Eye issue - 4.5 yo panther chameleon

Karina L

New Member
Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - 4.5 yo male nosy be panther chameleon named Sully. Purchased him from a reptile store in south Florida a little over 4 years ago (so was probably a few weeks-a couple months old when I got him). He’s had my heart ever since!
  • Handling - Yes every now and then I move him from his indoor and outdoor cages when the weather gets too cold or windy. Also recently he had been falling a lot so I would help him back up. I have been giving him showers recently, and force feeding, so I handle him then too. He’s very compliant with handing.
  • Feeding - a rotation of super worms, silk worms, and horn worms. He stopped eating crickets over a year ago. His tongue is not super functional... and has been this way since he was young. I’ve tried to build strength in it by encouraging him to shoot it out, but I usually have to put the worms really close to his mouth so he can get them. Depending on the week, he may eat one worm a day or a few smaller ones every 2-3 days. In the past week I have been force feeding with a powdered supplement (mixed with water and given through an oral syringe) that I had gotten at the vet when I took him a few months ago (he was super lethargic, both eyes closed). At that time he was barely eating. After I gave him the antibiotic I got, force fed him for a couple weeks, and made sure he was warm enough, he got better.
  • Supplements - I dust the worms with zoo med reptivite without d3 a few times a week, and repcal calcium with vitamin D every other week or so. It’s not an exact science for me because Sully is finicky with eating and sometimes will go a week or more refusing food.
  • Watering - in his outdoor cage, I have an automatic mister that goes off every 3 hours for a minute. In his indoor cage I hand mist him a few times a day.
  • Fecal Description - his poop always looks normal, but lately he may go weeks without pooping. Recently I started putting him in the shower when he hasn’t pooped for weeks and that does the trick.
  • History - I have moved a few times in the past 4 years around south Florida, so Sully has lived in a few different places. While his cage setup hasn’t changed, their locations have. I’ve been in this particular place for almost a year now.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - his outdoor cage (which he spends most time in) is 4 feet by 2 feet wide and deep. His indoor cage is about half the size.
  • Lighting - for his indoor cage, he has a house bulb for heat (75 or 100 watt I think) and the reptisun uvb bulb (the vertical one). The lamp is on top of his cage about 8 inches away from his basking branch. When he is outside, I do not have lighting on him. He gets direct sunlight during the mornings and evenings (sun up and sun down) because of my apartments location. He is on the balcony and it is covered.
  • Temperature - indoors, under the lamp I am not exactly sure the temp but feels warm to my hand and I see him spending time basking. Outdoors, I live in south Florida so currently it’s mid 80s.
  • Humidity - outdoors the humidity is an average of 60%, inside I’m not sure but I do spray his cage a few times a day.
  • Plants - mostly fake plants, lots of branches in different materials (some wood, more mossy/grippy feeling, some plastic). In his outdoor cage I do have one real yuka plant that he likes to hang around.
  • Placement - his indoor cage is in my living room near the sliding door to the balcony. His outdoor cage is on the balcony (in the center, not against the railing) under the cover of the balcony above. I think it may be important to mention that I live on the 23rd floor.
  • Location - south Florida

Hello everyone! Currently I am seeing an issue with my Sully’s left eye, it appears cloudy, black around it, and he keeps it closed most of the day, except when I put him in the shower and then he opens it. I must mention that this eye has looked funky since I bought him over 4 years ago- it never opened as fully as the right one, it has always appeared to have a bump underneath it and look dark. There have been times it has looked good and times like this when it looks worse. But this time, when he opens it, I can see the eye is glossed over, not defined like the right one, and I don’t think he can see out of it because he has not been able to eat in the past 2 weeks hence the force feeding. I have included a few pictures so you can see, some taken from when I put him in the shower because that’s basically the only time he will open it. I’m not sure if it’s because of older age or something I’m doing wrong- I thought maybe a cataract. Thank you in advance for your help with my dear Sully.
 

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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
You said..."Feeding - a rotation of super worms, silk worms, and horn worms. He stopped eating crickets over a year ago. His tongue is not super functional... and has been this way since he was young. I’ve tried to build strength in it by encouraging him to shoot it out, but I usually have to put the worms really close to his mouth so he can get them"...did he refuse to eat the crickets or was it that he couldn't get them because of his tongue issue? Have you tried putting the crickets between his teeth when he's eating something else?

You said..."Depending on the week, he may eat one worm a day or a few smaller ones every 2-3 days"... That's not too bad actually.

You said..."In the past week I have been force feeding with a powdered supplement (mixed with water and given through an oral syringe) that I had gotten at the vet when I took him a few months ago (he was super lethargic, both eyes closed). At that time he was barely eating. After I gave him the antibiotic I got, force fed him for a couple weeks, and made sure he was warm enough, he got better"...but still couldn't shoot his tongue out?

Do you feed/gutload the insects?
You said..."I dust the worms with zoo med reptivite without d3 a few times a week, and repcal calcium with vitamin D every other week or so. It’s not an exact science for me because Sully is finicky with eating and sometimes will go a week or more refusing food"...reptivite is a vitamin powder. You should have been dusting with a phos free calcium powder at all feedings but one a week. On that one feeding, twice a month you should use the reptivite without D3. If he's inside all the time he would get phos free calcium with D3 on the other two feedings, once every two weeks. When he's able to be outside there's no need use the D3 powder. This could be the reason for the tongue problem.

I don't like having to force feed a animal...it's stressful...so if there's another way, I would recommend trying it. Have you tried to slip an insect between his teeth while he's drinking?

If you have to force feed...this might be a better option than the carnivore care...if that's what you're using...depending how much protein is in the powder you're using...
https://www.adcham.com/html/husbandry/bug-juice.html
 
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Karina L

New Member
You said..."Feeding - a rotation of super worms, silk worms, and horn worms. He stopped eating crickets over a year ago. His tongue is not super functional... and has been this way since he was young. I’ve tried to build strength in it by encouraging him to shoot it out, but I usually have to put the worms really close to his mouth so he can get them"...did he refuse to eat the crickets or was it that he couldn't get them because of his tongue issue? Have you tried putting the crickets between his teeth when he's eating something else?

You said..."Depending on the week, he may eat one worm a day or a few smaller ones every 2-3 days"... That's not too bad actually.

You said..."In the past week I have been force feeding with a powdered supplement (mixed with water and given through an oral syringe) that I had gotten at the vet when I took him a few months ago (he was super lethargic, both eyes closed). At that time he was barely eating. After I gave him the antibiotic I got, force fed him for a couple weeks, and made sure he was warm enough, he got better"...but still couldn't shoot his tongue out?

Do you feed/gutload the insects?
You said..."I dust the worms with zoo med reptivite without d3 a few times a week, and repcal calcium with vitamin D every other week or so. It’s not an exact science for me because Sully is finicky with eating and sometimes will go a week or more refusing food"...reptivite is a vitamin powder. You should have been dusting with a phos free calcium powder at all feedings but one a week.n that one feeding, twice a month you should use the reptivite without D3. If he's inside all the dprime he would get phos free calcium with D3 on the other two feedings, once every two weeks. When he's able to be outside there's no need use the D3 powder. This could be the reason for the tongue problem.

I don't like having to force feed a animal...it's stressful...so if there's another way, I would recommend trying it. Have you tried to slip an insect between his teeth while he's drinking?

If you have to force feed...this might be a better option than the carnivore care...if that's what you're using...depending how much protein is in the powder you're using...
https://www.adcham.com/html/husbandry/bug-juice.html
Thank you for your reply! He has both refused crickets when I try to put them in front of him, and also they end up all dying in his cage because they are too fast for him and he cannot shoot his tongue out. I would say he has had this issue with his tongue for a majority of his life. I have tried to put things in his mouth while he’s eating something else or drinking, sometimes it works and other times he spits it right out.
Thank you for that clarification on the supplements, I will definitely make those adjustments. Yes I have the carnivore care. I do not like the force feeding either, doesn’t feel good for me to do and in the beginning he tries to fight it but then submits. I will look into the one you sent!
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
More information...when I try to answer sometimes there are so many things I want to talk about that I miss some...by using the reptivite a few times a week, you may have been overdoing the vitamin A.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
More information...when I try to answer sometimes there are so many things I want to talk about that I miss some...
By giving him reptivite more than twice a month you may be giving him too much vitamin A.

Here are some articles you might like to read...I know the first on is on a gecko with, but Dr. Lopez wrote it for chameleons too...
http://www.geckosunlimited.com/comm...ard-gecko-care-sheet-geckos-unlimited-10.html

Dr. Wheelock posts on this forum...
http://www.chameleonnews.com/07FebWheelock.html
 
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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
You said..."He has both refused crickets when I try to put them in front of him, and also they end up all dying in his cage because they are too fast for him and he cannot shoot his tongue out"...Do you put food in the cage for the crickets?

You said..." I would say he has had this issue with his tongue for a majority of his life. I have tried to put things in his mouth while he’s eating something else or drinking, sometimes it works and other times he spits it right out"... If it wasn't from an injury or deformation in the first place the it likely is nutritional.

You said..."Thank you for that clarification on the supplements, I will definitely make those adjustments"...I hope it helps!
 

Karina L

New Member
You said..."He has both refused crickets when I try to put them in front of him, and also they end up all dying in his cage because they are too fast for him and he cannot shoot his tongue out"...Do you put food in the cage for the crickets?

You said..." I would say he has had this issue with his tongue for a majority of his life. I have tried to put things in his mouth while he’s eating something else or drinking, sometimes it works and other times he spits it right out"... If it wasn't from an injury or deformation in the first place the it likely is nutritional.

You said..."Thank you for that clarification on the supplements, I will definitely make those adjustments"...I hope it helps!
Yes in the cage I have for the crickets I would put fruits/veggies to gutload. As far as his tongue, when he was a baby he was able to shoot it out, I would say when he hit over a year old, he stopped being able to shoot far, and in the past year, he can barely shoot it at all. When you say it could be nutritional, you mean it’s an issue with supplements? (Too much vitamin A or D3?)
Please let me know if you have any info about his eye issue! Thank you again :)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Both the bone and muscle issues can occur if the phos, calcium, D3 and vitamin A aren't in balance. However I would have expected that he would have developed more signs of this imbalance than just the tongue and I don't see that....crooked arms and legs, etc.

I'm not a vet and what I say comes from what I've learned along the way.

The sites I gave you should explain most of the nutrient issues.
 
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