Help please!!!!


New Member
We need anyones help you can give us with our Jackson's Chameleon!!
Facts:He is 9 months old, Captive bread. Cage is a Cameroon Rainforest Terrarium. Lighting is 2 red heat lamps, and 5.0 Repto glow UVB light. Used to be interested in sitting in real tree close to window (to look outside), no longer is interested in getting out of cage.
Signs: Lethargic, Sleeping a lot, not using front arms, weak, doesn't stay on branch/falls a lot, hasn't eaten on own for approximately 2 days (that we have seen), last time we saw him drink was Thursday (3 days ago), no fecal matter lately.
Over all looks healthy. No swollen limbs/joints, eyes not bulging or sunken, good color, changes when appropriate (crickets bugging him).
We we have tried: Adding 2nd red heat lamp to increase temperature (72-80 in day; down to 68 at night); Misting more to increase humidity (around 50-55); cleaning cage; hand feeding/watering in the last 2 days.
Currently on clean paper towel on bottom of cage, atop subtrate. PLEASE Help!!!!! We have been keeping an eye on him for the past 2 days and he doesn't seem to be getting better...not worse either.....
Jackson's chameleons need airflow and lower temps. Are you positive of your temps? What are you measuring with? How long have you had him? Pictures of animals and cage as well as filling out these questions will help us help you...I will say that it sounds like you need a VET asap.

Chameleon Info:

* Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
* Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
* Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
* Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
* Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
* Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
* History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:

* Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
* Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
* Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
* Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
* Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
* Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
* Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
Picture of sick Chameleon





Above are pictures of our Chameleon in his cage last night, his cage, and 2 views of him. I will post another answering all questions from previous reply.
Have you been dusting the insects with a phos.-free calcium? Other supplements? Gutloading/feeding the insects with a healthy diet?

Could he have ingested any of the substrate?
Answers to Question regarding Chameleon

Chameleon Info:

* Your Chameleon - Jackson's Chameleon, male, 10 months. We have had it for 4 months
* Handling - 1 or 2 times a day
* Feeding - crickets; about around 12-15 every week; feeding 2 different types of calcium gut-load.
* Supplements - Flunkers calcium with vitamin D3. Dust crickets in powder once every 2 weeks.
* Watering - Drip method; every few days recently; yes, but not in the past 2 days
* Fecal Description - No droppings in past few days, but typically white, and healthy. No testing for parasites that we know of
* History - only chameleon in cage; was excited about going into tree to look outside; symptoms did not appear until 3 days ago.

Cage Info:
* Cage Type - Cameroon Rainforest Terrarium; 24"x18"x18"
* Lighting - 10-12 hours of daylight; new pourcelin light used at night (recent addition as of last night); 75-W heat light, UVB 5.0 ReptoGlow used during day
* Temperature - floor=72; basking= 75; night temp was down to 60, but last days has been around 65; thermometer on cage glass
* Humidity - around 50; misting around lights and on substrate; Hygrometer on cage glass
* Plants - fake
* Placement - corner of living room; not by vents, fan close by overhead, no high traffic in area; 4 1/2' from floor
* Location - Athens, Ohio
Substrate is ground coconut husk....we don't believe he ate any of it...
We increased the temperatures because he felt extremely cold when we handled him recently. All research we have done and books we have read state the day temps need to be around this incorrect information? humidity level were low (around 45), so we have been monitoring that frequently, making sure it's around 50-60.
What is the room temperature in your house?

2 lights seems a lot more than necessary to raise his terrarium temp in most homes, unless your house thermostat is set on 60 or something. I'm not a big fan of red lights for chameleons either...

Night temps are better much lower than 68- let him cool down as low as 50 if you want at night. They can go even lower than that.

You are only dusting a couple times a month?

He looks very fat to me- and edemic. His limbs appear swollen throughout.

I think you have a problem here that will require veterinary attention. A few changes in husbandry probably won't bring him back at this point. I'd say his chances are good if a vet helps you put him back in balance, very bad if you just try to fix this one yourself.
We just spoke to a Vet, and sent him a few pictures. We are waiting to hear what he needs us to do at this point.

Should we be dusting the crickets with more chemicals? How much is necessary?

Looking at him, we did notice on one back hand he has 2 abrasions above his claws. Is this a major concern? We have not heard about this in our research....
You need to improve your gutload/feeding of the insects. Crickets, locusts, superworms, roaches, etc. can be fed a variety of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, etc.)

Since most of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phos. its important to dust the insects just before feeding them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder.

Calcium, D3, vitamin A and phos. are all important players in bone health and in other systems in the chameleon and need to be in balance. When balancing them you need to look at what you feed the chameleon, what you feed the insects and the supplements you use.

You said he gets 10-12 hours of daylight...through the glass?? If so it will not have been providing him with and UVB (I realize you said that he has a UVB light...I just wanted to let you know that any UVB that passes through glass or plastic will do the chameleon no good.

Even though jackson's are a montane species, they need to be able to warm up to the low 80's in the basking area IMHO. You do mention a heat I assume that this can happen?

You said..."No droppings in past few days, but typically white, and healthy"...there should be a brown feces part to it too. If he's only producing the urates (white) then he may have a blockage.

He should be getting water every day IMHO.

Good to hear that you are contacting a vet. Regardless of the husbandry changes, I think you are going to need one.
Well- with swollen limbs like that I would wonder about bacterial infection, which can spread throughout his system and the first thing I would check would be abrasions or sores, especially around the nails which are easily damaged. These would be the points bacteria would have entered the system. No sores or abrasions or damage anywhere and bacterial infection would be far less likely. Also you mentioned he isn't using some of his limbs and that would go along with the bacterial infection idea. Especially since I just see general swelling- not isolated in a joint here or there like gout usually manifests.

From photos of course, it can be really hard to tell what is going on.

Edema would be diet related- but looks less like that and more like a fat chameleon with bacterial infection to me- especially now that you've found abrasions.

Bacterial infection would need antibiotic treatment.

Calcium 2x a month and no multivitamin is also far less than ideal.

But of course- this is why I say at this point you really need him looked at by a good vet. Advice via photos on the net is far from the best way to get this one solved and whatever the problem- diet or infection, edema, whatever- at this point I think he will need professional treatment not just husbandry changes.
My fear is that you are using an analog theremometer and you have not true idea of what your temps are. You need to get a digital thermometer with a probe ASAP and get it under the basking spot-you have way too much heat for that small enclosure.
I think the pictures might be a little deceiving....he doesn't have swollen limbs. We've been checking throughout the day and seeing if he has any changes.... we added lettuce and some potato slicings for the crickets, and will be getting fresh crickets from the store today.
The temperature gauges are at the basking and floor levels, both reading at appropriate temps. Our concern at first was that he was getting too cold, that's why we have higher temps than before. We will be watching these and making sure it doesn't get too hot or cold for him.
Should we be concerned about him laying on the floor? He does not have a good grip to stay on the branches we have provided for him, and he continually falls. Is it best for him to just stay on the substrate on a paper towel for now instead of him falling every 5 minutes from the branches? Is there a way to prop him up by the lighting systems so he receives the appropriate amount of lighting? The lights are going through a screen, not glass.
We do sprinkle a multivitamin on the crickets ocassionally, but obvious need to do that portion more than what we have been doing. What is IMHO?....
We will be getting in contact with a Vet to set up an appointment. All we can do is email and call vets because it's Sunday and no one is open until tomorrow.
Thank you for the help. We will be discussing all of these with the Vet & hope to have a healthy chameleon soon!
IMHO means In My Honest Opinion. As far as the gutloading regular lettuce and potatoes are probably two of least nutritional things you can gutload with. Maybe that is all you had lying around and that is fine, but for the future, stick to the dark leary greesns, kale, mustard greens, collard greens etc also fresh fruits. Good luck with your guy and I hope you find out what is wrong with him.
If he's falling off the branch because he has MBD you may have a couple of days to get him to the its because he is sick with something else...the falling is not a good thing...and he needs to see a vet ASAP.

You said..."Should we be concerned about him laying on the floor? He does not have a good grip to stay on the branches we have provided for him, and he continually falls."...then the floor is the safest place for him but you need to make sure that he is warm enough there and that he is still getting some UVB. have to be careful that he doesn't overheat and that he doesn't get too much UVB since he isn't likely going to move in and out of it on his own.

I would get rid of the substrate....substrates can often lead to impaction.

You said..."We do sprinkle a multivitamin on the crickets ocassionally, but obvious need to do that portion more than what we have been doing" is what you need to do at most feedings. Calcium is a mineral.

Vitamins need only be given very lightly twice a month...and I recommend using one that has a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A. You can dust very lightly with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder twice a month too. You need to be very careful of prEformed vitamin A and D3 from supplements because they are antagonistic to each other and they also build up in the system and cause a lot of problems.

IMHO also means "in my humble opinion".
personally i think fluxlizard is hitting this right on the head. looks edemic or has some other underlying issue (possible infection) causing swelling. the swelling is just not in the limbs. things have to change in your husbandry. first thing is you need to get that guy to a experienced chameleon vet. not just any old vet. second you need to change the way you have caring for this guy. here is a basic monatane care sheet.

Cage:24x24x48' SCREEN cage lots of rope, vines and live plants if you can. live plants will help with the humidity. make sure you cover the soil with screen. put cage as high up in the room as you can. not near any vents, fans or windows. no substrate on the floor of cage. use paper towels if you want but nothing else.

Lighting: 5.0 reptisun or reptiglo linear tube (length depends on cage size)/house hold bulb for basking. the house bulb watt will depend on how far your nearest branch is from the light and your ambient room temps.
***change bulbs every 6 months.

Temps: basking temp around 78* / ambient temps 72* measure by digital guages.

Hydration: manual spray 2-5 minutes/2-3 times a day. provide a dripper.

Feeders: gutload (24 hours before feeding) with fresh veggies and fruits and once a week with sticky tongues gutload. Crickets, mealworms, superworms, silkworms, hornworms, dubai roaches, reptiworms, BB flies, lady cat when available.

Supplements: repcal calcium w/o d3 every feeding, repcal calcium w/d3 twice a month, repcal herptivite twice a month
Regarding what can seemed to be an alarming array of vegetables to keep on hand for gut-loading crickets (at least, at first it, did to me). A senior forum member here told me to put "a variety of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, etc.)" in a food processor and chop it very fine, then put it into ice trays, freeze, and then store the cubes in plastic freezer bags to use as needed. That was soooo helpful for me, because I had no idea how I was going to handle all the veggies or how to prep them for the crickets! Maybe that will help you too?
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