Food and water refusal

Bokaru

Member
Hello everyone, recently I have been having a bit of trouble with my Senegal Peppers. He has slowly gotten worse and worse and this week he has started to really concern me. I was worried before, but I was told that he was probably just getting burnt out on crickets.

* Your Chameleon - Peppers - Senegal -~2y mo old / 7 months of care.
* Handling - Very little
* Feeding - Store bought feeder crickets. Blue Bottles.
* Supplements - Fluker's Calcium + D3 dust and vitamin supplement twice a month. Rep Cal dusting on all crickets (Hasn't eaten crickets in a while so he hasn't gotten much supplement)
* Watering - I have a drip system, i spray twice a day for about 3-5 minuets at a time. I use a space heater to keep the room warm so I run a humidifier. (Humidity does not get very high during the winter 20-35)
* Fecal Description - No parasite testing. Black is usually fairly chunky (partially digested exoskeleton) Urea is slightly yellowed. Mucus is sometimes included
* History - Peppers is very friendly and will step out onto an open hand almost every time presented to her. She was wild caught, held by the capturer for 3 months and then at least 4 mo by the seller to make sure she was in good health before being sold. I don't know if any parasite testing / care was taken during these periods. No aggression and very minimal stress have been shown during the the time I have cared for him.


Cage Info:

* Cage Type - Hand made wooden frame with screen. 2x2x3'
* Lighting - 8:00am -8:30pm One plain incandescent bulb for heat and light, One 24" Repti Glo 5.0 on top.
* Temperature - The cage usually stays between 80 and 89 during the day. Lowest overnight =70
* Humidity - Humidity is normally 40 to 50% unfortunately due to the space heater I use, the humidity stays very low during the winter.
* Plants - Live plants include a schefflera and a philodendron vine (he has never eaten plants so I have not removed the Phil. If I happen to see chewing, I will remove it immediately.)
* Placement - I keep it in the room behind mine in my house's attic. It is facing a window for lighting, and is about 2' away from it to avoid any cold. There is very low traffic. The cage sits about 3 feet off the ground.
* Location - North Central West Virginia


Current Problems -

Peppers has not been eating very well for about a month and a half. He stopped eating crickets, so I moved to meal worms which lasted for about a month with eating crickets every once in a while. Just recently I bought some blue bottle flies because he has not been eating the crickets or meal worms. He ate them for about a week and now doesn't seem to be eating many.

He is very slow moving, his grip is fairly weak and his eyes are sunken in. I have boosted up the humidity by spraying more and making sure the humidifier never runs out of water. I give him water via a pipette as much as I can, but recently he has been refusing water as well.

At this point I have been trying to make sure he has everything he needs and leaving quickly in case it is just that he does not like eating around me any more, which seemed to work for a bit, but has stopped working from what I see.

It seems as though Peppers is just shutting down and refusing to do much of anything. I plan to make a vet visit very soon. (hopefully Monday or Tuesday), but in the mean time, is there any advice anyone can give me?

Thanks
 

jojackson

New Member
A month of mealworms and nothing but? might be full of undigested chitin (mealworm shell).
Keep the water happening/avail, dont bother offering more food and see the vet mon.
I dont keep your species so cant comment further.
Best wishes
 

Bokaru

Member
A month of mealworms and nothing but? might be full of undigested chitin (mealworm shell).
Keep the water happening/avail, dont bother offering more food and see the vet mon.
I dont keep your species so cant comment further.
Best wishes
Thank you very much for the input. I tried to avoid feeding him too many at one time and he was pooping a decent amount, but he hasn't been pooping much recently and this may be the problem...

I was considering a bath as well but I figured I would wait for a little bit of advice before I offered this as a possibility I know it usually causes a decent amount of stress, but if it is chitin, this may be a good thing to try.

What about a emergency electrolyte boost? (store bought or I have read in some places Gatorade) I don't know if a bit of food boost would be a plus or not, but I am assuming at this point, he is probably pretty hungry and liquid form I am assuming is better than trying to force feed a bug.

Thanks again
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
A good very long misting will often help, if not then a shower might be in order. Put him on a plant in the shower and have luke warm water bounce off the side of the shower onto the cham.

If you are able to get him to take liquid food I would make bug juice. I use crickets or dubia and blend them with pedalite and ensure. then strain the mixture and put the liquid in a syringe for your cham. This is a lot closer to what is normal for chameleons. jmo
 

Bokaru

Member
Thanks for the input guys. I took Peppers to the vets today and unfortunately the vet recommended very little. Over the phone I was told she was an exotics specialist (and I specifically asked about reptiles) but when I got there she told me she didn't specialize in reptiles reptiles and knew very little on Chameleons.

She did though tell me that he did not appear to be sick, just malnourished (I was a little concerned with the diagnosis since she said he didn't look very dehydrated and Peppers's eyes are sunken in a decent amount).

She basically told me that she felt I knew more about the species than she did (I don't know if that's a good thing or not) and keep up what I am doing now as well as maybe changing out my UV bulb, and liquid food as Laurie pointed out as well.

I will be ordering a new bulb, liquid feeding, and trying the bath or shower soon. Hopefully one of these will spring some liveliness back in to poor little Peppers.

I'll make sure to update on Peppers health if I see any change.
 

Bokaru

Member
Just an update. Peppers has been fed some bug juice. My mixture is:

About 2 Tablespoons Pedialite
10 blue bottles
7 Meal worms
4 Fully Grown Feeder Crickets
1 teaspoon calcium supplement
1/2 teaspoon calcium with D3
1/2 teaspoon vitamin supplement
pinch of bee pollen

I got about six or seven drops in and chased it with water (he didn't seem to like the taste). He shot up and was pretty active after drinking it, I'm not sure if he was just upset or a little energized. I'm hoping for the second and will continue to feed him this way. If I see no improvements in about three days I will move on to a shower or bath.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am so sad to hear that Pepper's not doing well. Did the vet do a fecal? I would think that would be very important.
 

Chris Jury

New Member
My biggest concern would be dehydration, as this is so often a problem, and can lead to these symptoms. I'd try misting heavily, for long periods with lukewarm water to start. Is it possible to see some photos?

cj
 

Bokaru

Member
I am so sad to hear that Pepper's not doing well. Did the vet do a fecal? I would think that would be very important.
He hasnt really gone in a while or atleast to where I have seen in within the time I need to take it to the vets in (mostly just urea from not eating).

I am hoping the bug juice will aid in getting some good ones out soon and I will rush it over to the vets for sure. I should probably give him a bath tomorrow to make sure he doesn't have any blockage just in case that's the problem.

I was worried about it for stress, but Peppers has done surprising well in every situation that I would assume as stressful for him as of yet.The highest levels of stress colors I have seen was when he was drinking that bug juice.

Should I worry about liquids going down the wrong pipe? I am not forcing the food, but he did open his moth very wide a few times, I figure its just the taste, but if he starts to look like he is choking, would there be any thing to prevent it? (just trying to be cautious :eek:)
 

Bokaru

Member
My biggest concern would be dehydration, as this is so often a problem, and can lead to these symptoms. I'd try misting heavily, for long periods with lukewarm water to start. Is it possible to see some photos?

cj
Thanks for the advice, I am almost certain that water has a big part in the situation. His urea is pale yellow though so he isn't showing heavy signs of dehydration. I will try to get some photos in tomorrow. I mist at least twice a day for at least five minuets and peppers is usually found sitting under the fog coming from the humidifier and I make sure to offer him water when I am taking care of him.

The relative humidity of the room is very low, but I have been making sure to keep the water available for him if he wants it. I think it is just a matter of forcing him to drink right now because if not he only drinks from a pipette about every other day and I cannot confirm that he is drinking well from his dripper during the day.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
He hasnt really gone in a while or atleast to where I have seen in within the time I need to take it to the vets in (mostly just urea from not eating).

I am hoping the bug juice will aid in getting some good ones out soon and I will rush it over to the vets for sure. I should probably give him a bath tomorrow to make sure he doesn't have any blockage just in case that's the problem.

I was worried about it for stress, but Peppers has done surprising well in every situation that I would assume as stressful for him as of yet.The highest levels of stress colors I have seen was when he was drinking that bug juice.

Should I worry about liquids going down the wrong pipe? I am not forcing the food, but he did open his moth very wide a few times, I figure its just the taste, but if he starts to look like he is choking, would there be any thing to prevent it? (just trying to be cautious :eek:)
Feed him very, very slowly just tiny little drops at the time because he could aspirate.
 

Bokaru

Member
Feed him very, very slowly just tiny little drops at the time because he could aspirate.
Thanks for the advice. I was trying to keep from giving him too much at once, but I will make sure of it from now on. I did realize I was making one small mistake which I feel isn't something that is going to cause him to be weak, but may help with him feeling more comfortable. This is that my night temperatures in his room were roughly the same as during the day.

I was trying to keep it very warm so as not to have to worry about the room cooling too much during the winter months, but it is starting to warm up a bit so I will try and let that night temperature fluctuate a little more.
 

luevelvet

Established Member
Hey Bokaru,

It isn't often mentioned when it comes to Senegal's, but they should be showered with water at least 3 times per day. Also, if you're having issues keeping the cage warm, try a higher wattage bulb in conjunction with wrapping a few sides of the enclosure. The important thing to keep in mind is they like it hot and wet! :)

We treated ours like a montane species but with a 100w basking lamp. They absolutely loved the heavy misting (10mins 3 x day). So keep up with the bug juice, and continue the extra hydration via a pipette and mist the cage as often as you can. If it's really that dry in the room, I don't suspect it to become too moldy or stagnant to cause bacterial issues before your next cage cleaning.

Good luck and post back with how he's doing! :)

Luis
 
Thank you guys for all of the input and help! I don't live with Bokaru so I don't get to see Pepps everyday. Just the difference in his appearance from Saturday to today just broke my heart. He handled his vet visit like a champ though :)

I'm very optimistic about him bouncing back from this. He's a tough little guy and with all of the help you've given us, I'm sure he'll be back to normal in no time :)
 

Bokaru

Member
Just a quick update: already this morning Pepper's grip seems to be stronger than it was yesterday by a pretty surprising ammount! Thanks for the tips . He had a little juice for breakfast and I'll be giving him some more around 6. I know if you haven't eaten in a while it is unhealthy to eat a whole lot at one time. So I am trying to take it a little slow since I imagine this applies to Chams as well. Again, thanks for the help everyone.
 

luevelvet

Established Member
Just a quick update: already this morning Pepper's grip seems to be stronger than it was yesterday by a pretty surprising ammount! Thanks for the tips . He had a little juice for breakfast and I'll be giving him some more around 6. I know if you haven't eaten in a while it is unhealthy to eat a whole lot at one time. So I am trying to take it a little slow since I imagine this applies to Chams as well. Again, thanks for the help everyone.
Some species can go quite a while without food, but species, such as C. senegalensis, who prefer much higher temps and thus having a more active metabolism, seem to require some sustenance to keep from going hypoglycemic/lethargic etc. Sometimes Vitamin water (I've never been a fan of Gatorade) will help with providing some hydration and enough energy to keep functions going until they are strong enough to eat on their own. Be aware, however, that a full recovery may take weeks, so giving him water/food through a dropper may be necessary until he regains his strength (both overall and tongue strength) to feed on his own.

It's tough to say after just one day, but it sounds like you're on a good path. Keep it up and keep the updates coming! :)

Luis
 

Bokaru

Member
Sorry my last update wasnt supposed to sound too optimistic. I figure it will be a bumpy road getting peppers back up to health.

This update is much less positive thn the last. I checked out Peppers earlier today, and he was low in the cage. I gave him a bath and gave him some bug juice.

While giving him the bug juice, I guess he was in the process of breathing and started gasping he let go of my arm and fell about a foot. I thought this was it, but he spent about a minuet breathing very lightly and slowly came back up to being fine.

His eyes sunk in a bit more from the other day and his waist is now pretty thin. He is still showing calm colors, but I think he is declining a bit.

I removed him from his large cage today and placed him in a small glass aquarium I was housing crickets in (after cleaning it out). His heat lamp, uv bulb and humidifier are the only things up right now on the small cage.

I plan to crank up the humidity and increase the heat to about 90.

I don't know if this is a good idea or not, but I am assuming it would be a good thing to try. Also should I consider running the lamps and humidifier all night?

Peppers is not looking too well but I am trying to stay optimistic that he will pull out of this.
 

Bokaru

Member
A quick update. A few thing I forgot and some better news.

Pepper's eyes have been shut a lot recently. He seems to spend more time with them closed than open, but that comes with the weakness.

Peppers pooped yesterday, which is good so I know it isn't blockage, but i was unable to take it in for a fecal because he did it outside and I figured it could be contaminated.

A quick update. I finally took some pictures. While I was taking the pictures I noticed his grip has come back and its fairly strong. Below are some shots of him and the set up I have moved him to. You will see the PVC from the humidifier, the heat lamp and the UV lamp. He is on a bed of paper towels with a hand towel under them, and I have a humidity and temperature reader inside as well.

Sorry for the bad quality of the photos. Pepper's eye is very sunken and I think the dark on his side is bruise from where he fell. (The dark around his mouth is a bit of bug juice that didn't wash off).

Again thanks for the help everyone and you might want to check out the post above this one as well it was an update from about 20 minuets ago.

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jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey Bokaru,

It isn't often mentioned when it comes to Senegal's, but they should be showered with water at least 3 times per day. Also, if you're having issues keeping the cage warm, try a higher wattage bulb in conjunction with wrapping a few sides of the enclosure. The important thing to keep in mind is they like it hot and wet! :)

We treated ours like a montane species but with a 100w basking lamp. They absolutely loved the heavy misting (10mins 3 x day). So keep up with the bug juice, and continue the extra hydration via a pipette and mist the cage as often as you can. If it's really that dry in the room, I don't suspect it to become too moldy or stagnant to cause bacterial issues before your next cage cleaning.

Good luck and post back with how he's doing! :)

Luis
Luis offers excellent advice and I would highly recommend following his advice. Are you doing the long heavy mistings? I have my fingers crossed for Pepper.
 

Bokaru

Member
Luis offers excellent advice and I would highly recommend following his advice. Are you doing the long heavy mistings? I have my fingers crossed for Pepper.
Yes I have tried to follow what has been offered to me. I think the move to the aquarium will help out as well. I just want to avoid RI by keeping him in there for too long. The lid is mesh, but the humidity still stays very high, and I'm afraid keeping the lights on all the time might be too bright.

I misted him a lot in his large cage and will continue to do so multiple times a day. Hopefully I can move Peppers back up tomorrow. I just want to make sure he isn't going to fall off anything high.

The bath today went along with the misting. I had the water temperature at about 89 ,and he seemed to enjoy it a lot. I think I was just moving a little quick with the bug juice. He does not like the taste and I think he is trying to avoid drinking it by not opening up. He seems a little surprised when I get some in his mouth which might have lead to the choking.

I am going out to the store to get a higher watted bulb tomorrow and will wrap the rest of the cage up when I move him over (I had the top third of each side wrapped already to keep in some moisture and heat)
 
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