MBD (metabolic bone disease) is a very serious problem. It is caused by a deficiency of calcium in the body. A chameleon needs calcium to strengthen its bones and help it grow properly. If a chameleon is not getting enough calcium, its bones become weak. Eventually the body will begin to leach calcium from the bones themselves, which makes the bones even worse. Some symptoms are curved or broken bones, curvature of the spine or casque, weakened grip, swollen ankles, and poor coloring.
MBD is caused by a lack of calcium in the diet and/or improper lighting. It is a complicated process that involves UVA/UVB lighting, vitamin D3, as well as other things I do not fully understand. Damage from MBD can not be fixed, however further damage can be stopped. A visit to an experienced veterinarian is the best course of action. They can provide calcium to your chameleon as well as talk to you about your husbandry methods.
I should point out that too much calcium can cause serious problems as well.
I agree with everything that brad said ... if you suspect MBD do something NOW, so that your cham doesn't end up like my poor hermie.
I still think that it can sneak up on you quickly -- even though I am sure that the process takes a long time to reach the point where they are as advanced as hermie is, I think that at least some of them do a very good job at hiding it. Looking back on it I really don't see many warning signs, except a slight decrease in appetite and a stop in his rapid weight gain and growth, but I attributed that to the stress of moving.
Your vet can give you liquid calcium to give to your chameleon if you have MBD.
You can also tell if a chameleon is in the stage of MBD by looking at their lips and gently feeling their jaw bone (very gently if you suspect MBD). If the jaw bone doesn't feel firm and his lips are starting to curl, that is also a symptom of MBD. If this is noticeable, you definitely need to seek some vet care and improve your husbandry and/or habitat and lighting to stop MBD from worsening.
EDIT: It appears there may be some lip curl in that picture, but it is dark, so I'm unsure. You will be able to see it better in person.
I would definately try to get him veterinary attention asap. I wasn't "lucky" enough to get the crown lospided sign -- in fact, despite the fact that hermies legs are weak and rubbery his crown STILL remains firm and non-bendable.
Well as far as i can tell he doesnt have the lip thing. Also he's very strong still, he can hang from anywhere and climb anything he wants. Hes changing color as well and hes actually been going really nice colors compared to normal lately!
He has been eating loads as well. he will eat all the things i give him which are mainly crickets. He also gets wax worms and locust one every few weeks and he's been eating a lot of lettuce also.
The only thing that makes me believe that he must have it is the curved casque. Im definatly get him down to the vet asap though just to make sure.
Heres another picture. If anyone can tell me if he's showing any other symptoms in his body that ive missed like the curved spine or legs.
Give his casque a gentle squeeze between your fingers - preferably when he's asleep. If it gives, and bends a bit, he' sgot slight mbd probably. They can easily get a minor case when they're growing, and you'll never see major signs of it, as they recover when they slow down their growth rate. Regardless, you want to get him some more calcium and D3, as well as UVB lighting, if he's got MBD. Sometimes, when they're little, they get it for just a short time,and the casque is permanantly bent. Some of them just seem to develop a misshappen casque, but usually not like the pic above - that looks as if it was caused by MBd.
Did your vet offer any suggestions as to why the casque is bent? As Eric mentioned above, it is possible he had a slight case when he was younger. I am not sure what else would cause it, maybe injury from a fall or rubbing against a glass aquarium?
He said that it was probably from a fall. My chameleon has fallen a few times in the past 4 months and that must have been the reason. I checked back all the photos ive done and it was around 3 months ago when he got it.
It feels good to know that hes so healthy because i was very worried about him!