Please help


New Member

Good evening. I'm on this forum because I'm afraid I'm out of options. I have a juvenile veiled male chameleon. He's around 3-4 months old. He is in a medium reptibreeze mesh cage. The basking temp is around 90 and the lower temp is around 70-74. He has a constant water drip. He has multiple vines and fake plants. He is misted twice a day and his humidity stays around 50 percent. He is fed small crickets and meal worms. Both of these are gut loaded and dusted in calcium and multivitamins on alternate days (Monday calcium, Tuesday multivitamins, ect. And Sunday is an off day for both) His substrate is reptile carpet. When we got him, he had a RI. We took him to our local vet, which doesn't know a lot about reptiles. They gave us an antibiotic to give to him twice a day. We did that for a few days until he stopped eating and started throwing up the antibiotics. We stopped the antibiotics, soaked him in Pedialyte mixed with water, and he seemed to perk up. He was eating a little for about a week. Now he's back to eating almost nothing, maybe a couple meal worms a day. His poop is very runny and he does it multiple times a day. He wants out all the time and is wheezing. The nearest reptile vet is over an hour away and he will not make the trip there. They will not do an appointment over the phone either. We have tried the Pedialyte soak again, a shower, and some reptiboost. Nothing is seeming to help. I am at a complete loss. The only other option is to start the antibiotics again, but with him eating so little I am afraid it will make him sicker than he already is. I've researched for days and cannot find anything. Any help at this point would be appreciated.


Established Member
You should read the veiled chameleon care sheet on this site .
Does the multivitamin your giving him have d3 in it?
Because he only needs a multivitamin twice a month and d3 twice a month. I typically just give multivitamin on Sunday and d3 the following Sunday. To much d3 can cause problems
I have also never heard of giving a pedialyte bath? I imagine the sugar in it isn’t good for them but I could be wrong
Also mealworms are not good for them as it could cause impaction


Established Member
Fill this out and maybe someone more experienced than me can help you out. The more details the better

Chameleon Info:
◦Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
◦Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
◦Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
◦Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
◦Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
◦Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
◦History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
◦Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
◦Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
◦Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
◦Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
◦Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
◦Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
◦Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.


New Member
Your chameleon – Veiled chameleon, male, about 3-4 months old. We have had him since the end of December.

Handling – we have been handling him 2-3 times a day for about 5-10 minutes each time. He has been wanting out often since he has been feeling bad.

Feeding – he eats crickets and mealworms. Lately he has refused to eat crickets and will only eat up to 4 mealworms in a day. I know they can cause impaction, but he is getting the exoskeletons out and it is the only thing he will currently eat, so I figure it is better than nothing at all. When he was eating crickets, he got some in the morning around 10 and a few more around 4. We give the crickets the gut loading food from petsmart and leftover chameleon friendly veggies. The mealworms eat on oats and baby carrots.

Supplements – we use ZooMed repticalcium and RepCal Herptivite multivitamins. Usually we dust the food with each 3 times a week with Sunday being the day off (Monday, Wednesday, Friday Calcium and Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday multivitamins). We only dust the mealworms since all our lizards only get a couple of mealworms a day. We do not dust the crickets so that they don’t get too much of either.

Watering – he has a Little Dripper that drips constantly. We fill it with water that is treated with ReptiSafe. We mist his leaves twice a day with warm ReptiSafe treated water until his leaves are slightly dripping. We haven’t seen him drink in the past couple of days. We have bathed him in watered down unflavored Pedialyte so it has nothing but electrolytes to help him keep hydrated and boost his energy.

Fecal Description – His poop is milk chocolate brown with a smaller than normal white part. It is very funny. It has never been tested for parasites since the specialist is too far for him to travel to (and will not test it without seeing the animal) and the local vet is definitely not capable.

History – he had an RI when we got him that was treated with antibiotics until he stopped eating completely and couldn’t handle the antibiotic and started throwing it up. He seemed better for about a week. Started eating a little more and seemed to have more energy. Now he seems to have relapsed (this is described in my original post with more detail).

Cage type – it is a medium ReptiBreeze (all mesh).

Lighting – we are using ZooMed 10.0 compact UVB and ZooMed 100 watt blue bulb for heat. His lights are turned on around 7:30 am and turned off between 8-8:30 pm.

Temperature – the cage floor is 70-74 and his basking spot is about 90. We measure these with a ZooMed digital thermometer.

Humidity – we keep the humidity 40%-55%. We have a humidifier on and when we mist his cage it gets up to about 55% humidity. We have a thermometer thing from Walmart that also measures humidity. I know that’s vague but I honestly have no clue what brand it is.

Plants – We only have fake plants and vines in his cage that were all treated in ReptiSafe water before they were put into his cage.

Placement – His cage is in the living room where we have frequent foot traffic, but we are a pretty quiet family and he is usually pretty social and seems to enjoy the company. We have a fan running but it is very slow, only enough for a very light breeze to keep the air flowing. His cage is about 3 and a half feet off of the floor on a wooden table.

Location – we live in eastern TN where the weather can go from 60 to 10 degrees in a 24 hour period.

Current problem – he is lethargic, not eating, constantly wanting to be handled, runny poop, wheezing, mucus in mouth, and seems to be getting worse. He won’t make the trip to the vet and they will not give any advice without seeing him, despite knowing the drive would kill him. The local vet does not normally see reptiles and they admit to knowing very little about them. Therefore I don’t see the point in stressing our chameleon to take him there. We have also tried to give him ReptiBoost, but it does not seem to be helping him, only stressing him out. We have tried the Pedialyte as described above, and a shower to try and help his breathing issues. Any advice at this point would be very appreciated. I do not want him to suffer or be in pain, but I also do not want to have him put down if there is any other option I have not tried. I have been researching for days on things to do and have not found anything new.


Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there. I am sorry to hear of your situation.
I see a few issues with the husbandry.
Is the Repti calcium with D3 or without D3? They can over dose on calcium with D3 if it is given more then every two weeks. Vitamins should be given every two weeks and calcium without D3 is given at every feed except when you are using the other two.
His basking temp is too high. The highest it should be is 85.
Lighting should never include a compact bulb they are useless. It should be a T5 fixture with a 10.0 bulb. Without proper lighting they develop MBD. All lights should be on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours no light at all total darkness.
Are you running the humidifier in the cage non stop? If so this will contribute to the RI issues.
Using live plants such as Pothos boost natural humidity and give Veileds something to munch on. Covering the top layer of soil with 1 inch river rock so he can not eat the dirt and become impacted.
Mealworms as you already know are a really bad choice for these guys.

Honestly he really does not sound good. He needs an experienced reptile vet. He needs medication. With stopping the medicine and I understand he could not keep it down it probably caused the infection to come back harsher. You can put him in a shoe box with no light and a towel in the bottom if he won't grip a stick. He will go to sleep in the darkness. If it is cold out warm up your car.

Here are some resource pics and here is a link to the veiled care sheet
Supplements pic.jpeg
Gutloading 101.jpeg
UVB lighting pic.jpeg
nonUVB pic.jpeg
Basic Feeder pic.jpeg


New Member
Thank you so much for responding. I didn't know about the shoebox trick. I'll give the vet a call today and see when they can see him. If they can't see him soon, should I restart the antibiotics? The local vet gave us enough for an entire month so we still have more than enough left for an entire course of it. The humidifier is across the room and his humidity stays pretty stable. The calcium does not have D3 in it. With as little as he's been eating he's not getting enough of either calcium or the multivitamins to do him harm. I know he can overdose on those. I also know mealworms are bad for him, I honestly do. But I'm at a loss of what to feed him. He won't zap crickets on his own, nor will he eat them dead out of my hand. He won't touch a wax worm and he's too small for superworms. Our local pet store doesn't carry anything else. The only thing he'll eat is the mealworms and only if I'm holding them. When he ate four, that was a very rare thing and the most he has eaten in days. I'm lucky if he'll even eat one of those a day. He is pooping out the exoskeleton so I haven't been worried about impaction. I know I sound inexperienced and I'm very sorry about that. We have another chameleon in a completely different part of the house with the same conditions and she is thriving. She eats up to 15 crickets a day, loves when we let her have wax worms, and is a typical little butthole. We got her a few months before we ever thought about another one and we honestly did research before we ever bought one. From the way she's acting I thought I was a pretty good chameleon owner but now I'm not so sure. Thank you for your help.


New Member
I forgot to add a couple things. If I'm told to restart the antibiotics, are there any tricks on how to help him keep it down? He started throwing it up last time I'm guessing due to him not eating. Also, I will go today and get one of the UVB's you suggested. I know he doesn't have MBD, but I would definitely like to keep that from happening on top of everything else.


Established Member
Could you post pics of his enclosure?
I would fix the uvb right away and also maybe move his enclosure somewhere with less foot traffic. If you can’t move it then try covering it with a towel.
Him moving about the enclosure could just mean he’s unhappy in it. It doesn’t mean he wants to come out.
Only dust his food in calcium without d3 on every feeding. Stop the multivitamins right away and anything else with d3


Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there not a problem. I am going to start off by saying I am only 4 months into being a Chameleon owner. I have done extensive research but I am not knowledgeable with medicines. I will give you all the info I have though.
I can not comment on restarting the medicine. You will want to talk to the vet about this. here is a link for how to properly give them medicine you have to be careful with this to aim toward the far back of the mouth as you will see with the image their airway opening is in the front so they can aspirate it if it is not put in properly. They may have been why he was throwing it up he may have been aspirating it as well.
MBD can start its effects in a matter of weeks. So if you do not have the lighting for your other one you will want to replace it as well. The T5 fixture should go the length of the top of the cage down the middle.
The problem with dead is that they have lost their good stuff in the drying out process. He may be going for the mealworms and seeming to digest but this is a disaster waiting to happen. Try They have all sorts of feeders. You can get very small ones as well. They can also overnight ship them. If you cup feed him attach it to the closest branch where he hangs out so he does not have to struggle to get to them. or hold them so they squirt and see if he goes for them.
As far as dusting since he is not eating he is not getting overdosed. But once he starts you will want to switch to the recommended amounts.
The humidifier is fine since it is across the room and not running in the cage 24/7.


Chameleon Enthusiast
if he's climbing the walls then there may be something in his cage bothering him if he's just moving it could be anything. dont cover the top of the enclosure and sides, humidity and temps will sky rocket. cover the sides with paper. stop all supplementation for a while like a week fr two so he can flush out his system


New Member
Update: the reptile vet is out of town until next week. I asked them about the medication and they will not answer any questions without the reptile vet being there and without seeing him. So as far as a vet goes, I'm screwed until next week. Also, when I uncovered his cage this morning, he is now shedding. I don't know that he can wait another week for the vet to get back. I'm debating on restarting the antibiotics as I don't know what else to try for him.


Chameleon Enthusiast
Update: the reptile vet is out of town until next week. I asked them about the medication and they will not answer any questions without the reptile vet being there and without seeing him. So as far as a vet goes, I'm screwed until next week. Also, when I uncovered his cage this morning, he is now shedding. I don't know that he can wait another week for the vet to get back. I'm debating on restarting the antibiotics as I don't know what else to try for him.
@jannb could you offer some of your expertise with this member. They have a very sick baby. I am unable to help any further.


Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m very sorry to hear about your baby. He needs to see a vet for an antibiotic. It sounds like he has an RI. Riding to the vet will not kill him but his illness might. My vet use to be 4 and a half hours one way and my guys made the trip many times and I often stayed in a hotel with them overnight. Here’s a link to some reptile vets in TN. I recommend a vet visit right away.


New Member
We took him to the vet in Knoxville today. They gave us some more of the same medication we already have. Didn't have many pointers on how to give it to him if he's throwing it up like last time. I'm going to hope he can go through the full cycle of antibiotics this time. He seems very worn out from the combination of a long trip and shedding. Fingers crossed.


Chameleon Enthusiast
We took him to the vet in Knoxville today. They gave us some more of the same medication we already have. Didn't have many pointers on how to give it to him if he's throwing it up like last time. I'm going to hope he can go through the full cycle of antibiotics this time. He seems very worn out from the combination of a long trip and shedding. Fingers crossed.
I just tagged someone that may be able to provide pointers. She took in a very sick guy and has been nursing him back to health. Good luck hun.


Chameleon Enthusiast
I would avoid the Pedialyte soak, as it's generally more stressful than helpful to soak chameleons. You can try spraying him with the Pedialyte while he's in the tub or something, though! He'd probably like that better. I'm not sure what the prices are like where you're at, but Gatorade G2 has darn near the same formulation and is often significantly cheaper than Pedialyte. The orange flavored stuff as I recall has the lowest sucrose levels, and is apparently the most reptile friendly. I'd have to check my sources for absolute confirmation.

Regarding throwing up - this is unfortunately pretty common with antibiotics when the animal isn't eating. It's very tough on the stomach, especially if there isn't much in there! Getting him to eat a bit before his medication would likely help, though if he has little appetite this might be tough. Have you discussed his relative lack of appetite with your vet? It may be worth picking up some syringe feeding formula (Oxbow Carnivore Care, Emeraid IC Carnivore) so he can get some easily digestible nutrition in him and help keep those meds down.

Let me know if there's anything else I can clarify! I'm half asleep right now - long shift.

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