Possible URI?

jcarlsen

Chameleon Enthusiast
So this is a dual purpose accountability/looking for opinions post. I'll preface by saying I took Ickis into the vet the other week for what I'm worried about and an overall checkup, and I'm continuing to monitor/contact the vet as needed.



Chameleon Info:





  • Your Chameleon - Male Ambilobe, roughly 8 or so months old, been in my care about 4 months (10/30/22)
  • Handling - Almost never, except to take him to the vet the other week or pick him up if he wanders too far off his free range tree that I set outside his cage occasionally.
  • Feeding - Currently feeding primarily dubia roaches daily, offering 20 or so to provide adequate movement in the cup, will mix crickets in and either let them loose in the cage. Some days he'll eat 5-6 bugs, depending on size, and some days he'll eat fewer or more. Occasional superworm as a treat. Gutloading with a mixture of bug burger, insect fuel, and spiriluna formed into a gel. As of today 3/6 he seems a bit less interested in eating, and I'm wondering if that's simply because he's full and should poop soon or he's tried a few superworms and is willing to wait out till he sees another one.
  • Supplements - Arcadia Earth Pro - A at every feeding, and Arcadia Revitalize D3 twice a month.
  • Watering - This has changed recently. I was pretty strictly following Bill Strands naturalistic hydration and still am, but I have removed the fogger for the time being as I haven't been able to keep up with cleaning it as much as I like and I don't want it to become a source for bacteria. Planning to re-integrate it once I re-fit it with PVC tubing probably next winter as our natural temps this season have been abnormally warm. Otherwise I'm misting a couple minutes before the lights come on in the morning, around 9pm when the lights are off, and a minute at 1:30am and 4:30am respectively. I've never seen him drink once, not the dew on the leaves or from a dripper that I offer.
  • Fecal Description - Fecals have all looked pretty great, at least 50% white urates, and while the sample was a bit old the vet tested on 2/23/23 and found no signs of parasites.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.




Cage Info:





  • Cage Type - Dragonstrand 2x2x4 screen enclosure with some sides covered in plastic.
  • Lighting - Currently using Arcadia 6% and Jungle Dawn LED, 36" tubes going diagonally across the enclosure. 7am-7pm
  • Temperature - Currently in winter cage floor is 70-72 with basking spot being around 85 or so. Lowest overnight temp is about 68 or so. Temps are measured with a small probe at the basking spot, a wifi hygrometer/thermometer midway through the cage, and manually with a temp gun. I also have my basking light on a dimmer so I can adjust it quickly without swapping bulbs.
  • Humidity - Around 40%-ish during the day and varying 60%-ish at night. Primarily relying on all live plants and misting schedule. The room we're in has a whole room evaporative humidifier that gets cleaned regularly and has anti-bacterial treatment put into the water every time it's filled. Humidity is measured by an external hygrometer right outside the cage and a wifi-probe sitting at the midpoint in the cage.
  • Plants - All live plants, two pothos, one spider plant, one schleffera and one bromeliad.
  • Placement - Living room, opposite side of the room from windows. It sits adjacent to our heat vent but doesn't receive drafts from it as far as I can tell. Top of the cage is a bit higher than the tops of our heads. So a little over 6' or so tall?
  • Location - Boston, MA




Current Problem -



TLDR:

  • Worried there might be a URI given some nose raising and mouth opening, but not sure. No weird popping noises or noticeable mucus. Went to vet but they didn't think meds were the answer at this point.
  • Hasn't pooped since 2/23 and I'm just a little concerned.
  • Kinda sorta utilizes his basking heat, but not really and mostly basks under the UVB where I clock him at about 80F with temp gun


So I recently went to the vet (Odd Pet Vet here in MA) because I'd noticed some behavior changes and signs of what could potentially be a URI, occasional tilting of the head up and opening the mouth more than just yawning, but I couldn't be sure if it was thermo regulating because it was primarily happening near his basking zone. The vet didn't seem overly concerned based on how he was looking at the appointment, no "stringy-ness in the throat" after two techs looked at him. They ran a test on about a week old poop (not ideal but it was the freshest I had) and came up with no signs of parasites. So where I'm at now is monitoring him and taking notes of when I notice any of that behavior. It's been a bit less frequent and not consistent, so they haven't felt the need to put him on antibiotics just yet.



The other thing that's slightly strange for me is I'm noticing he's doing less sitting under his heat to bask, like I'd say his head is kinda in that zone a bit but he primarily basks for a good portion of the day mostly under the UVB, and I can clock his body temp at about 80 with the infra-red gun. He also is going a bit longer between poops, like his last one was 2/23 on the way home from the vet, which was just perfect timing lol. It was big and the urate had a bit of orange in it, but not enough to say it looked dehydrated.



So I'm not sure what's up, like could this just be a bit of the winter slow-down or slowing down eating as he reaches adulthood? He's stopped climbing and crawling upside down on the screen which I'd take as a win. It's also almost as if he's on a schedule, like he'll wake up around 7, crawl up and spend a good chunk of the day UV/kinda heat basking, maybe eat some bugs then around 4pm he'll kinda start a patrol around the cage until about 6pm where he settles in at the bottom of the cage to sleep.



One more clarification on the hydration section. I'd been using the ReptiZoo humidifier, the one a lot of us use and is shown on chameleon academy, but I discontinued it a few days ago because I haven't been keeping up with cleaning it as much as I should and I had wondered if he indeed does have some kind of infection going on, could I have been blasting bacteria in there. I've only ever used distilled in it, never even noticed any buildup when I cleaned it, but I've gone probably 2 or so weeks between cleanings which I know is too long. PLUS, I really hate that the collapsing tube never ever truly dries out. So for the time being, given that here in MA we've had a very warm, snow-less winter this year, I figure I'll rely just on the mister and our whole room humidifier that isn't a cool mist one to keep ambient humidity up.



Anyways, I'm hoping I'm just being paranoid, but after losing my panther Cosmo over the summer so suddenly, any signs of change or illness have me on red-alert. I plan to keep checking in with the vet, but I'm just hoping I'm doing all the things I can do.
 

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The pc fan on the cage is pull out or blowing in? I find setting them on the top works a bit better with a hybrid style. What panels did you leave screen without covering?

Basking may be a bit hotter than you realize. The jungle dawn puts out some heat. I lowered my basking temp a bit when I added it due to the heat output. Beman will often sit under the jungle dawn and UVB rather than the heat fixture as well. I have a full 9 inch drop between the bottom of the fixture and the branch below.

How close to the cage is the whole room humidifier?

I did stop the hydration cycle at night a few years ago... Beman would literally not drink off leaves where water was sitting and not moving. I run my misting session about 15 minutes after my uvb kicks on in the morning so at 7:15 t5 on 7:30 misting then 8:30 basking on. I have basking kick on an hour after my misting session. Allows for the water to dry out before adding heat. I then mist about 4pm and then at 6:30 before lights go off. My heat kicks off at 2:30pm every day. I also delay my jungle dawn kicking on. It only runs from 8:15-3:45. This helps keep temps lower for my misting sessions. Also mimics a gradual lights on and off.

Food reduction does not surprise me... Could be due to curb back with his age.

Everything in your husbandry is on point though.
 
The pc fan on the cage is pull out or blowing in? I find setting them on the top works a bit better with a hybrid style. What panels did you leave screen without covering?

Basking may be a bit hotter than you realize. The jungle dawn puts out some heat. I lowered my basking temp a bit when I added it due to the heat output. Beman will often sit under the jungle dawn and UVB rather than the heat fixture as well. I have a full 9 inch drop between the bottom of the fixture and the branch below.

How close to the cage is the whole room humidifier?

I did stop the hydration cycle at night a few years ago... Beman would literally not drink off leaves where water was sitting and not moving. I run my misting session about 15 minutes after my uvb kicks on in the morning so at 7:15 t5 on 7:30 misting then 8:30 basking on. I have basking kick on an hour after my misting session. Allows for the water to dry out before adding heat. I then mist about 4pm and then at 6:30 before lights go off. My heat kicks off at 2:30pm every day. I also delay my jungle dawn kicking on. It only runs from 8:15-3:45. This helps keep temps lower for my misting sessions. Also mimics a gradual lights on and off.

Food reduction does not surprise me... Could be due to curb back with his age.

Everything in your husbandry is on point though.
Thanks for the input! I'll move the PC fan (which is blowing in from the side) to the top as an output. For cage coverings I have it divvied up between the dragon ledges. Whole back is covered, and on the left and right, the lower two thirds are covered in plastic. I also have a plastic lower panel door to prevent splash out from mistings if that makes sense. Dunno if that looks clear in the cage image I posted above, but there should hopefully be enough airflow. I think my plan is to remove more coverings for the summer since it loves to get hot and humid here in MA.

I like the misting/light schedule you have, and it feels more in line with what I had for my first panther, Jasper, who despite my other husbandry mistakes, lasted 4.5 years with me with a hydration schedule closer to that.

I currently have the jungle dawn linked to the T5, but have a separate cord and can put it on a separate timer. One thing I'll also mention is I'm gonna actually raise my lights about 2 inches off the screen. The UV levels Ickis is getting are fine so long as he doesn't screen climb, but right ON the screen, even with a 6%, I was clocking about a 12 on the solarmeter. I'm picking up some 3D printed pieces which should lift the lights a bit, and I'll probably make a post about that if they work out.

The whole room humidifier sits on the floor about two feet away from the enclosure. It's been in the same spot for years, even with my first panther, so I wanna say I'm not too concerned about it unless you think I should put it further away. Probably will stop using it once things warm up a bit more here in the next month.

Glad to hear the food reduction seems normal, and I was thinking about moving to an every other day schedule for him. As I'm typing this I just saw him snatch a dubia after staring at his feeder run for the last hour. I think he was really hoping a superworm would appear lol.
 
Thanks for the input! I'll move the PC fan (which is blowing in from the side) to the top as an output. For cage coverings I have it divvied up between the dragon ledges. Whole back is covered, and on the left and right, the lower two thirds are covered in plastic. I also have a plastic lower panel door to prevent splash out from mistings if that makes sense. Dunno if that looks clear in the cage image I posted above, but there should hopefully be enough airflow. I think my plan is to remove more coverings for the summer since it loves to get hot and humid here in MA.

I like the misting/light schedule you have, and it feels more in line with what I had for my first panther, Jasper, who despite my other husbandry mistakes, lasted 4.5 years with me with a hydration schedule closer to that.

I currently have the jungle dawn linked to the T5, but have a separate cord and can put it on a separate timer. One thing I'll also mention is I'm gonna actually raise my lights about 2 inches off the screen. The UV levels Ickis is getting are fine so long as he doesn't screen climb, but right ON the screen, even with a 6%, I was clocking about a 12 on the solarmeter. I'm picking up some 3D printed pieces which should lift the lights a bit, and I'll probably make a post about that if they work out.

The whole room humidifier sits on the floor about two feet away from the enclosure. It's been in the same spot for years, even with my first panther, so I wanna say I'm not too concerned about it unless you think I should put it further away. Probably will stop using it once things warm up a bit more here in the next month.

Glad to hear the food reduction seems normal, and I was thinking about moving to an every other day schedule for him. As I'm typing this I just saw him snatch a dubia after staring at his feeder run for the last hour. I think he was really hoping a superworm would appear lol.
Perfect so try moving the pc fan to the top pulling up and out.

All your panels are fine your getting plenty of airflow.

I prefer my lighting/misting with Beman. It has worked really well for him the last few years. To the point that I do not fog at all because my humidity is higher at night. Also even with him on a reduced feedings to control weight his urates are always white. So he gets lots of opportunities to drink with his schedule. Then I am able to control my humidity levels by changing up how the lights come on and kick off. Play with it. That is what I did. I did the same method living in Cali in very high humidity but I had to have a short 1 minute misting in the am to keep my humidity within limits for daytime.

I almost got a 3d piece for the jungle dawn but it has worked out well as is but let me know what you think of them.

Humidifier should be good 2 feet away. Just make sure of course as you know that it does not blow straight into the cage.

I think he is at an age where you can easily reduce him to 8 feeders or so a day. See how he does with that. Let him eat what he wants. He is still growing but of course he will curb more on his own and then you will know when he is ready for every other day feedings. I would not worry about switching him until the gapping stops just in case it is the start of an RI you will want him eating.
 
Just wanted to update. @Beman Ickis seems to be doing ok so far, I haven't really noticed any mouth opening as much in the last few days or nose raising that's seeming excessive. I think he's yawning and stretching because it's close to a month since his last shed, so I'm hoping to see him pop soon haha.

He still hasn't pooped in 15 days at this point, while still eating every day, so I'm not sure at what point I should start to worry or if there's any other adjustment I should make.

I almost got a 3d piece for the jungle dawn but it has worked out well as is but let me know what you think of them.
Oh and I did wind up making the pieces and they worked out well! The UVI is now safer at the very top of the cage and his basking Zone is at a 3 still. Made a whole long blog about it if you wanna see pictures!
 
Just wanted to update. @Beman Ickis seems to be doing ok so far, I haven't really noticed any mouth opening as much in the last few days or nose raising that's seeming excessive. I think he's yawning and stretching because it's close to a month since his last shed, so I'm hoping to see him pop soon haha.

He still hasn't pooped in 15 days at this point, while still eating every day, so I'm not sure at what point I should start to worry or if there's any other adjustment I should make.


Oh and I did wind up making the pieces and they worked out well! The UVI is now safer at the very top of the cage and his basking Zone is at a 3 still. Made a whole long blog about it if you wanna see pictures!
He had to have pooped at some point lol. I think it is hiding in the plants. But if not the only thing you can do is make sure there is a dripper going consistently during the day and offer more watery feeders like silk worms and hornworms.

Of course I want to see the blog. :)
 
He had to have pooped at some point lol. I think it is hiding in the plants. But if not the only thing you can do is make sure there is a dripper going consistently during the day and offer more watery feeders like silk worms and hornworms.

Of course I want to see the blog. :)
Ya know what, I'll do a thorough look through the plants for a poop soon and offer some more water. I'm slowly switching my misting around to more of your schedule where I mist early on when the lights come on and he can visually see some more water to lap up. (Got my Jungle Dawn and UVB on separate timers now!)

Here's the blog: https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/a-case-for-raising-6-arcadia-bulbs-off-the-screen.2481/

Update: I did a check through all my plants and found what I think was a shrivelled up poop in one near the back, no idea how old it was and couldn't find the urate, so I'm hesitant to say it happened in the 2 week span since the vet visit.
 
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Ya know what, I'll do a thorough look through the plants for a poop soon and offer some more water. I'm slowly switching my misting around to more of your schedule where I mist early on when the lights come on and he can visually see some more water to lap up. (Got my Jungle Dawn and UVB on separate timers now!)

Here's the blog: https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/a-case-for-raising-6-arcadia-bulbs-off-the-screen.2481/

Update: I did a check through all my plants and found what I think was a shrivelled up poop in one near the back, no idea how old it was and couldn't find the urate, so I'm hesitant to say it happened in the 2 week span since the vet visit.
Very good blog. Glad you upgraded from that quad. I am very familiar with those. I started out with it. timer was unreliable and the led display kept going out. Still it was what I knew so I bought another one for another cage. That one blew a bulb but also something in it caught on fire.

I run 36 inch vivarium electronics fixtures now. Your numbers are pretty spot on. On the screen you get intense numbers. It can be a little shocking after using the odyssea quad lol
 
Mine used to gape around that age and nothing was wrong.
And yes you messed up introducing him to super worms 🫠
I’ve made the same mistake before as well. And a hunger strike lasted 2 weeks😩 During that time his energy level was low.
Be aware that too many dubias can lead to gout.
Grasshoppers are a great hunger strike killer.👌🏼
If he likes coming out of his enclosure take him outside to get some sunshine and it’ll make him poop. Always works for me.
 
Mine used to gape around that age and nothing was wrong.
And yes you messed up introducing him to super worms 🫠
I’ve made the same mistake before as well. And a hunger strike lasted 2 weeks😩 During that time his energy level was low.
Be aware that too many dubias can lead to gout.
Grasshoppers are a great hunger strike killer.👌🏼
If he likes coming out of his enclosure take him outside to get some sunshine and it’ll make him poop. Always works for me.
So luckily it isn’t a full hunger strike, he’s eaten crickets and roaches after one or two supers over the last few weeks.

This is the first I’m hearing of gout with Dubias though. He gets a mix of them with banded crickets but he definitely prefers the roaches more often than not.
 
UPDATE: he finally pooped and dear god it was massive. Must’ve been a third of his body weight 🤯
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And of course he got the zoomies after dropping this massive thing and decided to go inverted 😂
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