Help request with my jackson that wont eat

CammieNLeno

New Member
Hey everyone! Sorry to come asking for help, I am stumped and out of ideas on how to fix my problem.

Cammie hasn’t been eating for the last 2 weeks. The last thing she ate was a silkworm, and she is refusing crickets. Hasn’t pooped in like 9 days. On Monday morning when I woke up, I caught her standing around on the cage floor, so I scooped her up and put her back on her branches. 10 minutes later, she was back on the ground walking around. Between not eating in 2 weeks, and staying on the ground, I figured a trip to the vet was in order.
Well that proved extremely unsuccessful, the doctor had no idea what to do, and thought she looked extremely healthy. I was a bit disappointed in the overall experience, however, here in Hawaii our options are severely limited and I don’t have any other choice but that 1 vet. I found it hard to believe that 90 dollars later, I had 0 progress on what to do, the only thing she could offer me was a big pat on the back for my chameleon knowledge.  No signs of MBD, no infections on her mouth, no rot, everything “checked out”. We weighed her and she was at 70 grams even, which a significant loss from about 10 days ago visually. I do not know what the typical weight for a female jackson is, nor do I know her age, however she is an adult and quite hearty. – Check out pictures in my gallery if needed.

She gave me medicine to treat for any parasites and worms that she might be harboring, as I DO know she was wild caught (panacur granules w/env 22.2% and some metronidazole 50mg)

My own personal guess (and its fine to disagree with me) was the crickets were growing too large for her, and it was just too much to look at. That theory was disproved last night when I came home with small to medium sized ones and she showed 0 interest. I cannot find silkworms anywhere on the island right now, I checked 5 shops last night and everyone is out- other than that.. no other real food options besides trying to catch some roaches.

Do I start force feeding her? Is there anything else I might have overlooked? Any techniques on how to force feed if needed? The vet had to force her mouth open to check that out, and man, seemed a bit forceful.. I can imagine it would be quite easy to harm them having to do that everyday?

Sorry for the long post, I figure its better than “help plz, my cham is sik and wont eat”

Cage Info:
Cage Type – 38 gallon reptarium - 16.5" x 16.5" x 30" – picture in gallery
Lighting – 150w UVB 6-8 hrs a day
Temperature –Basking spot is 90-95. Ambient room temp ranges between 70-80. Nighttime I drop it down to 65-75
Humidity – 40% during non mistings, 55-64% for about 2 hrs after each misting session
Plants – Pittsaporum. Photos in gallery
Location – In my studio bathroom. I am the only one that walks by it, low stress

Chameleon Info:
Female Jackson. Age unknown.
Feeding – Crickets gut loaded with apples, oranges, lettuce, potatoes as well as a store bought cricket food. Free range fed.
Supplements – Dusting crickets with calcium 2x a week, multi vitamin 2x a month.
Watering – 3x misting a day(15min per),. BigDripper for when I am away at work, Chameleon shower once a week for about 40 mins.
Fecal Description – Yellowish white urine. Solid brown-black feces. It has not changed since I got her.
 

roo_71

New Member
I believe you posted a similar thread in another forum and I suggested trying a different feeder. You need to try and eliminate the possibility that she just may be sick of crickets. Of course something else could be going on but try and eliminate what you can and since you live in HI (LUCKY!), it shouldn’t take you long to go outside and find a non threatening looking bug to offer her.

I am also a bit confused about your lighting. Are you using a 150w powersun by any chance? If so that’s way too intense for a jax and MAY be contributing to her non eating issue. Either way, a 150w heat source on a 38g reptarium is pretty dangerous. I have 38’s for my carpet chams and I use a 65w heat source in the winter (NY). The more I think about this the more I think your setup is contributing to her problem.

A reptisun 5.0 and a regular household bulb with a basking temp of roughly 85 is suitable for a jax (anyone … please correct me if I’m wrong about that). Make sure you a re using a digital temp gauge with an external probe to verify temps – I wouldn’t trust anything else.

I hope she is still drinking at 2 weeks with no food I think you are running out of time. Good luck.

-roo
 

Jordan

New Member
I would agree with Roo on a couple of things. One 150w UVb (not sure of the kind) is probably way to strong. These guys naturally are deep forest type chameleons and would have some what limited access to UVb exposure. I think as Roo said that 85*F would be a better temperature to shoot for at the basking area. You will see 90*F suggested sometimes but this is really a case by case basis some simply can not take it. If you do go to flourescent lighting I would suggest starting to supplement with calcium/D3 once a week.

Heika suggestion on this thread may help with what else to do.
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Howdy,

Much of chameleon keeping is first starting out with what has worked in the past and then tweeking things to your chameleon's needs, if necessary.

If that is a 150W Powersun then, like Roo said, switch it to a Reptisun 5.0 tube. The temps look high for a Hawaiian Jackson's. Necas' book implies a lower basking temp is called for. Try something more like a 78-86F basking range. See if she will take-in water directly drizzled on her mouth.
 

Creampuff

New Member
(I have a baby male jackson the little guy can eat!)

err...I believe she has yellowish white poop cuz ur humidity is too low.

http://www.geocities.com/chamjacksonii/

That site and many other places say 50 - 75 or 80 humidity for a jackson (50 being the lowest it should go). At night the humidity should go up as well.
 

CammieNLeno

New Member
I believe you posted a similar thread in another forum and I suggested trying a different feeder. You need to try and eliminate the possibility that she just may be sick of crickets. Of course something else could be going on but try and eliminate what you can and since you live in HI (LUCKY!), it shouldn’t take you long to go outside and find a non threatening looking bug to offer her.

I am also a bit confused about your lighting. Are you using a 150w powersun by any chance? If so that’s way too intense for a jax and MAY be contributing to her non eating issue. Either way, a 150w heat source on a 38g reptarium is pretty dangerous. I have 38’s for my carpet chams and I use a 65w heat source in the winter (NY). The more I think about this the more I think your setup is contributing to her problem.

A reptisun 5.0 and a regular household bulb with a basking temp of roughly 85 is suitable for a jax (anyone … please correct me if I’m wrong about that). Make sure you a re using a digital temp gauge with an external probe to verify temps – I wouldn’t trust anything else.

I hope she is still drinking at 2 weeks with no food I think you are running out of time. Good luck.

-roo
Thanks roo! Couple comments for you, and perhaps anyone reading my plea for help :)

First - not sure who you think i am asking for help, however, i do not know who you are refering to for the other threads made. I would apprecaite you linking to that thread to me tho, perhaps i might get a better response than "I allready told you to do this" I am slightly offended and disturbed from your response to me, and to numerous other members the last week. I read these forums about 3-4 hours a day to absorbe as much information as i can, however i am not much of a poster due to the current negativity to those requesting help. I even put in my post that i was attempting alternate feeders, but unsucessful as it is next to impossible to find in hawaii(aside from turning up rocks and catching roaches- how long is one suppose to do that roo?)

With that aside, i aprecaite the possible constructive feedback concerning the lighting. I am wondering if it is to potent at 150w myself, however it is elevated quite a distance from my cage, and my temps are monitored quite strictly. To clarify, it is a rep-cal 5.0. As far as monitoring my temps, I would have assumed that was a given from my detailed %'s of both humidity and the combination of basking temp vs ambient temp. Ultimatly, i dont really think you read that in depth to my post at all, but instead was to eagre on how to make yourself look superior in front of other members. Further proof of this is your final comment regarding her drinking.. did you assume that i am not providing her any water? I specifically said that not only does she get 3 15 min mistings a day, she also gets a dripper ALL day (1 gallon) and a WEEKLY 45 minute shower for additional hydration.

I am going to respecfully disagree with your feedback, and any futher feedback to other members you have lashed out at in other posts.

What i AM looking for is some possible suggestions from members like heika, c anderson, will h, or my personal favorite on positive responses.. brad r.

I am sorry for acting defensive, but i am kinda growing tired of your overall negative responses to people.

I will research a bit more regarding my lighting, other than that, i am going to start force feeding her crickets to at least get some nutrition into her.
 

CammieNLeno

New Member
If you look at the link I put up it has a suggestion from Heika.
Thank you Jordon! I will be ordering some Repta-Aid Insect/Carnivore blend right now - i appreciate the link, it looks just like something that would aid in my situtaiton. I will also go talk to the vet and recommend that she research this type of "treatment"

My gf and i just sucesfully administerd cammies meds for the worms and parasites, and even managed to get her to eat 5 medium crickets. She opened her mouth and lunged at the remaining 4 we offered her, so I am not starting to consider the fact that perhaps it is an URI/toung issue afterall, possibly from TOO much water? Is that a possibilty/facor?
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I was going to respond sooner but wanted to think for a bit......
First of all I have a suggestion concerning variety.
Since you live where these animals, albeit introduced, are thriving in the wild, there has to be an easy way to tap into the available insect population.
I would set up a night time moth trap. hang a white sheet on a deck or in your yard with a light behind it. the sheet needs to funnel down into a wide mouth jar (or something like that) see what you can trap. Moths should be pretty safe...I would stay away from butterflies as some are toxic.
If you can put some fruit or other bait out in the daytime you may also be able to net some flies.
I'm going to turn you into an entomologist! :) But if there is a lack of acceptable farmed feeders where you are I would seriously consider doing this.
Now I am going to defend Roo.
He is not the bully of the forum and I think if you read his response to you objectively, you will find very little (if any) tone of superiority.
We have all had some not-so-nice responses (several recently) but I think it is a product of frustration and truly caring about these animals.
Sometimes you really feel like you need to get your point across and don't always think about people's feelings before you type. Again, I did not read Roo's response to you this way.
My advice is to try and extract the knowledge and experience over any perceived intent to offend.
Oh, and by the way thanks for the compliment, deserved or not it was nice to get.

-Brad
 
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roo_71

New Member
You are absolutely right, I missed some info in your post and that’s my fault for responding to threads late at night when I am tired.

but instead was to eagre on how to make yourself look superior in front of other members.
Not my intention, anyone who really knows me knows that I am not any type of glory seeker and I don’t feel that I am superior in any way when compared to other keepers. I had a crappy week and made some bad decisions when responding to threads. I tend to bottle up my emotions and after surfing the forums for over three years I have seen a lot of dead chams and some clear neglect … and I snapped this week. I did a half-ass apology in another thread and I will say again that I am sorry for my “dickishness”. If you feel that it would be more appropriate to start a thread on the subject then I will.

I allready told you to do this
That wasn’t my tone. The problem with forums (and it’s really no ones fault) is that a lot of communication is lost with just using words. I am sorry you perceived it this way.

This was the thread I was talking about, if this isn’t you then sorry for my bad assumption: http://www.chameleonsonline.com/board/viewthread.php?tid=3423

I specifically said that not only does she get 3 15 min mistings a day, she also gets a dripper ALL day (1 gallon) and a WEEKLY 45 minute shower for additional hydration.
did you assume that i am not providing her any water?
No, I got that part, but what I wasn’t clear about … are you seeing her drink? Your description of her urates sounds like she may not be drinking enough. If her urate is a bit brown/yellowish near where it meets the fecal matter then that’s expected sometimes. But if it’s uniformly yellow then that’s a possible sign of dehydration. A healthy urate should be bright white and be surrounded with a clear gel/mucus like material.

As far as monitoring my temps, I would have assumed that was a given from my detailed %'s of both humidity and the combination of basking temp vs ambient temp.
Ok, but what are you using to check these temps? I find that digital gauges are the best to use and that the analog ones you find it pets stores are a bit junky.

-roo
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
When you said "managed to get her to eat 5 medium crickets. She opened her mouth and lunged at the remaining 4" did she attempt to shoot her tongue out during this feeding? Chameleons should make some attempt to shoot their tongue, even when hand fed. they may not actually shoot it out but then will go through many of the starter motions so to speak. The concern I have that I'm getting at is I've had issues before with jacksonii and their tongues. Literally they've swallowed their tongues and can't feed. Did the tongue look normal when she fed? When my female swallowed her tongue, there was still a fleshy spike but the large, thick tongue tip where all the projectile muscles are was down her throat (it can actually be difficult to notice if you aren't looking carefully). Anyway, the way you described her lunging for the crickets made it sound like she isn't using her tongue for some reason.

Another thought I had while reading your post and looking at your photos was that she could be gravid. She looks thick and your enclosure doesn't seem to have many horizontal perches that will support her weight that she could walk along to drop babies. This could explain the prolonged food strike and ground pacing.

Finally, I definitely think you misunderstood roo's intentions. He is a very good guy and helps a lot on the forums (far more then I do). I don't think he was trying to be negative toward you in this thread and was simply confused by the volume of posts he replies to every day on different forums. As for recent tones toward others, a lack of sensitivity toward keepers is only to be expected when you see the number of dead and sick animals as you do over a few years on the forums and deal with neglectful keepers on many of them. We are here to help with the animals and it becomes very trying to see so many of the same things over the years and as such, patience can wear very thin. You'll find very few keepers on forums who have been doing this for too long because they get burnt out by it but in general, roo is one of the more helpful.

Chris
 

jleahl

New Member
Chris, that's pretty weird...how on earth does a cham swallow their tongue? I'd love to know physiologically how that happens! People worry about people swallowing their tongues when they have a seizure, but of course it doesn't really happen, although they will aspirate.

It occurred to me that she might be gravid, but as you know, I don't know anything about Jacksons. Would she hold off for two weeks? I know an egg-layer would, but...
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Physiologically, its quite simple actually. If the retractor muscle is damaged whether by trauma or vitamin deficiency, etc., the chameleon will have difficult pulling the tongue back into the mouth and properly situate it over the entoglossal process. As a result, the tongue would be hanging out of the mouth and when brought back into the mouth, not being placed on the entoglossus correctly, it would just sit in the mouth until it slipped down the throat and was swallowed. It would still be attached to the tongue apparatus but you'd just see a thin muscle over the entoglossus rather then the large, thick tongue tip that has the accelerator muscle.

Chris
 

CammieNLeno

New Member
Thanks Chris. I will definatly go add more horizontal perch areas, you are correct tho, unintentionally everything is at an angle. I have made post questing if she was gravid, and many seemed to think she was just about to burst, however that was a good 2 months ago. I realize that a term is upwards of 10 months, so i suppose i will not rule that out quite yet. I am confident that i read somewhere that they are not suppose to spend much time on their belly - is that correct? She sits on her stomache pretty much all day on her favorite spot (and has for the last month or so) I have unsucessfully been able to find documentation regarding chameleon weights and what is normal. Currently she weighs 70grams. Is that consistant with a gravid female? Sorry to ask, but do you know of a chart or anything with weight values?

I will have to look into the tounge issue more. That has been where i thought this problem stems from. The 2-3 weeks prior to her not eating anymore, i went back to cup feeding as i noticed to many crickets roaming free in her cage. She was eating from her cup, however each day she wold get close and close to the crickets before shooting at them. I am obviously no expert, however the vet did pry her mouth open to check it all out, and claimed it looked fine. When she is showering (last night was the weekly hydrating time) she pushes her tounge around inside her mouth every now and then, making that "lower" jaw looking thing. When i fed her last night, i had visual confirmation of her tounge, and after she swallowed she did the "licking lips" with the tip of her tounge

I do observe her drinking and lapping on a daily basis. Especially in her weekly shower. During the day while i am at work I am not sure.. she may or may not be drinking, but she DOES have the option as the dripper is set to last about 5 hrs before it runs dry.
 

CammieNLeno

New Member
I just wanted to update everyone and anyone curious of what turned out from this. I continued to force feed her with crickets, however I felt that i was personally stressing her too much in the process and there had to be different ways to provide nutrition. I orderd emergency herp aid from flukers, and after a few emails back and forth, the woman that runs it refused to ship it to hawaii becuase it would cost them $10 extra to use DHL 2nd day air. I asked to pay that charge and she just apologized she was unable to ship to me, and again stated "no" I ended up shipping it to my family with overnight charge of $30- they recieved it the next day and shipped it overnight to hawaii for the low low cost of $98.50. I nursed her with the formula, softly injecting any into her mouth when she opened - typically our feeding sessions lasted about an hr, in which i remade the foruma to keep the temp up at about 85.

Well, she still was not getting better, and still was rejecting all food i offered, crickets, silkies, roaches i cought at night, and a few moths that came from brads idea of catching them. I took her to the vet again, and they had no idea what was wrong. They performed the same exam the first time, and came to no new conclusions - she even remained at the same weight as the first visit (70 grams) Her mouth exam is what cought my attention because she didnt really check it out that much, and seemed once again very forceful- almost excessivly forceful (at least compared to what I had been doing) There are only 2 vets on the island that we know of that work on reptiles, so my options are severly limited on alternate treatment. I am a bit upset that there were no test ran such as fecal smear, or any blood work to determine anything else.

Shortly after the second vet visit, i noticed her developing what i believe was mouth rot. Comparing pictures of symptoms and causes lead me to believe this is what it was. I am not sure how this happened, but it came on fast. It seemed that the back of her jaw where the skin stretches as they open their mouths was "seperating" more and more by the hour, and it became considerabally swolen - a large gap soon formed, and she could not shut her mouth. It was obvious that she was in pain and very uncomfortable. I once again ran over to the vet and they said sorry, doc is on vacation till thursday.

Again, i am not sure how this happened, i dont know if i need to totally re-work my husbandaries or if my constant force feeding was the cause, or if it transpired from a very rough vet exam. Things were getting better prior to the second visit, and she had even pooped twice and was drinking like none other. I am not going to blame anyone but myself, and i definatly tried to do everything i could to save my little cham.

She passed away on my hand this weekend as i was attempting to feed her the formula. She just looked up at me, blinked a few times, turned black, and just went limp. It was a very sad moment and i really wish i knew where my fault lies in husbandries. I will be reading up more on specific jackson related caresheets, as i feel like i might have been following more of a vieled setup then a mountain speicies. I am not giving up on this hobbie, my life feels empty without a little friend to take care of. Thank you for reading and to those of you that helped. RIP Cammie, have a blast in worm heaven with all your friends.
 

roo_71

New Member
Very sorry for your loss. Very few keepers would have spent the time and money that you did to help your critter. It sounds like the temporal gland got infected.

Glad to hear you’re not giving up.

-roo
 

CammieNLeno

New Member
Very sorry for your loss. Very few keepers would have spent the time and money that you did to help your critter. It sounds like the temporal gland got infected.

Glad to hear you’re not giving up.

-roo
Roo- thanks man, appreciate it. I do not want to make the same mistake twice, what are typical causes of poor husbandry that would cause this? Ovbiously it is something that i need to change, im man enough to admit that had i been taking care of her properly, this might not have happened. I feel like my chameleon knowledge is improving, but there is something that i must be missing.

Reading up on things after the fact, alot of the material is pointing to some sort of trauma to the mouth, either possibly getting bit/scraped from a crickets leg OR forceful prying/examining of the mouth/teeth? I was more than gentle in my force feding, and confident that i did not harm her in any way other than just stress. Im not trying to blame the vet, but im just curious if that is a possibility? As i mentioned, the 2 exams seemed very forceful and almost harmful to the chameleon- she was thrashing her head around when the vet had her mouth pryed open, and there was extensive bruising around her face afterwards.

I have also read that the mouth gaping can be sign of phenmouna?(spellig on that i have no idea) Im assuming thats not the case as there were visual sores to accompany it- is that something that i might need to be concerned about?

Needless to say i will not be returning to that vet, with leaves with me only 1 other on the island.
 

Heika

New Member
Sorry to hear that you lost her. You put up one heck of a fight for her, and sometimes that is all you can do. Have you read this article in Chameleon News? http://www.chameleonnews.com/impulse.html

Extraordinary effort on your part, and for that, you have earned my respect. Glad to hear that you haven't been scared off by it, because any chameleon you own will be a lucky animal.

Heika
 
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