Papilloma Virus

xraygirl

Established Member
Chief is still progressing along, slowing down a little bit. His eyes started to bother him, almost like they were drying out on him and he started to act like he was blind about 2 months ago. I hand feed and hand water him a lot.
If anyone is wondering, I picked him up from a repticon show as a 6-8 month old juvenile in November 2013 and by January, I started noticing these spots showing. Being a newbie, I thought they were small spots of shed, until they started to become more obvious that they weren't. Took him to some high and mighty "reptile" vet located just down the road, only for the guy to look at Chief for 60 seconds, blame my husbandry, tell me to put silvadine cream on him, and then a bill for $150.
Fast forward a few months, no improvement, actually getting worse. I search the forums and struggle to find anything to use as key words to search for whatever this condition was until someone told me it looked like pox or papilloma. As soon as I was able to locate decent looking images, I instantly knew that it HAD to be pox/papilloma. Upon research, I learned that sadly this isn't a curable thing, it's manageable to a certain degree, depending on the virus and the animal itself. Sometimes its slow, sometimes it's fast.
Chief started showing "spots" on his eyes about July last year, but never progressed much afterward.. Then I noticed him itching his eyes A LOT on his branches. Still somewhat active and a happy boy.
Found a new vet who didn't know anything about this condition, but reached out to the network of vets that helped her figure out a method of treatment for him. Took him in to do a biopsy and she removed 6 of the larger spots, and sent them off to be sampled (we tried a simple skin scrape to sample but came back inconclusive, so biopsy was the next step to confirm what it was).
Was a stressful 2 days because Chief kept busting one of the sites open, and bled TERRIBLY that it had me terrified that so much blood was coming out of his little body. Finally got it to stop, even set up video monitoring on him so while I was at clinic I could peek at him from my phone to see if he was okay.
Now his eyes have gotten to the point where if I put drops in them he keeps them open, otherwise he keeps them closed, but he is not sleeping. If I tap on his cage he'll open his eyes to see what the earthquake is all about. He's learning how to hand feed and I help him with his water everyday. I'm pretty sure he's blind in his one eye, the "gold" iris part of his eye has gone very dark, and his black cornea has gone a darker blue with a light blue ring around it. He manages to find his way around his cage but sometimes struggles. I don't believe he is suffering, because I wouldn't let that happen to him.
But I'm putting this out there because there is so little information about this condition on our chameleons. If you suspect your chameleon has this, I would recommend finding a GOOD vet and having a biopsy done if you are wondering what it is. It is not curable, but it is manageable to a degree. You have to absolutely be aware and careful of any cross contamination at home, at the vet, reptile show, etc. Always use hand sanitizer before and after handling ANY animal.
 

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KLowery88

Avid Member
Thanks for the information. I'm sorry to hear his sight is going, but he's still a beautiful boy. Hopefully with the hand feeding and watering he'll be comfortable.
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
I'm so sorry too hear about Chief's troubles. He's such a beautiful guy. He's lucky to have you as his keeper, to take such good care of him. Thank you for posting about his condition, I'm sure it will help someone in a similar situation.
 

xraygirl

Established Member
I hate that Chief has this- he is a special guy. This info though is important, I see chams on FB with papilloma and the owners have no idea. Positive thoughts for you and your little sugar baby!
I agree, lots of chams out there and just not enough info on this mysterious virus. Wish there was something to slow the growths down.

Thanks for the information. I'm sorry to hear his sight is going, but he's still a beautiful boy. Hopefully with the hand feeding and watering he'll be comfortable.
He has his good days and bad... As long as I can get some of his eye drops in, he does fine. But sometimes he likes to be a stubborn little patient ;)

I'm glad he has someone like you that didn't give up. Thank you for sharing this information.
I won't ever give up on my precious nugget, I hate it for him but I just try to keep him as comfy as I can.

I'm so sorry too hear about Chief's troubles. He's such a beautiful guy. He's lucky to have you as his keeper, to take such good care of him. Thank you for posting about his condition, I'm sure it will help someone in a similar situation.
I hope this article will help others. I was so lost when trying to figure out what it was.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for sharing. I love Chief! He is such a gorgeous boy. I hope the pox continue to progress very slowly and you get to have more quality time with him.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
If I remember right these virus issues are cropping up more and more often. Makes me wonder how many cbb animals are carriers and due to breeder ignorance are spreading them through our captive populations.
 

xraygirl

Established Member
Not sure other than just being transmitted by poor hygiene and cross contamination. Here he is today... I held his cup right up to him and he stuck his head in the cup to grab the worm (he misses with his tongue and eye issues), but held onto the cup. I was in a awkward position and tried to take a picture and it looks kinda bad because he closed his eye on me. He was a happy boy today to get a good meal in!

Of course got to include Flash, he's so mischievous and into everything.
 

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xraygirl

Established Member
Thanks everyone for the kind comments... he's had a rough couple of days because I ran out of eye drops for his eyes.... I hope I can get him back to 100% once I get some drops in them hopefully in the morning.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks everyone for the kind comments... he's had a rough couple of days because I ran out of eye drops for his eyes.... I hope I can get him back to 100% once I get some drops in them hopefully in the morning.
I'm sorry to hear that Chief had a rough couple of days. Hopefully once you get his eyedrops he'll show some improvement. Keeping him in my prayers.
 

xraygirl

Established Member
I think that did the trick Jann :) Actually, he HATES the whole showering thing, and I try to leave him alone as much as I can, but I got him out of his cage and gave him a little spa and that instantly did the trick. Got both of his eyes open and hopefully tomorrow he'll be back to his usual self.
 
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