MBD and/or egg bound?

IowaJim

New Member
All,



First, thanks ahead of time for the help and advice, our Penelope is a sick little lady. We have an appointment with a vet tomorrow. He says he has some chameleon experience but we live in a small town so I am guessing his experience is limited. So, I need advice from all of you experts out there.

Here is a brief overview with more detail below. I am pretty sure I have screwed up and she has MBD and/or is egg bound. Her legs are very weak and she has poor motor control and a bloated tummy. She is still pooping well (good color, texture) but she is weak and can’t climb. She has spent the last 4 days on the floor of her cage. I am feeling like a monster for letting Penelope get sick.

Penelope is my first female cham, I had a male Senegal (Louis) in college that I got when he was an adult. He lived a long, healthy life so I had a false sense of confidence when we got Penelope. I had been following the same techniques I used for Louis for feeding and supplementing. Now that she is sick, I am worried that I haven’t been supplementing enough calcium for Penelope to keep up with a growing juvenile. She’s my first female, I’m not good at recognizing signs of egg-bound so that might be part of the problem too.

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon – Female Amilobe Panther, 7 months old. I have had her for about 4 months.
  • Handling – When she was healthy, we would hold her about twice a week. For the past 4 days, I have been holding her twice a day as I force feed some mashed up crickets, water, calcium powder.
  • Feeding – She was eating 8-10 large crickets every day and loved to eat. I gut load my crickets with dark, leafy greens. She ate well until 2 weeks ago, her appetite slowly diminished until I was only seeing her eat 1-2 crickets at a feeding. I continued to shake loose crickets into the cage and those would disappear over the course of the day so I figured she was hunting them. Last week, she stopped eating completely and moved to the floor of her cage 4 days ago. I have been worried about dehydration/starvation so for the last 4 days I have been mashing up 3-4 crickets and mixing those with a little water and calcium powder and using a baby medicine syringe to force feed.
  • Supplements – I think I was under supplementing. I was dusting her crickets once per week with calcium with D3 from Petco. For the last 4 days, I have been giving calcium daily with the cricket mash that I am force feeding.
  • Watering – I mist her twice a day very heavily as well as all of the plants in her cage and the walls. When she was healthy, she would go down from her favorite stick to the leaves to lick up water. She would also drink the drips from the top of the mesh of her cage and I would use my sprayer to gently drop additional droplets of water onto the mesh until she got her fill. I also have an automatic mister that I set up to run for 2 minutes every 8 hours when I know I am going to have a long day at the office.
  • Fecal Description – Her last dropping was yesterday. It is moist with a milk chocolate color and nice white urates. I haven’t ever tested for parasites.
  • History – I got her in January and she arrived very healthy and vibrant. Up until 2-3 weeks ago, she was happy and eating like a pig. She has shed twice and each time, she finished the entire shedding in a less than a day, which I also took as a good sign. She has fallen over the edge health-wise over the last 2 weeks.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type – A combination of an acrylic box (18”w x 40”l x 18” tall) with an 18”w x 18”l x 36”tall mesh enclosure attached on top of one side. The mesh section has a good number of branches and plants so she has lots of options for basking at various distances from her lamps and in the sun. I included a photo below.
IMG_2864.JPG

  • Lighting – I have a ZooMed UVB bulb as well as a heat bulb on the top of the mesh part of her cage. Those are set to run from 7:30am until 7:30pm. Her cage is near a window so this time of year, she is getting ambient light from the outdoors until the sun sets around 8pm. Her cage is also next to a window so she has a couple spots in her mesh cage where she can climb down to sticks that get direct sunlight for a good part of the day.
  • Temperature – The temp of the cage varies from about 75 up to 82 depending on the location. Down at the floor of the cage, it is 75 almost all the time. At her favorite stick near the heat lamp, it is reaches around 82 where I hang the thermometer under it. Now that she is spending her day on the floor of the cage, I bought a Repti-therm cage heating pad that I mounted on the outside of the cage right where she lays on the ground. The temp right by her on the ground is reading 75 degrees. I have been worried that is a little low so I have been having my kids hold her gently for about an hour daily she can rest her tummy on them and get warm that way too.
  • Humidity – I’m not measuring my humidity levels. I mist manually twice a day and use an automatic mister when I know I will miss a misting. I also have a fountain down in the acrylic side of the cage to get some moisture via evaporation.
  • Plants – I have four live plants. A small bromeliad, a jade tree, a schefflera arboricola, and a small clusia major
  • Placement – The cage is located in the corner of our living room (medium to low traffic area). When comes to air flow, there is a heat vent in the floor about two feet from the base of her cage. The top of the cage is about 5 ft from the floor.
  • Location – NW Iowa.

  • Current Problem – Penelope’s condition has plummeted over the last week. She has been healthy, active, and eating like a pig until about 2-3 weeks ago when her appetite started to taper off. 2 weeks ago, her appetite really plummeted and I was only seeing her eat 1-2 crickets at a time. Previously, she would eat 5-6 in the morning and another 4-5 in the afternoon. It has been about 5 days since I last saw her eat a whole cricket on her own so I have been force feeding mushed up cricket liquid twice a day now for the last 4 days. I have been adding calcium to the mush once a day because I am worried about MBD and want to build her calcium levels back up. When I force feed, I am gently using a guitar pick to force her mouth open and then I have a small infant medicine syringe that I use to drop the mush liquid into her mouth. She definitely doesn’t like it and gets super mad at me but I don’t want her condition to continue to get worse due to dehydration and starvation.

    Her grip in her hands and tail is strong but her legs are weak and she doesn’t like to support herself. She will try to climb a little from the floor of her cage but can only pull the front half of herself up before she has to give up. Her right, back leg in particular seems odd. She has very poor motor control with that leg and looks like it wants to twist out. I was worried she had fallen and hurt it but when I gently touch it, nothing feels off and she doesn’t show any pain or reaction other than her standard look of frustration at me touching her. Also, her motor control with her tail seems spastic and she isn’t precise with it when looking for something to hold onto, it swings around like an angry snake until it finds something to wind around and then it cranks down tight.

    The bloated tummy made me worry about her being egg-bound. She is my first female, so I am clueless in this area. I read a bunch of the egg-bound threads on the forum and looked at the photos and I don’t see or feel any “egg lumps” so I am not sure. I have no experience with female chams so I don’t have a good feel for what I should be looking for.

    All this, the weakness in the legs, the lethargy, the bloating, and what I have read on the forums has led me to believe I haven’t been supplementing enough calcium and she has gotten MBD because of my ineptitude. Or, she is egg-bound and also has MBD because I haven’t been giving enough calcium as she was making the egg shells.

    I think I was spoiled by how easy my male Senegal was. I rarely supplemented, depending on a good gutloading for his crickets instead, and he was strong and healthy for the nearly 4 years he lived after I got him. Knowing that I had done well with him, I was confident when Penelope arrived and she did so well for the first 3 months that I thought I was in the groove. These last few weeks of her getting sicker has been heartbreaking to watch and has made me feel like an absolute jerk.

    I have also attached quite a few pictures, trying in particular to show her bloated tummy and her right back leg. She is showing her angry colors in a couple of the photos because I took them after a force feeding this morning.



    Any help and advice is greatly appreciated. (and if you read all of this, thanks for sticking with me)

Here she is with her tummy looking bloated. A top, bottom, and front view (with the thought that someone with more experience than me might be able to tell if egg-bound is the problem):
IMG_2861.JPG

IMG_2862.JPG

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Here are a couple of pictures of the back right leg that has me concerned:
IMG_2868.JPG

These photos don't do a great job of showing how that back right leg is behaving oddly. The nearest explanation I can think of is that it looks the "palm of her hand" is rotating upward as if you were holding out your arm to the side with the palm facing up:
IMG_2869.JPG

Finally, here is a picture of her just a month ago when she was happy and hanging out in the sun:
KJNG8316.JPG
 

Attachments

alphakenc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there, I really think she needs a proper laying bin ASAP since I cant find any laying bin mentioned in your post ..your girl Penelope definitely looks gravid to me ...if it was mbd ..her leg will be having curved physical sign structure...here is a good MBD thread from the forum well known and loved Miss @ferretinmyshoes
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/what-metabolic-bone-disease-mbd-looks-like-how-it-happens-and-how-to-fix-it.95071/
U can find lots valuable info on the MBD...
Im positive that your Girl is ready to lay soon,I'm baseing on all these info that you wrote.
Now that she is spending her day on the floor of the cage
her appetite slowly diminished
Last week, she stopped eating completely and moved to the floor of her cage 4 days ago.
Hopefully I can help a little with my thoughts...I will be sending my prayers to your precious Penelope.
 

Lennoncham

Avid Member
I think there may be many things going on here. A laying bin is recommended as a permanent part of a females cage but I think she may be to weak at this point to dig a hole to lay eggs.

I would take her to see a good exotics vet with chameleon experience.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
D3 overdose, under supplementing calcium, no vitamins, may as well have no gut load, probably inadequate UVB. Probably eggbound due to all these problem compounding on top of each other.

Symptoms of D3 OD and eggbound can present in very similar ways so it’s hard to say for sure. I don’t see any of the classic outward signs of MBD.

She has a lot going against her. UVB lighting can not pass through glass. Is that a coil UVB or linear?

Either way she needs professional medical help ASAP, be sure she makes it to that appointment. We will be here to help you with your husbandry when your done. Only thing you can do for her now is keep her warm and hydrated.
 

IowaJim

New Member
All,
Thanks for the thoughts and advice so far. We just left the Vet and he was very knowledgeable, which was good. The bad is that she is super egg bound; the Vet was pretty negative about her prognosis. I feel like a bastard for letting her get in this condition. I thought we were doing a good job because she was happy and eating a lot until now.
So, we gave her an oxytocin shot to help with contractions and I am setting up a laying bin for her right now.
Brody, you asked about the UVB bulb. It is a coil style. Not a pigtail like a CFL; instead, it looks like two small bulbs that are in a U shape. Should I do a different style bulb or fixture?

Also, should I keep trying to force feed her once a day or just leave her alone in the bin with lots of heat and humidity?

Thanks all. Please send healthy, egg laying thoughts in our direction.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
All,
Thanks for the thoughts and advice so far. We just left the Vet and he was very knowledgeable, which was good. The bad is that she is super egg bound; the Vet was pretty negative about her prognosis. I feel like a bastard for letting her get in this condition. I thought we were doing a good job because she was happy and eating a lot until now.
So, we gave her an oxytocin shot to help with contractions and I am setting up a laying bin for her right now.
Brody, you asked about the UVB bulb. It is a coil style. Not a pigtail like a CFL; instead, it looks like two small bulbs that are in a U shape. Should I do a different style bulb or fixture?

Also, should I keep trying to force feed her once a day or just leave her alone in the bin with lots of heat and humidity?

Thanks all. Please send healthy, egg laying thoughts in our direction.
Ignore him^.

Yes, force feed/water her very well when you get home and then back off until she lays.

Maintain current temp/humidity.

Please post a picture of her entire viv and lay bin set up.
7E5BC89B-204D-4AAE-83B2-1DF718C3524D.jpeg
 

Attachments

alphakenc

Chameleon Enthusiast
She cant even stand up due to all those weight on her, if you force feed at this point...that will put more stress on her...she needs to get those egg out asap...trust me on this!!
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
She cant even stand up due to all those weight on her, if you force feed at this point...that will put more stress on her...she needs to get those egg out asap...trust me on this!!
Yes but she is bound, you don’t know when or if those eggs are going to turn loose. Could be tonight or 3 days from now. She’s already stressed from the vet so top her off with some much needed nutrients and water now so she can be left alone from here on out.
 

alphakenc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes but she is bound, you don’t know when or if those eggs are going to turn loose. Could be tonight or 3 days from now. She’s already stressed from the vet so top her off with some much needed nutrients and water now so she can be left alone from here on out.
Usually when female chameleon is gravid.they will slow down or complete stop eating on her own...she is looking large in that pic and the weight is causing her not able to stand up on her own...if you try to force feeding her now it will only add more stress on her ...she will need to get those eggs out first then feeding her that will be a much better choice for her.
 

IowaJim

New Member
Brody, thanks for the UVB sheet. I’ll get a better one ordered today.

Attached is a picture of the lay box without her privacy curtain on top. It is 16w x 20l x 18h with 8” of a 2-1 sand soil mixture. You can see the test tunnel I dug with a spoon and left for her to see that it is a good place to dig. 618BD492-DCC7-4FCF-A28E-FCC672B1FE55.jpeg
 

IowaJim

New Member
I’ll get her on there with her curtain and send another pic. Brody, you asked about her full time Vic. There’s a picture and a description up in the questionaire section. Let me know if you have more questions on it.
The bottom part is big enough that I can put a permanent lay bin in there. I’ll do that this weekend (expect another load of requests for advice when I do that).
Thanks again.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll get her on there with her curtain and send another pic. Brody, you asked about her full time Vic. There’s a picture and a description up in the questionaire section. Let me know if you have more questions on it.
The bottom part is big enough that I can put a permanent lay bin in there. I’ll do that this weekend (expect another load of requests for advice when I do that).
Thanks again.
No problem, feel free to PM me.
 

IowaJim

New Member
Ok, here it is witha privacy curtain. Ugly as all heck but I wanted to get her ina bin right away. The permanent bin in her Vic is going to be excellent. I owe her that much.
Fingers crossed. 1C5AC35E-A401-45F9-98ED-C985DD6B45AE.jpeg

And peeking through the eye hole I cut:28130F50-D465-4D2A-88B0-6C371BD38797.jpeg
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Usually when female chameleon is gravid.they will slow down or complete stop eating on her own...she is looking large in that pic and the weight is causing her not able to stand up on her own...if you try to force feeding her now it will only add more stress on her ...she will need to get those eggs out first then feeding her that will be a much better choice for her.
Your asking a starving soldiers to fight a battle on an empty stomach, not going to happen. If she had proper nourishment before hand I’d agree with you but that’s not what’s happening here. Your just wrong.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is what i got from the forum care sheet I would like to share with you all..."Over feeding can cause complications with egg laying and larger clutch sizes, making them more prone to becoming eggbound."
"A female about to lay eggs will often become restless, pace her cage and make decrease or stop eating in the week before. "
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/
That refers to the months and weeks leading up to and during egg production, completely irrelevant when it’s game time. She may not be thrilled to eat a little something right now but it’s for her own good.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok, here it is witha privacy curtain. Ugly as all heck but I wanted to get her ina bin right away. The permanent bin in her Vic is going to be excellent. I owe her that much.
Fingers crossed. View attachment 228421

And peeking through the eye hole I cut:View attachment 228422
Got a thermometer you can pot in there? Could you cut a few holes at the top for ventilation? Going to heat up quick.
 

alphakenc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your asking a starving soldiers to fight a battle on an empty stomach, not going to happen. If she had proper nourishment before hand I’d agree with you but that’s not what’s happening here. Your just wrong.
Look at her on the picture ..
IMG_2869.JPG

Does this look starving??
If this was my cham I wouldnt force feeding
Your asking a starving soldiers to fight a battle on an empty stomach, not going to happen. If she had proper nourishment before hand I’d agree with you but that’s not what’s happening here. Your just wrong.
Plus
The bloated tummy made me worry about her being egg-bound
Why forcefeeding now???? And I know Im not wrong on this....her body will tell her to eat more food instead of stop eating on her own.
 

IowaJim

New Member
Got a thermometer you can pot in there? Could you cut a few holes at the top for ventilation? Going to heat up quick.
I have a thermometer tucked in the corner so I can keep an eye on the temps. Good call on the vent holes, I am stressed out by this whole thing and didn't think about the fact that without some ventilation I have basically made an easy-bake oven. Vent holes have been added.

Now that she is in the lay bin, I'm not going to do any more force feeding. I want to just leave her alone until she does her thing. She was pretty feisty when I put her in there so I am taking that as a good sign that she has the strength to dig a hole.
 
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