Newbie in need of help


New Member
Hi everyone. We were given a 6 mo old veiled chameleon by friends who were moving on Saturday. He came with a great set up. Mesh cage, fake vines, misting system, uvb light and heat light. He also came with gut loaded crickets and distilled water. I noticed he was a little thin but did not think much about it. On the first day, we held him some and he stayed perched right under his heat lamp for most of the day. He even ate some crickets and a meal worm. But, he has gone down hill from there. Today he cannot even seem to stay in the tree. He falls out and when he is on the floor he gets cold. I put him back in the tree but he seems to keep ending up on the floor. So, naturally I have done quite a bit of reading today and am worried that he may have MBD. When I spoke to the previous owner, they said that he had not been given any calcium because he had the gut loaded crickets. I have since purchased Rep-Cal herptivite with Beta Carotene as recommended by the pet store, but he is not eating any of the dusted crickets. Any ideas or suggestions? Could he just be stressed due to the move?
Post some pics of him if you can. Also herptivite is not what you want to be dusting with on a daily basis. That is a multivitamin. Use that a couple of times a month. Get a calcium without d3 to dust your feeders with daily. As far as the falling, the stress of the move would not cause that. It might cause him to hide or be dark in color, but would not cause him to fall. MBD is caused by lack of calcium or uvb or a combination of both. Herptivite is not going to help MBD if that is what your chameleon has.
Welcome to the Chameleon Forums. Sorry to hear your new little guy is having problems. It would be very helpful if you could post some pictures of him and fill out the Ask For Help forum linked below. The UVB light should be changed every 6 months and he needs calcium without d3 at just about every feeding, calcium with d3 twice a month (unless he gets allot of outside time) and Herptivite once or twice a month. I would also be locating a good reptile vet that has experience with chameleons because you are probably going to need one.

I'm a big fan of veileds and have a blog for new keepers. This is how I keep my veileds very successfully.

More great info here:

photo (3).JPG

photo (4).JPG

Not great pics, but I hated to disturb him.
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Male Veiled 6 mo (ish). Had him 4 days.
Handling - Handled him some the first day or two, but only to help him get to the light after that.
Feeding - Crickets and meal worms dusted with Herptivite.
Supplements - Herptivite, but has not had calcium. Will get tomorrow.
Watering - Misting machine set to every 3 hours for 15 seconds. Have not seen him drink.
Fecal Description - Not really sure. Some black/brown for sure and some maybe yellow and white.
Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Don't think so.
History - Previous owners were told they only needed gut loaded crickets so to supplements have been given.
Cage Info:
Cage Type - Large Screen cage, with fake plants, watering system, uvb abnd heat lamps.
Temperature - Have a thermometer in the cage. Stays at 80 during the day. Not sure what night is.
Humidity - Has a humidity reader stays around 50.
Plants - fake
Placement - Cage is in the corner of the room on top of an end table. aprox 3 feet from ceiling. Not under vent.
Location - North Texas
Current Problem - see above
back on the floor, but a little better picture. I have moved his light down low, so he will have some heat. Should his front leg look like that? photo (5).JPG

His eye is not sunken in. Just looks that way in the pic.
I'm not an expert in veiled chams but it looks like the guy has MBD. Hopefully one of the vets on the forum will chime in soon, and a trip to the vet will definitely help, hopefully everything god well, and definitely do what carol5208 said about dusting ur feeders.
That is what I thought. So, is that something I can fix with the help of my local pet store, or is that a vet visit. Not sure if my vet does chameleons, but I am guessing I can find one.
im no pro at all but id say a vet visit just by what you said about him not drinking or being able to hold himself up on his vines and a good check up can never hurt. please correct me if im wrong veterans, but adding some more foliage(live in the enclosure will help with a humidity boost a bit and it may give him a wider surface area to stand on instead of the thin vines especially if he kind of weak from his condition and make him feel...more at home. from what ive read and experienced second hand is that stress can play a major factor in recovery and the least stressed he is the better the chances...these veiled horror stories have me watchin my girl like a hawk..ive notice that alot of the sick cham stories are dealing with assuming because they are more common in stores? for a cham that is rated as one of the less demanding species i dont see many pygmy or panther stories.. mainly veileds for some reason
Ok here is the update. Found a great vet here in town and we just got back. Yes, severe MBD and dehydration. The Dr. gave him a calcium shot and another shot that will help him absorb calcium. He also fed and hydrated him. He is not out of the woods yet, but does already look better. We will be force feeding and medicating daily until he starts to eat on his own. Say a little prayer for Spike Bobby Kevin and I will keep you updated on his progress.

Thanks for all the help.
I am glad that you did the right thing and took that little guy to the vets. I hope he will start improving for you very soon.
Might be worth getting some calcium glubonate drops...
Good luck with him.
I'll keep him in my prayers
......your little guy has pretty substantial MBD, you've got to get him to a vet and start a treatment plan!....... for some reason I didnt see that that was an older thread! Thank goodness you took him in, nice work! Thats a pretty sweet name also!
Thanks. We don't make decisions well so Spike Bobby Kevin it is! Anyone have any ideas as to how quickly he will start feeling better if he is going to make it? He immediately looked better after his visit. Full belly and breathing better, but still just laying on the ground. Tail curled once, but uncurled. Surprised how attached we have become to that little guy in just a couple of days!
I don't know too much.. hopefully a vet will chime in. From what I have read and seen, it is a long battle rehabilitating a progressed case of mbd. Don't give up tho! Iv'e seen really bad cases make a come back!
Ok here is an update. Spike Bobby Kevin is looking and acting much better. Color is nice pretty green when resting, actually turned dark grey when I had to feed and medicate him this morning, which I took as a good sign. He is also moving better. His head is off the ground and he is attempting to eat meal worms.

I have searched all over for a "what to expect when your chameleon is recovering from MBD" with no luck. There is a lot of good info on what MBD looks like, but not much on the recovery process. I would love some help from you guys. Given that we are very new to Chams, we are not even real sure what is normal and what is not.

I have picked up on the fact that the recovery process is slow. I have him in a plastic container inside his enclosure because the vet said no climbing. I am also feeding a canned food twice a day and giving liquid calcium once a day. Got these from the vet who said to do this until he starts eating.

So a few questions.

1. He is trying to eat, but he keeps missing his food. Is this one of those things that gets better?

2. I also know that the enclosure is not ideal, so when to take it out and let him climb again?

3. Vet said that after he starts to eat, put the calcium drops on a cricket once a day. What if he does not eat that cricket?? How in the world do you know if he is getting enough calcium??

4. I know that the bones will never go back straight, but will he regain all his muscle strength and tail strength?

5. And then UBV. We have a light and will change at 6mo, but because he is at the bottom of his container is he too far away from it? The Dr. gave him a shot to help him absorb the calcium. How long will that last?

Whew, I think that is all for now. Thanks for all your help and support. Talk about a learning curve!
When a chameleon has MBD the lack of calcium not only affects the bones but the muscles as well so it's not surprising that their tongues don't work well. It should improve as the calcium comes back into balance.

When a chameleon has MBD I usually keep them in a lower cage so the risk of falling and so they can bring the UVB more. Was the shot he gave the chameleon to help it absorb the calcium D3?

I would continue to use a syringe to ease the liquid calcium into its mouth. That way you know how much it's getting.

The strength should come back as it gets back to normal levels.

Calcium, D3, phos and vitamin A are all players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon and need to be in once you get the chameleon back in balance your need to keep it there so that he MB won't return. To do that you need to look at the lighting, temperature, what you feed the chameleon and what you feed the insects.

Since most feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phos its important to dust them at most feedings with a phos - free calcium powder.

To ensure that the chameleon gets some D3 without overdosing it its usually recommended that you dust twice a month with a phos - free calcium / D3 powder. This way the chameleon won't be overdosed with the D3 from supplements which can build up in the system and it leaves the chameleon to produce the rest from its exposure to the UVB. D3 from UVB won't build up in the system as long as the chameleon can move in and out of the UVB when it wants to.

It's also recommended that you dust twice a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (pfOformed) source of vitamin A. PrOformed sources won't build up in the system like prEformed sources do so there is no danger of overdosing. It leaves the owner to make the choice of how much prEformed vitamin A to use....or whether to use it at all.

Appropriate temperatures allow for proper digestion so they play an indirect part in nutrient absorption.

Hope this helps.
Last edited:
Top Bottom