Probably purchased an unhealthy Panther Chameleon

Hello Everyone, let me 1st say that I do have a vet appt. but they couldn't get me in until tomorrow.

I have been looking at chameleons online & looking into purchasing one from what seemed to be a reputable breeder or a local rescue. However my family, knowing that I was researching them & looking forward to getting one, purchased a ReptiBreeze set-up kit & a panther chameleon from a pet store, for my birthday. I believe that he is very sick, dehydrated & of course stressed. I'm hoping to get help to get him through until his vet appt.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Male Panther, pet store said 1.5 years old. He was purchased the evening of 1/17/21.
  • Handling - Have only handled him to put him in the cage.
  • Feeding - I have crickets, but he hasn't eaten them. I am currently using a cup to try to track what he's eaten.
  • Supplements - Nothing so far. But do have what came with the cage kit. (Repti Calcium without D3 (sample) ReptiVite with D3 (sample))
  • Watering - The 1st night & next day, I sprayed the plants with water. Since Monday I've had a misting system in there. And I put a cup on top of the cage to drip down on the leaves. No I have not seen him drink.
  • Fecal Description - He did poop the 1st full day. It was wetish, the urates were bright white with a tad bit of brown on the opposite end from the poop.
  • History - The pet store claimed he was eating roaches & crickets, prior to the family purchasing him. Family says that he was lying on the bottom of the cage with his head in the corner, when the lady brought him out for them to hold.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - ReptiBreeze Screen 16x16x30
  • Lighting - Daylight Blue Reptile Bulb (60 watt) ReptiSun® 5.0 Mini Compact Fluorescent (13 watt) (Came with the kit) I know I need the long bulb.
  • Temperature - We only have the temp prob that came with the kit. Basking is 87+/- but he's never been up there. Bottom of the cage usually reads 69.
  • Humidity - I do not have a humidity gage yet. I've had a misting system in the cage since Monday night. I also put a cup on top of the cage so it drips down the leaves.
  • Plants - 1 large pathos, the rest are silk & have 2 lizard vines. The plastic plant that comes in the kit, is not in there. I know he needs more horizontal branches.
  • Placement - The cage is in our living room. Yes, it's in a high traffic area.
  • Location - Michigan

Current Problem - He looks very skinny & after looking at many of the "Neptune the Chameleon" videos, I believe he is dehydrated. He never goes into the plants. He doesn't bask. He is typically on the bottom of the cage leaning against the screen or on a vine that is just over 1/2 way up the cage. He hasn't eaten and I haven't seen him drink. Many years ago I had a flapneck chameleon & know that they do the leaf walk. But he is not doing it that way, he stands & rocks back & forth, not front to back. A couple times I thought he was going to fall. I watched the don't freak out video & have just left him alone hoping he would adjust after the first few days, but every morning I am afraid I will wake up & he'll have passed.

The 1st pic is of the cage prior to having the misting system. The next 2 are him on the same night within just a few minutes. I have a short video of the rocking, but couldn't attach it.
 

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Ok does the pet store have a return policy? This is horrible and the pet store should be ashamed of themselves.

This cham is not well at all. I am not sure he will even make it to the vet appointment.

Unfortunately, they even made them sign something that said there was no returns & when he asked why was told that they don't know what kind of conditions we will have him in.

I'm also afraid he will not make it to his appointment. My heart is breaking.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Unfortunately, they even made them sign something that said there was no returns & when he asked why was told that they don't know what kind of conditions we will have him in.

I'm also afraid he will not make it to his appointment. My heart is breaking.
Unethical business BS. And I am sorry your going through this.

Unfortunately there could be so many things going on... From being in the incorrect environment at the pet store, Respiratory infection, and parasite issues.

If you manage to get a fecal it should be tested.

But honestly he is really really bad. You want a Vet with Chameleon experience this is really important. Otherwise they will have no clue what they are looking at. You could try calling them and saying it is urgent.

I really feel that he will not make it though. When they get to this stage... Saving them is not as likely. Should he pass away you will want to throw out everything porous and clean that cage extremely well in case it is a parasite issue. You do not want to pass anything on to another cham.

Start reading through this... It will teach you about proper set up. but personally I would not make any changes to the cage other then lighting right now. He is weak and will not handle more stress well. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
 
Unethical business BS. And I am sorry your going through this.

This is exactly why I don't deal with pet stores for live animals. My parrots & my dogs are rescues & I bought my bearded dragon from a breeder & he lived 10+years.

I loved this lil guy the second they brought the box to me, though. So I have to at least try to save him.

I called the vet as soon as I read your 2nd reply & the vet had already left for the day.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is exactly why I don't deal with pet stores for live animals. My parrots & my dogs are rescues & I bought my bearded dragon from a breeder & he lived 10+years.

I loved this lil guy the second they brought the box to me, though. So I have to at least try to save him.

I called the vet as soon as I read your 2nd reply & the vet had already left for the day.


Ok so do you hear wheezing or popping when he breaths?
Is he able to grab branches at all and hold on or has he started falling?
 
Ok so do you hear wheezing or popping when he breaths?
Is he able to grab branches at all and hold on or has he started falling?

No, wheezing or weird noises as he breathes.
He does hold onto the vine & when the mister starts he very slowly climbs under the leaves of the plants, until it goes off & then it's right back to the bottom of the cage or he seems to sleep hanging on the screen of the cage, in the same spot each night.
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm so sorry your experience with a panther is starting out this way. At this point as Beman said just changing the lights to avoid further stress, and we will keep our fingers crossed that he makes it to the vet visit. Either way, please file a complaint with the BBB about the store, because this is ridiculous. Good luck, we are here to help you.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
No, wheezing or weird noises as he breathes.
He does hold onto the vine & when the mister starts he very slowly climbs under the leaves of the plants, until it goes off & then it's right back to the bottom of the cage or he seems to sleep hanging on the screen of the cage, in the same spot each night.
Ok so you want to go to the pet store. You need a T5HO fixture with a 5.0 UVB bulb.

Get this on the top of the cage so he is getting UVB. This is important.

IF he starts falling then it is time for a hospital bin.
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
These always make me so sad. I feel for cham of course. But what a great family that they would do this for you. I feel bad for them, they wanted to se you happy so bad, and then this.
Sometimes I really want to go after these shops. It is often children they hurt the most.
 
I'm so sorry your experience with a panther is starting out this way. At this point as Beman said just changing the lights to avoid further stress, and we will keep our fingers crossed that he makes it to the vet visit. Either way, please file a complaint with the BBB about the store, because this is ridiculous. Good luck, we are here to help you.
That's a great idea! I will do that for sure!
Thank-you.
 

Arpretty

Avid Member
So, so sorry you, your family, and this chameleon are experiencing this! He is truly a beautiful rainbow ❤ I am sure you have given him more care and concern since he came into your home than he has ever received! I will leave the actual advice to the experts. This will be a difficult experience but you will grow from it. Best wishes.
 
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