My Jackson Has A Foot Infection? I think...


New Member
Hi all,
I am new to this forum so bear with me. My jackson's toenail came off about two weeks ago because his cage "mesh" was too narrow. We since changed his cage into 1/4" squares. Is this still too small? I read it should be 1/2". His new cage is 2' x 2' x 3'. He seemed fine at first but I knew something was wrong when he stopped eating (eating many crickets and worms a day to none). In the past week I have taken him to the vet two times. The first vet just gave me an oral antibiotic to give to my cham. She seemed to know nothing about the animal. The second vet I took him too gave him an antibiotic shot as well as tried to take the puss out but nothing reallly came out if it supposed to look like cottage cheese! Now he seems to be getting even worse. He sleeps during the day on and off. He does not put any weight on his arm that lost the toenail and seems to be in a lot of pain. He also does not move at all unless he really has to. His toe was swollen and now his whole arm seems to be swollen. So my question is what else can I do for him? I am going to see the vet again tomorrow. He said he is going to give more anitbiotics and look at the swollen foot again. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the help! :O)


New Member
I think the only advice anyone on here can really give you is to find a qualified reptile vet as soon as you can, but you seem to have the vet situation taken care of already so you're on the right track. Some people might ask to see a picture, that could give them a bit more of an idea of what's going on exactly, but the vet remains your best bet.

hope he recovers quickly, keep us updated


New Member
Very hard to say what could have happened. It is not unusual for chameleons to get toe/foot infections when they rip a toenail and many of these infections can be ascending (spread upwards in the leg). Depending on the bacteria or infectious agent, you can have systemic problems that lead to a sick animal.
The signs your chameleons is giving you are not too encouraging but let's hope he still is able to bounce back. Ask your veterinarian about the possibility of using non-steroidal antiinflammatories (one that is commonly prescribed for reptiles is called Metacam) and antibiotics in conjunction. You might need to force feed your chameleon while the treatment is going on if he is refusing to eat.
Metacam is usually injectable but also comes in an oral form that has some effect in reptiles (chameleons are so small in general that it is hard to inject them daily). One antibiotic I have used in the past with success in mild toe infections is Sulfa liquid. It seems to help keep the infection from spreading while it treats it.
Alsways follow the advice of your Vet and don't give him this information I mentioned here as a "golden rule". I am simply suggesting some meds in case your Vet decides to give them a try.

Good luck with your visit and I do hope your chameleon gets better.


Dean Pulcini

Avid Member
when that happens I treat it like any other cut . Keep it clean and dry as possible. a Q-tip and 50% peroxide and 50% water will keep it clean then I put antibiotic cream as well. It works for me, It sounds like your guy is in deep if his whole arm is swollen .


Avid Member
What Dean probably meant was 50% percent of DILUTED (3%) H2O2 in the water mixture. Thus the total amount of H2O2 would be 1.5% by volume. The H2O2 you buy at drug stores are generally at this configuration.


Chameleon Queen
Any time I have seen/heard about a toe infection that hasn't been cleaned out properly (especially if its already spreading up the arm) the chameleon has gone down hill quickly.

Also, you can't even be sure that the antibiotic the chameleon is on is one that will kill whatever bacteria is involved without taking a sample of the pus and testing it.

I would get him back to a vet ASAp.


New Member
Sounds like you need to find a "reptile vet"
Since you don't have your location in your profile, I can do the searching for you - but here is the links for the entire US:

Go to that site, find your state, and you will see a list of reptile vets available. Hopefully you will find one close to you.

In the toe/foot infections we have seen (jacksons and melleri), there was always the "foot soak" as part of the treatment. This is where you use warm water and soak the affected foot and/or leg. This helps drain the infection. In some instances, we had to open the toe for proper drainage. The pus looked like pea soup - not cottage cheese.

What we did (keep in mind, we are not a vet):
To soak the one foot without submerging the entire cham - we use a small plastic jar or pill bottle. Add very warm water and place the foot in there while holding the cham. Be sure the affected area is submerged. Change the water often - keep it very warm (not too hot). Using a tissue or gauze swab, apply a bit of pressure on the foot - trying to expel some of the pus. Repeat the soaks and squeezing until no fluids come out.

Instead of peroxide for disinfecting, we use Betadine. A drop of betadine per 10 drops saline solution makes a good antibacterial wash for chams' skin. You can get a pint of generic Betadine for $5.

Also in our experience, oral antibiotics were administered in addition to the twice daily foot soaks. In all cases with our jacksons, the infection were caught in time for complete recovery. In the melleri, one succumbed to a foot infection (more than just one toe).

Hope you get him some proper care in time...


New Member
as soon as I brought a wc jackson home I purchased from hollad of CC, a lot of his nails fell out and a few of his toes got swollen with puss. he's living a decent life now with a few claws still on each hand, but he isn't diesel like he was when I got him, he went from eating 10 or so crix a day to maybe a couple...its sad but with a specimen like that it really doesn't make sense for me to vet him because the vets in florida are mostly idiots, I'm sure there is a specialist but said and done I'd rather spend that money on a healthy panther chameleon, esp because my husbandry seems to be quite efficient judging by the supreme health of the rest of my chams


New Member
Hey everyone thank you all for your help but I am sad to inform you that our chameleon Flash died this morning at the vets office. It was a sad, sad, day! :O( But I do thank you for all your helpful comments!


New Member
Im new to the forums here as well pal. my jacksons cham has the exact same problem. =( unfortunately i dont have money for a vet. about how much did your vet visits cost you? im really worried about my chameleon but im afraid i cant afford to help him. ='(
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