did something happen to his tounge?

RescueMom

Avid Member
My 8 month old Panther started acting strange last week, not coming up to his basking spot until around noon. I thought "ehhh...adolescence 🤷🏼‍♀️?" He was eating and he finally pooped on Wednesday, so I thought maybe he had been constipated.

Yesterday he started gaping, and then I heard a sniff, not really a wheeze. I watched him closely and it continued so I really thought it was the beginning of a RI.

I had to take him an hour away to an emergency vet. I couldn't go in with him due to their COVID protocol, but I talked to the doctor and she said she didn't hear or see any signs of respiratory infection, but he was upset, hissing, the whole nine yards. She said he was also a bit dehydrated. They gave him fluids and started him on an antibiotic, trimethoprim-sulfa. She wasn't the exotic specialist, so I have an appt for a follow up with the other vet on Wednesday.

Here's where the real problem is. Today he can't shoot out his tounge more than about an inch. This is very sudden! He is still gaping, but I haven't heard any of the noise he was making. Also, his throat looks swollen and his tounge looks thick and goopy.

He had been eating Hornworms last week that I received on Monday. Could he have been bitten on the tounge and that's caused swelling so he's opening his mouth to breath? Could that cause him to not use his tounge anymore?

I called the vet and they said to bring him back in, but I don't see the point since the exotics specialist isn't there. I'm not giving him any more of the meds until I can figure out what's going on 😢 All I know is that before I took him there, he had use of his tounge and it wasn't swollen.

All of his information is below :


Chameleon Info: Your Chameleon - 8 month old, male Ambilobe Panther. I've had him since he was 4 months old

Handling - never. He's afraid of everything. I've worked with him by hand feeding him. He has gotten on my hand to get a feeder that's out of his reach, but that's all.

Feeding - crickets, 8-10/day (sometimes he eats less, but usually has a good appetite).

Gutloading with repashy superload (changed from Bug burger). Has had bsf (won't eat them in the larva state, but loves the flies), occasional superworm and wax worms used as "bribe". Hornworms when I can get them.

Supplements - Zoomed Calcium without D3 6 days a week, Zoomed calcium with D3 2x month, Reptivite without D3 2x month, Sticky Tounge miner-all outdoor formula (without D3) 2-3x week.

Watering - Cli-mist misting system, installed in January. 1-2 minutes @9am, 1pm, 5pm & 7:30pm. Dripper on all day. **He was traumatized by the previous mist system, which was a monsoon. I had hoped he would get better, but he still runs from the water** I do not see him drink.

Fecal Description - last poop was March 3rd (it had been a while) . Urate was white, followed by orange, then large amount of normal feces. No undigested feeders. Nothing unusual. He is somewhat dehydrated. He hasn't been tested for parasites.

History - appetite is always good. use of his tounge has been without issue until today

Cage Info: Cage Type - 2x2x4 screen reptibreeze with dragonstrand ledges

Lighting - Reptisun T5 HO 36" linear (diagonal across cage), Exotera 50w Basking light in dome fixture hanging above cage. Timer, lights on from 8am to 8pm

Temperature - 3 thermometers: 1 digital, 1 wired with probes and 1 temp gun. day time ambient temps stay between 72-75, night time can drop down to 68. Basking temp on the branch with probe measures 86-88, with temp gun measures 88-90. BASKING BRANCH IS NOT TO HOT FOR MY HAND

Humidity - measured with digital hygrometer and wired hygrometer with probe Day time level between 60-80%, using mister to raise humidity and clear plastic shower curtain on three sides of the cage.

Plants - 4 live plants - 2 pothos, 1 dracena, 1 shefflera

Placement - cage is in room by itself on a shelving until 3+ ft off the floor. Air vent is deflected so nothing blows toward it. no other animals, or kids in the house (only a husband 🤐)

Location - Florida

Current Problem - I thought he had a respiratory infection, but after taking him to the emergency vet yesterday his tounge won't go out more than an inch
 
Last edited:

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I called the vet and they said to bring him back in, but I don't see the point since the exotics specialist isn't there.
I can't say for sure, because different areas/hospitals may do things differently, but just because the exotics vet isn't on-duty doesn't mean they can't/won't call him/her for a phone consultation.

This is something you can ask before taking him again—or next time.
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
The first 2 pictures are yesterday when he was gaping but his tounge didn't seem to be swollen. They were taken through the screen so they are a bit grainy
The last 2 pictures were today. You can see his tongue looks to be a lot thicker.
The last picture is also today, just not under his basking light. His throat is fuller than normal. It's just not right 😔
 

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RescueMom

Avid Member
I have the answer, but not from anyone on the forum.

Maybe I didn't ask the right question or something 🤔
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
Was it a respiratory infection? That's
All I can think of from him keeping his mouth open like that
No it wasn't. His tongue is swollen from an apparent Hornworm bite. He can't even shoot it out anymore. This happened so fast, and I took him to "the best" after hours clinic, over an hour away, on a Saturday, in the rain, spent over $200, and they missed it!

No one on here had any feedback. I took him to a different country vet yesterday who found the problem.

No antibiotics needed. He's in pain. I don't even know if he'll get the use of tongue back or not which absolutely breaks my heart
 

PoseidonTheChameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
No it wasn't. His tongue is swollen from an apparent Hornworm bite. He can't even shoot it out anymore. This happened so fast, and I took him to "the best" after hours clinic, over an hour away, on a Saturday, in the rain, spent over $200, and they missed it!

No one on here had any feedback. I took him to a different country vet yesterday who found the problem.

No antibiotics needed. He's in pain. I don't even know if he'll get the use of tongue back or not which absolutely breaks my heart
Awe I'm sorry. I never saw this thread before today, so I wouldnt of been of help anyway. I hope he gets better.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
My 8 month old Panther started acting strange last week, not coming up to his basking spot until around noon. I thought "ehhh...adolescence 🤷🏼‍♀️?" He was eating and he finally pooped on Wednesday, so I thought maybe he had been constipated.

Yesterday he started gaping, and then I heard a sniff, not really a wheeze. I watched him closely and it continued so I really thought it was the beginning of a RI.

I had to take him an hour away to an emergency vet. I couldn't go in with him due to their COVID protocol, but I talked to the doctor and she said she didn't hear or see any signs of respiratory infection, but he was upset, hissing, the whole nine yards. She said he was also a bit dehydrated. They gave him fluids and started him on an antibiotic, trimethoprim-sulfa. She wasn't the exotic specialist, so I have an appt for a follow up with the other vet on Wednesday.

Here's where the real problem is. Today he can't shoot out his tounge more than about an inch. This is very sudden! He is still gaping, but I haven't heard any of the noise he was making. Also, his throat looks swollen and his tounge looks thick and goopy.

He had been eating Hornworms last week that I received on Monday. Could he have been bitten on the tounge and that's caused swelling so he's opening his mouth to breath? Could that cause him to not use his tounge anymore?

I called the vet and they said to bring him back in, but I don't see the point since the exotics specialist isn't there. I'm not giving him any more of the meds until I can figure out what's going on 😢 All I know is that before I took him there, he had use of his tounge and it wasn't swollen.

All of his information is below :


Chameleon Info: Your Chameleon - 8 month old, male Ambilobe Panther. I've had him since he was 4 months old

Handling - never. He's afraid of everything. I've worked with him by hand feeding him. He has gotten on my hand to get a feeder that's out of his reach, but that's all.

Feeding - crickets, 8-10/day (sometimes he eats less, but usually has a good appetite).

Gutloading with repashy superload (changed from Bug burger). Has had bsf (won't eat them in the larva state, but loves the flies), occasional superworm and wax worms used as "bribe". Hornworms when I can get them.

Supplements - Zoomed Calcium without D3 6 days a week, Zoomed calcium with D3 2x month, Reptivite without D3 2x month, Sticky Tounge miner-all outdoor formula (without D3) 2-3x week.

Watering - Cli-mist misting system, installed in January. 1-2 minutes @9am, 1pm, 5pm & 7:30pm. Dripper on all day. **He was traumatized by the previous mist system, which was a monsoon. I had hoped he would get better, but he still runs from the water** I do not see him drink.

Fecal Description - last poop was March 3rd (it had been a while) . Urate was white, followed by orange, then large amount of normal feces. No undigested feeders. Nothing unusual. He is somewhat dehydrated. He hasn't been tested for parasites.

History - appetite is always good. use of his tounge has been without issue until today

Cage Info: Cage Type - 2x2x4 screen reptibreeze with dragonstrand ledges

Lighting - Reptisun T5 HO 36" linear (diagonal across cage), Exotera 50w Basking light in dome fixture hanging above cage. Timer, lights on from 8am to 8pm

Temperature - 3 thermometers: 1 digital, 1 wired with probes and 1 temp gun. day time ambient temps stay between 72-75, night time can drop down to 68. Basking temp on the branch with probe measures 86-88, with temp gun measures 88-90. BASKING BRANCH IS NOT TO HOT FOR MY HAND

Humidity - measured with digital hygrometer and wired hygrometer with probe Day time level between 60-80%, using mister to raise humidity and clear plastic shower curtain on three sides of the cage.

Plants - 4 live plants - 2 pothos, 1 dracena, 1 shefflera

Placement - cage is in room by itself on a shelving until 3+ ft off the floor. Air vent is deflected so nothing blows toward it. no other animals, or kids in the house (only a husband 🤐)

Location - Florida

Current Problem - I thought he had a respiratory infection, but after taking him to the emergency vet yesterday his tounge won't go out more than an inch
Your husbandry is pretty much on point. With the exception of the mid day misting. Depending on how much your misting this would be the hottest part of the day in the cage. So it would increase RI risk. Which explains gaping but not the tongue.

Now the tongue nothing in your husbandry would suggest an issue from that. Your supplements are on point. How large were the hornworms? did you hand feed them or put them on a branch?
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your husbandry is pretty much on point. With the exception of the mid day misting. Depending on how much your misting this would be the hottest part of the day in the cage. So it would increase RI risk. Which explains gaping but not the tongue.

Now the tongue nothing in your husbandry would suggest an issue from that. Your supplements are on point. How large were the hornworms? did you hand feed them or put them on a branch?

Going to respectfully disagree and say that mid day misting isn't wrong. There's no proof that I've seen that it alone causes RI. And would make no sense when things like ventilation and such are considered.

I bring this up not to disagree/argue for sake of it, but to say this wouldn't be a cause for concern. People were having chams live as long/longer than they even seem to now(not saying it's related, just that they were still doing well) and the advice was always to mist during the day, no one turned lights off until recently. Never saw RI's happening like this. Veileds do better in florida than they seem to do in yemen lol.

Point being, I'd look to another cause JMO.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Going to respectfully disagree and say that mid day misting isn't wrong. There's no proof that I've seen that it alone causes RI. And would make no sense when things like ventilation and such are considered.

I bring this up not to disagree, but to say this wouldn't be a cause for concern. People were having chams live longer than they even seem to now(not saying it's related) and the advice was always to mist during the day, no one turned lights off until recently. Never saw RI's happening like this. Veileds do better in florida than they seem to do in yemen lol.
I said depending on how long the mid day misting was lol not that it was the reason. You have taught me well to understand this fact. If someone is soaking a cage for 5 minutes when it is hot in the cage then that does make an impact for health issues and could increase the RI risk.

But I do not think it has anything to do with her misting schedule. I think it is the hornworms... Bite or strain if placed in a cup or branch.
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
Your husbandry is pretty much on point. With the exception of the mid day misting. Depending on how much your misting this would be the hottest part of the day in the cage. So it would increase RI risk. Which explains gaping but not the tongue.

Now the tongue nothing in your husbandry would suggest an issue from that. Your supplements are on point. How large were the hornworms? did you hand feed them or put them on a branch?
If he doesn't have the midday misting the humidity level drops to low. I keep a close eye on the temp and the humidity so it stays where it should (or at least I try 😰)

Vet I took him to yesterday explained he has a lot of swelling (adema) in his tongue so he's opening his mouth, or gaping, in order to breath. She was very thorough and patient waiting for him to take a lot of very good breaths so she could hear his lungs. There was no wheezing and no roapy saliva. What I'm seeing in his mouth is basically just saliva (cham spit) that he hasn't swallowed due to open mouth breathing.

Vet gave 6 days of pain meds to inject into superworms so hopefully that will help.

And I only gave him the smaller Hornworms, feeding them off my hand. One just fought back 😡
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think a hornworm bite is very very rare. 9/10 times the problem is the horn worm did not let go, and the tongue is strained. Ive personally seen chams pull themselves across the the cage by the tongue because the feeder would not let go. And yes they did the same "tongue only comes out an inch".

Ive never seen a recorded feeder bite. The cham tongue is just a "bag" with a tendon in the middle. When you get a hit, the middle tendon muscle pulls back, and its like you just pressed your hand in a pool with the pool cover on. They are not technically "sticky" and if you cut this tendon, they just shoot out and it just bounces off the feeder (or they bounce off you when they give you "warning shots" from moving too much while holding them). A feeder could technically munch all they want and it would take minutes of chewing before enough damage occurred to ruin the bag, and there still wouldnt be any swelling.
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
OK so if the vet said no RI why meds? They should start working within 48 hours. I am not seeing a tongue issue as far as injury goes. I have dealt with tongue injuries so this is not anything. So why the problems. My guess is too much vit A or Too much D3. This is just my guess. You said throat looks swollen, can't shoot tongue these are signs of too much vitamin, or to little, somewhere. The gaping may be due to his throat being swollen.
Defiantly see the specialist, but that is where I would have them look.

Supplements - Zoomed Calcium without D3 6 days a week, Zoomed calcium with D3 2x month, Reptivite without D3 2x month, Sticky Tounge miner-all outdoor formula (without D3) 2-3x week.

This is way too much in my opinion D3 twice a month, Multi twice a month, unless lo dose ? which has caused issues with some.
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
I think a hornworm bite is very very rare. 9/10 times the problem is the horn worm did not let go, and the tongue is strained. Ive personally seen chams pull themselves across the the cage by the tongue because the feeder would not let go. And yes they did the same "tongue only comes out an inch".

Ive never seen a recorded feeder bite. The cham tongue is just a "bag" with a tendon in the middle. When you get a hit, the middle tendon muscle pulls back, and its like you just pressed your hand in a pool with the pool cover on. They are not technically "sticky" and if you cut this tendon, they just shoot out and it just bounces off the feeder (or they bounce off you when they give you "warning shots" from moving too much while holding them). A feeder could technically munch all they want and it would take minutes of chewing before enough damage occurred to ruin the bag, and there still wouldnt be any swelling.
The last one he ate, he did the whole "fling his head to the side" like he was trying to slam his prey into the branch to kill it.

Something happened to the base of his tongue, that's for sure. Whether he got the little monster in his mouth and before he could get it to stop fighting it bit back, who knows. But for a fact he could shoot his tongue out twice the length of his body the day before. Now it goes out an inch and his throat has a visible bulge. Not to mention the vet could see the damage.

So maybe this is the first time 🤷🏼‍♀️
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
If he doesn't have the midday misting the humidity level drops to low. I keep a close eye on the temp and the humidity so it stays where it should (or at least I try 😰)

Vet I took him to yesterday explained he has a lot of swelling (adema) in his tongue so he's opening his mouth, or gaping, in order to breath. She was very thorough and patient waiting for him to take a lot of very good breaths so she could hear his lungs. There was no wheezing and no roapy saliva. What I'm seeing in his mouth is basically just saliva (cham spit) that he hasn't swallowed due to open mouth breathing.

Vet gave 6 days of pain meds to inject into superworms so hopefully that will help.

And I only gave him the smaller Hornworms, feeding them off my hand. One just fought back 😡
Yeah I do not think it has anything to do with your misting schedule. Like I said your husbandry is very much on point. I agree this would be hornworm related. I have started feeding them much smaller. Had a bite happen with Beman due to the way he grabbed it. It got a hold of him on the outside of his face though rather than inside.

The tongue should reduce and heal and work normally. Did the vet talk to you about possible infection from the bite?

Maybe switch to silkworms instead of horns for a soft bodied feeder. This is what I have been doing more and more. And the boys seem to like them better.
 
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