New cham injured and hiding...a lot

Tarzanfam

New Member
Hello! Thanks for allowing me to join! Our new veiled, Tarzan, is just over a year (we think) and is a beautiful big guy for his species. He was bred by a breeder (so not purchased from a big box pet store) and we got him from a small local shop here in Wisconsin about 2 weeks before Christmas. He is my second Cham, my kids first. I had one about 20 years ago who was just the sweetest guy. Tarzan is either in pain or struggling to adapt or is just a bit cranky.

Tarzan's back left leg started swelling severely at the knee a few days after we brought him home and he wasn't gripping much at all. I fear he may have been injured in transit or perhaps it is an injury they just chose not to disclose to us. He is typically a bit feisty to get out of his enclosure (a 2x2x4, properly lit, well misted and fun to climb mesh cage home for him with a mix of live and artificial plants in the corner of our kitchen), but is quite happy once he is out. We coax him slowly each day as to earn his trust. In just 6 weeks here, he has gotten comfortable enough to hang with all three of my kids (age 8, 6 and 6) and I can even leave him with them once he settles. It's just getting him out that is a bit of a game of patience. He has even eaten two hornworms outside of his enclosure, so generally I feel like he is adapting pretty well. That said, we have days where he is so cranky that we cannot even put our hands in his enclosure. He will scurry so fast to the bottom, I fear he will get hurt. Over the past two days though, he has stopped basking and is now just hiding in his favourite sleeping spot ALL DAY LONG. He is NOT sleeping, just hiding. I have been weighing him occasionally with my kitchen scale because after some meds from our vet upset his tummy, I wanted to make sure I was keeping an eye out and I don't always see his poops right away because his favourite place to poop is in one of the live plant pots! Anyhow, he has not dropped weight and I do catch him drinking most days or at least over where his constant drip is, so I think food and drink wise he is good (he is very picky and only accepts hornworms, crickets, and wax worms which he only gets occasionally for a treat. We always have crickets roaming his cage so he can hunt and I offer him hornworms and veggies every day, but the hornworms almost always escape from his dish and he almost never eats the veggies unless the hornworm is attached to it, so if anyone has a suggestion for a bowl that actually keeps hornworms in, I am listening!). Our vet has tried pain meds with an anti-inflammatory, as well as a course of liquid antibiotics. She has now reached out to other vets who have suggested next steps would be shots of antibiotics and/or xrays. He is gripping strongly again with this leg and does allow me to touch it as long as it is not during the transition out of or into his cage or while he is in his cage, which leads me to believe he is not super painful, but I have not caught him basking for a few days now and it worries me. Not sure whether I should go ahead with more vet care or let him try to heal on his own for a while. Not sure whether he is just a bit cranky or whether this is a pain behaviour. My last cham was simply a joy. I raised him from the size of a quarter and he went everywhere with me. With Tarzan, I am just not quite sure how to read his behaviours (aside from the mouth open...I KNOW what that means...hahaha). Does this sound like a pain I should be getting vet help with or just a choice he is making to be more secluded from us? We really want to socialize him, and as I said, he does enjoy being out. His colour tells us that! I wonder if the kitchen is the problem. I fear the only other place to put his palace is in our finished basement, and it is a tad colder down there. Just trying to weigh all of the possibilities and thought some people here may have useful thoughts. Thanks so much for your consideration!

Pic of Tarzan on the Ficus tree near his enclosure. He likes to hang out there when he is feeling adventurous. I hope he starts feeling that way again soon.
 

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aleagueofherown

Established Member
Hello! Tarzan looks so neat. I know you wrote a lot of information, but it is best if you fill out the husbandry form so we have all of the information organized, as well as any additional information you didn't originally provide. To me, swelling would normally indicate MBD or gout, but since you've been to the vet it is hard to say. Also - maybe the frequent handling is causing him stress that you don't notice through outward body language?

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.

--------------

Please Note:

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

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. Sorry that your big guy isn’t doing so great. While you provided a lot of information, unfortunately in order to get any idea of possible problems you’ll need to provide more. If you could answer the following questions and provide more pics, including of his entire enclosure (including lights) it will give a better idea of what may be going on.

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.

--------------

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

Kamikaze Chameleon

Avid Member
Hello and welcome to the forums! You have a gorgeous cham there! Yeah go ahead an filll out the form and we can get a better idea of what's going on. Sounds to me like he might still adjusting but the swelling and leg issue is absolutely a cause of concern and would be smart to get xrays and bloodwork done. Make sure you have PLENTY of bushy hiding places and its best to only have live plants with veileds as any else is an impaction hazard. I look forward to seeing more of Tarzan!

🍻
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would just like to add that he doesn’t need any vegges to eat or have any fake plants in his cage. If the basement has less traffic, move him there (veileds love a good nighttime temp drop anyway)!
 

Tarzanfam

New Member
Hello! Tarzan looks so neat. I know you wrote a lot of information, but it is best if you fill out the husbandry form so we have all of the information organized, as well as any additional information you didn't originally provide. To me, swelling would normally indicate MBD or gout, but since you've been to the vet it is hard to say. Also - maybe the frequent handling is causing him stress that you don't notice through outward body language?

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.

--------------

Please Note:

  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
Thank you! Here is the information you requested. Rookie mistake.

MY CHAMELEON: Male Veiled. Was told he is about a year old. Had him 6 weeks.
HANDLING: He comes out most days, unless he is an unwilling participant. He shows us what he wants, and we respect that. The transition from cage to hand is a challenge, but with patience we can usually manage it. He responds very well to a gloved hand actually vs skin.
FEEDING: He is very picky. He refuses most things, but we have convinced him to take hornworms and crickets. He has also taken wax worms, but those we have only tried once, as a treat. He will not eat superworms. He will not eat mealworms. He ate one larger dubia, but then refused others and definitely won't eat smaller ones. He is offered one or two hornworms a day depending on size, and has free ranging large crickets always.
SUPPLEMENTS: I dust every hornworm with Flukers calcium no D, with the exception of Saturday, when I give him the Reptivit vitamins instead. I do dust his crickets as well, but depending on how long they roam before he eats them, I can't be sure how much he gets on them. He is SUPER timid about us putting our hands in his house, so he does not actively come to eat when we put food in. He waits quite a while. I would love to modify this behaviour so that I know he is getting better supplement coverage.
WATERING: He gets misted from above at least once per day with a little misting machine and we spray his cage down as well. He also has a little leaf dripping pump. That is his favourite. I run spring water in it, as recommended by our vet.
FECAL: His urates are white with a liquidy bit of more clear, and his poops are brown and look like slugs. He did have an antibiotic (liquid) a few weeks ago, so that caused a bit of a runny mess, but he is back to my description now.
OTHER INFO: I don't know how his leg injury happened or whether it is MBD or gout, good thoughts! I was told he was from a breeder, but then when I asked the store for more information about how he was fed etc, they refused to provide me with the contact info about where he was or allow those individuals to have my contact information. It seemed sketchy and I am quite upset about it. At the very least, I am glad he is in my care now. His leg was not swollen upon arrival, but within three days, his knee joint was very swollen. Sometimes his grip is strong, sometimes not. He often hangs his leg down when he is basking or resting/sleeping. He has never stopped moving his leg when he walks, but he often will just move it for balance rather than actually gripping properly with it. I feel as though when he is very fussy coming out of his cage, it seems painful to me, as it is very intermittent and seems out of character when it happens. He is generally a pretty nice guy. Now he is basically hiding all the time and I am not sure if that is a new behaviour, an issue with cage location, a pain response, or maybe he is really sick (this is my fear!) and he is trying to "die in peace without being eaten." He was a gift for my kids for Christmas. We all love him SO much.

CAGE: 2x2x4 mesh cage
LIGHTING/HEAT: Heat lamp placed above mesh so his basking spot is about 85. Room temp is 70 (house is 70). He also has a T5 HO UVB light that runs diagonally across the top of the cage for max light. His lights are on a timer and run from 7am to 7pm. No lights at night and we based his lighting schedule on his sleep schedule. He is the best clock we have!
HUMIDITY: We have a humidifier on our furnace that keeps our house between 35% and 50% depending on the season, so our humidity generally is well controlled in the house. In Tarzan's house, I do not have a meter, but he has the dripper running all of the time and we mist him by had twice a day and run the fogger once a day. We run the fogger for 20 minutes. When we mist, we give everything a good soak until the leaves are making small pools of drips on the floor.
PLANTS: Tarzan has a mix of live and fake plants (depending on where they are in the cage for light...dead plants are not helpful, and he has more fake vines on one side to block out some of our house movement on the side of his cage that is busier to the house for privacy). His plants are all varieties from the Ficus or Dracaena family, they were washed after purchase, and have large rocks placed over the soil so he doesn't get a mouthful if he catches something in that spot. He also has a stick and vine climbing structure I made. I have attached a picture.
LOCATION: The cage is in our kitchen. It is on the floor as we do not have a table or piece of furniture 2x2 to put it on and it is very tall (our kids are 6 and 8 and he is their pet too). We have built up the plants in his enclosure to provide more quiet on the side that people walk beside. There is an air return near his enclosure, but no vent or door is right near there.

PROBLEM: Two problems. The swollen knee and the hiding. Could be related, maybe not. Hard for me to know. I would love your input on this so I can more intelligently speak to our vet about him. The leg below the knee has swollen on occasion and I have wondered if has swollen at times when he has had it hanging down over night during sleep. In that case, the lower leg and foot are squishy in feeling. The knee has felt both hard and on occasion, more fluid filled. It seems to bother him on and off. The liquid antibiotic and also the liquid anti-inflammatory/pain meds did not really improve things much, if at all. He is now hiding a lot more than he did before. I have not seen him up basking for 2 days now but he is crawling on plant stems at the bottom of his cage, so he is not on the floor. He is drinking and eating. I have attached a picture of his back legs so his knee is visible.

Thank you so much for any ideas you have about him. We are worried and want to help him out!
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks like Gout... Did the vet run blood work to check his uric acid levels? Or do an xray to check for a fracture and bone density?
 

Tarzanfam

New Member
Hello! Tarzan looks so neat. I know you wrote a lot of information, but it is best if you fill out the husbandry form so we have all of the information organized, as well as any additional information you didn't originally provide. To me, swelling would normally indicate MBD or gout, but since you've been to the vet it is hard to say. Also - maybe the frequent handling is causing him stress that you don't notice through outward body language?

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.

--------------

Please Note:

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

Looks like Gout... Did the vet run blood work to check his uric acid levels? Or do an xray to check for a fracture and bone density?
No. I will definitely ask about these things. She was hoping it was a soft tissue issue from travel from the previous owner, so we started with the anti-inflammatory. Then we tried an antibiotic and it didn't help. I joined this group so that I could learn more and have a better conversation with her about what to do next. I hate to take him out in the winter (it's cold in Wisconsin!) and poke him for no reason, but I also don't want to leave it. I really appreciate these tips. I will make sure to have blood work done. Much appreciated.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
No. I will definitely ask about these things. She was hoping it was a soft tissue issue from travel from the previous owner, so we started with the anti-inflammatory. Then we tried an antibiotic and it didn't help. I joined this group so that I could learn more and have a better conversation with her about what to do next. I hate to take him out in the winter (it's cold in Wisconsin!) and poke him for no reason, but I also don't want to leave it. I really appreciate these tips. I will make sure to have blood work done. Much appreciated.
Yeah if it is gout this is very painful for them. This is where blood work is helpful to actually know what is happening in the body.
 
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