MBD and/or egg bound?

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
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.
View attachment 228304

  • 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):
View attachment 228305

View attachment 228306

View attachment 228307


Here are a couple of pictures of the back right leg that has me concerned:
View attachment 228316

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:
View attachment 228319

Finally, here is a picture of her just a month ago when she was happy and hanging out in the sun:
View attachment 228320
Did your vet do x-rays ?
 

IowaJim

New Member
Did your vet do x-rays ?
Yes, I was worried about her bone density and eggs so we took a look. According to the vet, the bone density looked low but not at the MBD point that I had been panicking about but enough that he could see it a bit in the x-ray and thus be worried about calcium deficiency as we try to get these eggs out. We could also see that she was carrying a lot of eggs. He was pretty negative about her prognosis with her being a juvenile and carrying so many eggs. We did the oxytocin shot to hopefully give her a helping hand.
 

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, I was worried about her bone density and eggs so we took a look. According to the vet, the bone density looked low but not at the MBD point that I had been panicking about but enough that he could see it a bit in the x-ray and thus be worried about calcium deficiency as we try to get these eggs out. We could also see that she was carrying a lot of eggs. He was pretty negative about her prognosis with her being a juvenile and carrying so many eggs. We did the oxytocin shot to hopefully give her a helping hand.
She likely had low density because of her load of eggs . He/she thought all eggs were calcified ? No Ruptures ? I’m not bashing anyone so please no offense . I agree with @alphakenc do not force feed her . She knows when she need to eat and will when ready . Keep to her watering and lighting schedule . Offer her feeders if she is up high . If she is in that bin let her be . Did the vet give you an option of surgery ?
 

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
When I say up high I mean branches . If she is up in branches you could offer her . She likely will not take any . Do not force anything on her right now . She is under a lot of stress already . That will make it far worse.
 

IowaJim

New Member
She likely had low density because of her load of eggs . He/she thought all eggs were calcified ? No Ruptures ? I’m not bashing anyone so please no offense . I agree with @alphakenc do not force feed her . She knows when she need to eat and will when ready . Keep to her watering and lighting schedule . Offer her feeders if she is up high . If she is in that bin let her be . Did the vet give you an option of surgery ?
He didn’t mention calcifies or ruptures. I don’t know if that means he didn’t see anything that appeared that way or if he didn’t have the expertise. To my unqualified eye, the eggs in the X-ray looked pretty consistent relative to each other. More of a shadow on the X-ray than bright like bones.
He did mention surgery but said he didn’t have the expertise to do it (and he is the only reptile vet in town). He thought there was a slim chance that I could find someone in the city about 2 hrs away from us but he wasn’t sure she could survive the combined stress of such a long car ride and surgery. That’s why we decided to start with the oxytocin shot.
On the positive side, when I peeked in on her when I got home from work, she was showing colors that looked like the Gracie colors in the guides. I am hoping that is a sign that she is getting comfortable in the lay bin and knows why she is there and what to do.
 

IowaJim

New Member
He didn’t mention calcifies or ruptures. I don’t know if that means he didn’t see anything that appeared that way or if he didn’t have the expertise. To my unqualified eye, the eggs in the X-ray looked pretty consistent relative to each other. More of a shadow on the X-ray than bright like bones.
He did mention surgery but said he didn’t have the expertise to do it (and he is the only reptile vet in town). He thought there was a slim chance that I could find someone in the city about 2 hrs away from us but he wasn’t sure she could survive the combined stress of such a long car ride and surgery. That’s why we decided to start with the oxytocin shot.
On the positive side, when I peeked in on her when I got home from work, she was showing colors that looked like the Gracie colors in the guides. I am hoping that is a sign that she is getting comfortable in the lay bin and knows why she is there and what to do.
Supposed to say “gravid colors”, not “Gracie colors”. Autocorrect...
 

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
He didn’t mention calcifies or ruptures. I don’t know if that means he didn’t see anything that appeared that way or if he didn’t have the expertise. To my unqualified eye, the eggs in the X-ray looked pretty consistent relative to each other. More of a shadow on the X-ray than bright like bones.
He did mention surgery but said he didn’t have the expertise to do it (and he is the only reptile vet in town). He thought there was a slim chance that I could find someone in the city about 2 hrs away from us but he wasn’t sure she could survive the combined stress of such a long car ride and surgery. That’s why we decided to start with the oxytocin shot.
On the positive side, when I peeked in on her when I got home from work, she was showing colors that looked like the Gracie colors in the guides. I am hoping that is a sign that she is getting comfortable in the lay bin and knows why she is there and what to do.
Do you have the x-ray if so can you please post it ?
 

IowaJim

New Member
How she doing?
I checked on her first thing this morning because I had to reset her light timer (power went out during a thunderstorm last night). When the light kicked on, she was her usually salmon color, resting on the ground. I checked again about 30 minutes later before I left for work and she had moved and her coloring had changed so that she was salmon with black striping so she was appearing to look more like the photos of gravid panthers. I am trying to cheer myself up by thinking that is a good sign.
 

Mawtyplant

Avid Member
Look at her on the picture ..View attachment 228424
Does this look starving??
If this was my cham I wouldnt force feeding

Plus

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.
THANK YOU!!!!!! so agree

Guys!!!! no force feeding or force drinking around here! sthis will only stress the girl and can only push to the organ! plus.. she is overfeed she will survive with no food! she is not dehydrated at all! (if you want to make yourself sure about that, just pinch the skin and check if it come back in place quickly!

ok your lay bin is good, now give privacy, if you want to check how she going on you can plug an old cell phone with the "alfred" application.. this is kind of a security camera.. you will be able to track down every mouvement via your computer without disturbing the girl. keep the dirt low! less she have to dig more easy this is gonna be..
If.. you.. want to try something fucking weird.. you can inject small dose of KY (you know.. girl sex lubrifiant?) in the cloacal region.. this work in the past (it lubrificate so the eggs are more easy to pass)

due to the fact she is overweighted she will probably have tons of eggs (and this might be the reason of the eggbound situation) if she survive you will have to restrain the number of feeder/day

How is she now?
 

IowaJim

New Member
She spent all day yesterday and last night in her tunnel. Her eyes still look very bright and alert. I missed the lay bin this morning and, through my peep hole, I could see her opening her mouth to drink the most so I think she is still strong but clearly, those eggs are stuck.
Mawty, if I do the KY thing, should I pull her from her tunnel to do it or now that she is there, should I just leave her alone?
 

Lennoncham

Avid Member
She spent all day yesterday and last night in her tunnel. Her eyes still look very bright and alert. I missed the lay bin this morning and, through my peep hole, I could see her opening her mouth to drink the most so I think she is still strong but clearly, those eggs are stuck.
Mawty, if I do the KY thing, should I pull her from her tunnel to do it or now that she is there, should I just leave her alone?
If she is in the tunnel just leave her alone for now. Don’t worry about misting or food. She needs privacy. She will return to the branches when she is done.

I have no experience with egg bound chams though. @Brodybreaux25
what Do you think they should do here?
 

Mawtyplant

Avid Member
She spent all day yesterday and last night in her tunnel. Her eyes still look very bright and alert. I missed the lay bin this morning and, through my peep hole, I could see her opening her mouth to drink the most so I think she is still strong but clearly, those eggs are stuck.
Mawty, if I do the KY thing, should I pull her from her tunnel to do it or now that she is there, should I just leave her alone?
I agree if she’s on the tunnel do not disturb stress can only contact muscle and make things worst digging is a good sign
 
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