rescued cham. I'v done my research but could use some experienced insight!


New Member
*Rescued ~1.5 yr old female veiled cham suffering from severe MBD in Dec. she was not provided with a uva/uvb bulb, was housed in a glass aquarium, and not supplemented with proper ca/multi vitamin... she was brought in to the clinic where I work for euthanasia, being a Chinese water dragon owner of 4 yrs, thought I would at least give her my best shot.
After careful force feeding and a lot of TLC, she started eating crickets again.weight at rescue being 55grams, then 65g, then 67g,yesterday when I weighed her she was 69 grams! up until the past week she was on the up and up, improved tongue action, better mobility(even with deformed legs) noted improvement on a daily basis. normal least I think, still in progress. She was eating anywhere btwn 4-12 crickets daily but for the past week it has been harder and harder to convince her to take a cricket from me, so I set a few loose, seemed interested but would not eat. Now her max. cricket intake is 2 crickets daily??? I have kept an extensive daily journal of humidity, temps, supplementation given, food eaten Etc. if any one has any more specific questions, just ask. I am a first time cham owner but have taken every opportunity to read and learn what I can. Please take note that the veterinary hospital where I work is reptile friendly but the doctors do not claim to be experts in reptile care. Hence my outreach to people who have experience with these fussy, beautiful creatures. Thanks in advance! should I be concerned? how long should I wait before taking further measures? she does have a sand bucket to lay if need be, no hx of ever laying eggs before, no sign of digging or hanging out at bottom. She is housed in our bedroom, out of sight of out water dragon, we do have 2 cats and 2 dogs, they are only really in room at bed time. Temps both day/night are within the preferred optimal range. she has shade area, drip system set up using iv bag, and I mist as often as possible. humidity at its lowest is 21% over night but typically btwn 40-90% housed in 2x2x3 screen enclosure,live hibiscus plant numerous vines etc. can post pics. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


New Member
Did you give her any form of calcium booster via injection or oral? Any pictures of the animal? What kind of UVB do you have on her now? What temps? What housing?

You said to ask questions! :)


New Member
I'm new with chameleons so still learning myself, I'd go ahead and post a pic of both her and your set up. There are a lot of knowledgeable people who maybe able to spot something that may need tweaking.

on the food issue, I know most people swap to feeding every other day once the cham is full grown, however since she was so under weight it's probably best you feeding her daily. 2 a day does seem rather slim (or 4 every other day), hows her bowel moments? (also what color is the urate?).


Chameleon Enthusiast
The quickest way to bring the bones back into good condition is to give the chameleon injections of calcium until the blood calcium levels are high enough that it can be given a shot of calcitonin to draw the calcium back into the bones rapidly.

Along with correcting the calcium levels, its important, of course to ensure she has good/proper husbandry so that she will have the best chance of remaining healthy.

Here's some information that might help.......
Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you to read...


Chameleon Enthusiast

Welcome to the forum and the world of chameleons!

You said..."on the topic of parasites, is profalatic deworming of chams reccomended? Panacure??"...if you don't get a fecal done you won't know what antiparasitic medication to use to get rid of it...and you won't know if the chameleon even has a parasite. I don't like to just treat them and assume it will work.

You said..."Also wondering about the cup feeding"...I don't cup feed, so hopefully someone else will answer this for you. Unless the chameleon is having difficulty extending its tongue, it should still be able to eat on its own.
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