Please Help - I need advice on my fella (cham)

Dobsons

New Member
Please can someone offer me advice on my sick chameleon.
Background
Feldman is a 4 year old Yemen Chameleon who I have had since he was a tiny baby cham, I have never had any issues with him until now. He is kept in a large arboreal viv with plenty of vines and branches for him to climb. The temperature sits between 32-35C at the hot end , dropping a few degrees at the other, with things cooling the further toward the bottom of the viv. I spray the viv and try to keep the humidity between 30-60% but whilst at work this will no doubt drop to around 20-30%. I use arcadia D3 UV lamps. He
He has always been a miserable git and only really lets me handle him. He has never ever been a big eater and drinks from the squirty bottle nozzle.

The problem
About 6 months ago Feldman had a fall and scratched his skin which bled a little but healed fine, a little time later I noticed a lump on his leg/knee but this didn’t seem to hinder him and I thought no more of it. I also noticed about 3 weeks ago his eating slowed a little (normally has Locusts, Morio, Veg, Waxworms). I didn’t really think much about this and thought may be it was just one of those things, he was eating though.
Early last week I got up to find him hanging by one leg in the tank, I put him right and he clambered away like he does, however the next day he did the same. He then seemed to loose his ability to hold on at all and fell a couple of times which worried me. He also looked a little skinny and his eyes slight sunken. This got worse, I changed the viv to limit the places he could fall from and give him a stable platform rather than a Branch but still he was unbalanced, His back leg also clamped his front on a few occasions and after research came to the conclusion that he must have MBD ( metabolic Bone Disease). I don’t know why, i dusted food and always changed the lights when required but at this stage debating why isn’t going to change things. Since this time i have been using a pipette and dropping water into his mouth sometimes mixed with a little reptile calcium to try and keep him hydrated, i have tried force feeding him food but this is really unproductive. He has just got worse.

I had to go away at the weekend and a friend was looking after him (popping in) he called me Sunday to say he was dead at the bottom of the viv. I was gutted and when i got home Monday afternoon i was prepared to bury him. I reached in and he moved. The poor guy was there for 24hours.

Trying to find a reptile vet is a story in its own right with one vet refusing to see him as we had another pet with another vet. I have taken him tonight to see someone, but am somewhat troubled by the suggestion and would really appreciate advice. The vet has no real experience with Chameleons, he has treated Beardies but not chams. Believing he has MBD i was not surprised by the course of action taken that of an injecton of Sodium chloride laced with Calcium.

However the Vet suggested that he take him in and put him under anestetic to put a tube down to feed him as he is not eating and lost some weight. He also said he could not be sure if he would make it through that. Now please don’t get me wrong I am not loaded with money and happy to spend £120 on this if i thought this would help, but cant help feeling that maybe this is vets being vets, after all they are in the business of making money and already after paying £50 out shelling out another £120 for a treatment that may not do anything and result in his death seems strange.

Could anyone give me any advice if they have been in this situation, I want him better and if this will help great full steam ahead, but i have never read this about any other cham suffering from MBD.

Can anyone offer advice on what to do, he is suffering and i want him to get better, but by the same Tolkien do not want prolong things if they are not and get £100’s of pounds of vets bills in vain.

Cheers
Simon
 

Dobsons

New Member
More info

Thanks guys , here is more info. I dont know whether the colour of my guy matters , he is asleep at the moment and has gone the lovely lime green and yellow. Dont know if thats looking for hope on my part

Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon – male veiled Chameleon 4 years old
Handling – at the moment 4 times a day as he is sick, usually once a day
Feeding – locusts, gut loaded, wax worms, morio’s and spring greens
Supplements – nutrobol every other feed- calcium supps weekly
Watering – misting 1-2 times per day, drinks from squirty bottle
Fecal Description – dark brown with white ( although white getting small on last few)
History – hurt leg a while ago but has been fine, never had a problem before

Cage Info:
Cage Type – 5ft 3ft air vents in top, two glass sliding doors, vines branches etc
Lighting – arcadia D3 6% uv bulb 12-13 hours per day
Temperature – 32-35 at basing spot – cooler away and lower, at night room temperature 20c
Humidity – try to keep humididty 30-60% but this drops whist I am at work
Plants – had a few ( bromiliads) but always made sure on a safe list
Placement – cage is in dining room , not lots of through traffic or noise cage top inside is 4.5ft from floor
Location – located in Milton Keynes in the UK.

thanks
Simon
 

Julirs

New Member
I am afraid as much as any of us would want to help, in this case you really need to see a Vet to get a proper diagnosis.
 

Dobsons

New Member
I am going to try that, nowhere on any forum have i heard of a chameleon being anaesthetized. Worries me that its lack of knowledge on the vets part albeit best endeavours, and just a way to grab more money. Anyone know of any chameleon placed under anestetic.
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
I'm not a vet, but-

I'm skeptical about your vet's advice. I'll explain why-

Anesthetic to tube feed is not necessary. At all. Tube feeding is actually a pretty simple affair for nearly all lizards if you know what you are doing and how to hold the lizard to restrain it and how to get the mouth open, and knowing what you are doing doesn't involve rocket science. The throat down into the belly actually has a lot of space (they can swallow surprisingly large items) and makes tube feeding pretty easy.

If it were my lizard the first thing I'd be suspicious of is the lump you mentioned. It seems like often something that breaks the skin like the scratch you mentioned invites bacteria in and then you get an infection- like the lump. These types of infections can spread throughout the system- sort of an invisible killer. My first guess would be that is what has happened and the chameleon needs to be put on something like baytril (antibiotic). *If* my guess is correct he would need to be treated like that and when I use baytril I usually use a little slurry and tube feed throughout treatment to ensure the chameleon is properly hydrated. If there are concerns about calcium deficiency doing that would help at the same time.

From the picture it appears your chameleon isn't low on fat reserves.
His posture is bad- don't know from the pic if that is normal for him or if he's just intimidated by the camera.

Behind his "arm" looks like a little edema going on possibly.

edit- I don't mean so much to tell you what to do other than to be skeptical and get another vet's opinion.
 
Last edited:

Dobsons

New Member
Thanks for that, I am really suspicious of the Vets approach and going to hold back from that. I am going to seek a second opinion. At the moment i am giving him electrolytes in the water etc and going to see if rehydration picks him up enough to feed. Whilst thats going on i am going to try and seek a vet that has some chameleon experience. His posture is bade 1) due to weakness which i think may be MBD. 2) he hates the camera and recoils a bit.

he had his injection last night and taken drops this morning, i will see how he is when i get home

I really do think nocking him out with anestetic is a bad move.
 

spadefish

Member
I have had luck mixing chicken baby food into a slurry with pedialyte. It replaces some calcium and electrolytes and gives him some calories. You can even mix in some calcium dust to boost it a bit. Sometimes, this is enough to "bridge" the cham into eating on its own. I think anesthetizing a cham to feed it is nuts. Totally not necessary.

If this is MBD (hard to tell but the posture looks like he is leaning on the longer bones in his legs which can be a sign of MBD), you may need to consider calcium injections. I also agree with the post that suggests that there may (also) be an infectious process going on. Baytril has good coverage for most infections. If you absolutely cannot find a reptile vet, if you have a regular small animal vet with whom you have a good relationship, you might be able to get the baytril in the proper dose and adminsiter it orally as long as you are sure you can get extra fluids into him (not reall difficult). If you need the dilution for baytril, send me a PM and I will look it up. I cant recall off the top of my head.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm not a vet, but-

I'm skeptical about your vet's advice. I'll explain why-

Anesthetic to tube feed is not necessary. At all. Tube feeding is actually a pretty simple affair for nearly all lizards if you know what you are doing and how to hold the lizard to restrain it and how to get the mouth open, and knowing what you are doing doesn't involve rocket science. The throat down into the belly actually has a lot of space (they can swallow surprisingly large items) and makes tube feeding pretty easy.

If it were my lizard the first thing I'd be suspicious of is the lump you mentioned. It seems like often something that breaks the skin like the scratch you mentioned invites bacteria in and then you get an infection- like the lump. These types of infections can spread throughout the system- sort of an invisible killer. My first guess would be that is what has happened and the chameleon needs to be put on something like baytril (antibiotic). *If* my guess is correct he would need to be treated like that and when I use baytril I usually use a little slurry and tube feed throughout treatment to ensure the chameleon is properly hydrated. If there are concerns about calcium deficiency doing that would help at the same time.

From the picture it appears your chameleon isn't low on fat reserves.
His posture is bad- don't know from the pic if that is normal for him or if he's just intimidated by the camera.

Behind his "arm" looks like a little edema going on possibly.

edit- I don't mean so much to tell you what to do other than to be skeptical and get another vet's opinion.
A question about your supplements...what is Nutrobol? If it is a herp vitamin and you've used it once a week, he's been overdosed. Vitamin overdoses can create a lot of metabolic problems...some of which have similar symptoms to MBD. Edema can also show up. An adult cham should only be getting vitamins about once a month. Does your calcium contain D3? Using calcium with D3 once a week is not bad, but plain calcium should also be used more during each week. How old are your UV bulbs? I am not familiar with the Arcadia bulbs but know our ReptiSun 5.0s need to be changed out every 6 months. The level of UV they emit drops off rapidly after that amount of use.
 

Dobsons

New Member
Hi , Thanks for the input always apreciated. Nutrobol is Multi vitamin supplement and calcium balancer. If i am honest it was used probably more like every 3rd feed and sprinkled onto locusts, worms etc. The arcadia D3 6% UVA/UVB which i changed about 2 months ago and should last 8 months. prior to that i used exo terra.

Yesterday he had a calcium and sodim chloride shot and i have been given a solution to help with electrolytes and minerals etc which i have been putting in his mouth regular to help. His colour seems alot better today and he is more green and yellow than the previous brown, but i dont know whether this is a good thing or means nothing. his balance seems worse today though and he has fell over a couple of times since i got back an hour ago. I am worried that the quality of life isnt good at the moment and how long do i try things before you have to say enough is enough. Can any one help guide me on that.

Thanks to everyone who has input and offered advice, i am really grateful.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi , Thanks for the input always apreciated. Nutrobol is Multi vitamin supplement and calcium balancer. If i am honest it was used probably more like every 3rd feed and sprinkled onto locusts, worms etc. The arcadia D3 6% UVA/UVB which i changed about 2 months ago and should last 8 months. prior to that i used exo terra.

Yesterday he had a calcium and sodim chloride shot and i have been given a solution to help with electrolytes and minerals etc which i have been putting in his mouth regular to help. His colour seems alot better today and he is more green and yellow than the previous brown, but i dont know whether this is a good thing or means nothing. his balance seems worse today though and he has fell over a couple of times since i got back an hour ago. I am worried that the quality of life isnt good at the moment and how long do i try things before you have to say enough is enough. Can any one help guide me on that.

Thanks to everyone who has input and offered advice, i am really grateful.
I would stop using the Nutrabol entirely, but continue the light calcium. A long term overdose of vitamins could have caused organ damage (including kidneys) and the electrolyte solution may be helping his kidneys cope. It took a while for this to happen so improvement may be slow too. I am not expert enough to know how well he can recover or how long it might take. If he shows interest in moving around, trying to bask, drink, or eat at all, he has some will to keep going. Support him. If he gets to the point where nothing interests him, he is ignoring everything around him and won't even try to drink, that's when I would consider letting him go.
 

Dobsons

New Member
The latest news …

I got to a vet that knew chameleons and he has MBD which I suspected, It’s difficult to know whether he will pull through but he has fight and even bit me yesterday which I thought was a good sign (I was poking food into his mouth! ). He had a super calcium injection last night and has one tonight and tomorrow, also continuing to boost with electrolyte fluids etc. If there is no improvement in him by Monday and he is still falling over etc then she suggested ending his suffering as he should show signs of improvement by then.

As sad as it is, its nice to know that we are doing all we can and to know that if he is suffering it won’t keep going on as it is hard to watch your active fella just falling etc.

Thanks for all your input and time, in an age where time is such a precious commodity it’s a ray of light to know people will take time to help.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here's some information that might be of interest to you...

Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption. Temperatures needed can vary with the species and age. For hatchling panthers I keep the temperature in the warmest area in the low 80's. For older panthers I keep it in the mid to high 80's for the most part.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

MBD can be stopped but some of the damage that was done may remain. It might take a little longer than Monday for him to improve quite a bit....but injections of calcium followed by a shot of calcitonin when his blood calcium levels are high enough is the quickest way to correct the imbalance. However, you need to correct any issues with your husbandry if you want to keep him from getting it again.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
http://chameleonnews.com/07FebWheelock.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200605020...Vitamin.A.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200406080...d.Calcium.html
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/
http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/
http://web.archive.org/web/200601140...ww.adcham.com/
 

SageZA

New Member
Little fella? He a grand pa! sham man i hope you get some info to sort him out.

Does he ever go outside?
 
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