Possible obstruction? Male panther chameleon near bottom of enclosure, looks to be sleeping, no stress colors

ldarmo

Established Member
Hi, I may be jumping the gun, but I'm concerned. I came in to work to feed my 8 month old male panther chameleon (I skip feeding Saturdays, he is at my work) and found him on the bottom of the cage. He isn't showing stress colors, does not seem weak, acts like he is sleeping. When I nudged him, he climbed on the screen and wedged himself under a branch and plant. It is possible that I accidentailly hit my timer on Friday; it has a switch to keep timed outlets on, and if the lights didn't go off this weekend, he may just be trying to get some sleep. I've had him since late last year. Never had a problem or issue, eats well, great color and activity.

I have some plants in pots mounted on the sides of the enclosure. Last week, put some silkworms into a pot that I see has some small chunks of Perlite along with peat. Is it possible he swallowed some soil media from a pot or the bottom of the cage floor and now has an obstruction? What are the symptoms?

First picture was taken Friday. Second image was taken today. Third picture was taken today of the enclosure. He is hiding in the bottom left side of the cage.

I cleaned poop out of the cage Friday afternoon. Today there was a normal poop with normal urates at the bottom of the cage, probably from Saturday.

Housed in a Dragon Strand medium clearside atrium enclosure. The cage is over bioactive substrate, and has numerous live plants, branches, cover
Lighting is 12/12. I have an Acadio 6.0 and daylight. Basking light is a 50-watt ExoTerra Swamp Basking Spot (splash and mist proof).
Gradient - about 85 F directly under basking spot, to low 70s in the coolest, most shaded area, night temperatures mid- to low 70s
Feeding - 6 days a week, a variety of crickets, hornworms, silkworms, mealworm beetles. Crickets make up about 75%.
Supplementation - Repashy Calcium Plus, RepCal Calcium (no phosphorus/no vitamin D3), RepCal Herptivite

I'm going to turn out the lights this evening and turn them on in the morning. Hopefully he will be behaving normally. Any comments are welcome! I really love this guy and try to give him all that he needs. I would be heartbroken to lose him. @frankpayne32
 

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ldarmo

Established Member
I haven't posted in this forum before, sorry! Here is some information:

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Panther, male, 8 months, have had it since late 2018 (a little over 5 months). From Frank Payne.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? Very infrequently, sometimes comes out on my hand when I have the door open to clean cage.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Crickets main, hornworms, silkworms, occasional mealworm beetles, butterworms. Crickets (75% of diet) are gutloaded with carrots, kale, and eat chick starter. Eats about a dozen per day, often fed 2x/day, skip Saturday.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? RepCal no D3, daily. Repashy Calcium plus 1-2x/week, Reptivite every 2 weeks.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? RO water misting, several times a day. Bioactive substrate, about 10-12 inches and dense planting on one side of tank helps maintain humidity. Hel;p keep hydrated with regular feeding of silkworms, hornworms.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Never evaluated or treated for parasites, feces very normal looking, not smelly, white urates. Generally defecates daily to every other day.
  • History - I have never had any issues with appetite, activity, colors are getting brighter all the time.
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? Dragon Strand medium clearside atrium, approx 29 x 18 x 30" high, on planter with 10-12" bioactive substrate
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? Arcadia 2 bulb t5 ho. ( 1 )6% uvb (1) daylight, 50-w basking light (ExoTerra swamp basking spot)
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? Low 70s to mid 80s (85 at basking spot) Night temp at bottom low 70s, sometimes down to 67 at night in the winter.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? Maintain humidity by misting 3+ times per day, bioactive substrate and live plants help maintain humidity. Min/Max temperature and humidity gauge, humidity ranges from 40-70 and spikes to 80-90 during misting.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? Live plants mostly, inlcuding Schefflera, Pothos, orchids, Anthurium, Pepperomia, Philodendron
  • 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? Office at work, low traffic, good ambient temp control, 30" off ground (on a standing planter box).
  • Location - Where are you geographically located. Burlington, North Carolina
 

ldarmo

Established Member
Thanks, everyone. I just turned the lights on and he is moving and eyes open, but still near the bottom of the cage. Color is lighter than normal, like yesterday (yellow cast instead of green). I'm looking for a vet and will be calling today.
 

ldarmo

Established Member
I'm going to the vet as soon as I can get in. He looks weaker. Any other ideas why an apparently very healthy and active chameleon could go downhill so fast? Wondering if there is anything at all I can do until I get him to the vet.
 

ldarmo

Established Member
Update: took him to an exotic animal vet in Raleigh. He is hospitalized overnight. Had the following done:

X-ray, 2 views - there is an obstruction in the gut, but expected that it can be passed
Blood work - pretty normal
SubQ fluids, several times
Assisted feeding with syringe - Oxbow Carnivore Care Small packet
Fecal (older feces, nothing fresh since I cleaned Friday and he is blocked) - treated with fenbendazole - vet says has hookworm (not sure how this happened, CB chameleon eating CB bugs)
Pain meds - metronidazole
Slippery Elm bark?
ENEMA

Since treatment, has passed some liquidy stools, so things are moving somewhat
When syringe feeding, vet reported he lunged and chomped down on syringe, getting a hairline crack in his jaw :(

I'm picking up tomorrow night. I may need advice on treatment at home. I am goint to have to cancel a vacation weekend trip - spent it on Karma Chameleon

I'll update. Fingers crossed for me, please.

I have bioactive substrate, the soil or perlite was the cause of the obstruction. Any suggestions? I'm thinking feed only in dishes or feeders - no free range prey, and avoid ever putting silkworms on the potting mix in a pot ever again!
 
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ldarmo

Established Member
Completely possible, forgetting the lights one time isn’t enough to make him sleep during the next day. See a vet.
You were right! See the update above. I went to a vet, it was an obstruction. If he survives the next couple days he will have a good chance to make it. Vet said he was in good shape, well hydrated, a bit thin. I told her he ate constantly. She did a fecal and he had hookworms! While syringe feeding, he lunged at and clampled on the syringe, causing a hairline crack in his jaw. Vet said it should be okay, but feed softer food for a few days? Any thoughts?
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
You were right! See the update above. I went to a vet, it was an obstruction. If he survives the next couple days he will have a good chance to make it. Vet said he was in good shape, well hydrated, a bit thin. I told her he ate constantly. She did a fecal and he had hookworms! While syringe feeding, he lunged at and clampled on the syringe, causing a hairline crack in his jaw. Vet said it should be okay, but feed softer food for a few days? Any thoughts?
Well, sounds like he has some fight left in him!
 

janjan20

Chameleon Enthusiast
Update: took him to an exotic animal vet in Raleigh. He is hospitalized overnight. Had the following done:

X-ray, 2 views - there is an obstruction in the gut, but expected that it can be passed
Blood work - pretty normal
SubQ fluids, several times
Assisted feeding with syringe - Oxbow Carnivore Care Small packet
Fecal - treated with fenbendazole (not sure how this happened, CB chameleon eating CB bugs)
Pain meds
Slippery Elm bark?
ENEMA

Since treatment, has passed some liquidy stools, so things are moving somewhat
When syringe feeding, vet reported he lunged and chomped down on syringe, getting a hairline crack in his jaw :(

I'm picking up tomorrow night. I may need advice on treatment at home. I am goint to have to cancel a vacation weekend trip - spent it on Karma Chameleon

I'll update. Fingers crossed for me, please.

I have bioactive substrate, the soil or perlite was the cause of the obstruction. Any suggestions? I'm thinking feed only in dishes or feeders - no free range prey, and avoid ever putting silkworms on the potting mix in a pot ever again!
Praying for a good recovery! Thanks for the update!
 

ldarmo

Established Member
I will! Please keep us in your thoughts! I am sure I will be asking for help if he is still alive when I pick up tomorrow. I have a question right now. Would it be better to put him back in his enclosure, since it is familiar and provides a good environment? He is feisty and easy to feed/hydrate when he gapes. What I just spent is more than twice his original purchase price (and shipping) so I pray he makes it! It will be so worth it if he does.
 

ldarmo

Established Member
Well, sounds like he has some fight left in him!
Brody, if I had waited (local vet said they couldn't see him before Wednesday) I think he would have worsened and died. He was perfect Friday, I discovered him at the bottom of the cage Sunday, and took him to the vet early afternoon today (Monday). This practice ONLY treats exotic animals, and I had to get him in on an emergency basis. He is very feisty. I have never grabbed him before. I always let him walk on me as he wished, but didn't push. I had to pick him up, and he was a wild man. I have a couple of bites. See attached for an example. He got a piece of my forearm.
 

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ldarmo

Established Member
He is way stronger than I thought. I've never been bitten like that by any lizard or snake! And he's only 8 months old! I'm glad I was able to get him to the vet. I know how fast a chameleon showing signs of illness can go down. The vet seems to know what she is doing - though his biting freaked the vet and two vet techs out a little. I love this guy. Coolest lizared I ever had. I hope the treatment can save him. The practice is called Avian and Exotic Animal Care Veterinary Hospital, in Raleigh, NC. http://www.avianandexotic.com/the-vets/
 
If you have to do treatments at home, use a hand towel on top of him and grab behind his head with your thumb on one side and your pointer finger on the other, and cradle his body in the palm of that same hand. The towel protects your hands and arms while giving him something to hold, and gaining control of the head first helps prevent bites. I'm a veterinary technician at an exotic animal vet, and I took home a little girl who they didn't think was going to make it. She needed daily treatments/syringe feeding/eye drops, and as she started feeling better she became a LOT feistier. The technique mentioned above made it so much easier to get in and get out quickly with the least amount of stress to her. If you can, schedule his treatments before his light goes on in the morning and he wakes up, you will have a much easier time because he won't be on the defensive.
My thoughts are with you guys!!
 
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