*Emergency* Jackson chameleon dying!?!

dereckperkins

New Member
She hasn't eaten since two days before this post, so I tried force feeding her. I watched videos online of people doing it, and how they just rubbed the side of their chameleon's mouth and it opened it. I tried this for over a half hour, and she refused to open her mouth.
Is there anything I can do to get her to eat?
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
Try tapping her nose gently.

Maybe not a lot you can do at this point without a vet.

One final tip for you if you want to try it. Tractor Supply Company sells terramycin antibiotic eye ointment I saw this morning when I was there getting some diatomaceous earth. It was about $17. This may get your lizard's eyes open.

Or it may not.

Still really advising veterinary care.
 

JoeVet

Member
This animal likely has MBD and may beyond saving. The front limbs seem to be swollen which is a good sign of MBD in chameleons as is the swollen eyes. This could also be renal failure which can happen in young animals. If you cannot afford treatment (minimum of exam + X-rays) you have two options. The best one is to just pay for euthanasia by a vet. It shouldn't cost much if it is just a drop off at the vet's office. Explain your circumstance and they will work with you. A local vet or humane society may do it for free. A poor second option is to giving her a liquid calcium+vitamin D supplement. The teeth are easily damaged so be careful opening the mouth. If she is also egg bound this can prolong suffering and she still may die in the end. I would not suggest the human vitamin gel capsules or the terramycin without knowing more.

Disclaimer: I do not work with live animals and I am not a reptile veterinarian or keeper. This advice should be taken as that of a novice on this board.
 

GCash

Avid Member
I vote fluxlizard, even though I'm sure nutrition needs to be assessed across the board. Swollen and shut eyes are usually associated with vit. A deficiencies. Box turtles are succeptable to this and present it in a similar fashion. Thanks for the disclaimer JoeVet. That was admirable, but please forgive my curiosity. If you don't work with live animals, aren't a vet or reptile keeper, from what are you relaying your experience?
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
This animal likely has MBD and may beyond saving. The front limbs seem to be swollen which is a good sign of MBD in chameleons as is the swollen eyes. This could also be renal failure which can happen in young animals.
Ah- Having only skimmed the thread I missed the pics on the first page. While I can't see evidence of MBD (not saying it isn't possible, only that from what I can tell in the pics I don't see any), I agree the front limbs appear swollen in the photos. Most usually and likely from the photo- this is from a bacterial infection that will need to be treated by a vet with antibiotics or the animal will die. This animal has multiple issues and is likely in pain. Fixing the eye problem will not solve the other problem. And antibiotics can be expensive.

I was in error to think that the eye issue was the only issue because the discussion on this thread focused on the eyes.

The delay since the first post in this thread without professional care makes this animal's survival unlikely

Edit at least from what I can see in the pics- the "wrists" especially on the left limb appear swollen to me.

Disclaimer: I do not work with live animals and I am not a reptile veterinarian or keeper. This advice should be taken as that of a novice on this board.
Your username had me thinking were a veterinarian in other posts.

:D
 

JoeVet

Member
I am a veterinarian but I am a verterinary pathologist. I'm the guy your vet will send biopsies or tissue samples to get diagnosed. The disclaimer is because I don't treat live animals. I can only diagnose if specimens are sent to me for histology. Its up the the practicing vet to take my diagnosis and treat the issue. One of the reasons I'm here is to get information from keepers as I am considering a chameleon as a pet. I see some bad info here but there is good advice overall on these boards and even veterinarians can learn from the practiced keepers.

Swollen/sunken eyes are probably the second major complaint after MBD seen in chameleons, at least on here and the reptile veterinarian boards. It can have multiple etiologies from inflammation, MBD, kidney failure, vitamin A deficiency, parasites, visceral gout or rarely, tumors. In this case both eyes are swollen making it more likely to be a systemic disease. The swollen limbs are generally (99.9%) from MBD. Since there is no calcium to strengthen the bones, they are replaced by fibrous tissue which makes them appear swollen. Infection is generally localized into abscesses in reptiles although that is a possibility as is liver or kidney failure.

This is all based on some very poor photos and the bottom line is it needs to be sent to a vet for treatment or euthanasia or sent to a rescue who will then send to a vet.
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
The swollen limbs are generally (99.9%) from MBD. Since there is no calcium to strengthen the bones, they are replaced by fibrous tissue which makes them appear swollen. Infection is generally localized into abscesses in reptiles although that is a possibility as is liver or kidney failure.
The bones are straight from what I can see. MBD just looks different.

No offense intended, but MBD and bacterial infections look different from one another in person. You will see the MBD in the shape of the limbs. This kind of infection is pretty common in lizards which tend to scratch around and especially in chameleons because they climb on wire caging and end up with tiny abrasions where bacteria gets in.

The eye thing and the bacterial thing- I'm basing on 25+ years breeding lizards including chameleons on a fairly large scale. I don't know what you see in a lab or clinic setting, but usually the underlying issue with eyes and chameleons is the owner is not supplementing with vit a very frequently or at all and as a result, some problem, which guys like you see as the "true" problem, sets in. If the vit a is given frequently, the "true" problems are usually avoided altogether. Search the forums- and you will see eye problems again and again and you will find cases where what I recommended cleared the problem up.

The bacterial thing- I've seen many times, especially in wild caught animals such as this chameleon. They get tiny abrasions at some point and sometimes it takes months for the infection to really get in and manifest.

I could be wrong and you could be right- I just want you to know that I'm not pulling my advice out and guesses about what is going on with this animal out of nowhere. Been around lizards and veterinarians my whole life and been breeding for over 25 years.

In fact, this thread is kind of a sore issue for me because my wife took my sons iguana to the vet without me because I saw the lizard had a bacterial infection in a rear leg and since my father retired from teaching at the veterinary school and moved away I no longer have access to antibiotics. The vet who is new at the clinic they saw ended up spending about $1000 by the time we were done (for a $3 lizard eaten all over mexico). Much of that money was to pay a guy like you to tell me what I already knew- organs all very healthy had a bacterial infection and needed antibiotic. Also while she was at it said vet xrayed the lizard (bones very healthy no mbd) and we had to pay for overnight care and anesthesia stufff and for good measure tested it for parasites. And the lizard was treated with antibiotics and treatment was complete before we heard back from the guy like you we paid several hundred dollars to.

I now walk around the house calling the lizard the "golden dragon".
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
Not that I disagree with you that this lizard should be seen by a vet, and don't get me wrong- I am far from certain about my guesses as to the problems with it, and yours could very well be correct and mine wrong. The above post was just meant to express that I am not guessing in the dark, nor inexperienced.

Mostly I avoid giving much advice on issues like these because I am not a vet and even if I was, a problem should be seen in person by a vet not simply advised over the internet by one. But in this case, I gave the best advice I could because I have the assumption that the OP is unlikely to take the animal to a vet.

And my gripes about recent vet expenses I realize have nothing to do with you nor should they reflect on you. Nor do I necessarily begrudge the expense were it necessary, but it just wasn't. This lizard had a history of an infection on it's jaw a little over a year ago that needed treatment after it tried to copulate with an unwilling female who gave it a light (not serious but enough to make a tiny mark on his jaw) nip and it was enough to start the initial infection. I know from experience that many times these kinds of infections appear to go away during treatment and then pop up again somewhere else in the body about a year later, almost like clockwork. The vet, after I questioned her, knew this also but did not check the history of this lizard. All the hundreds of dollars of testing and anesthesia and xrays etc were really unnecessary unless the most likely and least expensive solution were to fail first, and in this case, that is the treatment that was given anyway, because of the lengthy wait for the test results. The bright ray of sunshine is that I have a piece of paper from the testing that tells me that my husbandry has resulted in an excellent lizard. Which I sort of already knew, but it is kind of nice since I ended up paying so much for it anyway, just to know from lab results that there is nothing "hidden" and to have that confirmation on husbandry. But it was particularly sore because this son and his brother are both starting at university this fall and this money is competing with college expense funds.

Anyway, cheers, no hard feelings, I respectfully disagree about my advice in this case, but welcome to the forums anyway and I hope you go on to catch the chameleon bug- we have some good vets here on the forums but the lizard world always needs more to advance our knowledgebase.
 

dereckperkins

New Member
Thank y'all so much for all the help.
I've purchased the vitamin A gel tablets, but still can't get her to open her mouth. I've tried rubbing the side of her mouth with my finger, rubbing it with the gel cap, and even rubbing her nose. She is being stubborn and refuses to open her mouth. She swats at my hand with her claws to try and make me stop, but doesn't get mad enough to hiss and open her mouth. She is extremely use to me, and I think that's part of why she won't. Does anyone have any ideas that I can use to try and get her to open her mouth without having to force it open? I don't want to hurt her in any way to make her open her mouth.
 
it may be time for force feeding. Is anyone near him that is experienced with doing this? It is very easy to injure its nots it you dont have the right syringe and dont do it correctly.
 

dereckperkins

New Member
Okay guys, I've got some good news. I finally got her to drink a little.
After messing around with her for around 45 minutes and getting frustrated to the point of giving up, as soon as I put her in the cage she opened her mouth. The way she did it was like she was doing it out of spite. So I took her back out to try again, then got the syringe filled with water mixed with a little vitamin A, and some calcium spray w/o D3. She finally opened her mouth just a little, and I put a drop of the solution into her mouth before she closed it. It made her extremely antsy though, I could tell it was unconfertable for her. I put her back in her cage and I'm going to try to give her a little more latter on when she calms down a little.
 

dereckperkins

New Member
The swelling of her eye has gone down dramatically, it's about have as swelled as it was. I gave her some of the vitamin A yesterday, so I guess it helped. She just ate a spider though and is now in a worse condition than she was before.
Thanks for all the help guys.
 

dereckperkins

New Member
I found her in the back of her cage dead, I had to remove all of her plants to get to her. She was doing so much better fro when I first found her ill, I guess the spider just pushed her over the edge. The swelling in her mouth got worse after I took those pictures (on other thread). It makes me sick to my stomach just typing this, but thanks to everyone who helped me. The vitamin A was a big help for her and I could tell it helped ease her pain...
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
What I'm referring to is when a chameleon is on the bottom of the enclosure eyes sunken in won't eat, or drink, and its been going on for a few days I don't think there is much hope.
I know its not great to dredge up an old thread, but I did want to relate one of my own experiences with a jax who fit this description exactly. The cham was suffering from long-term overheating, pet shop stress, and dehydration. All I did was give her rehydration fluids, bug juice and eventually entire feeders by hand, housed in a special supportive care cage for several weeks. She recovered fully and lived for several years afterward. I guess my point is, you can't always tell what is going on at first glance or make assumptions.
 
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