Mouth Issues and Lethargic Behavior

DUSCRAFT

New Member
My Chameleon Cayman is about a year old now and around 12" long. He has good color and seems to be pretty healthy... But a couple of months ago he started getting a swollen mouth and bloody puss on the edges of his mouth. I took him to the vet and it was diagnosed as a simple mouth infection, possibly as a result of a sharp cricket leg or something scraping his mouth. So the vet gave us antibiotics and it seemed to be getting better... Then as time went on it started back up again. So we go a different type of antibiotic and gave him all of those. Then it started looking better again (but not all the way better). Then as the weeks went on it got bad again. So now he's more antibiotics for a longer period of time. The vet think this, along with regular at home cleanings, will solve the issue. So we'll have to wait and see... My other issue is that recently his mouth has been improving but he's been very lethargic and sleeping all day and not eating very much. Where as when he looked bad a few weeks ago he was more active and eating all the time. One change I've made to his living environment was that I bought a new UV light to replace his 6 or 7 month old one. It's the exact same kind of light (a Repti-Glo 5.0 UV Fluorescent light) at the same distance from the cage with no temperature discrepancies. He started acting weird around the same time as the bulb replacement and I don't know if that has any correlation at all... Just an observation. I also take him outside almost everyday for some real sunlight and spray him with a Reptile Vitamin solution for skin moisture.

Below is a description of his living quarters.

A 29gal tank w/ vented wire mesh top

A Repti-Glo 5.0 UVB fluorescent light and offset 50W Infrared Zoo-Med Heat light (both on a stand about a foot above the cage on a light stand) and both are in the Zoo-Med Light Domes and on a timer from 8am-8pm.

A black light style 50W Moon Glow Night Light at night for a tiny amount of warmth and our viewing pleasure ha ha.

Eco Carpet for a substrate alternative.

Reptile Safe Plastic and Cloth plants and a few of the bendy vines... He doesn't eat any of this.

The Little Dripper Dripping System sits above his cage and drips into a pool we empty/clean out.

A piece of cork board "bark" for him to stand on and pet safe log.

He eats large crickets and we keep them in a separate container to gut load and then give him about 5 at a time so they don't mess with him ha ha.

If anyone has any ideas or anything please let me know. Thanks so much!

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1304464521.814081.jpg

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1304464558.528252.jpg
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
First of all, you are not going to like what I am going to say here. That is a horrible environment for your chameleon to live in. Chameleons are not made to live in fish tanks. That is one major change you need to make immediately. They like to be tall and high. he should be caged in preferably a 24 X 24 X48 screen enclosure. What are your cage temps, humidity?. No lights at night at all should be used. What supplements are you using to dust your feeders with? You should not be spraying him with vitamins. It is just all wrong, sorry.
 

melvbrooke

New Member
Oh wow....you need to make It look like this.

Buying a reptibreeze is the expensive part. The plants were total of 30 dollars. The branches were free...from my yard. Tossed them into my oven for half an hour.

That fishtank looks like you are keeping a leopard gecko.
 

Attachments

DUSCRAFT

New Member
His cage temps are between 70-80° and I use Fluker's Cricket Quencher and Fluker's High Calcium Cricket Diet. The humidity is usually around 40-50%.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
My Chameleon Cayman is about a year old now and around 12" long. He has good color and seems to be pretty healthy... But a couple of months ago he started getting a swollen mouth and bloody puss on the edges of his mouth. I took him to the vet and it was diagnosed as a simple mouth infection, possibly as a result of a sharp cricket leg or something scraping his mouth. So the vet gave us antibiotics and it seemed to be getting better... Then as time went on it started back up again. So we go a different type of antibiotic and gave him all of those. Then it started looking better again (but not all the way better). Then as the weeks went on it got bad again. So now he's more antibiotics for a longer period of time. The vet think this, along with regular at home cleanings, will solve the issue. So we'll have to wait and see... My other issue is that recently his mouth has been improving but he's been very lethargic and sleeping all day and not eating very much. Where as when he looked bad a few weeks ago he was more active and eating all the time. One change I've made to his living environment was that I bought a new UV light to replace his 6 or 7 month old one. It's the exact same kind of light (a Repti-Glo 5.0 UV Fluorescent light) at the same distance from the cage with no temperature discrepancies. He started acting weird around the same time as the bulb replacement and I don't know if that has any correlation at all... Just an observation. I also take him outside almost everyday for some real sunlight and spray him with a Reptile Vitamin solution for skin moisture.

Below is a description of his living quarters.

A 29gal tank w/ vented wire mesh top

A Repti-Glo 5.0 UVB fluorescent light and offset 50W Infrared Zoo-Med Heat light (both on a stand about a foot above the cage on a light stand) and both are in the Zoo-Med Light Domes and on a timer from 8am-8pm.

A black light style 50W Moon Glow Night Light at night for a tiny amount of warmth and our viewing pleasure ha ha.

Eco Carpet for a substrate alternative.

Reptile Safe Plastic and Cloth plants and a few of the bendy vines... He doesn't eat any of this.

The Little Dripper Dripping System sits above his cage and drips into a pool we empty/clean out.

A piece of cork board "bark" for him to stand on and pet safe log.

He eats large crickets and we keep them in a separate container to gut load and then give him about 5 at a time so they don't mess with him ha ha.

If anyone has any ideas or anything please let me know. Thanks so much!

View attachment 35287

View attachment 35288
In addition to the basic husbandry problems already described, you should know that stomatitis (mouth rot) or temporal gland infections (was the original infection at the corner of his mouth? That's where the temporal gland is and jax often get infections there) are hard to get rid of completely. Unless the pocket of infection is completely opened up and cleared out in addition to systemic antibiotics that are specific to the bacteria causing the infection, it is easy for smaller abscesses to form in the jaw, the cheek, or the throat. And, getting over all the treatment is that much harder if your cham is not in perfect shape. Your jax is dealing with a lot of issues, not just the infection. Wish we'd known about his setup sooner!
 

DUSCRAFT

New Member
Also, I use to keep him in a Repti-Breeze tall cage and he'd rip out his nails on the mesh. That's why I got the fish container. I still have the Repti-Breeze enclosure... He was just getting sort of big for it.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
His cage temps are between 70-80° and I use Fluker's Cricket Quencher and Fluker's High Calcium Cricket Diet. The humidity is usually around 40-50%.
Cage temps need to drop significantly at night.
NO lights or heat at night unless your room drops below 60F. You are cooking him and he can't sleep.
Humidity level isn't high enough.
The Fluker's cricket stuff isn't great...use your own fresh leafy greens, chunks of fruit (I like oranges because the vitamin C helps against temporal gland infections), fortified cereal grains, bee pollen.
Tanks don't usually work well for chams unless you are in a very cold dry area and it is ventilated very well. Tanks don't provide good air exchange and tend to be too warm and stagnant.
He needs a lot more variety in feeder insects. Just one type is going to cause deficiencies.
 

DUSCRAFT

New Member
This set up is pretty new actually and he use to be very active in it for about a month before he started acting like he is. My wife is a dental hygienist and she (as well as the vet) have cleaned the glands of puss a few times when they start to swell. We have him on a stronger antibiotic that we administer every 72 hours via arm injections and we have him on this for a longer period of time than previous times. We try super hard to do everything right and usually on these forums (excluding the members of this forum) everyone is a totally @$$hole to me because I have questions... This little guy is part of my family now and I've invested at least $500 on vet bills alone for him and he was a surprise wedding gift we weren't expecting ha ha. So I've done a lot of research but it seems that everyone has different opinions on how to raise these little guys and I just want to do right by him. I appreciate everyone for chiming in to help and not being pretentious dicks about my issues ha ha.
 

nickc

New Member
Definitely get him back into the reptibreeze, losing their nails is something that can't always be prevented. Also provide some more cover in the form of live plants this will help to boost the humidity levels. Live plants hold a higher humidity than fake when provided with daily mistings.
 

Texas Ranger

Avid Member
We care about your cham more than you think. And you being in Texas as am I. I think the screen cage may solve more of your problems then you think. Maybe the strong meds are messing with him. My panther was on meds one time and he did not do well on them. He turned solid black and was acting strange. Maybe think about a few changes in your care. And a different med. All natural or a brake from them. But im no vet. This is just my 2 cents.
 

DUSCRAFT

New Member
Thanks so much you guys! It really means a lot! What sort of plant should I use that won't kill him ha ha? Also, he's not acting too strange... Just sleeping a lot and not eating as much. But since we started the new antibiotics a few days ago his mouth is already looking better finally ha ha. So that seems to be working.
 

Kenidi

New Member
Thanks so much you guys! It really means a lot! What sort of plant should I use that won't kill him ha ha? Also, he's not acting too strange... Just sleeping a lot and not eating as much. But since we started the new antibiotics a few days ago his mouth is already looking better finally ha ha. So that seems to be working.
I personally use scheflera arboricola and pothos, but there is a great thread on plants in the forum, under enclosures. I believe it's a sticky, and near the top of the list
 

nickc

New Member
Safe plants to use are ficus (ficus benjamina) , pothos vines, umbrella plant (Schefflera Arboricola), and hibiscus. I currently use the first three in my cage for my veiled but I have read a lot that many chameleons enjoy eating hibiscus. Just make sure to use plants that are pesticide free and no fertilizer in the soil.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
You said that he was getting too big for the Reptibreeze? What size was it? How could it be smaller than a 29 gallon fish tank? Your chameleon's health and happiness are due in part do his habitat. Make the changes everyone has told you about and you will hopefully see some significant changes in your chameleons demeanor. We are all on this forum because we share a common love for these amazing animals including yours!! The most common plants used are Ficus, pothos and Shefflera (aka arboricola, or dwarf umbrella plant). They all do pretty well indoors. Chameleons like to have cover, the more plants the better and lots of paths and walkways. Put the new cage up high. The higher the better.
 

DUSCRAFT

New Member
Thanks again to everyone! I'm currently looking online for a large Repti-Breeze because the city I live in isn't small but doesn't have many options for exotic pet shops ha ha. I'm currently looking for a plant too.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks again to everyone! I'm currently looking online for a large Repti-Breeze because the city I live in isn't small but doesn't have many options for exotic pet shops ha ha. I'm currently looking for a plant too.
you can order the cages online at LLL Reptiles.
 
Top Bottom