Euthanasia has been suggested as an option

saucydragon

New Member
I've had my male panther chameleon for almost 4 years. He had been in what appeared to be good health based on multiple checkups until the past year, where things have just slowly gone downhill. Despite decent blood work results and pooping at least once a week, he has slowly lost strength in his back legs and it has been a huge downward spiral of injury-related issues. He has a healing/bandaged skin sore from dragging himself along his progressively flatter and softer terrarium setup. He recently had to have the tip of his tail amputated after a couple stray crickets got to him when I spent a day in the office. Then after surgery and during recovery, he had a random never-before-seen hemipene prolapse that was well-preserved but still had to also be amputated as well despite the vet trying to save it with a staple. Now, he has some of what appears to be arterial bleeding in his tail that came through his vent today from the hemipene surgery site. I left him with the vet today and maybe tomorrow to monitor. It was a lot of blood and we are thinking this could be the final straw.

Despite all of his injuries, he is still enthusiastic about eating when food is placed in range, has a strong tongue shot, and is alert, awake, and attentive during the day. Even with the bleeding he just went back in the carrier, stood up and looked around. He frankly isn't 'acting' like he is going to die and both vets at the clinic are on opposite ends of what to do about him. One (the one who has spend the most time with him and has been treating him the most) thinks he could make a full recovery and the other thinks he although he seems stable in his behavior, he won't fully recover and the complications will only get worse due to the mobility issue.

I personally am conflicted. I don't want to give up on him because he doesn't seem ready to give up, but this has become so personally taxing. We are at the vet every other week, sometimes multiple times a week lately with thousands of dollars poured in, and I don't want to assume he's not suffering just because it doesn't seem like it to me. I'm also not confident in being able to see him fully recover because the amount of attention he probably needs daily has surpassed my ability to spend hours holding him outside, medicating him, changing his bandage, giving him some light stretches/stimulation on his back legs on top of various other cleaning, maintenance, and feeder related things.

Has anyone had to make this decision where recovery was unclear? Photos attached. Note the bowl in one of the photos is not his primary water source (he is misted 2x daily), we just put it in there because he likes drinking off of smooth non-leaf surfaces.
 

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crosscutts

Avid Member
I don’t know he sounds like one tough cookie to me . I have a lot of respect for somebody who goes through what you have . That’s a personal decision you’re gonna have to make . I don’t think I would be able to put him down if he’s still fighting to live .. but I’m sure you’ll make the right decision for you and that’s definitely important .. 👊🥲
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
Quality of life…

How do we definitively say if an animal has a high quality of life? When does it become cruel to keep a pet alive? Is an animal suffering? How can we know for sure? What if we are wrong?

It is never going to be an easy decision, but try not to humanize what the animal is going through. Try to look at things from an outsider’s point of view. Try not to be too emotional in the process. Try to make the most educated decision possible. And then, make the best decision you can.

Sure, sounds easy, right? Not even close.

Go with your heart and gut, and hope you are making the best decision.

😥
 

bbyoda

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is so difficult. Sounds like you've got quite the trooper but with one thing out of whack the rest of his body is starting to go downhill. What would a "full recovery" look like, per the one vet's opinion? It seems like your little buddy definitely has the will to live. Could there be terrarium setup to accommodate his limited mobility and a kind of hospice / end of life care situation you set up?
 

saucydragon

New Member
This is so difficult. Sounds like you've got quite the trooper but with one thing out of whack the rest of his body is starting to go downhill. What would a "full recovery" look like, per the one vet's opinion? It seems like your little buddy definitely has the will to live. Could there be terrarium setup to accommodate his limited mobility and a kind of hospice / end of life care situation you set up?
The vet who is optimistic about him thinks he could go as far as to return to a normal or low height type of terrarium setup with time and the wounds/any infections cleared. I don't really know what it's going to take to get there though. If he loses his ability to pass anything through his body due to surgery complications I can't see anything getting better.

For his current setup we had an extra screen bottom and just lined it with towels and slid it on some ledges to get it higher up. We swapped out the thicker towel seen above with a kitchen towel type that dries better. He's been in various forms of this flat setup for around a month now.
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
These kinda of decisions are the worst to have to make and I feel for you being in this position. The right answer is the one which you believe is the most right for you and your animal. Most likely you already know what your right answer is, but it’s a process to find and confirm it.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
This was my daughters chameleon Vega that she got as a wild caught about 20 years ago. I use to petsit him. He lived to be over 8 years old. His bottom half lost all feeling and movement the last 6 months of his life. My daughter was taking a lot of medical class and giving Vega, therapy and using the tens machine on him. When my daughter first told me about Vega‘s losing all movement in his lower half, I had a talk with her, before seeing him, since she was away at college, I told her she should let Vega go and thought it was sad to make him live that way. Then when she came home for a long weekend I changed my mind after seeing him and the quality of life he still had. She was like me and never a traditional keeper and Vega pretty much went everywhere with her. He never stayed in a cage and would sleep on a towel usually on the bottom corner of her bed. When she brought him to my house she had a towel in a small shopping bag and he was in the top. He drink water via a plastic dropper and he ate he bugs. He seems to be so happy and showed no signs of pain. My daughter‘s issues with Vega changed my mind about euthanasia and I have probably kept some of my pets past their time to go but as long as they were happy, eating and drinking I kept them going and with some illnesses they even came back around to their normal self.

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I've had my male panther chameleon for almost 4 years. He had been in what appeared to be good health based on multiple checkups until the past year, where things have just slowly gone downhill. Despite decent blood work results and pooping at least once a week, he has slowly lost strength in his back legs and it has been a huge downward spiral of injury-related issues. He has a healing/bandaged skin sore from dragging himself along his progressively flatter and softer terrarium setup. He recently had to have the tip of his tail amputated after a couple stray crickets got to him when I spent a day in the office. Then after surgery and during recovery, he had a random never-before-seen hemipene prolapse that was well-preserved but still had to also be amputated as well despite the vet trying to save it with a staple. Now, he has some of what appears to be arterial bleeding in his tail that came through his vent today from the hemipene surgery site. I left him with the vet today and maybe tomorrow to monitor. It was a lot of blood and we are thinking this could be the final straw.

Despite all of his injuries, he is still enthusiastic about eating when food is placed in range, has a strong tongue shot, and is alert, awake, and attentive during the day. Even with the bleeding he just went back in the carrier, stood up and looked around. He frankly isn't 'acting' like he is going to die and both vets at the clinic are on opposite ends of what to do about him. One (the one who has spend the most time with him and has been treating him the most) thinks he could make a full recovery and the other thinks he although he seems stable in his behavior, he won't fully recover and the complications will only get worse due to the mobility issue.

I personally am conflicted. I don't want to give up on him because he doesn't seem ready to give up, but this has become so personally taxing. We are at the vet every other week, sometimes multiple times a week lately with thousands of dollars poured in, and I don't want to assume he's not suffering just because it doesn't seem like it to me. I'm also not confident in being able to see him fully recover because the amount of attention he probably needs daily has surpassed my ability to spend hours holding him outside, medicating him, changing his bandage, giving him some light stretches/stimulation on his back legs on top of various other cleaning, maintenance, and feeder related things.

Has anyone had to make this decision where recovery was unclear? Photos attached. Note the bowl in one of the photos is not his primary water source (he is misted 2x daily), we just put it in there because he likes drinking off of smooth non-leaf surfaces.
Hi saucydragon,


I am so sorry that you are going through such a difficult time. It is so hard to watch them go through so much pain and trouble without knowing what to do. I am in a very similar situation with my panther, Simba...

I have had animals my entire life, trained animals professionally, and used to be a veterinary technician so I have experienced many of these situations before.

Just as I would tell anyone, listen to what your guy is telling you. If he is ready to let go, you will know. You will feel it.

In my opinion, and after viewing the pictures, I agree with you. He is still trying, he is still fighting, he still wants to live (especially if he still has a great appetite!), so I do not believe that euthanasia is the next step.


Chameleons are complicated (and I am feeling the EXACT same way right now with Simba! Please see my post). And it seems like the more we learn, the more complicated it gets! Especially when they get older. I would keep trying different things, or changing what you currently have, to help, but ultimately, do your best to keep him happy and comfortable. I know this isn't much consolation, but I think in the end, if you have done everything you can, and your buddy is peaceful and still has a spark in his eyes (especially for crickets!), I believe you guys still have time left.

Bottom line: you know him best!
 
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