Petco relinquish of MBD chameleon

Vettechkdd

New Member
Hey guys. I’m a vet tech for a practice that sees exotics. We get all the petco and petsmart. We recently had a chameleon dropped off who looks really bad. He came in at 23g, age unknown, I believe he may be a piebald veiled? Deformed jaw and arms from MBD. Missing a large portion of tail. Not eating. Poor shed. With prognosis poor, petco relinquished to me.

He’s currently in a 20gal glass tank (I don’t want him climbing and falling) with moss carpet and some artificial leaves and vines for climbing. UVB and heat lamp. My temp gun is at work but last I measured hot side is around 85 and cold side is about 72. Im misting throughout the day. Im feeding a liquid slurry of repashy grub pie, reptiboost, D3 and reptivit 2-3 times a day. Getting about 0.3mL in at a time. In a week he’s gone from 23g to 29g. He’s eliminated once and I ran a fecal that came back clear. I’ve been soaking in a warm water bath 2x a day to help with shed. Im also doing about 0.5-0.8mL subcutaneous fluids once a day. He received an injection of mixed vitamins and another injection of B before the long weekend.

Basically, the plan is to get weight and strength back and see if he’s able to live a relatively normal life. I have bugs that I keep for a Bioactive hedgehog enclosure so I’ve been offering mealworms but he’s yet to eat one. So just the mix slurry mentioned above.

Anything I’m missing? Or anything else I can be doing to help this lil guy?
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. Bless you for trying to give this poor guy a chance. I have no real experience with rehabbing, but can help you out with basic standards of care. First, the most accurate and up to date guidelines are here https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-basics/ Do also check on the species profile for additional info on veileds.
Based on the info you’ve given, I see some changes needed. Due to his current condition, the aquarium sounds like a good hospital bin. However, do be careful of heat and humidity building up. Humidity should be between 30-50% and make sure temp doesn’t get any higher than 85. The moss and artificial plants are impaction risks. Veileds nibble their plants and even though this fella isn’t looking like that’s on his agenda, one never knows. Pothos is a great plant for chameleons and if you have a full one, it may fill the space. Adding some branches or a vine is needed. Even though he may not have a good grip now, he’ll feel better having things to grip onto and exercise his feet.
You don’t say what type of uvb. If it is the screw in type bulb, that is most likely one of the factors that led to his current condition. They don’t provide adequate uvb levels any farther than 2-3” away. The standard is a T5 with either ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb at about a distance of 8-9” above basking area. A 12 hour on/off light schedule is great with no lights or heat at night.
Why are you giving the D3 and multivitamins so very often? I understand that the poor guy has been greatly deficient, but with the frequency that you are currently giving, the levels may reach toxic levels quickly. Some of the vitamins are fat soluble (D3, preformed A, etc) and will quickly and easily build up to dangerous levels. If he were a healthy cham, you’d be giving a phosphorus free calcium without D3 at every feeding and then a D3 and multivitamin one feeding every other week, alternating them weekly. What has your vet recommended?
Unlike many other reptiles, chameleons are dry shedders. The baths will most likely only cause the shed skin to stick more. Also, baths aren’t generally recommended for chameleons at all for so many reasons from stress to even lukewarm temp being scalding hot to cham and basically they get zero benefit from it.
Hopefully this guy will perk up and start eating on his own soon. A chameleon vet once told me that the more nutritious feeders are roaches and silkworms. An added benefit of silkworms is they are also good at hydrating. There’s several great staple feeders and variety is always best.
A great additional resource you may want to check out, if for nothing other than inspiration is Sweet Pea the chameleon on Facebook. However, you could also try reaching out to her for some guidance.
As I said at the start, I’m not experienced with rehabbing, so if I’m in error about anything I do hope a member with rehabbing experience will correct me.
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Vettechkdd

New Member
Hi and welcome. Bless you for trying to give this poor guy a chance. I have no real experience with rehabbing, but can help you out with basic standards of care. First, the most accurate and up to date guidelines are here https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-basics/ Do also check on the species profile for additional info on veileds.
Based on the info you’ve given, I see some changes needed. Due to his current condition, the aquarium sounds like a good hospital bin. However, do be careful of heat and humidity building up. Humidity should be between 30-50% and make sure temp doesn’t get any higher than 85. The moss and artificial plants are impaction risks. Veileds nibble their plants and even though this fella isn’t looking like that’s on his agenda, one never knows. Pothos is a great plant for chameleons and if you have a full one, it may fill the space. Adding some branches or a vine is needed. Even though he may not have a good grip now, he’ll feel better having things to grip onto and exercise his feet.
You don’t say what type of uvb. If it is the screw in type bulb, that is most likely one of the factors that led to his current condition. They don’t provide adequate uvb levels any farther than 2-3” away. The standard is a T5 with either ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb at about a distance of 8-9” above basking area. A 12 hour on/off light schedule is great with no lights or heat at night.
Why are you giving the D3 and multivitamins so very often? I understand that the poor guy has been greatly deficient, but with the frequency that you are currently giving, the levels may reach toxic levels quickly. Some of the vitamins are fat soluble (D3, preformed A, etc) and will quickly and easily build up to dangerous levels. If he were a healthy cham, you’d be giving a phosphorus free calcium without D3 at every feeding and then a D3 and multivitamin one feeding every other week, alternating them weekly. What has your vet recommended?
Unlike many other reptiles, chameleons are dry shedders. The baths will most likely only cause the shed skin to stick more. Also, baths aren’t generally recommended for chameleons at all for so many reasons from stress to even lukewarm temp being scalding hot to cham and basically they get zero benefit from it.
Hopefully this guy will perk up and start eating on his own soon. A chameleon vet once told me that the more nutritious feeders are roaches and silkworms. An added benefit of silkworms is they are also good at hydrating. There’s several great staple feeders and variety is always best.
A great additional resource you may want to check out, if for nothing other than inspiration is Sweet Pea the chameleon on Facebook. However, you could also try reaching out to her for some guidance.
As I said at the start, I’m not experienced with rehabbing, so if I’m in error about anything I do hope a member with rehabbing experience will correct me.
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Thank you so much for this. For some clarification, he is only in this tank as a hospital tank, and if he starts doing well, he will be moved to a more appropriate and ventilated one. He has a plant, a vine, and a rock to give various structures to grip to help with grip strength (which has improved slightly as he can now hold on to my hands. Something he couldn’t do upon intake). He was originally on coco coir and I was afraid of impaction so moved him to this as it’s more of a mat and not loose, but I can change this to maybe just a repticarpet? Would that be a better alternative? You are correct in the bulb, but I’m actually in the process of moving my tortoise outside permanently and Cham will get the tortoises UV setup which is a T5. For food, my vet recommended no more injectables at this time and to give him a few days with increased supplements in food. So that’s what I’ve been doing. We were doing this until Tuesday where she would do another exam and then go to every 2-3 days with the d3 for a week then another exam and then 1-2 a week type of thing. A slow decrease to a normal schedule, if that makes sense? If this isn’t advisable I can drop down to once a week immediately. Would just repashy and a bit of calcium feedings be recommended? Im unsure if he is uninterested or if he can’t actually chase bugs.

I can stop soaks and I have a humidity gauge that’s been staying around 50 so I can get that a bit lower.

Thank you so much for your reply!!! I really wanna help this little buddy!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree with everything @MissSkittles said...

The issue with oral D3 and A is your going to do the opposite. Your going to create toxicity therefor exasperating the MBD. The calcium will continue to pull from the bones due to the over supplementation. The D3 and A will to to his tissues it will cause the body to shut down.

The grub pie has D3 and A in it.

Which supplements exactly are you using?

You could try using carnivore care but only short term. Check this thread. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/insectivore-critical-care.184507/post-1696283 One of our very experienced members speaks to what she uses instead of carnivore care due to it also having supplements like D3 and A already in it.

Try using crickets with him instead of mealworms. They are a better feeder and normally something they recognize as food.

You need to be supplementing with plain phosphorus free calcium instead of the others. And make sure UVB is on point. If it is going through a screen vs no screen this will change the distance. The combo of UVB and plain calcium will allow his body to create the D3 it needs without it being at risk of storing in tissues creating toxicity. If you give me specifics on your uvb I can give you details on distance.

Be very very careful with the tank if you have heat on it. It can turn into a hot box and misting into a hot box creates hot humid air that he is breathing which then has the risk of him developing an RI. Some people take a screen cage and turn it on its side to allow for the air flow and gradients needed.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you’re able to take this fella outside for 10-15 minutes of sunlight, that should help him to perk up a bit until he gets correct uvb. Just go easy as you don’t want to overheat or over stress him. I do hope with your TLC and proper care he’ll be able to recover. Do keep us posted on his progress. 💗
 

Vettechkdd

New Member
Update:

UVB: now using a t5 long bulb and going to try little 5-10 minute outside time in natural sun daily.

Vet care: he received b12 and an injection of mixed vitamins once.

Food: was eating a slurry of grub pie with a sprinkle of calcium that I mixed in a small cup (think petsmart small meal worm cup) to take home for the long weekend.
He finally ate 4 mealworms for me this evening (fed fresh produce from my own mealworm colony).
I am going to try crickets tomorrow and have ordered the repashy calcium plus LoD that I’d like to keep on hand if he doesn’t continue with bugs. Ordering some silk worms and I have a friend who has a Dubia colony so I will try that.

He is still at 29 g today and has given me a second fecal. Looks normal, and no parasites.

His color seems to be improving and is not so dull gray/brown. Grip strength seems to be improving as well. If he continues to do well I will be upgrading him from a hospital tank into something more appropriate. Any suggestions? I’m nervous about offering a vertical enclosure as he still isn’t climbing his current plants / vines and I don’t want him to fall and hurt himself at any point. I would love links to an enclosure you guys would recommend. Also would it be beneficial to get a mister and a dripper? Or would one be better than the other? I’ll be honest that I’m more knowledgeable in turtles / tortoises / snakes and a chameleon is new territory as far as long term care so y’all are helping tremendously! Keep the advise coming! I really wanna see this guy live his best life!
 

Vettechkdd

New Member
Welcome on here, and thank you for giving this guy a chance! Did your vet give a calcium shot and/or give liquid calcium and/or take x-rays?
No X-rays but I could snap one tomorrow. What all would you be looking for other than the obvious MBD issues? She gave an injectable of b12 and a mix vitamins (I don’t know exactly what and what amount, she’s out of town until Thursday).
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Liquid calcium sandoz or gluconate would be a good addition. It can be absorbed more easily than the powdered forms we use. Make sure it has no vitamins in with it. It should be used in addition to the regular schedule of supplements until the bones and muscles are back to normal....then discontinue the liquid calcium but contine with the rest of the supplements and proper husbandry.

Usually it's recommended that you dust with a phos free calcium powder lightly at all feedings but two a month, 2 weeks apart. On those 2 days a month dust lightly with reptivite that has D3 and preformed vitamin A in it.

Gutload/feed your insects well.

Ensure that your chameleon has access to proper UVB and an appropriate basking light and temperature.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
So glad to hear he’s hanging in there and starting to show some improvement. Generally the standard size enclosure for an adult is 2x2x4’ or equivalent. Everyone has their preference for screen, glass or hybrid and it should be based upon your ambient house conditions. Unless you are somewhere really dry, screen or hybrid would be the better choices. I’m not sure if it’s all brand enclosures, but with ReptiBreeze and DIY cages, the bottom is just a removable panel. By placing something sturdy beneath it, you can raise the floor and create a much shorter and adjustable height enclosure. As your guy starts recovering his grip strength, you can adjust it to give him more height. Btw, if you are considering a ReptiBreeze, DIY a are very similar in type and price but a bit sturdier. https://www.diycages.com/collection...ducts/sc4-48x24x24-jumbo-vertical-screen-cage
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
No X-rays but I could snap one tomorrow. What all would you be looking for other than the obvious MBD issues? She gave an injectable of b12 and a mix vitamins (I don’t know exactly what and what amount, she’s out of town until Thursday).
An x-ray will show how much calcium is in the bones, an important thing to know with MBD. If progressed great enough, a calcium shot is usually given to help start the recovery process.
 
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