Not sure what to do for him

Problems: Dehydration, Sunken eyes, Wrinkles in skin, increased aggression/bad mood, diarrhea, loss of appetite
Keep in mind: For the last couple of weeks he's been a darker color, but remains active. He's been screen climbing and has shown an unusual amount of aggression when approached. He's had a decrease of appetite (and barely eats 1 bug per day unless it's a superworm) and yet he has diarrhea. His misting sections ARE NOT SCARCE he gets misted 6 times a day and two of those sessions run for 5 minutes. His cage is clean.
Possible causes: His dripper was broken. I made a new one today. He just got a cage upgrade. I think the only things that would cause him to be in this condition are his lightbulb (which only heats up to 76 degrees), his dripper (which wouldn't work for a week), and his feeder insects. I recently had to move my bugs to a bin in the garage, I feed Fred daily and so I check on the bugs day to day, I checked on them yesterday and all of their food was rotten and growing mold. I think maybe eating those bugs which had ingested mold made him sick.
Conclusion: From what I gather I need to upgrade my gut load and buy a new heat bulb. I don't really know which kind to buy because they seem to burn out every 3 weeks? I keep making at home drippers, and I've tried the big dripper, both are super ineffective and I have no idea what to do about that at this point. He's going to start getting fogged every night from 8 pm to 8 am.
I fed him some watermelon today to try and combat his dehydration and I'm going to order new bugs because he won't eat crickets anymore.
He's tried BSFLR, wax worms, superworms, and crickets. I'm trying to see what I can add to the mix but online recourses aren't looking good at the moment.
 
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Shanar808

Avid Member
Was his only source of water the dripper? Fogging needs to start ASAP and 3-5 minute mistings at lights out, before lights on and you may need another misting session or two during the day (cut off the heat lights 15 min before and after).

For your light you may need to check your fixture and outlet wattage/capacity.

But a vet visit should be scheduled ASAP. I pray he gets better soon! 😢
 

Mendez

Avid Member
His misting sections ARE NOT SCARCE he gets misted 6 times a day and two of those sessions run for 5 minutes. His cage is clean.
Possible causes: His dripper was broken. I made a new one today.
It's unlikely that he is dehydrated--especially if he is having diarrhea. Like @MissSkittles said, I would definitely go to the vet for a fecal to check for parasites. If you are misting 6x a day, he is sure to have plenty of options to drink. What is your humidity cycle?

I think the only things that would cause him to be in this condition are his lightbulb (which only heats up to 76 degrees)
While you definitely need to get this temp up to at least 80 (what's the age and sex of your cham?), it is highly unlikely that this is the cause of the diarrhea. If the chameleon can't warm up enough, it will lose it's appetite but it won't come out liquidy--it will just come out undigested. Depending on your state, you can go to the local hardware store and look for an incandescent or halogen bulb.

I checked on them yesterday and all of their food was rotten and growing mold. I think maybe eating those bugs which had ingested mold made him sick.
This is also highly unlikely to be the cause. Bugs, and even humans, can eat moldy foods without becoming sick. I'd stay away from moldy meat--that's a different story. Many of us here on the forums will toss in food that is molding and the chams that eat these insects are perfectly healthy. What are you gut loading with? If you are also feeding your insects grains, then you need to keep the wet fruit away from the dry grain as the grain can mold/rot and cause aflatoxicosis which can paralyze and potentially kill your cham. But since these are none of the symptoms, I wouldn't be worried about this--just something to be aware of.

IMO the only reasonable explanation for the diarrhea is that your cham has a parasite. An exotic vet is the best solution.
 
It's unlikely that he is dehydrated--especially if he is having diarrhea. Like @MissSkittles said, I would definitely go to the vet for a fecal to check for parasites. If you are misting 6x a day, he is sure to have plenty of options to drink. What is your humidity cycle?


While you definitely need to get this temp up to at least 80 (what's the age and sex of your cham?), it is highly unlikely that this is the cause of the diarrhea. If the chameleon can't warm up enough, it will lose it's appetite but it won't come out liquidy--it will just come out undigested. Depending on your state, you can go to the local hardware store and look for an incandescent or halogen bulb.


This is also highly unlikely to be the cause. Bugs, and even humans, can eat moldy foods without becoming sick. I'd stay away from moldy meat--that's a different story. Many of us here on the forums will toss in food that is molding and the chams that eat these insects are perfectly healthy. What are you gut loading with? If you are also feeding your insects grains, then you need to keep the wet fruit away from the dry grain as the grain can mold/rot and cause aflatoxicosis which can paralyze and potentially kill your cham. But since these are none of the symptoms, I wouldn't be worried about this--just something to be aware of.

IMO the only reasonable explanation for the diarrhea is that your cham has a parasite. An exotic vet is the best solution.
It's good to know he's not dehydrated, I thought he might be. He actually gets misted 5 times a day, and his dripper was broken which means he didn't have access to a constant source of water all of the time. His eyes are sunken in a bit, but this might just be due to the parasites if he has them. Not entirely sure what a humidity cycle is but his humidity ranges from 26-30% but I'll check the measures once I start running the fogger.

I will make sure to get new bulbs sometime this upcoming week/switch to a 65 watt and see if the temperatures will raise high enough. Fred is 5 months and male. I had no idea this drop of 5 degrees could cause such severe digestion issues, which makes sense because before he had diarrhea he was constipated. I was using a regular 75watt dimmable house bulb and before that 65 watt flood lights, which just didn't get hot enough.

My bugs are never fed meat of any kind but their food was growing some really bad mold that kind of looked like cotton. The gut load depends on the feeder but I give kale, apples, sweet potato, strawberry, orange, carrot, blackberry (if I have it) mango (if I have it), cucumber and for a dry diet almonds and pumpkin seeds. I will pick up some smaller tubaware to separate the wet/dry foods in the big bin.

I'll see if I can get an appointment and might take him in just for a check up. I'm overly suspicious of health issues and I want to make sure he's okay. Thank you for the help, do you know of any way I could transport him to the vet safely? I don't want to put him in a plastic deli cup so maybe a carboard box/bin?
 

Mendez

Avid Member
Check out this thread for ideas on making a proper transportation box.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/decisions😥.180699/
Beman's box is dark when closed so her cham doesn't get too stressed out. When in the absence of light, chameleons will clock out. Transporting them in dark bins or boxes reduces the stress levels. The contents inside your bin is fine, but fastening a dowl or branch in the inside will allow your cham to feel safer and more secure. If you don't fasten a branch or that plant down, then your cham will most likely slide around the box when you stop, start, and make the inevitable u-turn.

Ideal Transport Box:
--Doesn't let in light. (Less stressful on cham)
--Secured Branch (best not to have a sliding cham)


his dripper was broken which means he didn't have access to a constant source of water all of the time.
They don't need access to water all the time. You can always run a dripper for an hour or two during the day.

Not entirely sure what a humidity cycle is but his humidity ranges from 26-30% but I'll check the measures once I start running the fogger.
Yeah, I should have been more clear. Do you follow a naturalistic hydration schedule--such as misting and fogging during the night and then letting the cage dry out during the day? When do you start fogging? If you are fogging during the night. I would also recommend misting during the night as well. If you are giving proper hydration at night, they do not need to be misted during the day. It's always recommended to mist right when the lights turn on. And then sometime in the afternoon you can have the dripper going for an hour or two. He shouldn't drink, but at least give him the option.

My dinner is ready, I'll finish the rest of this message after dinner.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Mendez said..."Many of us here on the forums will toss in food that is molding and the chams that eat these insects are perfectly healthy".... I haven't heard this on the forum before. I would never feed moldy food to anything. Some molds produce aflatoxins and they can kill animals.
@jajeanpierre had a problem with that I believe.
 

Mendez

Avid Member
Here is one thread about moldy food:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/molded-food.180692/

I agree that you shouldn't throw in moldy grain or other foods that cause aflatoxicosis--but to my knowledge, none of the fruits and veggies recommended for gut loading cause this when molding. It's only the grain.

"Aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus that can grow on pet food ingredients such as corn, peanuts, and other grains." https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterina... toxins produced by,damage, and death in pets.
and:
https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/aflatoxins-food

Molding fruits and veggies seem to be okay as long as you separate them from grains.


As for the light, make sure that you are careful about the wattage. Some lights will use less watts than advertised in large print. One light will say "75 watts" in big font and then state that it actually 15 watts underneath in small print. Ultimately the wattage strength depends on ambient room temp.
 

Shanar808

Avid Member
Could the molded almonds have caused cyanide issues along with the aflatoxins? I really wish I knew of some type of detox diet for chams like how there is for humans.. 😞
 
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Mendez

Avid Member
Could the molded almonds have caused cyanide issues? I really wish I knew of some type of detox diet for chams like how there is for humans.. 😞
Good catch, I would stay away from the almonds too. The moldy almonds could potentially result in aflatoxicosis. But even if you separate them from the wet veggies, there is also the cyanide that you have to worry about. Mold doesn't trigger the cyanide in almonds, the cyanide is always present.

Wet almonds--cyanide and potentially aflatoxicosis
Dry almonds--cyanide

Just keep nuts and grains dry and stay away from almonds. There are a few other items like spirulina that can be contaminated rather easily. This thread was rather eye-opening: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/gut-loading-frenzy.178636/#post-1610536
Take everything with a grain of salt until you verify it with other sources.
 
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