My Veiled male isn't doing great

Barhdsz

New Member
Hello everyone,

I wanted to see if I could get some thoughts/advice. I have a male veiled chameleon named Dexter. He is 5 years old, and I’ve had him since he was 6 months old. Over the last few months, I noticed he has slowed down quite a bit. I built a tall mesh cage for him when I got him and had live plants all throughout, as well as a fake tree for him to bask on.

Well I came home a few days ago and found him barely hanging on to the vine/tree. He was firmly griping with one front leg and one back leg. Because of his age, I was afraid he would fall while I was at work, so I decided to make his cage more senior friendly.

I made it smaller, which was extremely hard to maintain humidity, especially since I didn't have enough room for all of my plants. I noticed he started to become dehydrated quickly. He stopped eating, and wouldn’t drink as much per usual. His poop was orange, and his eyes began to sink in, so I called the local exotic vet. She said because of his age and the adjustments I made, she thinks it may just be dehydration and recommended to try a glass enclosure for a few days to see if he improves.

I did as she advised. I got a 50lbs glass tank, placed my live plants back in there: a giant fern, Polka dot plant, and a pothos. She told me to do everything I could to keep humidity at least 80%, as senior chameleons depend on it, and mist mist mist!

After some kinks and adjustments, I have the tank at the perfect temp and humidity (currently at 84%) However, the poor little guy stopped drinking completely, stopped eating and has become pale. Last night he was so light, I thought he was going to pass throughout the night. Fortunately I woke up to him with a little bit of color again, but still no improvement on activity.

I’ve been attempting to syringe at lease 2-3ccs of water the last two days, and today I mashed up a silk worm to try to get some food in him. However, he would just close his eyes and go limp in my hands.

He has become extremely lethargic and looks like he's just giving up. He's not fiesty as he used to be. He won't even hold on to anything anymore and made a spot on the fern to lay comfortably. Sometimes I’ll see that his eyes are closed for most of the day.

I’m calling the exotic vet again tomorrow to see if she'll actually see him. A friend of mine thinks this is just the end of his life. I want to make sure he's comfortable until he goes if that is the case. Do you guys think this is old age? I sent pics to the vet, and said from what she could tell, there were no signs of gout or MDB, but of course it's hard to tell through pics. I don't want to stress him, and I don't want him to suffer either…

Thanks for the advice.
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PoseidonTheChameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
He does have thermal burns, I don't know what else could be wrong so I need you to fill this out asap.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

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Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Be careful if you are giving him food and water with a syringe that you don't put too much in at a time so he has time to swallow and that you also get it far enough back in his mouth that he doesn't aspirate it. If he would take the water from a slow drip (one or two drops per second) it would be better and I would try slipping an insect IN BETWEEN HIS TEETH as he's drinking and see if he'll take it. It should be less stressful.

How are you supplementing. Please be specific...brands no how often for each and do they continue phos, D3 or prEformed vitamin A.
 

Barhdsz

New Member
Sorry for the late reply. I have an appointment with the vet at 4pm today. Here is some information just for research if anyone else comes across my same situation. I'll let you guys know what she says...


Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled male. 5 years old, had him for 4.5 years
  • Handling - Very rarely. Only if absolutely needed.
  • Feeding - Usually crickets or mealworms. About 5 crickets or so every two days. If he ate all 5 crickets in one day, and the next day he was actively hunting, then I would put a couple more crickets in there. (His appetite now is nonexistent) I gutload with carrots, lettuce, water pads, and the flukes cricket quencher and food.
  • Supplements - repticalcium and herpedivite. Usually alternating between the two with a break in between.
  • Watering - I have a water dripper, an automatic mister and a fogger at the base (on low.) The automatic mister I have set every hour for for 60 seconds to keep the humidity at least 80%
  • Fecal Description - His last poop was on Thursday and it was orange. Not too dark orange, but enough to make me worry about dehydration.
  • History - He was an active little guy. Super territorial when I would clean his cage and his water. Lol. But now his fiesty personality is gone, so I know he's not feeling good at all.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Initially a mesh cage. I can't remember the exact dimensions, but it was a decent size until I moved the base up so he wouldn't fall. It jacked up the humidity and temps, then the vet recommended a glass terrarium to keep the humidity up. Now it is 50lb glass tank.
  • Lighting - I have an elongated UVB bulb across the tank with a heat lamp that's just on one side for his basking.
  • Temperature - His bask area is from 85-95, cool area is from 75-85. I have a digital thermometer on each side of the tank to monitor the hot bask and cool bask.
  • Humidity - I'll admit the glass tank has been amazing to keep the humidity between 80-85%.
  • Plants - Pothos, Polka dot plant and a large fern.
  • Placement - Cage is located in our dining room/library area. We rarely go in there, so it's the best place in the house to not be bothered. The tank sits roughly 4 ft above ground.
  • Location - Southern United States
 

Barhdsz

New Member
I'm currently at work, but I leave in an hour to go grab him to take him. When I get back after his vet I'll post the pics.
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
So fill out all the questions please.

But no not old age. I will be blunt, not meant to be mean. He has MBD, sunken eyes, and what appears to be healed burns, and new burns. He looks like he has just returned from war.
You will need to adjust your husbandry. The vet should cover this but he will likely need CA drops or injections. DO NOT FORCE FEED OR HYDRATE. Make sure his sleeping area is below 65f and get a fogger, or mist if that is all you have. He needs 100% humidity and cool temps at night. This will prevent dehydration.
Make a hospital cage so he cant fall. His bones will be fragile. He has plenty of weight do not worry about food for now. He will be fine even for a couple of weeks food wise.
They can live 9-10 years so 5 is not old, but he is far along so recovery may be slow. With care he can likely turn around, Though the damage from MBD and burns will remain.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll be putting my feedback in red. There are several things that need to be changed and it may make a big difference for your guy. I won’t lie...I’m surprised he hasn’t had any problems until now. So, let’s help your guy get better and give him a few more years. :)
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled male. 5 years old, had him for 4.5 years
  • Handling - Very rarely. Only if absolutely needed.
  • Feeding - Usually crickets or mealworms. About 5 crickets or so every two days. If he ate all 5 crickets in one day, and the next day he was actively hunting, then I would put a couple more crickets in there. (His appetite now is nonexistent) I gutload with carrots, lettuce, water pads, and the flukes cricket quencher and food. Attaching feeder and gutloading sheets for you.
  • Supplements - repticalcium and herpedivite. Usually alternating between the two with a break in between. You should be using the Repticalcium without D3 at every feeding except one per week. The Herptevite should be used one feeding every other week. Then you need to add a phosphorus free calcium with D3 one feeding every other week (alternate with the multivitamin). If he has not been getting any D3, that is not good and he most likely does have mbd, which I suspect from his appearance. If he has been getting too much D3, that can be equally as bad as it is fat soluble and can build up to toxic levels. Same with some of the vitamins that are in the Herptevite.
  • Watering - I have a water dripper, an automatic mister and a fogger at the base (on low.) The automatic mister I have set every hour for for 60 seconds to keep the humidity at least 80% Too much water. You only need to mist/spray 2-3 times daily for at least 2 minutes. Use of a dripper for 15-20 minutes instead of a mid day misting can be done. Fogged should only be used at night when temps are low.
  • Fecal Description - His last poop was on Thursday and it was orange. Not too dark orange, but enough to make me worry about dehydration. If he’s not feeling well, he won’t want to drink much. I always believe that having a fecal check for parasites is basic and should be done.
  • History - He was an active little guy. Super territorial when I would clean his cage and his water. Lol. But now his fiesty personality is gone, so I know he's not feeling good at all.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Initially a mesh cage. I can't remember the exact dimensions, but it was a decent size until I moved the base up so he wouldn't fall. It jacked up the humidity and temps, then the vet recommended a glass terrarium to keep the humidity up. Now it is 50lb glass tank. What kind of glass tank? Like an aquarium or like an Exo Terra?
  • Lighting - I have an elongated UVB bulb across the tank with a heat lamp that's just on one side for his basking. Do you know if your uvb is a T8 or T5? What is the strength of the uvb bulb? When was it changed last? How far away is basking area?
  • Temperature - His bask area is from 85-95, cool area is from 75-85. I have a digital thermometer on each side of the tank to monitor the hot bask and cool bask. Temps are too high. Basking shouldn’t exceed 82-85 max for a male, and of course will be lower in cool area too. At night a temp drop is best and veiled’s can handle as low as 50’s to 60’s.
  • Humidity - I'll admit the glass tank has been amazing to keep the humidity between 80-85%. Much too high! Needs to be between 30-50% during the day. At night when temps are cool, 80-85% is great.
  • Plants - Pothos, Polka dot plant and a large fern.
  • Placement - Cage is located in our dining room/library area. We rarely go in there, so it's the best place in the house to not be bothered. The tank sits roughly 4 ft above ground.
  • Location - Southern United States
So, I know you’ve been doing things your way for 4 1/2 years and he’s appeared fine to you. I also understand following vet’s advice. However, I think things may be catching up with him and to be able to keep him for at least a few more years, you’ll need to make corrections. Also, as I’ve learned first hand and witnessed here many times over, not all vets have good experience or adequate knowledge about chameleons.
If you’d like the most accurate and up to date info on all things related to keeping chameleons, do make sure to check out https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/. The site is an absolute wealth of information.
Of course the forum is here to provide you with more personalized help, answer whatever questions you may have and just be supportive and helpful.

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Barhdsz

New Member
Update: Whew. Not going to lie, as I read some of your posts while I was at work, I felt sick to my stomach. I felt like the crappiest human being, and that I was the cause of my chameleon's fate.

I honestly arrived at the vet clinic in tears. The Veterinarian who was assigned to my case has been a hobbyist reptile and amphibian collector for over 20 years. She also has 10 years of experience with captive and wild avians. She was the one who gave me advice over the week to try to improve my cham's overall wellness.

She did a thorough questionnaire with me. The burns were old by the way. I forgot to mention when I first built the cage when I got him, he rubbed his spines off at the top of the mesh cage because I had his tree too tall.

I told her how I posted on this forum to get some advice over the weekend to keep my mind at ease until he could be seen. She said the burns on his spine were old. Not current. Nothing of concern. My humidity and temps were perfect as instructed. She said he was dehydrated, but not at bad as she imagined. Me carefully syringing him and doing the high humidity as she instructed must have really helped.

His eyes were closed the entire time she questioned me. She then picked him up and examined him. She pressed on his belly, and his eyes immediately opened and he tried to squirm away.

She then said, "I think it's his liver. It feels large. I'm going to get an xray and draw some labs. I'll be back."

She came back and asked me to follow her to the back. She pulled up the xrays and said she was honestly impressed and thrilled by his condition. No signs of MBD and lungs were fully clear. I laughed because I told her someone told me on this forum it was MDB and I didn't have my supplements up to par. She rolled her eyes and said, "They need to remember one word: Genetics. That's awesome someone got their cham to live to 9 years old. It's possible! But some people get chams that have poor genes. Chams can die with an "old age" at 5. Some chams can die with an "old age" at 10. Some dogs can live at an "old age" at 16, while some dogs can live at an "old age" at 9. It all depends on genetics. Yeah, the proper husbandry can help, and the supplements can prevent some things, but in this case, you did nothing wrong. You couldn't have prevented this."

Turns out he had a large liver mass. Inoperable. That's why he deteriorated so quickly over just one week. She said he probably could have lived until 9 if it weren't for the cancer. But she told me to be proud of myself, especially since he's the only reptile I ever had. She could tell he was loved and taken care of.

She told me to upload my xrays for you all, and said hopefully we all can learn something from this - especially if someone unfortunately falls into my shoes.

I decided to have him put to sleep so he didn't suffer anymore. We buried him in our flower garden in our backyard. He was an amazing little guy. He had his mean moments, but overall a joy to have. My husband and I miss him deeply.

Thank you all for the advice. Take care.



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Ramrod

Chameleon Enthusiast
Update: Whew. Not going to lie, as I read some of your posts while I was at work, I felt sick to my stomach. I felt like the crappiest human being, and that I was the cause of my chameleon's fate.

I honestly arrived at the vet clinic in tears. The Veterinarian who was assigned to my case has been a hobbyist reptile and amphibian collector for over 20 years. She also has 10 years of experience with captive and wild avians. She was the one who gave me advice over the week to try to improve my cham's overall wellness.

She did a thorough questionnaire with me. The burns were old by the way. I forgot to mention when I first built the cage when I got him, he rubbed his spines off at the top of the mesh cage because I had his tree too tall.

I told her how I posted on this forum to get some advice over the weekend to keep my mind at ease until he could be seen. She said the burns on his spine were old. Not current. Nothing of concern. My humidity and temps were perfect as instructed. She said he was dehydrated, but not at bad as she imagined. Me carefully syringing him and doing the high humidity as she instructed must have really helped.

His eyes were closed the entire time she questioned me. She then picked him up and examined him. She pressed on his belly, and his eyes immediately opened and he tried to squirm away.

She then said, "I think it's his liver. It feels large. I'm going to get an xray and draw some labs. I'll be back."

She came back and asked me to follow her to the back. She pulled up the xrays and said she was honestly impressed and thrilled by his condition. No signs of MBD and lungs were fully clear. I laughed because I told her someone told me on this forum it was MDB and I didn't have my supplements up to par. She rolled her eyes and said, "They need to remember one word: Genetics. That's awesome someone got their cham to live to 9 years old. It's possible! But some people get chams that have poor genes. Chams can die with an "old age" at 5. Some chams can die with an "old age" at 10. Some dogs can live at an "old age" at 16, while some dogs can live at an "old age" at 9. It all depends on genetics. Yeah, the proper husbandry can help, and the supplements can prevent some things, but in this case, you did nothing wrong. You couldn't have prevented this."

Turns out he had a large liver mass. Inoperable. That's why he deteriorated so quickly over just one week. She said he probably could have lived until 9 if it weren't for the cancer. But she told me to be proud of myself, especially since he's the only reptile I ever had. She could tell he was loved and taken care of.

She told me to upload my xrays for you all, and said hopefully we all can learn something from this - especially if someone unfortunately falls into my shoes.

I decided to have him put to sleep so he didn't suffer anymore. We buried him in our flower garden in our backyard. He was an amazing little guy. He had his mean moments, but overall a joy to have. My husband and I miss him deeply.

Thank you all for the advice. Take care.



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Thanks for sharing and hope you have peace of mind.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m so very sorry that he was so sick. I’m sure it was heartbreaking but you made a good decision to ease his suffering. I’ve no doubt that you’ll keep him in your heart always.
I’m also sorry that my feedback caused you distress. It’s obvious you loved him very much and did all that you believed was right and there is no fault or blame there. Just the fact that you were prompt in getting him to a vet proves your devotion to doing everything you could for him. It wasn’t and never is my intent to make anyone feel bad. My goal is to help chameleons and their keepers with education and support so that chameleon and keeper will have many long healthy and happy years together.
Again, I’m so very sorry that you lost him. 💗
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am sorry for you loss. I did say MBD as in the pic it presented. That is why the vet is needed. Knowing the burns were old explains alot it was some of this deformity that looked off.
I agree with the vet you should be proud. What ever it had been you did get him to this point.
Remember we are not professionals we can only go by what we see in a pick. I am very sorry for your loss, but don't give up on us. Remember the High humidity part you said helped.
I am very sorry if we made you feel unnecessarily bad. It is hard sometimes to get to the point. I believe the people that come to ask questions are good animal owners, even if everything was wrong. At least they cared enough too search for answers. I am sure you are a good owner.
 
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