My chameleon has sores on his feet...reason/solution?

jdub0928

New Member
Hi,

I have had a male Panther Chameleon named Mo, for almost a year now (he is 2.5 years old or so). I live in Santa Cruz, CA. A hot day here is not much more than 75 degrees, cold days get down into the mid 30s...average in the 60s....also really high humidity (about 60% +).

He lives in an enclosure 2'x2'x4', with a ReptiSun 5.0 tube and a ceramic heat bulb. There are vines (1/2" in diameter) for him to crawl on to get to all the areas of his cage, an umbrella plant, and a ficus. The basking temperature is about 75 degrees and the rest of the cage is around 70 degrees most days. At night the temperature gets down to about 55-60 degrees.


A few days ago I noticed that Mo has sores on the bottoms of his front feet. They are a dark red, and right in the middle of his feet....I also noticed smaller sores around his nails on the same feet.

He shed a few weeks ago, and it took him almost three weeks to completely shed his skin. His coloration doesn't seem to be as bright as it usually is either.

I have been having some trouble keeping his temps and humidity constant lately because of widely varying weather and days of rain at a time..Are these two problems related at all?

Regardless, what can I do to help Mo heal faster? What should I do to prevent the sores from coming back?

Thanks for any help you can give!
 

facelesdoll

New Member
i would personally try to disinfect them and put an ointment on them every day. after a few days if there were no upsides id take them to a vet. i do not suggest doing any of this aside from taking it to a vet.
 

Texas Panther Man

New Member
Are they red spots or are they open sores? If they are just red spots. I'd start by cleaning them like faceless said. Then I'd start applying an antifungal cream on the soles of his feet. Sounds like he's basically got foot fungus, aka athletes foot. Its from the vines staying wet constantly and his feet not drying out completely after mistings or rain. From the description of his basking temps I'd say you need to up his basking bulb wattage until you can get his basking spot to at least 82-83 degrees. I hope your using a temp gauge with a probe because if not then your just guessing at the acual temp.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Are they red spots or are they open sores? If they are just red spots. I'd start by cleaning them like faceless said. Then I'd start applying an antifungal cream on the soles of his feet. Sounds like he's basically got foot fungus, aka athletes foot. Its from the vines staying wet constantly and his feet not drying out completely after mistings or rain. From the description of his basking temps I'd say you need to up his basking bulb wattage until you can get his basking spot to at least 82-83 degrees. I hope your using a temp gauge with a probe because if not then your just guessing at the acual temp.
You should also thoroughly scrub all his branches to get rid of any bacteria or molds that are present. Then, if the cage can dry out as panther man suggested they should stay cleaner. Still, its a good idea to scrub them periodically anyway. Many chams "mark" their travel paths by rubbing their vent on them. That means a small amount of urates or feces gets spread on them too.
 

Texas Panther Man

New Member
You should also thoroughly scrub all his branches to get rid of any bacteria or molds that are present. Then, if the cage can dry out as panther man suggested they should stay cleaner. Still, its a good idea to scrub them periodically anyway. Many chams "mark" their travel paths by rubbing their vent on them. That means a small amount of urates or feces gets spread on them too.
Good idea Carlton i totally forgot about cleaning up the vines.
 

Jimturner

Established Member
One of my mellers, Zippo, had foot problems when i first got it. Alot of these issues are moisture related. Does your cage dry well enough between mistings? Is it constantly wet from a dripper or somthing? Also the type of fake vines used makes a difference... For example some, like the exo-terra, will absorb water and stay wet for a long time while others do not and the surface dries quickly. I changed my husbandry and allowed the cage more drying time and the problem cleared up for me. I also used a bit of poly-sporin ointment on Zippos foot for a few days and that seemed to help speed the healing up as well. Try these ideas out but if the problem persists I would see a vet. Cheers!
 

jdub0928

New Member
Thanks for your reply!

Are they red spots or are they open sores? .................Its from the vines staying wet constantly and his feet not drying out completely after mistings or rain........From the description of his basking temps I'd say you need to up his basking bulb wattage until you can get his basking spot to at least 82-83 degrees. I hope your using a temp gauge with a probe because if not then your just guessing at the acual temp.

What would you suggest I do if they are sores? It looks like the red parts on the middle of his foot are sores, but the ones near his claws are just spots....does that mean I have two different problems to tackle? Should one be done before the other?

It is sounding like his cage is too wet, so I will cut back on mistings..

I have two different digital thermometer with probes.
 
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jdub0928

New Member
Also the type of fake vines used makes a difference... For example some, like the exo-terra, will absorb water and stay wet for a long time while others do not and the surface dries quickly. I changed my husbandry and allowed the cage more drying time and the problem cleared up for me. I also used a bit of poly-sporin ointment on Zippos foot for a few days and that seemed to help speed the healing up as well. Try these ideas out but if the problem persists I would see a vet. Cheers!

What is the best type of fake vine to use, or a brand that absorbs less water? I think I have Exo-terra ones right now.... How often did you apply poly-sporin? Do you happen to know if using a hydrogen peroxide solution would be bad/good for him? Thanks!
 

sdheli420

Established Member
also to add..not like you dont know what yer dooing, but the ceramic heat fixture..really dood..grab a good basking bulb..(could be one reason of the over-moisture..im pretty confident in the others assumption that it may be too moist)..but otherwise clean the branches and vines..i have bio vines, they really are all basically the same its a mixture of pvc and epp plastics, they stay pretty dry and dont soak much up but can harvest bacteria..so if anything just do alot of cleanings and clean his feets with a disinfectant, (maybe even a lil peroxide on a que tip and just tap the bads spots he has)..ive seen the prob before its healed easily if caught in time ( i live in sandiego so i know what you mean about the odd weather rite now..im in venice at the mo, and its raining right now and its pretty chilly)..good luck, on yer lil buddy!
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Hi,

...a ReptiSun 5.0 tube and a ceramic heat bulb.

There are vines (1/2" in diameter)

The basking temperature is about 75 degrees and the rest of the cage is around 70 degrees most days.
At night the temperature gets down to about 55-60 degrees.

...sores on the bottoms of his front feet.

...what can I do to help Mo heal faster?

What should I do to prevent the sores from coming back?
Howdy Jdub,

What you are describing sounds like pressure/friction sores that are usually related to excessive moisture on rough surfaces. Varying the diameter of the branches can also be helpful. You may want to move-up from the 1/2" to the ~3/4" diameter vines too.

One way to help protect the sores while they are healing is to use "New Skin". Coat the sores with this "antiseptic paint" and that will help them heal.
http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/catalog/s...8&navAction=push&navCount=1&no_new_crumb=true

As has been mentioned, for daytime heat and visible light, change the ceramic heater to a ~60W FLOOD light (Philips Halogena from Home Depot works ok). Position it above the basking zone at about 8"-12" away from his skin. Be careful to make sure that skin temp levels are kept within ~85-90F. Stick the back of your hand there and it should feel just a bit warm. Infrared temp guns work well for checking skin temps.
 

Jimturner

Established Member
Maybe just look at how your vines are set up and see if they are in fact staying wet... then rearrange them if you have to. Just so they aren't sitting directly under a mist nozzle or a dripper, continually soaking. I have a large mix of vines including the exo-terra spread out through several cages so I don't really think the brand matters as much as the placement of them. Make sure the vines and his feet get time to dry out. To apply the poly-sporin I squeezed a little on a q-tip and spread it thinly on the problem foot after lights out so it would have a chance to stay there for a while. Cheers!
 

sdheli420

Established Member
Maybe just look at how your vines are set up and see if they are in fact staying wet... then rearrange them if you have to. Just so they aren't sitting directly under a mist nozzle or a dripper, continually soaking. I have a large mix of vines including the exo-terra spread out through several cages so I don't really think the brand matters as much as the placement of them. Make sure the vines and his feet get time to dry out. To apply the poly-sporin I squeezed a little on a q-tip and spread it thinly on the problem foot after lights out so it would have a chance to stay there for a while. Cheers!
exactly..maybe even just changing the position of the basking/climbing branches/vines will help mend the issue..
 

RenVet

New Member
Great recommendations here from the forum members. I'll just add this. Before you place the antimicrobial/ antifungal ointment (triple AB ointment, or neosporin would do just fine), I would disinfect the affected areas first.

A great, cheap, and low risk for reactions cleaning agent is Povidone Iodine (Betadine). Its an old remedy, but in my opinion, still one of the best! Generously soak a a few cotton balls (or better yet, use Gauze pads, buy from pharmacy) with PI, disinfect his woulds well, removing any debris, crusting, discharge, etc. Don't be shy with the amount of disinfectant (betadine) you use. You can soak up the affected areas pretty well. Its a very safe solution. Rinse them afterwards with warm water. Dry them up real good and place the topical antibiotic ointment. Repeat for 5-7 days.

In addition to taking some of the husbandry recommendations already listed- Clean/ disinfect cage, watch moisture, keep dry in-between mistings, etc, and your little fella should be on his way.

Dr Ren (Vet)
 

jdub0928

New Member
Thanks for all the tips everyone!

I am going to clean everything in his cage, as well as get some new larger diameter vines and a different basking bulb.

I think I have a problem with air circulation more than the vine placement so I am going to try a fan, along with looking at where the vines are.

...Oh and get the different ointments and start treatment right away.


Thanks again for all your help, I'll let you know how he's doing in a week or so.
 
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