Ill Chameleon


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Chameleon Info:

* Your Chameleon - Veil Chameleon, male, less than year. Got him two months ago.
* Handling - Daily
* Feeding - Mealworms and crickets... 2 crickets a day, mealworms as wanted
* Supplements - once a week Reptifeed
* Watering - Mist it two-three times a day; yes, i've seen him drink but not today
* Fecal Description -looks like bird poop, white; never tested for parasites that i am aware
* History - been pretty happy thus far

Cage Info:

* Cage Type - Large Reptibreeze all screen cage
* Lighting - 2 white 100 watt bulbs during day and 2 100 red watt bulbs at night.
* Temperature - 80-100 by thermometer in cage. Lowest is about 70-80 at night.
* Humidity - don't monitor this
* Plants - just live tree (oak?) branches and artificial plants
* Placement - In living room. By a window, but not drafty. Top of the cage is 4 feet tall
* Location - ST Louis Missouri

Just noticed today that our chameleon is not eating (two days), not walking right, seems to have weak legs. When you pick him up he doesn't grab on he just kind of falls off of us. His eyes are open and look normal. His coloring today is brown to dark green which is normal for him.

Any suggestions? Having a hard time getting rep vet appointment, might not be until Wed... advice until then???
It sounds like MBD. Do you have photos of him? Do you not have a UVB bulb on him? Also Chameleons do not need any light/heat at night. They like a good temperature drop when they sleep. Also your temperature is high for a juvenile chameleon, around 80-85 is what he needs. I would do away with one of those bulbs.
I'm not sure about the tree, did you check a chameleon safe plat list to see if it was on there?
Also meal worms have almost no nutritional value. He should be eating like 12 crickets a day mixed in with supper worms, wax worms, horn worms, ect..
We just moved to full size crickets. He can eat 12 a day?? There are only sticks in there that are live. All planting is artificial.
Pictures aren't the best quality, but should give you an idea. I checked the light brand is Zoo-Med. I can't imagine he'd ever eat 12 crickets a day so that may be the problem. Most we've been able to get him to eat is 4. And it's usually more like 2-3. My husband is a doctor and as we looked up MBD he thought it sounded like what he may have. He said it does resemble rickets that he has seen in his human patients...


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You probably dont have a UVB light as you didnt list it. That is why he has MBD, you didnt get him a UVB light
I can't really tell by the photos. But he/she does look young. Maybe 5 months or so. Is there a tarsal spur on the back of the back feet? Like this?
Your bulb is probably just a heat bulb. They also require a 5.0 UVB bulb. Without it their bodies do not process Calcium and that's what causes MBD.
I would also get some live plants to put in his enclosure. Pothos is a great choice. Also is that a water bowl in the bottom? You also need to get a humidity gauge. They require around 50% humidity so it's important you can measure that.
You can stop the MBD from getting any worse but most of the damage done will remain. If its corrected soon enough the chameleon could live a fairly long life. The bones are not all that can be affected...calcium plays an important part in other systems its important to correct it quickly. You also need to make adjustments to your husbandry so it won't happen again.

The quickest way to correct it is to get a vet to give it calcium injections followed by a shot of calcitonin once the blood calcium levels are high enough. The calcitonin draws the calcium back into the bones quickly.

Here's some information you might find helpful......
Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects before you feed them to the chameleon with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Female veileds can lay eggs even when not its important to provide a place in the cage for it to dig to show you when its ready to lay the eggs.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
During the day one of the bulbs is white and one is blue. They are both made by Zoo-Med and recommended by Pet Store. My husband thinks the packaging said UVB, but can't be sure...
A UVB bulb is a long linear type bulb like 18 inches, 15 inches ect.. Or it can be a coil type bulb but those are not recommended due to eye problems with chameleons. Did you check for the spur on the back of his/her foot? It kinda looks like a girl to me but I could be wrong. If it's a girl there are other things you will have to do since female Veiled lay eggs without mating.
It does not appear to have a tarsal spur. So I guess "It's a Girl!!"

Sigh... we read up on chameleons but sadly I think we assumed the petshop led us in right way with lighting. We were not told to get a linear-type light so that seems to be the problem. Understandably so.

When I just went down to look at tarsal spur, a cricket went right past her and she didn't make a single movement towards it. Not a good sign, I am assuming. I think we are gut-loading OK. Using sweet potatoes and greens. We're doing powder right I think, too.

Our problem is with that UVB light, I guess. Hopefully she's not too far gone. We just started noticing issues today and we hold her daily, so hopefully that's a good sign.

Thank you so much for all the info. I'm going to try and get to vet in morning if I can...
Ok great and please go get that bulb ASAP! Almost any pet store will have them just make sure it's a 5.0 UVB and not a 2.0 or 10.0.

I wanted to thank you guys!! Our chameleon was in beginning stages of calcium deficiency! Vet thinks it can be turned around. We got some good husbandry tips that were better than we received before. She got some fluids, calcium shots, and a feeding tube.

Anyways, thanks for the info!!!
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