Hemipenis Prolapse and Amputation

Hi snitz,

Simba is going through almost the exact same thing, except we are further out than you and your boy. Simba prolapse at the end of August. Same exact thing!

Simba does the same normally after bm, sticks his out from side to side, tucks it in and then wipes himself a few times on the branch. He is very tidy about it, he never wants to go in his house, and will "ask" to go out by waving his hand on the door. He even lifts his leg and tilts his bum to the side so he doesn't get any on him😁

He had an extremely minor hemipenis prolapse about a year ago that I was able to "assist" back in with gauze, a qtip and some KY jelly, but I saw it happen and was able to fix it quickly. This time was major.

The vet said she had never seen one so massive. She said "she couldn't save the right" so that side was amputated. When I picked up Simba his cloaca was swollen, but everything was tucked in and closed and has remained that way. He did get the hard, dried discharge which I helped remove with wiping with warm wet gauze a few times per day. It came off easily the next day. He received baytril injections every 72hrs for a total of 4 injections.

Simba had normal bms until a week after his last injection, then he stopped passing regularly, stopped drinking, became lethargic, respiratory crackling and closed eyes.

He has improved a little, but I am concerned about underlying infection as well. I'm trying to do what I can until I can get him to a chameleon specialist.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi snitz,

Simba is going through almost the exact same thing, except we are further out than you and your boy. Simba prolapse at the end of August. Same exact thing!

Simba does the same normally after bm, sticks his out from side to side, tucks it in and then wipes himself a few times on the branch. He is very tidy about it, he never wants to go in his house, and will "ask" to go out by waving his hand on the door. He even lifts his leg and tilts his bum to the side so he doesn't get any on him😁

He had an extremely minor hemipenis prolapse about a year ago that I was able to "assist" back in with gauze, a qtip and some KY jelly, but I saw it happen and was able to fix it quickly. This time was major.

The vet said she had never seen one so massive. She said "she couldn't save the right" so that side was amputated. When I picked up Simba his cloaca was swollen, but everything was tucked in and closed and has remained that way. He did get the hard, dried discharge which I helped remove with wiping with warm wet gauze a few times per day. It came off easily the next day. He received baytril injections every 72hrs for a total of 4 injections.

Simba had normal bms until a week after his last injection, then he stopped passing regularly, stopped drinking, became lethargic, respiratory crackling and closed eyes.

He has improved a little, but I am concerned about underlying infection as well. I'm trying to do what I can until I can get him to a chameleon specialist.

I can speak from experience here - do not wait to get him to the vets. If your vet can't fit him in for an emergency visit, try another exotic vet. I drive 2+ hours each way for my critical care vet. The antibiotics themselves are a lot of their little systems, but hearing respiratory noises may be an unrelated (but still serious) illness.

I had a chameleon that came to live with me several months after it had a serious mouth infection, and a serious case of antibiotics (he was on 2 antibiotics for a solid month or two). He was seemingly healed up, back to his old self, active, and ready for his new home. He was with me for less than 3 weeks before he started showing symptoms of illness. I made an appt with the same vet for 2-3 days later, as his symptoms were not severe, I just wanted to have them do bloodwork and exam to ensure he was not still battling an infection. Overnight, he went from "slightly off," to near death. The vet did bloodwork and found he was in severe renal failure, and septic.... they had thought he may have had a secondary infection, or the original infection may have continued to survive down in the tongue sheath. I suspect the super high antibiotic dose played a part. He unfortunately passed away the next morning. He would have already been in renal failure when he came to me, but he didn't show signs right away.

I do not think this is what is happening to your chameleon, but its meant to show how important it is to get him in to the vet ASAP, as the infection is likely already severe if he is showing such symptoms. Don't be afraid of the antibiotics based on my experience - this was literally one of the best chameleon vets in the US who prescribed them... but antibiotics can cause kidney damage, too, and sometimes a particular antibiotic med might not work at all. So its really important to keep in close contact with the vet, and don't hesitate to take them right back in if you see something off. Respiratory issues don't sound related to the prolapse, unless maybe there was some fluid build up from treatment. Good luck, and I hope Simba is back on his feet soon!
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
6 months post op and Donnie had been showing signs of discomfort/illness this weekend (sleeping and hiding). I suspect he may have a residual infection. His vent looks pretty good but I noticed a tiny piece of (??) tissue in the corner that was a bit suspect. It couldvt been hemip shed but it was suspiciously the color of infection last time. Not quite yellow or green, but a bit more beige than his normal shed.

The vets around me are closed until tomorrow, maybe Tuesday due to holiday. I’ve been giving him Reptaid and long showers, and cleaned his vent the past two days (internally) with peroxide and topically applied Silver Sulf. I’m not a fan of using peroxide but the issue is internal and silver sulf cant help. This is the treatment the vet prescribed the first time infection flared up. Really hoping Chadwell or SEAVS / Stahl vet climic is open tomorrow.

This sweet pea is 6 years and 3 months. He is so personable. He comes running to me, even outside or on the free range, and wants nothing more than to hang out on my shoulder. He and Charlie are really mama’s boys, and I’m all for it! I hope I can have more time with him - give us at least one more summer together!

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bbyoda

Chameleon Enthusiast
6 months post op and Donnie had been showing signs of discomfort/illness this weekend (sleeping and hiding). I suspect he may have a residual infection. His vent looks pretty good but I noticed a tiny piece of (??) tissue in the corner that was a bit suspect. It couldvt been hemip shed but it was suspiciously the color of infection last time. Not quite yellow or green, but a bit more beige than his normal shed.

The vets around me are closed until tomorrow. I’ve been giving him Reptaid and long showers, and cleaned his vent the past two days (internally) with peroxide and topically applied Silver Sulf. I’m not a fan of using peroxide but the issue is internal and silver sulf cant help. This is the treatment the vet prescribed the first time infection flared up. Really hoping Chadwell or SEAVS / Stahl vet climic is open tomorrow.

This sweet pea is 6 years and 3 months. He is so personable. He comes running to me, even outside or on the free range, and wants nothing more than to hang out on my shoulder. He and Charlie are really mama’s boys, and I’m all for it! I hope I can have more time with him - give us at least one more summer together!

View attachment 333878

I hope you get a bit more time with him as well! He and you are doing your absolute best. ♥️
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I couldn't get in to see the vet for some time. Tonight we had our visit and he was given a thorough vent exam - happy to report that aside from a little scar tissue, he’s been given a clean bill of health (fecal, too)! The vet credited his turn around to the home treatment I provided below (this is not a replacement for a vet, but helped fight back infection and inflammation while we waited for appt).

I started giving Donnie reptaid once per day, as soon as I saw him sleeping and being reclusive. Important note on that below.* He was given a weight appropriate dose every night with a small silkworm.

I also examined his vent and saw a bit of tissue with suspicious color - very similar to when he had infection… but also possibly sperm plug. I followed the vet’s advice from the previous infection and cleaned his vent for two nights with peroxide (another important note**), followed up by topical silver sulf cream. Only did the vent treatment for 2 days as this in itself can cause irritation. The vent cleaning is like an instant enema for Donnie, and he pooped and also shed sperm plug. I’m still not sure of the tissue was sperm plug or scab/infection.

He is living on the free range this winter, and while I can mist him, its not set up for extended misting. So every night he also gets a 15+ minute “shower,” except that the shower is far too much, and too small to “bounce” off the wall. So I use a 2 gallon wand sprayer, and find the sweet spot of pressure that allows a finer mist. I half pull the trigger and point it upwards, so that gravity lets the mist come down like rain. It takes a good 5 mins for him to start drinking, which is fine as he still gets his skin, vent, and eyes rinsed during that time!

I’m very happy he is feeling better. He honestly started to seem better after day 5 of reptaid and extra care.

* I keep reptaid on hand for emergencies, when I need something to hold me over until I can get an emergency vet appointment. Usually this means 2 to 3 days… But in Donnies case it was over a week. I am hesitant to use Reptaid’s instructions which suggest up to twice a day, 10 days on, two days off, 10 more days on for illness. The vet agrees that anything beyond seven days could lead to alcohol toxicity, as Reptaid has 2 to 3% grain alcohol per volume. I always dilute the medication with at least equal parts water. I’m sure the alcohol is used to suspend and preserve the liquid, and also extract the essence of the ingredients… Much like how you would make vanilla or lemon extract. That being said, alcohol poisoning is a serious deal… So use it with care and for no longer than 7 to 10 days. It is a natural, herbal remedy and I have had good success with it… Although I have not run a true scientific experiment with it. I’ve heard other keepers have had good success… But it is NOT a cure-all or an excuse to skip the vet. My checkup today was $27 - less than the bottle of Reptaid!

** hydrogen peroxide has fallen out of favor for first aid purposes. It’s been found to cause damage to healthy tissue, in addition to infection. If it’s used by me, it is used extremely sparingly and only in a serious situation. Donnie’s internal infection this summer WAS very serious, and our typical creams and ointments aren’t intended for internal use. I only used peroxide for 2 days, and it definitely added to the irritation. Silver sulf was applied topically, which is totally safe to use (short of eating a tube of it). Think of it as neosporin. Please consult with your vet - this was my experience, under guidance of my vet over the summer.

The vet did say that he would be more susceptible to reoccurring issues or complications after the amputation, and that if issues arise again to “keep doing what you’re doing, unless he doesn’t improve.” I believe he said that some animals require lifelong meds following the surgery, so hopefully we are able to keep things under control with care and attention.
 
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JacksJill

Website Manager
Staff member
That long post was totally worth it. I'm glad he is doing so well.

Falchion will be 5 next month and Jian in March. 3-6 years is the average and that is really for males so I'm nervously watching them all the time.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
That long post was totally worth it. I'm glad he is doing so well.
Falchion will be 5 next month and Jian in March. 3-6 years is the average and that is really for males so I'm nervously watching them all the time.

Congrats! You’re an excellent cham keeper! My girls are just crossing into senior territory - have your ladies slowed down on egg development at that age?
 
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