RB Ambilobe w/Gout, Need Insights

Furcifer Brussis

New Member
I have a male Red Bar Ambilobe who got gout. I have read a lot on the disease in chams and have determined the cause to be a combination of raising my crickets on dog food (mainly) and night time temps being too low (he's kept outside in Naples and got down to 40F one night he was out and i had failed to check the weather. After that night, it was often down to the high 50's, i take him in when it is going to be below 55F).

Anyway, i was going to put him down bc i didn't want him to suffer with the pain of it. As you can see from the pictures its getting pretty bad and treatment is pretty futile. However, i have read some things on how reptiles feel pain an sense or process it quite like we do. And it is unclear if the gout is even painful for them. We often humanize animals and come to the wrong conclusions as a result bc they are simply not humans (gout is very painful in humans for example). I decided to palpate the gout lumps and he didn't seem to mind one bit. He didn't react at all like he would have if his toe was getting pinched or something. I assumed he wasn't using his back legs when he was resting because of pain but i have found that it seems to be more bc the lumps keep him from putting his legs together as they need to be in order to perch on a branch. When i try and move them together (like he was putting his knees together) he again didn't seem to mind but it was clear that the lumps kept it from happening. Now I'm thinking I should just let him live his life out. If i were a large breeder i might be inclined to put him down or give him away because he isn't good for breeding anymore but I'm not a big breeder and he still looks cool so why kill him or give him away? I'm not going to take him to a vet which i know will rub some people on this forum the wrong way but if this is gout, i know the cost and success rates or treatment and its not worth it. I need to decided what to do so i have some questions.

My questions
- am i diagnosing this correctly? If not, what do you think is wrong with him?
- what do you guys know about pain in chams with respect to gout? Please don't humanize. I believe in treating animals humanely, but they are not biologically human and therefore direct comparisons to us often don't correlate. Im looking for facts.
- how does gout progress in chams? I assume it ends up killing them but how?
- does anyone have a cham with gout that still mounts the females?

Thanks in advance!



Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't believe that's gout but I'm not a vet. I would however highly recommend that you take him to the vets.


Avid Member
I'm not sure how you are coming to the conclusion that he has gout. When they have gout there is a crystallization in the joints or organs depending on the type of gout. You would need blood work and an X ray to diagnose properly. That swelling does not seem like gout. You really need to get him to a vet. He could have an abscess, a blockage, infection etc.he needs a vet evaluation to determine what is wrong.

Furcifer Brussis

New Member
Interesting. Thats why my first question was about my diagnosis. If i have it wrong, and nobody on here knows, then i will take him in. Why do you say it isn't gout? It fits the description to a T as far as I could tell. Crystals are forming in his hip joints and that causes the swelling. He stops using his back legs, he had a high protein diet and his average ambient temps were to low even in the day, etc.

Anyone else have experience with gout? Is this what it looks like?


Established Member
Looks like a hemipene infection to me. The few cases of gout I've seen in chameleons was centered around the ankles, knee's and elbows.

Get him to a vet so the lump can be drained and the fluid tested.


Furcifer Brussis

New Member
Thanks again everyone! Keep the info coming! The more i get from you guys the more things make sense. A few weeks before any obvious symptoms, he was in with a receptive female who was literally crawling underneath him trying to get some action and he wasn't interested in the slightest. A localized infection of some sort seems more likely at this point. All of his other joints are just fine. I just got the number of a really good vet for exotics from my people over at my favorite reptile store (Amazing Pets in Naples, FL is the absolute best!)

Dr O

Crystals are forming in his hip joints and that causes the swelling.

except those aren't even his hip joints. nor is it anywhere near his hemipenes, which are below the cloaca, not above.

this is a classic case of a little knowledge going way too far and becoming dangerous. this has ZERO presentation of articular gout, and the odds of it being visceral gout are exceedingly low.

i can list the things of what it probably is, but neither i nor anyone else would know until a vet aspirates that area to see the cells and takes an xray or 2 at the least. perhaps fixable, perhaps not. but virtually anything is more amenable to treatment than gout, so consider yourself lucky and get your cham the care that it needs.


Furcifer Brussis

New Member
You guys are great. I have a vet appointment for this Friday morning. Ill let you all know what i find out so we can all learn a little more. Hopefully this boy can get healthy and back on the saddle again, if you know what i mean ;) I'm just happy it isn't likely gout.

Dr. O, id like to meet you some day. Ive read a lot of your posts and comments and i like the perspective and insight you bring to the business/hobby.

Furcifer Brussis

New Member
Ferretinmyshoes, i know i cant be the first to mention this but your avatar's tail is curling the wrong way! You need to get your avatar to the vet!!;)

Furcifer Brussis

New Member
Update: the vet found the lumps to be nothing more than an abscess. He said he had seen lots of abscesses but never one quite like this one or in that location. He lanced and drained it, put some antibiotic gel in the void, then gave him an antibiotic shot. I have 5 more shots of the antibiotic to give him 1 shot per day till he's had all 5 shots. The doc left the slice open to drain. It should heal up just fine.
I thank you all for your advice and i am glad i checked with you guys before i put this pretty boy on ice (the cham is more glad than me, i am sure)!
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