Liver Problems - outward signs? (long post)

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am just thinking aloud here in the hope that someone can point me in the right direction of any helpful info! I have searched the t'interweb for liver problems in chameleons and can't find anything specific - I just get people and dog results.:rolleyes:

A bit of background for those of you who don't know my Tommy:

He was a rescue of sorts back in November 2009, having been passed backwards and forwards betwen a man and his father. When I collected Tommy I asked about misting and the chap said 'I flick water at him occasionally', :mad: so I had that boy out of there to give him the proper care he deserved. I made a promise to myself that day - that Tommy would get the best care I could offer and have a happy forever home with me.

He has had several issues, which I believe could have been prevented if he was only misted properly before I got him. Last year he was treated for the paralysis of his front right leg, which, sadly has not improved and Tommy now falls often. I have made a hammock in his viv under his lights so he can bask without the need to physically hold on to anything.

Just lately I have noticed that his ribs stick out on his left side and thought that maybe he had damaged them whilst falling (which he had done more frequently until I added his hammock). However, his ribs seem to be intact and he shows no pain response when he moves or when I hold him or pick him up to put him back on his perch. Today, I remembered seeing chameleon anatomy pics online and was looking at them to see if any organs correspond with the area in which his ribs are sticking out. As far as I can see, it would seem to be in the liver area, hence my search for further information. I am going to take Tommy back to the vets at some time this coming week, but wondered if anyone had experienced any outward signs of an enlarged liver. It is heartbreaking to see my lovely gentle boy struggling and I know that very soon I will have to make the decision that nobody ever wants to make. However, if he has liver problems too, then I will know that the decision needs to made sooner rather than later.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Tiff I know nothing about liver problems, but lots about Tommy. I just love Tommy and know you will always do what is the best for him. We are all here for you.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just lost Joppa my little female panther to liver failure last month. They gain alot of weight without eating any extra and look very round. They get a different color look about them (almost yellow). They start to close their eyes some during the day and the eyes start to looks a bit sunk in and near the end they become weak and start to fall off their branches.
 

Cainschams

New Member
I just lost Joppa my little female panther to liver failure last month. They gain alot of weight without eating any extra and look very round. They get a different color look about them (almost yellow). They start to close their eyes some during the day and the eyes start to looks a bit sunk in and near the end they become weak and start to fall off their branches.
Did you notice any types of edema?
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for your input Jann. Tommy has been falling anyway because of his arm so I hadn't picked up on that as being unusual for him at this time. He will eat two xl locusts every couple of days but he doesn't look to have gained a lot of weight, if anything he has lost some. He has never been a 'big' boy, I think the most he has ever weighed was 181g. I will weigh him tomorrow as the vet will need to know his weight if he considers any treatment is necessary. Sadly, I think we are nearing the time for dear old Tommy. I did catch him with his eyes closed a couple of days ago too and am well aware of the importance of that.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for your input Jann. Tommy has been falling anyway because of his arm so I hadn't picked up on that as being unusual for him at this time. He will eat two xl locusts every couple of days but he doesn't look to have gained a lot of weight, if anything he has lost some. He has never been a 'big' boy, I think the most he has ever weighed was 181g. I will weigh him tomorrow as the vet will need to know his weight if he considers any treatment is necessary. Sadly, I think we are nearing the time for dear old Tommy. I did catch him with his eyes closed a couple of days ago too and am well aware of the importance of that.
I would recommend blood work if he had not had it recently.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
I will see what the vet says. I really don't want to put him through any more than I have to, bless him.:(
Blood work is very easy as long as your vet knows what's he's doing. My guys don't seem to mind it as all and it should get you alot of info on what's going on with Tommy.
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
i know nothng about the liver but still wish you the best Tiff,
Tank you Hoj!

im so sorry for your sweetheart. he's so lucky to have been saved and loved by you.
Thank you! I love this l'il man to bits, he has always been so sweet and gentle.

No not really edema but like swelling in the entire body and she had a very round look about her whole body, not like when going to lay eggs.
Actually, thinking back to when Lily was sick, (she had an enlarged liver a month after she laid her second clutch) she did look different to when she was gravid. Thinking back now, yes, she was very bloated and her whole body felt 'taut'. I remember the vet telling me that there was around 30ml of fluid in her body cavity. Tommy is definitely not at all rounded or bloated, he just has this one area that sticks out on his side.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Just hang in there Tiff. You know Tommy better than anyone including the vet. You are the person who has cared for him and knows what he is unable to say. I will always be with you no matter what.:(
 

lindawaz

New Member
I feel so sad for you :(

I do hope all goes well for both of you.
Wishing you nothing less then a light heart making a decision no one should have to, but sometimes we must.

Thoughts and prayers for you and your Cham
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
I would second Jann on the bloodwork if your vet is (and feels) competent to do it - my last vet was huge on bloodwork and it never seemed to bother the chams a bit - and he was able to detect things like incipient liver and kidney damage. My current vet has little chameleon experience and does not feel competent to do cham bloodwork - and I respect that; I'd rather have him admit he's not comfortable doing it than injure my animal.
McGinty had a seriously enlarged liver on necropsy, and he was not roly poly like Joppa. The symptoms of his ailment(s) included being a very indifferent eater; having trouble with his hind legs - not paralysis, but acting like a much older cham (lack of coordination/understanding where his legs and feet were; gripping his front legs and getting stuck); and some recurring bouts of keeping his eyes closed/acting like they were light-sensitive. But he showed damage to many of the organs on necropsy, so it's difficult to know what (if anything) to ascribe to the liver.
We're keeping Tommykins in our thoughts and prayers. Some of it with him may just be that he's getting to be an older chameleon.
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks ladies. Tommy is at least 4 years old, but was passed around so many times in his short life - he has lived half his life with me now and I am his 5th owner, and it makes me so sad that I wasn't able to find him sooner and watch him grow up. I am also sad that he was passed around so much, he must have been so confused, poor boy, all those new surroundings, people and routines. It makes him all the more special though as he has never tried to bite or shown any aggression, apart form head butting me when he's frustrated with his foot. He is quite simply the male version of my wonderful first female, Lily, and I will love them both forever.

I will ask for blood work, bit it seems strange to me that he has this 'lump' (for want of a better word) in the area where the liver is. However, if my vet isn't happy to do it I can live with that too, since I suspect that Tommy doesn't have much time left with or without blood work or me making the decision.
 

iwantone

New Member
Tiff we all know you will do what is best for Tommy. I'm sorry I can't help you in any way but my thoughts are with you. x
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
i dont know much about your situation. i have however been recently using "milk thistle". from my understanding milk thistle is a great liver do all..this is just a wild shot, your guy could have a inflamed liver. in humans you will see swelling where the kidneys are. if this is the case i would try implementing some of this in your gut load. id also stay away from fatty insects. its worth a shot.

hope you can figure this out.
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
tiff i have been doing a little reasearch into your problem and have found a few articles where hypervitaminosis (sp) seems to cause liver enlargment,
just a thought
here is the article http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=17+1796&aid=3027
Thanks Hoj. I did read that briefly yesterday in my search, but will read it through properly again today. As you can imagine, all sorts of things run through your head with a sick chameleon. I have my suspicions that it may have something partly to do with the fact that he wasn't hydrated properly before I got him. He uses his dripper and drinks from a pipette as well as drinking when I mist, yet his urates are never completely white, they never have been, but he does only poop once a week or so, so I wouldn't expect a totally white urate. He drinks far more than Amy and her urates are ok.

i dont know much about your situation. i have however been recently using "milk thistle". from my understanding milk thistle is a great liver do all..this is just a wild shot, your guy could have a inflamed liver. in humans you will see swelling where the kidneys are. if this is the case i would try implementing some of this in your gut load. id also stay away from fatty insects. its worth a shot.

hope you can figure this out.
Thanks for your input - what is 'milk thistle'? Is it a plant or a herb that I could use to gutload with? I need to research that and see if I can get it over here. Things tend to have different names in the UK, eg, nothing in the supermarkets is labelled 'Collard Greens' and as far as I can make out it's 'Spring greens' over here which is like cabbage.
 
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