Highlighter yellow panther mouth and still very little growth

Tarzanfam

Established Member
Hi again.

I have a 6 month old nosy be panther and I have asked before about his size. He is only now just about 11 grams, so very small. I am in constant consultation with our vets and have also been speaking with our breeder about him. All of our husbandry has been checked, double checked, and triple checked. He eats dubias, silkies, and crickets, gut loaded and with repashy no d powder for the most part. Everything should be good, but he is barely growing. He is starting to show signs of a third respiratory issue. The first one we thought was from travel stress and/or it was pretty cold the night he travelled. The second time we thought maybe we just didn't get it all. Then he seemed fine for a while. The going thought then was that the antibiotics caused him to grow slower. Ok, this all sort of makes sense, but now he is starting to mouth breathe again. Took him back in today and they are now talking about possible liver issues due to his highlighter yellow mouth. I have read that this is normal in some species but they said not in these guys. I read on this forum that is wrong and it is normal for him. I don't have a pic of his mouth open as he is a very chill dude and I have never seen him open his mouth in an aggressive way. Nothing like our last guy. He was a feisty one! So now we are waiting on a specialty clinic to see if they can even draw blood on a cham this small (10.7 grams) to diagnose the problem as it seems clear the antibiotics were a bandaid fix. GAH!!!!! Someone tell me something intelligent so I can figure this out. He came from a good breeder, he is my 3rd cham. He has a beautiful enclosure and everything he could want for a captive cham. I just want to help him. Talk to me about this highlighter mouth! He does not eat foliage at all, just bugs, so I know it isn't some strange residual from something he ate. Poops are good, hydration is good. If we can't get a blood sample, I just don't know what we'll do. My heart is breaking for him and for my kids. We all love him so much.
 
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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast

Tarzanfam

Established Member
I have no idea about the highlighter mouth. Maybe @kinyonga does.
I am wondering why your guy keeps getting RI’s though and isn’t growing well. It could be the way he just is or could be husbandry issue. If you’d like, I’ll be more than happy to look over your husbandry. Just copy/paste if you’d like to do that. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/how-to-ask-for-help.66/
Thanks. Here's what I can tell you right now:

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Nosy Be Panther, 6 month old male. We have had him since the end of July. He was 3 months at the time. He was 4 g when we got him. He was 10.7 today. Slow growing for sure
  • Handling - He actually really likes being handled, but we limit the amount of time out because he hasn't been well. He does hide a bit on the sides of branches when I reach in to feed etc...but if I put my thumb out for him and offer it, he usually comes right away, but only with thumbs...funny dude! I would say he comes out maybe 4 times a week for quality time, but 2 of those times he goes on his ficus tree, which is too big for his enclosure. I do bring him out almost daily for weight checks these days though, but those are very short visits just for maintenance because we are concerned. I built him a little log table to crawl onto so he doesn't even know he is on a scale to minimize stress. It's cute and he sometimes isn't "done" when it's time to go home.
  • Feeding - He eats dubias, small silkworms and crickets. I offer him 4 silks a day and as many dubias and crickets as he will eat. I just keep the cricket window hopping and the dubia cup full. We are really trying to have him put on some weight. He gets fed every morning and I swap out the feeders that were left from the day before so all of his insects are freshly gutloaded. I gutload with rotating fresh food sprinkled with repashy gutload on the crickets, and of course the silkworms eat their weird mush! I have started growing my own greens just to feed his feeders so I always have good variety.
  • Supplements - I use repashy and dust all of his food with it. No d every day but Sunday. He gets the multivit on Sunday.
  • Watering - He has a leaf dripper he likes to drink from and a fogger on a timer to get his leaves wet and bring the humidity up in his cage. He has also started learning to drink from a syringe and I soak him twice a week, as per our vet's request.
  • Fecal Description - tested twice since we have had him. No issues. Poops are great looking. Nice and big, moist, colour is on point.
  • History - It was cold the day he was delivered. The only thing I can't get to a perfect level is his nighttime sleeping temp. It is house temp, which is a little high for his ideal species temp, but otherwise, we have set up everything so carefully for him. His first RI was very soon after he got here, and that was 3 weeks of shots, then after 5 days of break, he started showing signs again, so we did another 3 weeks. That ended beginning of Sept. He seemed better, although small, until very recently when he started sleeping in a more hidden spot and staying there much later in the morning and going to bed much earlier too. Then the mouth breathing started as well. That is when I took him in and the doc is concerned about his liver. He also rubs his eyes on branches A LOT, which he has been doing the whole time we have had him. He closes his eyes for long periods of time and rolls them around in the sockets. I have a feeling that all of this is related, but he is too small at 10g for bloodwork, so we are all guessing.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Right now, he is in a screen cage that is 16x16x20. We have a 2ftx2ftx4ft for him, if he would just grow!!!!
  • Lighting - T5H0 5.0 German made uvb. basking lamp and uvb are on a single timer, on at 7 and off at 7.
  • Temperature - basking is about 86/87. I have a probe up there always and adjust as needed. Room temp is 74, so rest of cage is about that. I have his fogger run a bit more through the night to try and keep the cage cooler then. It will change a bit when the furnace kicks in. This is the "summer" heat setting for our house. He will prefer sleeping in the winter as it will be a bit cooler for him.
  • Humidity - have a meter. Fogger and dripper helps with this. We also have a fancy system on our furnace for our piano so the house stays constant, making it easier for us to keep it constant in his cage, about 50-55%
  • Plants - Small cage, no live plants in there, but we let him out to climb on the live plants and there is lots of room for them in the big cage, he just needs to grow. Ficus, pothos, and the other one that's safe. Crap...I am an outdoor plant girl...lines on the leaves. Remind me and I will know if you're right. It's a totally common houseplant. Gah!
  • Placement - Cage is on a "side table" height table. It is in a quiet corner of our kitchen away from vents, but just in case, we have a clear shower curtain on one side to ensure there is no draft from the vent across the way. Wall on the back, big cage on the other side, and lots of places for him to hide and feel safe.
  • Location - We live in Wisconsin.

Current Problem - Is his yellow mouth normal? What could be causing recurring RI's? WHY IS HE SO SMALL??????

Thanks!
 

AnamCara

Chameleon Enthusiast
Without going through your whole husbandry, I'd suggest not soaking him. Panther Chameleons are arboreal creatures who would not necessarily come into contact with standing water to "soak" in. They do not need a soak like beardies do. Not sure why your vet recommended that. They're not like other lizards.

Also, you can put him in the 4x4x2 enclosure whenever. He does not need to be bigger.

Also as Skittles was asking, when do you run the fogger? Typically it shouldn't be run during the day, but at night when the heat and lights are off. Misting can be done in 1-3 min intervals, 2-3 times a day. Lots of keepers mist in the morning and in the evening, to allow the cage to totally dry out. I, being in Colorado, add one around 1pm to help with humidity. Still, the cage dries *all* the way between mistings. It's thought that humidity + heat can lead to RI.

I hope this helps!
 

TayloredExotics

Established Member
Thanks. Here's what I can tell you right now:



Chameleon Info:

Your Chameleon - Nosy Be Panther, 6 month old male. We have had him since the end of July. He was 3 months at the time. He was 4 g when we got him. He was 10.7 today. Slow growing for sure
4g seems a little on the small side for 3 months, though it's not too abnormal. For reference, my hatchlings are usually 0.5 g, females averaged 12-15g at 3 months, and males were 15-20ish. I did have a particularly small female who was 5g at 3 months, but she was 18g by 6 months old.
Handling - He actually really likes being handled, but we limit the amount of time out because he hasn't been well. He does hide a bit on the sides of branches when I reach in to feed etc...but if I put my thumb out for him and offer it, he usually comes right away, but only with thumbs...funny dude! I would say he comes out maybe 4 times a week for quality time, but 2 of those times he goes on his ficus tree, which is too big for his enclosure. I do bring him out almost daily for weight checks these days though, but those are very short visits just for maintenance because we are concerned. I built him a little log table to crawl onto so he doesn't even know he is on a scale to minimize stress. It's cute and he sometimes isn't "done" when it's time to go home.

I'm sure you've read through and know that 'friendliness' is often an indication that something is wrong in the home enclosure (not enough cover, can see a window/mirror/other animal), but there is also a possibility that you have a friendly guy. Especially if half the time he is just transported to a favored tree, he may just be accustomed to you and like the opportunity to explore a bit. I'd suggest checking his enclosure for any issues, but don't stress too much if you don't find anything. However, I'd suggest limiting weight checks to once a week at most. There won't be significant fluctuations day to day that aren't related to certain bodily functions...
Feeding - He eats dubias, small silkworms and crickets. I offer him 4 silks a day and as many dubias and crickets as he will eat. I just keep the cricket window hopping and the dubia cup full. We are really trying to have him put on some weight. He gets fed every morning and I swap out the feeders that were left from the day before so all of his insects are freshly gutloaded. I gutload with rotating fresh food sprinkled with repashy gutload on the crickets, and of course the silkworms eat their weird mush! I have started growing my own greens just to feed his feeders so I always have good variety.
How much does he generally eat in a day? Also, for babies that are reluctant to eat, i usually hand feed two or three times a day. Especially if they are friendly, they generally eat more with hand feeding than if I just leave a cup in there.
Supplements - I use repashy and dust all of his food with it. No d every day but Sunday. He gets the multivit on Sunday.
I assume Repashy plus LoD? If yes, great, but switch that to only every second Sunday. I doubt toxicity issues are at play, but no need to have them start.
Watering - He has a leaf dripper he likes to drink from and a fogger on a timer to get his leaves wet and bring the humidity up in his cage. He has also started learning to drink from a syringe and I soak him twice a week, as per our vet's request.
Not sure soaking does anything but cause stress. Feel free to discuss that with your vet, though.
Fecal Description - tested twice since we have had him. No issues. Poops are great looking. Nice and big, moist, colour is on point.
History - It was cold the day he was delivered. The only thing I can't get to a perfect level is his nighttime sleeping temp. It is house temp, which is a little high for his ideal species temp, but otherwise, we have set up everything so carefully for him. His first RI was very soon after he got here, and that was 3 weeks of shots, then after 5 days of break, he started showing signs again, so we did another 3 weeks. That ended beginning of Sept. He seemed better, although small, until very recently when he started sleeping in a more hidden spot and staying there much later in the morning and going to bed much earlier too. Then the mouth breathing started as well. That is when I took him in and the doc is concerned about his liver. He also rubs his eyes on branches A LOT, which he has been doing the whole time we have had him. He closes his eyes for long periods of time and rolls them around in the sockets. I have a feeling that all of this is related, but he is too small at 10g for bloodwork, so we are all guessing.
I wouldn't worry too much about the cold; I let hatchling get down to 40° on occasion with no I'll effects. Sometimes eye issues are related to Vit A or UV issues, but your supplements don't seem to support that.
Cage Info:

Cage Type - Right now, he is in a screen cage that is 16x16x20. We have a 2ftx2ftx4ft for him, if he would just grow!!!!
Lighting - T5H0 5.0 German made uvb. basking lamp and uvb are on a single timer, on at 7 and off at 7.
Is this the arcadia light? How old is the bulb? And what length is your fixture?
Temperature - basking is about 86/87. I have a probe up there always and adjust as needed. Room temp is 74, so rest of cage is about that. I have his fogger run a bit more through the night to try and keep the cage cooler then. It will change a bit when the furnace kicks in. This is the "summer" heat setting for our house. He will prefer sleeping in the winter as it will be a bit cooler for him.
Humidity - have a meter. Fogger and dripper helps with this. We also have a fancy system on our furnace for our piano so the house stays constant, making it easier for us to keep it constant in his cage, about 50-55%
Do you boost nighttime humidity at all? As close to 100% humidity after lights out is best, though a little less is okay. Keep in mind that plants create humid microclimates as well; does he tend to sleep in a lot of cover or in the open?
Plants - Small cage, no live plants in there, but we let him out to climb on the live plants and there is lots of room for them in the big cage, he just needs to grow. Ficus, pothos, and the other one that's safe. Crap...I am an outdoor plant girl...lines on the leaves. Remind me and I will know if you're right. It's a totally common houseplant. Gah!
Lines on the leaves, and a common houseplant... Could it be
Spider plant
Maranta
Tradescantia zebrina
Calathea
Philodendron
Fittonia
Dracaena
Anyway...

Placement - Cage is on a "side table" height table. It is in a quiet corner of our kitchen away from vents, but just in case, we have a clear shower curtain on one side to ensure there is no draft from the vent across the way. Wall on the back, big cage on the other side, and lots of places for him to hide and feel safe.
Location - We live in Wisconsin.


Current Problem - Is his yellow mouth normal? What could be causing recurring RI's? WHY IS HE SO SMALL??????



Thanks!

Yellow mouth is pretty normal for a lot of panther locales. Do you have pics of him? As for size, has your vet run a fecal at all to check for parasites? I asked above, but how much does he normally eat in a day, and what size are the feeders? I wish we had answers for you right off, but hopefully we'll figure it out!
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think you need to go ahead and put him in the larger enclosure and fill it with live plants. They clean the air and produce oxygen. They might help. He might be happier in there and he has more room to explore. If he’s happier he may grow better. He’s had a very rough start in life with meds and handling etc. maybe he just needs to destress in a heavily planted big enclosure.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
yellow mouth is normal in Panthers..... Sounds like your vet does not know enough.

Can you post pics of the enclosure you have him in? 16x16x20 is tiny... Do you have the UVB lifted or is it on the screen top?

How many times have they put him on meds? and when did they start putting him on meds?

86-87 is hotter... Is he gaping when under the heat lamp or moving away from it. I am wondering if your seeing gaping from heat rather then RI issues. How are you checking these temps?
 

Tarzanfam

Established Member
Yellow mouths are typical in Panther chameleons...
https://stock.adobe.com/images/pant...ce=users&as_content=closure_asset-detail-page

https://www.123rf.com/photo_7459192...dio-with-open-mouth-and-black-background.html

In my experience the yellow in the mouth has never been a sign of jaundice/liver issues.
Thank you for these. Here is a terrible picture of his mouth. It was hard to get even this. He has never shown any aggression, and so he doesn't open his mouth willingly. Well, hopefully it was worth something!
 

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Tarzanfam

Established Member
4g seems a little on the small side for 3 months, though it's not too abnormal. For reference, my hatchlings are usually 0.5 g, females averaged 12-15g at 3 months, and males were 15-20ish. I did have a particularly small female who was 5g at 3 months, but she was 18g by 6 months old.


I'm sure you've read through and know that 'friendliness' is often an indication that something is wrong in the home enclosure (not enough cover, can see a window/mirror/other animal), but there is also a possibility that you have a friendly guy. Especially if half the time he is just transported to a favored tree, he may just be accustomed to you and like the opportunity to explore a bit. I'd suggest checking his enclosure for any issues, but don't stress too much if you don't find anything. However, I'd suggest limiting weight checks to once a week at most. There won't be significant fluctuations day to day that aren't related to certain bodily functions...

How much does he generally eat in a day? Also, for babies that are reluctant to eat, i usually hand feed two or three times a day. Especially if they are friendly, they generally eat more with hand feeding than if I just leave a cup in there.

I assume Repashy plus LoD? If yes, great, but switch that to only every second Sunday. I doubt toxicity issues are at play, but no need to have them start.

Not sure soaking does anything but cause stress. Feel free to discuss that with your vet, though.

I wouldn't worry too much about the cold; I let hatchling get down to 40° on occasion with no I'll effects. Sometimes eye issues are related to Vit A or UV issues, but your supplements don't seem to support that.

Is this the arcadia light? How old is the bulb? And what length is your fixture?

Do you boost nighttime humidity at all? As close to 100% humidity after lights out is best, though a little less is okay. Keep in mind that plants create humid microclimates as well; does he tend to sleep in a lot of cover or in the open?

Lines on the leaves, and a common houseplant... Could it be
Spider plant
Maranta
Tradescantia zebrina
Calathea
Philodendron
Fittonia
Dracaena
Anyway...



Yellow mouth is pretty normal for a lot of panther locales. Do you have pics of him? As for size, has your vet run a fecal at all to check for parasites? I asked above, but how much does he normally eat in a day, and what size are the feeders? I wish we had answers for you right off, but hopefully we'll figure it out!
I know he is small. I have been worried the whole time! We have no other pets and I believe his friendliness is a natural trait of his. He is my third cham and my first was super friendly, lived on my shoulder most of the time I was home and lived to be almost 8 years old. My second was a bear. He did not like handling at all. I have seen polar opposites on this front and this little dude is definitely telling us with his body language that he is comfortable being out. The breeder also told me he was very chill and easily handled. He will not hand feed, doesn't even acknowledge the existence of food when he is out. He is busy exploring, but this morning he ate 4 small silk worms off his favourite branch and about 3-4 crickets (1/4 inch) from his shooting gallery. He may snack on some dubia's later from his little feeding cup. He knows where to find each of these things and chooses what he wants it seems. I am not sure if keeping all of his food in one place would help. I have never had a picky cham in that regard before, but he seems to understand. He tends to eat dubias as an afternoon snack. He always has access to food that was gutloaded the night before. Thanks for the advice on the vitamin. I will switch to every second week! As for soaking, she recommended it. He seems ok with it but perhaps as long as his poops look nice and moist, I could cut that out? I will have to chase this down a bit more. The UVB is a Reptisun, we have replaced it once already since he arrived just in case that was the issue. It runs diagonally across his cage. We only have him in the little cage because I was trying to be able to keep a bit better eye on him until I was sure he was feeling super well. We have a bigger light etc...for the big cage. We had an adult veiled living in there previously. Nighttime humidity is boosted by a fogger which goes on and off with a timer throughout the night. He sleeps in plants for the most part. The other live plant is a Dracaena. I knew that. Thanks! He has been checked for parasites 2 times, just two weeks ago last. I hope I answered all of your questions. Pictures attached were taken today. He HATED having his mouth open and I didn't have enough hands to do a good job, but here you go! The one pic is of his eye closed. A common occurrence. One of him just being himself and the other is self explanatory! Thank you SO much for taking the time to be thorough with me.
 

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Tarzanfam

Established Member
yellow mouth is normal in Panthers..... Sounds like your vet does not know enough.

Can you post pics of the enclosure you have him in? 16x16x20 is tiny... Do you have the UVB lifted or is it on the screen top?

How many times have they put him on meds? and when did they start putting him on meds?

86-87 is hotter... Is he gaping when under the heat lamp or moving away from it. I am wondering if your seeing gaping from heat rather then RI issues. How are you checking these temps?
The vet said the yellow was in places of his mouth that would not be expected and she is very worried about his size. He is my first panther. I have had two veiled chams in the past, so the yellow mouth is new to me also. That is why I am asking! Thank you for helping. The little cage is just for if we have to be away and he needs to be with someone else for a short time and because he is so little and I am trying so hard to watch his every move. Rest assured, we have a 4ft screen enclosure sitting right next to the little one waiting for him as soon as I feel I can let him not be watched like a hawk! The UVB light is on the screen, but the branches under it are lower in that area both so I can reach in and tend to his needs and also so he isn't super close to it. 86-87 is hotter than what? Can you explain why this is a problem. The Chameleon Academy care sheet suggests basking temp for panthers should be 85-90. I try to keep it as close to 86 as I can. I have a probe attached to the branch sticking up right where the basking light is. It is stationed at the height of his back so I can always read what the hottest will be if he is standing under it. If this is wrong, please help me understand why. It is definitely possible that there have been occasions where he has had his mouth open and he was gaping rather than struggling to breathe. I will mention this again to my kids who help me keep an eye on him so they can let me know also where he was when they see an issue. That said, can you speak to how much chin skin billowing would occur with gaping vs gasping? That may help me. Neither of my others had RI issues. One was never sick for nearly 8 years and the other one was a rescue with all kinds of issues, but not this one! He was put on meds about a week after his arrival, so first week of Aug. He was REALLY struggling at that point. It was definitely RI, and after 3 weeks, it wasn't gone, so another 3 weeks. He has not been on meds since. That would have ended mid Sept. I think. Thanks again for your questions. I just want to help him! Here is a picture of his wee home. Can you see him sideways on the top branch?
 

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Tarzanfam

Established Member
Why did the vet tell you to soak him.
What did you and the vet base the RI diagnosis on?
The initial RI was super clear. He was really struggling, we could see his body heaving when he was breathing and he couldn't breathe with his mouth closed much at all no matter where he was, in his enclosure, under his light, etc... This time I am less sure. I am not sure about that, or the yellow mouth being a problem. The vet is more sure about that than I am. What we are both sure about is that he is WAY TOO SMALL. As for the soaking, she said she recommends it for all her patients with little tiny chams because they are so susceptible to hydration issues etc...He doesn't hate it. I don't know. I have missed a few also and he doesn't seem worse for wear either.
 

Tarzanfam

Established Member
Ok, so after all of your comments and helpful questions I am thinking about this another way. Perhaps our vet isn't as aware of the natural state of our little guy as I had hoped (yellow mouth for a start). They are the best game in town though, and I already drive 45 minutes to see them, so I have to work with them or we have nobody. I am willing to see that the yellow mouth is less likely a liver issue and more likely a misunderstanding on her part and a lack of knowledge on mine. His eyes are still a concern. He rubs them on EVERYTHING constantly and often has them closed. I don't have a good reason or answer for this but reducing our vitamin may help. Neptune's breathing seems better today and we moved him into the larger enclosure for a few hours to start getting used to it. We have a few things we need to get organized before we can move him there for good but perhaps we should not wait until he is bigger. It is possible his heat, although similar in temp in the big cage, was just too intense in the little one because of proximity. I think we will take a break for soaking and re-program his fogger so it only runs at night to reduce any chance that the short runs during the day are causing an issue. He has dripping water. When we are not home, he can still drink. I am starting to feel better about him. He is still SUPER small and I am not at all thrilled that he is rubbing his eyes on everything, but maybe he will be ok. My sweet little dude. Here he is checking out his new digs.
 

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