for what it's worth

Tingo

New Member
Hi all. I am new to this forum but I felt it necessary to share my story with you. A couple years ago I purchased a veiled chameleon from a reputable pet store in town. I set him up in a terrarium and life went on for a year or so. one day I noticed that the crickets I put in his terrarium last night remained uneaten. that's odd considering what a gluten he was. The next day he began to change to a more yellowish color. That night he died. I researched what could have caused a sudden drop in health and after talking to people I was informed that the waterfall I was using is called a chameleon killer because if the tubes are not replaced they soon grow enough bacteria to poison the water supply, even with regular cleanings. Not sure if this is true but it did make sense for the circumstance at hand. Well I enjoyed this hobby and the kids grew attached to seeing him sitting in our dining room so we went out to purchase another. The pet store had no more veiled chameleons so this time we bought a panther. What a beautiful creature it was. I threw away the waterfall and adopted a dripper system. Everything seemed fine for the next few months after that. Well one day I noticed that the crickets remained, same as before. I noticed a dramatic color change, same as before. I assumed soon that I would be burying another chameleon....same as before. Now I had a new sympton, however. He began stumbling around the terrarium like he was blind. he would fall from branches and appeared to be drunk. Soon he just laid there with his eyes closed. I began reading up on chameleons like a mad man. I fumbled through article after article to find this mystery killer. Along my journey I realized just how many things I was doing wrong. First thing I did was find a reptile vet in town and get him there asap. We are now on day three or four of the detection of something awry and I was now at the vet. Upon examining "Greeno", a name my son picked out for him, he noticed a serious mouth infection. I never would have caught this because it was developing inside his mouth and not outside. He was put on a two week antibiotic and we now had to convert to force feeding him since he no longer was taking food or water. the first day I noticed he was sick I began manually crushing up crickets in warm water and feeding him with an eye dropper. my wife found it to be crude, the vet found it to be hilarious. He switched me to a high protein powder that smelled like baby formula. For the next two weeks I woke up early before work to make him his breakfast, again after work, and once before bed along with antibiotics once a day. For the next two weeks he made hardly any improvement. If he moved at all it was normally mostly stumbling, falling, or attempting to grab onto branches that weren't even there. Each day I checked often, expecting to see him dead, laying on the bottom of the cage. I even woke up several times at night to check as well.
During this time I remedied my previous faults. The cage I purchased a couple years ago was waaay too small. It was 2'x2'x2'. I ordered a 4' tall enclosure online and soon had it set up. I was using compact flourescents, a big no no I know now. Because of their risk for causing blindness I feared my chameleon would never see again (by this time it was obvious he was completely blind). I upgraded to reptile sodium lighting because of their ability to push UV farther from the bulb. Mistings also took place every day and not every few days like I was before. When I returned to the vet he said the infection was gone and that we would now start to treat the other ailments. We weren't out of the woods yet. We could still lose him at any time. The vet did a lot of research in the last two weeks and decided what we were probably looking at was a vitamin A deficiency. I had read how risky it was to treat for that because of possible overdose, and he knew the risks as well. I decided to go for it because he wasn't going to last much longer in this state.
He gave him a small dose orally and I took him home. The next day he looked great! His eyes pushed out all kinds of yellow discharge and then opened. His color returned. He even began moving around. He did everything I could hope for except for eat. The next day, however, not so much improvement. He preceded to go down hill more and more each day from that point on. The vet warned me that this might happen. He said that the body will take in a lot of vitamin A at first but may need more in a week. I continued with our force feeding regiment each day, and never attempted to introduce crickets to him because it was quit obvious that he wouldn't eat them anyway.
When he started acting "drunk" again I called the vet and said we needed to proceed with another dose of vitamin A. One week from his first dose he was now receiving another one. With this one came the warning from the vet that he WILL NOT be administering a third dose because he is sure it might kill him. I left optimistic, hoping for the best. I ordered vitamin powder online, indoor-outdoor-and reptivite, and calendared a schedule between these three powders in the hope that he would eat crickets one day again. by the second day he began improving again. He perked up and moved around again. I waited a few days and he didn't start to go downhill this time. after a week of improvement I decided to put some crickets in and see what happens. I realized he could sort of see them and when he shot out his tongue I was excited. it came out of his mouth short, weak, and without aim, but it was a first step. in the next months to pass he built up his strength again, began eating regularly, regained his sight completely, and has turned a beautiful color. I am proud to say that 6 months later he is still doing great and enjoying his new life. I hope some of you enjoyed this story and may have even learned something from it.
 

MissBritt

Member
Welcome to the forums! I see you've been a member, but never posted. I'm very sorry to hear about your veiled, the death of a pet is never easy, especially when it's sudden.

I'm happy to hear Greeno is doing well, after having some complications. I hope you found the forums helpful while you were doing research and making the changes to your husbandry.

I have a panther, as well, I got him from a forum member when he was about 3 months old, he's now 8 months old and I don't think I would have been able to keep him alive without reading through the forums as much as I did before I decided to get him.

I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say we love pictures and can't wait to see some of Greeno & look forward to more stories about him! :)
 

camimom

New Member
that is an amazing story.
but a few questions, just to try to help you further.

Do you use any supplements?

What is his basking temp?

Do you use a uvb bulb?

what plants are in his cage?

What kinds of bugs are you feeding?

Have you read the panther care sheet we have here?
 

Tingo

New Member
1. Yes I do now. I was using reptical but after my quest for knowledge I now use minerall indoor, minerall outdoor, and reptivite. I dust his food three times a week with a different one. I read a good blog about how much and how often for each so I made a supplement calendar I follow.

2. I have an electronic thermometer/ humidistat now. Coldest spot is between 68-70, hottest is 80-85, and average ambiant temperature for middle of the cage is 75-78. It varies bc of how tall it is.

3. Yes. I dropped the compact flourescent and tube flourescent and now use a reptile uv bulb. Its either sodium or metal halide but seemed to top the charts on the research i did. It claims to produce a required amount of uv up to 365 days with reduction factored in. Ill probably replace sooner just to be safe.

4. A palm tree, a green vine (both of which I made sure were reptile friendly first, and a few small fake ones for looks.

5. Mostly crickets and mealworms. Pet stores in my town dont carry much more than that. The vet said that since we are limited on supply i have to gutload the crickets with a lot of variation. I now have a cricket farm which i stock with 500 crickets at a time and i feed them fruits and greens plus a cricket gutload. They are dusted before i give them to greeno.

6. I did read it. I read a lot on this forum. It is really helpful.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions for me??
 

camimom

New Member
Mealies are a bit hard with the exo skeleton.

I would suggest ordering bugs online.

many of our site sponsors sell them.

I love to use roaches, silkworms, and hornworms on a regular basis on top of my crickets and supers and mealies.
 

Henry66

New Member
Tingo instead of mealworms, try ordering insects online. A really good feeder are silkworms. You can also try horn worms and a bunch of other great feeders you can order online.:D
 
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