My male veiled cham has terrible MBD. I know this takes weeks or months to develop, but it honestly seems to have developed overnight. A few days ago he was chasing crickets all over the cage, now he can't even hold himself up or move in any direction. He lives in a 18x18x30 wire mesh cage with a regular basking heat lamp, a night heat lamp, and a riptisun 5.0 UVB light bar. his crickets are all gut loaded with Fluker's calcium fortified cricket food. He is about 6-8 months old. Was eating fine, drinking fine, moving fine a week ago for sure, and a few days ago he seemed perfectly normal (which means grumpy and a brat). Near his cage is a female's cage. Same conditions all around except she is female. They are separated by partitions so they cannot see each other. She looks like he did last week: perfect condition.

Could something have made his condition deteriorate so rapidly? Could anything be done to reverse it? 2 days ago we found him at the bottom of his cage and he seemed weak, I thought maybe he was having tongue issues. We moved him to the top of his cage and hydrated him more than usual. We watched him through the night as he made his way to the bottom again, arms flailing and crossing and grabbing everything but the branches he wanted. His grip is terrible. Every joint has 3 extra joints now. And like I said he isn't mobile he just wiggles around on his belly. He is, however, mostly green and still a terrifically feisty brat. Is there anything I can do short of veterinary intervention?

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Chameleon Enthusiast
I am really sorry to hear about your little guy. You need to take him to the vets ASAP (a good reptile vet) and he will be put on liquid calcium and then given a shot to draw the calcium back into his bones. The MBD will not reverse but it will stop it from getting worse and he can go on to live a good life. For right now you need to change his cage around so it can lay on it side. You don't want him to fall and get hurt worse. I would also recommend a new UVB light and fresh calcium if you haven't replaced both recently. You need to gut load your feeders with lots of fresh green veggie and a good dry gut load such as Cricket Crack. I would also make changes with your female ASAP. Below is a link to my blog for how I successfully keep veileds and panthers.


Biologist & Ecologist
I'm sorry he's not doing well, either. It's possible that even though he looked fine last week his bones were a lot less dense and perhaps he fell and broke a few of them, and that's why he looks and acts dramatically different.

Jann gave you a great blog and tips. I also think a vet visit is a good idea, because MBD is more serious than it looks.

Calcium isn't just a mineral in your bones and teeth, like everyone things, it's actually a mineral that plays a vital part in ALL muscle movements, too. Every time the brain sends a signal to a muscle (whether it's your arm, heart, or your large intestine) it needs calcium to help transmit the signal. So when you don't have enough calcium in the body to run your organs properly it will start pulling it from the bones. And obviously the more it pulls out, the weaker and weaker the bones get and it's much easier to break them and much harder for him to move properly.

So a good calcium injection from the vet will do a lot to get his blood-calcium level back to where it should be.

Something that contributed to his condition are his feeders and what they're eating. The body needs calcium and phosphorous to be pretty much 1:1 to work properly, but crickets have a very poor ratio (three times more phosphorous than calcium). So this is why we have to gutload crickets really well and dust them with plain calcium, to try to get that ratio back to where it should be. Because too much phosphorous interpheres with calcium absorbtion. So that's why you'll see that Jann's blog recommends plain calcium powder for dusting daily, to correct this imbalance.

And then you want to feed the crickets food that is also more nutritious. Flukers products are notoriously bad nutritionally. It's better to use fresh fruits and veggies and then if you want a commercial gutload like Repashy Superload, Bugburger, Cricket Crack, or Dinofuel, to name a few. That will give you a million times better fed crickets.

Sorry for the wordiness! But I like it when people can understand what is happening and where it comes from.

Best of luck!


Chameleon Queen
When a chameleon has MBD its important bring the nutrients back in balance as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.

The quickest way to do this is to have a vet give the chameleon calcium injections until the blood calcium levels are high enough to give it a shot of calcitonin which rapidly draws the calcium back into the bones.

You can give is liquid calcium sandoz or calcium gluconate as long as you do it carefully so the chameleon won't aspirate it into his lungs....but this is slower....and with your chameleon in such a bad condition it might be too little too late.

Once team nutrients are back in balance your need to keep them there so the MBD won't recur. Proper UVB, proper temperatures, supplementing, feeding/gutloading the insects well are all important in this.

UVB exposure allows the chameleon to produce D3 which allows it to use the calcium in its system.
D3 from supplements can build up in the system and lead to health issues but D3 from sunlight or a UVB tube won't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. This is why we only recommend dusting with a phos - free calcium / D3 powder twice a month. It gives the chameleon some without overdoing it and leaving it to produce the rest from its exposure to the UVB.

We also recommend dusting at most feedings with a phos - free calcium powder to make up for the usually poor ratio of calcium to phos found in most feeder insects.

Then we dust twice a month with a vitamin powder containing a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A. Vitamin A from prEformed sources can build up in the this way it's left to the owner to provide prEformed when necessary.

Proper temperature aids in digestion gusts plays a part in nutrient absorption.

Hope this helps.
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