New first chameleon parasite concerns

Echoezra

Established Member
Hi there, don't have one yet, but planning and just started wondering. So first there's the debate bring him to the vet right away would probably be extra stressful but ideal. But if you can't go right right away (there's a likelihood he'll be coming on a Friday evening and I work sat so no vet till Monday.) So then a he'll just be calmly down and then pulling him out for a car ride, or do you normally just bring a fecal first? Or you want the whole Cham checked, right?
So my other concern is, supposing he does likely have parasites or worms or whatever, so now he's gotten these on his cage and vines & plants or if the medicine makes him shed these things or whatever, so now he's likely to re-infect himself? Or how long do you wait before thoroughly disinfecting everything. I wouldn't want to do it every day, cause then he'll never be able to relax and de-stress. I get it if you have a new additional chameleon, you'd have a quarantine cage but if it's your first one I don't have multiple cages. Should I keep him in the little explorarium until he's parasite free? Then move to big permanent cage? How long would that be? Would that be more stressful? Am iiiiii stressing too much? Lol. I don't really know anything about parasite problems, I get creepy dreams if I think about it too much. Haha
 

CNorton

Avid Member
Parasites do not live long outside their hosts. I would say you should wipe his/her cage down real well with anti-bacterial wipes when the cham is out. Then once the cage is clean, put the cham back in and don't worry about cleaning it again for a few days.

I would say if this is your first cham, take it to the vet as soon as you can. It would be ideal to receive it and get it vet checked on the same day. If you wait a few days, every day counts...so be prepared to offer it every chance to survive. Shower the cham, drip, and make sure you know it's getting hydrated. That's priority ONE. Then make sure it has privacy: this means no peeking in on it every hour or two. Chams need to feel safe and acclimate without us constantly around. Feed the cham in the morning and don't check to see if it has eaten until the night. Let it hunt without interruption!

Now, if you haven't set up the cage and all the proper parts like lighting, plants, and dripper...you better worry about that BEFORE you receive your cham.

If the cham poops: put that poop in a ziplock ASAP and don't let it dry out. Put a drop of water in if you have to. The vet will need fresh poop (within 24hrs) to do a proper fecal smear and float.

Let me know if you need anymore help. Acclimating WC chams can be tricky!
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Thank you for the feedback. Are there certain common parasites/diseases to primarily be checking/testing for first? I have a local vet that advertises specializing in exotics & reptiles, but I haven't asked about his particular experience with chameleons, so I'd like to make sure he's doing & testing everything he's supposed to.
 

CNorton

Avid Member
Yeah typically the chams come in with tapeworm. Keep in mind they were doing perfectly fine in the wild...so when a cham is plucked from a bush or tree and shipped without food or water for several days...sometimes even weeks...the parasites will continue to eat and create a terrible imbalance within the chameleon. This imbalance usually manifests itself in the cham through lethargy, weakened grip, refusal to eat or drink, and eventually an eye or both will close. When this happens you know that it could be only hours till the cham passes away.

Don't worry about what parasites/bacteria to check the vet's knowledge. The vet will know what to look for under the microscope. If the vet does find something and prescribes a medicine, be sure to ask for examples of success with that particular medicine or if their are other meds that could be gentler or offer any advantages. PM me if you want a particular medicine or treatment recommendation if you don't trust your vet and you know the cham has parasites.
 

warpdrive

Avid Member
let's take this one step at a time...

is this going to be a fresh wild caught Chameleon?
if not, and it's a captive hatched or Captive breed Chameleon, then I would relax if I was you.

please state what kind of Chameleon you are getting and from who or where first.
is it a baby or Adult?

give us this info first and we will take it from there.

Harry
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hookworms can also exist outside the host. The eggs actually hatch outside the body.

These articles might be helpful....
http://www.chameleonnews.com/02JulVassilievWorms.html
"If a hookworm or lungworm larva does not find an amphibian host, it can molt into an adult that is able to live in the soil. "...
http://www.azeah.com/Care-Sheets.asp?id=179

Even with a WC chameleon, unless its showing signs of being sick, I don't take them to the vets right away. I feel that if they are given a little time after the arrive to acclimate, etc. the parasite load will often decrease...so its not so hard on the chameleon to treat them then. A dead parasite becomes "garbage" that the chameleon's system has to deal with and if the load is very heavy it can kill the chameleon if its treated.
 
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Echoezra

Established Member
Thank you Chad. I didn't mean to check the vet's knowledge, I just meant to make sure he does all the tests, in case there was like 2 standard everyday fecal tests, and others only done by request, kind of thing.
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Harry,
I have been reading and I understand the additional difficulty involved, but it is going to be a flapneck. The more I researched, the more I liked them best, so even though they're not recommended, i figure i will try hard and tailor the care anyway, so why not do it for my favourite, even though it will be harder. and I am hoping that you guys will consider me pre-warned and foolish, but just try to help anyway, rather than scold and discourage. :)
Unfortunately, I can't provide any more details yet, as it's through a friend who has access to them through a wholesaler, so he has requested a youngish male, but there's no guarantees, so i will do the best i can with what i end up with. I will post pictures to seek advice on it's age when I receive it, but until then I don't know. It will be wild caught though, which is why I'm stressing about the parasites, and extra worried about stressing it any more than necessary. I was planning on lots of privacy & extra misting & dripper, and also feeding silk & hornworms in the beginning to try and boost the hydration. If that isn't enough, I'm aware of the shower procedure as well.
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Kinyonga, thanks for the articles, I will check those out in the morning.
How does the parasite load decrease, exactly? Like if they're healthier, they fight it better, like a virus? But with a parasite, wouldn't the healthier Cham make a bigger, better meal? Lol.
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Sorry Harry, let me try that again, I just reread my last reply and it was a little chaotic and hard to follow (I was multitasking)
I am getting a flapneck. It's the kind I really wanted the most, and although I am aware through reading other posts of the additional difficulties involved, I still decided that with good initial hydration, early vet check, extra careful monitoring and good continued advice from you experienced members, it's not unthinkable that I could raise a flapneck instead of a veiled. I understand they're more delicate and unforgiving, and I understand that wild caught makes it strike two. So I'm trying to be twice as careful and as prepared as I can be with the limited species-specific information.
My supplier is getting it through his supplier so apparently details aren't available. It's frustrating that way, but im okay with it knowing that i will love and do my very best with whatever comes. My friend is making a request for a young male, but made it clear that he can't guarantee the sex. Im hoping thats just something they both say to cover their asses, but that they actually could tell them apart if they had spurs and would try to pack me the male. So anyway I've also been reading up on female and egg laying issues and preparation just in case. From what I've read so far it would appear that females are more common. Anybody notice that?
If anyone has any size in relation to age guidelines for me to make a guess as to age when it arrives, that would be great as I haven't found any info on that, just "can grow up to" info so far. Something like by 3 months theyre about this long, 6 mos this long, by a year theyre this or bigger. That sort of thing? I will post pictures when it arrives also, for some more educated guesses. :)
 

Echoezra

Established Member
No I did know that, I have that article bookmarked. I was just joking that if there were two, and one had them, I would hope they would make the effort to pick that one since I asked, not just the nearest one or something.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Even with a WC chameleon, unless its showing signs of being sick, I don't take them to the vets right away. I feel that if they are given a little time after the arrive to acclimate, etc. the parasite load will often decrease...so its not so hard on the chameleon to treat them then. A dead parasite becomes "garbage" that the chameleon's system has to deal with and if the load is very heavy it can kill the chameleon if its treated.
I agree with this! What you are going to see in a newly arrived cham is not necessarily "normal". Hydration and acclimating are the most important. You can get a fecal checked anytime really and a brand new cham may not provide you with one. Also, if the fecal shows minimal parasites check it again in a month...some ova or parts might not be shedding when the first was produced. If there are not huge populations of parasites I tend to be very conservative in treatment...they are poisons remember, and a healthy acclimated cham who is eating and drinking well can handle some just fine. I've had some wc chams who were never treated for anything for years.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
it's not unthinkable that I could raise a flapneck instead of a veiled. From what I've read so far it would appear that females are more common. Anybody notice that?
If you really are most interested in a flapneck get it. Yes, it is wc with all the realities of the trade to understand, but the devotion and interest in a particular species makes a big difference in how you care for it IMHO. You are getting prepared, doing the mental homework you should be doing, and your cham will benefit.

I've often felt that one reason females are more often caught and exported is because they are usually gravid...and gravid females bask more, longer, are more likely to be found lower to the ground, and a bit less active than a territorial male who's busy harassing the neighborhood rivals high up in a tree somewhere.
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Well that's kind of what I was thinking is to just do a fecal asap while it's settling down and then take the actual Cham in for a body checkup in about a week, after it relaxed a bit and built his strength back up. I don't want to wait and let him get eaten from inside, of course, but yeah if he's weak and the meds are going to knock him down, that's no good either. But then what, in the meantime he sheds these parasites all over the cage, only to hop back in? Do the parasites get shed live still after meditating, just driven out? Or do they drop out dead?
And what about the parasites that are subdermal or whatever? (the ones they have to cut out of their skin - can I just say a giant EWWWww!!!!)
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Thank you Carlton.
I figured it was something along those lines, I just didn't know the behavioral differences in the wild, relating to pregnant females, but I figured they were doing something that made them an easier target.
 

CNorton

Avid Member
The parasites that are "shed" are coming out in the feces. As long as they are quickly picked up and the surfaces are wiped down with some disinfectant you should be fine.

Don't worry about so much at one time, you're going to be fine armed with what knowledge has been given to you in this thread. We're all here to help, just remember the basics and don't get too bogged down with all the external factors that may come into play down the road.

Excellent advice kinyonga and Carlton, I do keep my WC chams home and in privacy to regain health without a vet visit. I tend to think that newcomers to chameleons will need extra help and a vet visit may not hurt if proper care in transit is taken.
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Okay thanks Chad. I agree that a vet visit will help, I just think that if i cant do it like on my way home right away, then I will postpone it for a few more days after, to make sure it's getting a bit more calm and refreshed first.
Can you recommend a safe disinfectant to spot clean with? One that won't need to be thoroughly rinsed.
I have a spray called Benefect i was considering, that is supposed to be effective against staph and HIV and it's supposed to be non toxic and safe for the environment. You dont even rinse it after, just let it dry. Ive been using it on door handles and stuff after we've been sick, the sink after i had a bunch of raw fish in there, etc. The active ingredient is thymol. I dont know if that would be a problem?? Like aromatic anything that might affect respiratory issues? The bottle I have says for non-porous surfaces, so I don't know about the vines or plants, but those I could remove and rinse afterwards. But it would be okay on my flextrays. And again i could wipe them with a damp cloth afterwards. So it would kill stuff, but then I could rinse the surface of it away somewhat.
I also have a steamer. So I could go over the walls & vines with that too.
Any opinions on this Benefect stuff anybody?
I just don't know about bleach cause it takes so much rinsing. I don't have a tub, just a stand up shower, and it just has a normal showerhead, not one you can aim, so I dont trust rinsing bleach out good enough to not worry about you know the fumes & corrosiveness, and drinking bleach water after something gets wet afterwards.
 

Echoezra

Established Member
I meant to add, in the summer, even spring & fall, I can hose everything down good outside, but winter the hose is froze, lol, so I'm hoping I can get by with spot cleaning & steaming and just washing the removables. So recommendations for a good spot cleaning disinfectant that doesn't need thorough rinsing. Thanks.
 
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