalation just before bed, though its not as pronounced as it can be. I don’t know whats up with him, but I know you can’t hang about with infections and chameleons. Tomorrow I plan on deep cleaning his cage and also using the steam cleaner and ringing the vets. I would be grateful for any ideas, though I know there isnt too much to go on. Hopefully I can get a better video tomorrow. Thanks for reading all this!

 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I can see it. Are you sure he isn’t just upset that your spying on him and he’s reacting to you? I ask that because his colors are very bright as well like he’s upset.
 

chloe924

Member
Maybe I am overreacting (Wouldn't be the first time!) & he has just been super overly grouchy the past couple of days. Soonest I can see an exotic vet is Tuesday so I'm going to keep watch for now. Managed to capture a grainy video of him doing his weird chewing motion today.

Chewing

Could he have aggravated his tongue? I caught him attempting to hunt a spider yesterday that was too far away, so his tongue extended its full length. I've removed it now, but the spider had been in my window for a week and I dunno how many times he's tried. He's eaten fine since so probably not.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would get him into a reptile vet. Just to make sure. The signs of an RI your talking about come later when they are very ill. If it is an RI the best course is early treatment before it is advanced to show the major signs.

Everything in your husbandry looks spot on except your supplementation. So The EPA is basically only calcium with some water soluble vitamins. It is used like a calcium without D3 on most feedings. Really no point incorporating this one in once a month. The LoD is considered an all in one supplement that is supposed to be used as the only and used lightly at every feeding. It has multi Vitamins and Vitamin A, calcium without and with D3. The HyD is an extremely high dose of Vitamin D3. I would never use this with a cham.

If this is actually linked to a supplement issue which is possible as well if he is having function of the tongue issues then changing your supplementation is important. Overdosing with D3 would be the cause with what your using.
 

chloe924

Member
Oh dear. Thanks for letting me know about his supplementation. I'll change it up & get rid of the hyD and hopefully it won't have done too much damage.

The first non emergency vet appointment I could get is Tuesday, but I'm going to keep an eye on him until then. Today he wasn't as bad, though he did puff all the way up once. Not like he's trying to be intimidating, more that he's sucking in as much air as possible. Before blowing up his gular pouch and huffing it all out. Very strange!

I heard him hissing to himself a couple of times before he fell asleep when I put his sheet over too. Now he's asleep I don't hear any wheezing or anything though. Something is definitely bothering him. I just don't know what.

Thank you very much for all the advice though!
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello there, I just have a little more feedback and questions, if that's okay!

Supplements
- I use repashy plus LoD for most feedings and EarthPro-A for vit supplement every 2 weeks. Every month I give a feeding with Repashy HyD as I believe my daily supplement already has a regular low dose of vitamin D and I don’t want to overdo it. Please tell me if this is wrong though! Use the EarthPro-A on every feeding and the Repashy CalciumPlus LoD once every two weeks. That is all that is needed.
Watering
- I have a mist king that is set to go off throughout the day. I will have to double check the times. Humidity usually sits around 70% upwards depending on recent spray. Once a week I will hand spray with luke warm water as he likes to walk under the spray and clean his eyes/drink. I also set a big dripper up that drips onto a repurposed exo-terra dripping plant that doesn’t use the pump system. I see him drink from it daily. What times of day and how long each time do you mist for?
History
- He has a large free range made out of bamboo sticks and rope that is over 6foot high and is over a good chunk of my living room. He is only out when I’m off work & at home and he has access at all times to his cage, which he regularly returns to in order to bask. I also return him for an hr or so if I notice he has been out a while. When he is out we both ignore each other, but he loves exploring the whole thing and is very active. I know time away from UVB isn’t great, but I hate to see him cooped up for long. I also let him out for an hour most days before work. I do work a lot though so the majority of his time is in the cage. You could always put another UVB bulb over the free-range area.
Lighting
- Exo terra 70w basking bulb, it’s technically on a microclimate dimmer but water destroyed the screen and I can’t afford to replace it currently, so I dunno if it works. The lights still turn on & off automatically on time so hopefully! I just keep a regular check. I have a linear t5 550mm 6% UVB bulb from Reptile Systems with a reflector. It’s meant to last a year but I change it every 6months as I’ve not heard much about the brand. The lights turn on at 6:30am and off at 6:30pm. I also have an arcadia jungle dawn growth light, but I rarely use it as my chameleon then uses it as a basking light. Arcadia and Zoo Med UVB bulbs are the two recommended brands, could you post a link to the one you use, please?
Temperature - The basking spot is 35C the last I checked and I will have to check the ambient/lower cage when he is awake. I know I struggle usually due to the mesh cage in winter but now it’s summer so around 19c ambient. Technically there is a dimmer (see above) and I also have a duel temp/humidity reader and a temperature gun I regularly use. The basking temp is very high, it should be around 29*C. What are your nighttime temps? Which device do you use to measure basking temps, and is the dual temp/humidity reader digital or analog, and if it is digital, does it have a probe?
Humidity - Humidity goes from 70% at lowest to in the 90s. My house is super humid. I have a duel temp/humidity cage and I keep the humidity gage up in the top quarter. Preferred daytime levels are 50-65%, 70% is kind of pushing it. Could you take off the shower curtain on one or both sides and/or use a dehumidifier to bring down levels?
 

chloe924

Member
Hey! & ask away thank you. I’d rather fix any issues as soon as I can and I appreciate you taking time to help me. =)

Supplements - Sounds good. I do have reptivite without D3 I could use every 2 weeks? Or is Repashy LoD enough?

Watering – Admittedly I haven’t touched the settings for a while. I tried overnight hydration but he was insistent on sleeping near the blast zone of one of the sprays. I had a makeshift fogger too but keeping it properly clean wasn’t easy so I got rid. At the moment it’s set for 9:30am for 30seconds, 11:40 for 30seconds and 2pm for 1min. The logic was applied long ago so I can't tell you my reasonings I'm afraid, it was probably back when I was more worried about his hydration. Since my humidity levels are super high I'm going to do more research again.

Free-range – Unfortunately I rent at the moment and don’t feel like I can safely mount a UVB bulb without hooks in the wall. I’m looking for my own place though and definitely will then.

Lighting - This is the uvb I'm using. I used to get Arcadia bulbs from here but they stopped selling them at the end of last year for some reason. Think I've used this brand for about 9months now as I'm only on the second bulb. I think my local pet store stocks zoo med if branding is important though.

Temperature – I've got a 75w bulb in at the moment so will drop the wattage down and make sure it's in a better temp range. I now have 2 digital hydro/thermometers. As after filling out the help form, I realised that I’ve been a bit lapse in checking his levels like I used to do obsessively. This is his cage for basking height ref .

Both have probes for each set at basking level and lower third of the cage. The one I re-added yday works, but the screen is damaged and hard to see so I will probably buy another Komodo temp/hydrometer . And the other is unbranded. The temp probe sat on his basking branch is 31C right now, I got the 35C from using a temperature gun on his back when he was basking. Nighttime temps are usually a little cooler than ambient. I didn’t check last night but the night before was 18C. In winter I make sure it doesn’t go lower than 16C.

Humidity – I've always struggled with humidity. I can’t take the shower curtains down without risking getting the electronics wet but I do have a dehumidifier I could try & will tweak my mistking times.

Thanks again!
 
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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Just to be clear.... If the reptile vet is there. Calling and saying it is an emergency and going in may be best. These guys can go from showing minor issues to downhill completely within a 24 hour period. Not saying that is what will happen here, just be aware this is very typical. They are not at all like mammals that have a slow decline. These guys are able to hide the issues until they just are not able to any longer.
 

chloe924

Member
Just to be clear.... If the reptile vet is there. Calling and saying it is an emergency and going in may be best. These guys can go from showing minor issues to downhill completely within a 24 hour period. Not saying that is what will happen here, just be aware this is very typical. They are not at all like mammals that have a slow decline. These guys are able to hide the issues until they just are not able to any longer.
Hey.
Soonest emergency vet now would be Monday anyway. Luckily I've not seen any of his strange behaviours today, but if I spot anything tomorrow I will give them a call and see what they say about getting him in earlier.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey.
Soonest emergency vet now would be Monday anyway. Luckily I've not seen any of his strange behaviours today, but if I spot anything tomorrow I will give them a call and see what they say about getting him in earlier.
If you start seeing his eyes sinking in then this would be a go asap situation. It may very well be fine until you can get him in. I just do not want to mislead you either. Make sure the Vet actually has at least reptile experience.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey! & ask away thank you. I’d rather fix any issues as soon as I can and I appreciate you taking time to help me. =) Thank you, and no problem, we're all happy to help here!

Supplements
- Sounds good. I do have reptivite without D3 I could use every 2 weeks? Or is Repashy LoD enough? If you want to use the Reptivite Without D3, you'll have to get a calcium with D3 to use as well with that and the EarthPro-A (no Repashy LoD at all with that regiment). So unless he spends some time outside (to where he doesn't need any supplementary D3), using the EarthPro-A every feeding and the Repashy CalciumPlus LoD once every two weeks is perfect! The LoD is both his Vit. D3 and multivitamin, which each should only be given once every two weeks.

Watering – Admittedly I haven’t touched the settings for a while. I tried overnight hydration but he was insistent on sleeping near the blast zone of one of the sprays. I had a makeshift fogger too but keeping it properly clean wasn’t easy so I got rid. At the moment it’s set for 9:30am for 30seconds, 11:40 for 30seconds and 2pm for 1min. The logic was applied long ago so I can't tell you my reasonings I'm afraid, it was probably back when I was more worried about his hydration. Since my humidity levels are super high I'm going to do more research again. Having less frequent and longer misting sessions (2-5+ minutes, around lights on and lights off, with shorter spurts during the night) is better. Could you move all of your electronics to one side of the cage and remove the shower curtain from that freed side? Having a little CPU fan up top to move air will help, too. I'd try for a 2 minute misting around lights on (can be before so the humidity doesn't spike when it gets hot) and a 2-5+ around lights off, with shorter 15-30 second spurts throughout the night (if needed to boost humidity). With your temps, if there's enough airflow, it can get up to 100% humidity at night.

Free-range – Unfortunately I rent at the moment and don’t feel like I can safely mount a UVB bulb without hooks in the wall. I’m looking for my own place though and definitely will then. Yay, congrats!

Lighting
- This is the uvb I'm using. I used to get Arcadia bulbs from here but they stopped selling them at the end of last year for some reason. Think I've used this brand for about 9months now as I'm only on the second bulb. I think my local pet store stocks zoo med if branding is important though. They don't have too much on their website, just the SPD Wavelength chart, which does match up with Arcadia's, but nothing else. With a quick Google search, I can't find any studies for it. Do you have a Solarmeter 6.5 to check it? If it's not too much of a hassle or expense, I'd personally replace it, but it is up to you.

Temperature – I've got a 75w bulb in at the moment so will drop the wattage down and make sure it's in a better temp range. I now have 2 digital hydro/thermometers. As after filling out the help form, I realised that I’ve been a bit lapse in checking his levels like I used to do obsessively. This is his cage for basking height ref . His cage is amazing, awesome job! The only thing I'd change is removing the Exo Terra vines and replacing them with safe ones, as they can cause health issues.

Both have probes for each set at basking level and lower third of the cage. The one I re-added yday works, but the screen is damaged and hard to see so I will probably buy another Komodo temp/hydrometer . And the other is unbranded. The temp probe sat on his basking branch is 31C right now, I got the 35C from using a temperature gun on his back when he was basking. Nighttime temps are usually a little cooler than ambient. I didn’t check last night but the night before was 18C. In winter I make sure it doesn’t go lower than 16C. So you'll want to use one of your fully working digital thermometers with probes, and place the probe where the top of your cham's back is when he;s on his basking branch to measure basking temps. It should be 29*C there. Basking temps are air temps, and temp guns measure surface temps, so they're great for spot checks and things, just not accurate for basking temps. Your night temps are perfect!

Humidity
– I've always struggled with humidity. I can’t take the shower curtains down without risking getting the electronics wet but I do have a dehumidifier I could try & will tweak my mistking times. Using the dehumidifier would be great!

Thanks again! Thank you!
 

chloe924

Member
If you start seeing his eyes sinking in then this would be a go asap situation. It may very well be fine until you can get him in. I just do not want to mislead you either. Make sure the Vet actually has at least reptile experience.
He's been behaving normally since Friday thankfully. I'm still going to take him to the vet tomorrow for a check-up though and get his lungs listened to. But who knows what was bugging him! Suppose on the bright side its made me improve my husbandry. =)


Supplements – Think I’ll stick with the Earthpro-A / Repashy LoD regiment then. Thank you.

Watering/humidity – I tried the misting times you suggested last night. I set it for 4 mins just after lights out and 30second sprays at 8:30pm, midnight and 2:40 am. Though I think tonight I’m going to test getting rid of one or two of those as the humidity didn’t lower further than 99% overnight with his sheet on and I don’t want to bother him too much while sleeping. Then the last one was 2mins just before lights on.

I do have a little fan I could use, but with only changing his misting schedule his humidity dropped to 68% by 10am and remained in the 60s all day. My only worry is disturbing his sleep. Luckily last night and tonight he slept out of range of the spray and I’ve tried to arrange the nozzles to avoid his usual favourite spots. I am worried he might get caught sleeping under it one night though? I know they get rained on in the wild but I’m sure a fine cold spray in a colder climate can’t be good?

Lighting – I agree and will get myself another uvb bulb the next time I visit the pet store.

Temperature – I’ve switched to a 45w bulb and now the basking temp is a little low at 27.8C. I’m going to keep tweaking things until its perfect though.

Thank you. =) & First I’ve heard of the Exo terra vines causing health issues? Is it due to the textured stuff on them? There are a couple I could remove, but the rest would mean dismantling a lot of the cage. When I move house soon, I do plan on building him a completely new cage and will make sure I don’t include them then though.

Thanks again!
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
He's been behaving normally since Friday thankfully. I'm still going to take him to the vet tomorrow for a check-up though and get his lungs listened to. But who knows what was bugging him! Suppose on the bright side its made me improve my husbandry. =)


Supplements – Think I’ll stick with the Earthpro-A / Repashy LoD regiment then. Thank you.

Watering/humidity – I tried the misting times you suggested last night. I set it for 4 mins just after lights out and 30second sprays at 8:30pm, midnight and 2:40 am. Though I think tonight I’m going to test getting rid of one or two of those as the humidity didn’t lower further than 99% overnight with his sheet on and I don’t want to bother him too much while sleeping. Then the last one was 2mins just before lights on.

I do have a little fan I could use, but with only changing his misting schedule his humidity dropped to 68% by 10am and remained in the 60s all day. My only worry is disturbing his sleep. Luckily last night and tonight he slept out of range of the spray and I’ve tried to arrange the nozzles to avoid his usual favourite spots. I am worried he might get caught sleeping under it one night though? I know they get rained on in the wild but I’m sure a fine cold spray in a colder climate can’t be good?

Lighting – I agree and will get myself another uvb bulb the next time I visit the pet store.

Temperature – I’ve switched to a 45w bulb and now the basking temp is a little low at 27.8C. I’m going to keep tweaking things until its perfect though.

Thank you. =) & First I’ve heard of the Exo terra vines causing health issues? Is it due to the textured stuff on them? There are a couple I could remove, but the rest would mean dismantling a lot of the cage. When I move house soon, I do plan on building him a completely new cage and will make sure I don’t include them then though.

Thanks again!
Awesome, you're amazing! Yup, the textured stuff rubs off real easily, letting it get trapped in a chameleon's eyes very easily. Definitely keep us updated with everything! Also, I can't wait to see the cage he gets upgraded to once you move!
 

chloe924

Member
Ok, good to know! Thank you both. I'll see what I can do about removing as many vines as I can tomorrow. I'm assuming it's the same case for other fake vines with that 'bitty' kind of texture on them? The majority I have in his cage right now are a softer type with a smooth surface and I plan on using a lot more natural wood for his next cage design. & will definitely post pics! :D
 
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