She got her tongue caught and didn't go back in

Herberaitor

Member
I was feeding my chams yesterday and was cleaning up, when I heard a sound of something falling in to the feeding cup of my two year old female Ambilobe. When I got to the cage she was climbing out of the cup. She didn't look right and thought why is she looking between the branches? Then I saw that her tongue was in the cup and wrapped around the branch! I carefully unwrapped her tongue and removed her from the cage. She was now at the tips of my fingers and her tongue in the palm of my hand. She didn't try to retract it, she just sat there. She looked fine no bleeding or blood anywhere , but no movement of the tongue. I knew I needed to keep the tongue moist so I drizzled water on her tongue and she tried to retract her tongue or at least that is what I was hoping. She then pushed the end of her tongue out several times and I could see the cartilage appendage at the end of her tongue. Again no signs of bleeding but her tongue is so small and I didn't want to stress her more by trying to find a magnifying glass to look close to see if the tissues where torn or damaged. So I calmly tried to get her tongue back in her mouth, which I did! I put her back in her cage to keep her stress to a minimum. Today twenty hours later and me finding that this does happen, she looks ok. She is sporting her normal colors and was down by her feeding cup, which had a cricket in it yesterday but not any more. I can only assume that she ate it. Any advice? Has anyone had a similar experience? I will add that her lighting is correct and bulb has been replaced four months age. I dust my feeders appropriately and gut load them with organic baby food. My male (Herbie) who is my avatar and my female Penelope both are happy and until yesterday healthy. I distille my own water which helps to keep the humidity at 70 to 85% in their room. They were outside two hours a day until recently since the cold weather moved in. Any constructive advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh dear...this could be complicated.

I would hand feed her for a couple of days at least.

What needs to be determined is whether the tongue has a hole in it...if it does it will need to be stitched...so you will need a good chameleon vet.

If the tongue has no hole, then hopefully it will only be strained and will start to function again and can be held in the mouth properly in the meantime.

If it was over stretched then it my not function properly and will need to be amputated.

If it swells, then that will add to the problem.

One more thing...if the tongue hangs out and won't go back in then you have the probkem of her biting it too. She won't be able to eat/chew or drink either and the tongue absolutely has to be kept moist or it will die.
 
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Herberaitor

Member
Oh dear...this could be complicated.

I would hand feed her for a couple of days at least.

What needs to be determined is whether the tongue has a hole in it...if it does it will need to be stitched...so you will need a good chameleon vet.

If the tongue has no hole, then hopefully it will only be strained and will start to function again and can be held in the mouth properly in the meantime.

If it was over stretched then it my not function properly and will need to be amputated.

If it swells, then that will add to the problem.
Thx for the input! I’m a nurse by profession so care is important to me. As we say in the medical field “Will continue to monitor.”
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I added to my previous post.
Also...I don't want to feel you out but since you're a nurse you should be ok with it...if the tongue has to be amputated it's important that it is amputated close to the end of the hyoid bone or it will bother the chameleon and stress it out.

They can learn to eat without a tongue but it may require a bit of training. Ask me about it if it comes to that.
 

Herberaitor

Member
I added to my previous post.
Also...I don't want to feel you out but since you're a nurse you should be ok with it...if the tongue has to be amputated it's important that it is amputated close to the end of the hyoid bone or it will bother the chameleon and stress it out.

They can learn to eat without a tongue but it may require a bit of training. Ask me about it if it comes to that.

Thx I will if needed
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
well this must have been traumatic for you both. What feeders was she eating when this happened? I have seen it in forums most commonly with hornworms that are cup fed or branch fed because they suction cup to whatever they are on. When the cham goes to retract the feeder it does not let go.
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ive had a few permanent tongue injuries. In both cases a vet visit was not needed, nor amputation. Though both resulted in loss of shooting ability. So for the rest of their lives they ate like beardies. They didnt seem to mind. Though they had to be 100% tong feed. for fun i would hide silkies on a few branches so they had to hunt for them.
 

Herberaitor

Member
well this must have been traumatic for you both. What feeders was she eating when this happened? I have seen it in forums most commonly with hornworms that are cup fed or branch fed because they suction cup to whatever they are on. When the cham goes to retract the feeder it does not let go.

Hey Beman! The feeders in question were crickets. I wasn’t watching so not sure how she did it just glad I was still in the room when it happened! I may never leave the room again while they eat.
 

TiKiMan

Established Member
I can not comprehend what i would've done if this had happened to me, best of luck to the both of you and i hope she gets better!!! :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey Beman! The feeders in question were crickets. I wasn’t watching so not sure how she did it just glad I was still in the room when it happened! I may never leave the room again while they eat.
I have to say your making me feel better about my hand feeding the boys each day lol. Like I said I have seen how this happens with tongs and even hornworms off branches. I can only imagine your shock about just giving her a normal feeder and something going wrong. Hopefully she will make a full recovery.

If you need assistance finding a Vet that would have the experience to help you please let us know what city and state your in.
 

Herberaitor

Member
Just to let everybody know that my girl is doing fine now! No complications from her mishap! She is eating fine and targeting well!
 

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CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ive had a few permanent tongue injuries. In both cases a vet visit was not needed, nor amputation. Though both resulted in loss of shooting ability. So for the rest of their lives they ate like beardies. They didnt seem to mind. Though they had to be 100% tong feed. for fun i would hide silkies on a few branches so they had to hunt for them.

My male is like this, And I would only give this thought. His tongue is completely gone, only the hyoid remains. What this means is that not only does he need to be tong fed, but you have to get it wat back in his mouth . He can not eat on his own. And Daily I have to make sure he does not have anything stuck in the roof of his mouth.

My thought is had I gone to a vet and had it amputated there may have been enough for him to at least manipulate things in his mouth making it possible to eat easier.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
@CasqueAbove said..."My thought is had I gone to a vet and had it amputated there may have been enough for him to at least manipulate things in his mouth making it possible to eat easier"...I had one where the vet didn't cut the tongue off at the end of the hyoid bone but left a little flap of skin and it drove the chameleon crazy and I think led to her death from the stress of it all. She kept trying to adjust her tongue in her throat as though it was uncomfortable and kept trying to extend the hyoid bone as though it was gagging her.
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
@CasqueAbove said..."My thought is had I gone to a vet and had it amputated there may have been enough for him to at least manipulate things in his mouth making it possible to eat easier"...I had one where the vet didn't cut the tongue off at the end of the hyoid bone but left a little flap of skin and it drove the chameleon crazy and I think led to her death from the stress of it all. She kept trying to adjust her tongue in her throat as though it was uncomfortable and kept trying to extend the hyoid bone as though it was gagging her.
Nature wins again
 
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