Jackson's health concerns

radstusky

Avid Member
I'm worried about my Jackson's chameleon, Drake. During the past month or so he barely eats and has lost weight (see weight graph below), also he seems to spend a lot of time basking. I'm not sure the last time he's eaten anything, probably at least a week. I've also noticed that his eyes are shut during the day sometimes too. Although he has a mister, he seems to be dehydrated, as sometimes I'll offer him some water with an eye dropper and he'll down a few droppers full. I used to see him drink from his mister but I just saw it come on and he didn't drink any and also wasn't interested in water from the dropper. I just measured his body temp using an IR thermometer to be 81F. I haven't seen any feces in a while, but the last time I did, the urates were white.

I appreciate any advice, and I am planning to take him to the vet next weekend if nothing changes between now and then. I'm including a couple of pics that I just took of him today, but it's kinda hard to tell that he does look a bit thinned out. His grip is still strong though.



Here's the info:

Chameleon Info (Drake):
• Your Chameleon – Male Jackson’s chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus), captive bred, ~1 year old. 7 months in my care.
• Handling – About once or twice a week on average
• Feeding - Dubia cockroaches are the staple, plus some superworms and butterworms, occasionally silkworms and hornworms are offered as well. Also crickets are still offered occasionally. The current feeding schedule is 1 dubia, 1-2 superworm every other day. (as stated above, he hasn't been eating lately) Dubia and crickets are gutloaded on a mixture of kale, dandelion greens, and carrots plus some butternut squash.
• Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? –Miner-Al calcium w/o D3 dusting half of feeders 2x per week; Herptivite dusting one feeder 2x per month; Repcal calcium +D3 dusting on one feeder 2x per month.
• Watering - Mistking misting system (1 nozzle) which runs on the following schedule: 8 am (3 min.), 11 am (3.5 min.), 1 pm (1 min.), 2:30 pm (1.5 min), 4 pm (1 min). Room temp water is ran through a heater in order to raise the temp slightly before misting.
• Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? -Solids look brown, urates white; honestly haven’t seen any feces in a while since he’s not eating, never tested for parasites
• History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. Took him to a vet for a checkup 3 months ago and he was fine. The vet gave him a does of Panacur, just as a routine precaution to kill any parasites.

Cage Info:
• Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? -Screen cage 18”Wx 18”D x 36”
• Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? -18” Reptisun 5.0; basking bulb is a 60 Watt grow bulb
• Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? –Basking spot is 80-85 degrees; night temps are in the mid-60’s not to go below 60.
• Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? - Room humidity is about 40-50% during winter, I also have a coolmist humidifier with the mist piped directly into the cage. Humidity spikes on the schedule with the mistings.
• Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? -One Ficus benjamina variegata, one hibiscus, one Schefflera arboricola, and one purple passion (Gynura aurantiaca), and one small pothos (Epipremnum aureum).
• 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? -cage is located in a “middle room” in between my living room and kitchen; not really high traffic; it is near an easterly facing window; top of the cage is about 6’2” off the ground.
• Location - Where are you geographically located? –New England
 

Attachments

cantgetagoodsn

Avid Member
If you look at the recent posts of a lot of members they're nearly the exact same situation. My Jackson's is doing the same stuff. Basking a lot, hardly eating if any, lethargic, does not explore my room and he did at least once a day before. I think it's natural because of the weather change. I know how you feel but I think we are going to be okay...
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
my intial reading minus the fact that you have had him for 7 months would be first possible parasite, second your feeder/dusting schedule may need some changing and third the only other possibility i personally can think of is if your basking temps/ambient temps have dropped. btw if you have not changed your uvb lights its time.

1)parasites - im going say this is probably not the case. you have treated with panacur maybe try flagyl.

2)wider variety of feeders. mine love any worm (silks, horns, meals, supers, it doesnt matter). now this could just be my own inexperience and just a farse but your guy has a ring of excess skin around his turret. i find this to be a problem from the lack of vitA or calcium. i would lightly dust all your feeders from now on. i would also dust every feeding.

force drinking: i would draw 1.0 ml of (bottled water mixed 50/50 with plain pedialyte) and a small pinch of herptivite and calcium with d3. try this once a day for a week.

3)check your temps and like i said about your bulb change (its been 7 months) it if you have not already. i have no experience with a grow bulb for a basking bulb but i would rule out anything possible.
 

radstusky

Avid Member
Thanks for your input. I do have another UV bulb that is nearly new that I could switch in there, pretty easy to try that. I have been thinking of offering some new food items, like silks which he hasn't had for a while. So I'm ordering some of those today. I tried blue bottle flies earlier, but he wouldn't have anything to do with them.

Not sure what you mean about the "ring of excess skin around his turret", I'll have to look at some other Jackson's pics out there to see if I see a difference. I do dust sparingly since that's what I've heard for Jackson's, and his dubia are well gutloaded, but then again he's not eating so a vit deficiency is surely a possibility.

I have noticed a lot of other similar posts concerning Jackson's in particular, so maybe with spring around the corner, things will change soon. Thanks very much for the help!
 

Texas Panther Man

New Member
I would check my temps and bulbs first. I wouldnt increase my dusting since he's a montane and they are susceptible to oversupplementation. Too bad you live so far north I'd recommend some outside uvb. I would try giving him showers for the next cpl of weeks. Try once or twice a week when you do his spot cleaning. Give him a lukewarm misting in the shower for 10-15 mins.

Its prob the result of lowered temps due to the weather and the lack of access to nat uvb. If he doesnt start to eat and act normally I wouldn wait I'd get a fecal done. If it shows up clear and he's still acting strange I'd get some blood work done to see if he's got a vit deficency.
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
how is he today? all my jacksons are on the same dusting schedule as the rest of my chameleons with no probs.

i also retract what i said about the excess skin. im not sure what i was seeing last night but i dont see it today.
 

radstusky

Avid Member
how is he today? all my jacksons are on the same dusting schedule as the rest of my chameleons with no probs.

i also retract what i said about the excess skin. im not sure what i was seeing last night but i dont see it today.
He seems about the same today. I did see him drinking this morning. I have some silks on the way (thanks froggthecam!) so I'm hoping that these will get his appetite going again. What exactly is your dusting schedule if I may ask? When they stop eating or even slow down, this kind of throws the dusting schedule out of whack imo.
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
lightly dust:

week one and three: repcal plain calcium every feeding. repcal d3 saturday or sunday which ever feeding day it lands on.

week two and four: repcal plain calcium every feeding. herptivite saturday or sunday which ever feeding day it lands on.

periodically i will use reptivite or tetrafauna mineral/vitamin... it does have d3 in it and preformed vitA.

feeders are gutloaded with greens, squash, zuchinni, sweet potato, carrot. pretty much the blend my other lizards eat. i dont do fruits although i should.

froggthecam's silks are awesome. nice and plump!!
 
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carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
HI Stuart! Sorry to hear Drake is not feeling well and I hope this is just a temporary thing!!! I wish I could ship some Florida sunshine your way! I was in Chicago for three weeks and I only saw the sun for two days. I forgot what that was like. Good luck with him and let us know the outcome. I take it Leo is doing good?!
 

radstusky

Avid Member
HI Stuart! Sorry to hear Drake is not feeling well and I hope this is just a temporary thing!!! I wish I could ship some Florida sunshine your way! I was in Chicago for three weeks and I only saw the sun for two days. I forgot what that was like. Good luck with him and let us know the outcome. I take it Leo is doing good?!
Hi Carol! I got some silks yesterday (thanks Fran!) and gave Drake one this morning which he promptly ate! It was a pretty big one too (they all are actually). This is a good sign and I left a couple more in there so I'm hoping he'll eat them also. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing then. With warmer weather coming, I'll get him outside as soon as it's nice enough. Thanks for everyone's advice here.

Leo is doing well, he also ate a silk this morning. I think the cold weather and short days during the winter did slow him down, and now he's starting to perk back up.
 

radstusky

Avid Member
The sun was shining today so I took Drake outside for a bit. He seemed to like it outside, and showed some patterns that he seldom does. I snapped a few pics and thought I'd share them here. I also weighed him today and he's gained a couple grams so I'm hoping his weight decline is over now. We'll keep our fingers crossed!



 

radstusky

Avid Member
I just wanted to give a quick update on Drake. He has still been in a state of decline for the past several months. He did eat a hornworm last week, but other than that he basically hasn't been eating at all.

Today I took him to the vet who examined him and said that he has MBD. He gave him a shot of Ca and D3 and said that I should mix some Repcal with water and give it to him orally each day for 30 days. After that I can reduce it to once per week.

I'm definitely glad I took him to the vet, now I think I can correct this problem and up his calcium and D3 intake. One interesting thing that the vet said was that I don't need to dust his food, just mix Repcal with water and squirt it in his mouth once a week. I'll try this and see how it goes.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry to hear about Drake Stuart! He sure doesn't look like he has MBD from the pics. how did the vet determine that? Well I sure hope he can get back to a healthy state soon. How is Leo doing? I checked your blog and see you have not updated it in awhile. Romeo is doing great!
 

radstusky

Avid Member
Sorry to hear about Drake Stuart! He sure doesn't look like he has MBD from the pics. how did the vet determine that? Well I sure hope he can get back to a healthy state soon. How is Leo doing? I checked your blog and see you have not updated it in awhile. Romeo is doing great!
For the most part, he looks OK to me too. The vet said he squeezed his lower jaw a little bit and it moved, it should be rock solid of course. He also said that inside his mouth was a stress fracture, from the MBD. I'm so glad I took him to the vet! It's good to have a plan that will hopefully result in a healthy chameleon again. I have been going light on the Ca with Drake in the past, and obviously a little too light. Now I can correct this.

Leo is doing great, he has been eating like normal looks really healthy to me. I'll update the blog soon!
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
There's a liquid calcium sandoz or gluconate that you can buy at a pharmacy that you could use. These sources of calcium are supposed to be more readily absorbed. Just be careful when giving it to the chameleon to ease it into his mouth a little at a time because its kind of syrupy.
 

Action Jackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm curious how much you were feeding him since you received him. Looking at your chart that is some major weight gain for a Jackson IMO. 100g in about 7 months? I had a adult male Jackson that weighed around 100+ grams and he took years to get there.
 

radstusky

Avid Member
I'm curious how much you were feeding him since you received him. Looking at your chart that is some major weight gain for a Jackson IMO. 100g in about 7 months? I had a adult male Jackson that weighed around 100+ grams and he took years to get there.
I'm sure that during his growth period I was feeding him every day, probably 5 or so insects. I'm not really sure at this point though. It looks like he hit the 100g mark at around 11 months of age, but you're right he went from 12 grams or so to 110 in about 7 months. To me it seems like that is a healthy growth rate, but I honestly don't have any other information to compare to. How much do you feed your Jackson's?
 

Action Jackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I definitely feed my Jacksons less than most recommend on this forum. I feed one or two roaches or crickets, hornworms, silkworms, superworms, flies or whatever the food of the day is each day. My Jacksons are lean, active and healthy IMO. In the first pictures you posted it looked like he was kinda bloated but in the last pictures he looked good. It's hard to judge the size he is from the pictures. In my albums there are pictures of my larger Jackson. He ate one or two good size feeders every two or three days. He was about 100 grams also but it took him years to get that big. I moved my Jacksons outside for the summer today. I think keeping the outside makes a huge difference in their overall health. I wasn't able to keep them outside this winter and could tell that they were not doing as well inside despite having the "correct" lighting and actually lost a couple including my long term male.:(
 

Elizadolots

New Member
I sometimes wonder if all the pictures of Veileds leads to an erroneous idea of what a chameleon should look like. Each species is really different but what we mostly see is Veiled and Panthers.
 

radstusky

Avid Member
One or two dubia or superworms are what gets now that he's an adult, but while he was growing I fed him more. Actually I feed him every other day now as well.

The vet also told me something interesting about pedialyte. I mentioned to him that I had give some to Drake to try to rehydrate him. He said that pedialyte is twice as salty as the cells inside a reptile and therefore it actually dehydrates them rather than hydrating them! I should have asked him if it would be ok if I diluted 1:2 with water, but I didn't think to ask that at the time.

Edit: in all of these pics, he is definitely not in his best health and hasn't eaten for some time...
 
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