Should I remove his tail?

My 8 month old veiled chameleon came to me at 3 months old with what I assume to be an improper shed. He had some skin constricting around the tip of his tail and I could see where it had cut into him. I soak it every shed to make sure skin isn't building up there and making the issue worse. The tip of his tail is still functional and I have not noticed tail rot. We went to the vet today to see what needs to be done and she gave me two options. I can remove the tip of the tail or we can do a surgery to cut away the scar tissue and potentially save the tail. I was told by my vet that there is no guarantee that the experimental surgery would work, but that we can try it if I want to. Has anyone had this done before? Personally I am at a loss with what to do. I don't want to put him through multiple surgeries if this doesn't work, but is saving his tail the better option? Here is what it looks like http://i.imgur.com/rtY5mKL.jpg
 

CNorton

Avid Member
What is the downside to just leaving the tail how it is? I don't believe there is a lot of risk for infection or additional stuck shed skin in that area...just as long as you can monitor it when the chameleon does shed.

Just my two cents...I would leave it alone.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
The only experience I have with scar tissue like that is on my dog's GI tract, after 2 separate surgeries in the same area. Scars don't stretch, so he cannot ever eat anything that it's digestible, as it just isn't going to pass. So I worry that the scar tissue on the tail, even if it isn't obstructive yet, is going to become more of a problem as he grows and matures. Perhaps not, I don't know.

From the photo his tail doesn't look bad, but if there's a risk the tip will die and potentially become a problem it's a very simple procedure just to amputate the tip. It's such a tiny section of tail that he wouldn't even miss it if it were gone.

I had something similar happen with my panther chameleon, he broke his tail tip and necrosis set in and a section of his tail had to be amputated. He's missing a good 1/3-1/2 of his tail and is doing excellent 2 years later, he was walking around and eating an hour after surgery. But I've been in similar shoes.
 
The doctor is worried about him losing blood flow as he gets bigger and causing tail rot. I was told not to leave it like this or we could have to remove more of his tail. She also worried about it falling off on its own since it seems to be heading that way. I was told there was a potential for infection going up his tail via the open wound that would be left behind. Its good to hear that other chameleons can live happily with more tail missing than what his will be. Do you think that might be my best option at this point?
 

CNorton

Avid Member
Sounds like a vet that needs the business.

When you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail.:D

I would just monitor the tail end and make sure it looks clean and no open sores. The vet is right, there is potential for infection or future problems. BUT from the current picture you provided, I wouldn't try to fix a problem that doesn't exist yet, especially if that problem may not ever exist.



**** AFTER LOOKING AGAIN AT THE PICTURE: Look closely to at the tail and ask the vet if you might just monitor the tail and see what happens. If the vet sees an infection starting then by all means, proceed with the experimental sugery and/or amputation.
 
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Ok I will call her and ask. If I just do the amputation now will it ensure that he wont get an infection or tail rot once healed? I don't want this problem coming back and I wouldn't want to wait long enough for it to spread either. What are the indicators of infection I should be looking out for other than his tail becoming black?
 

ibdragons

Established Member
My friend had his falys tip get amputated because it was getting worse. it worked. I had one have the same thing with the shed problem. I used an exacto knife cut iy but I had to apply pressure so it stopped bleeding and it worked
 
I think after hearing from the three of you I am going to give it a little time and if I notice any differences I will call to have it amputated by the vet. Thank you for all the advice this has been a huge help to me.
 
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