Sick Chameleon

Godzilla

New Member
Hey all,

I have a big problem here. My 2 year old Veiled Chameleon is starving to death. The reason being he cannot see (as his eyes are closed) and so cannot hunt the food I provide for him, I have tried fruitlessly to find out whats causing this but to no avail. If anyone can venture forward an idea as to whats causing this blindness and soon, as he is very thin and I could not bear to see him go. To help I will provide some details about my Chameleon's cage. BTW the Chameleon is male and I believe he is fully mature because of his adult colouration, I feed him gut fed crickets usually covered in Calcium powder. He has a pond with an airstone for drinking but has his enclosurre misted occassionally. Living in Hong Kong where the Humidity is always between 75-90% humidity I believe his water needs are being fulfilled at this present moment. He has a stable and I believe safe environment, with no outward stress, even now his colouration suggests that he is "happy" so to speak(I dont know how to describe moods). My only plausible reason as to why his eyes are shut is his lighting. I mix his lighting with a fluorescant light constantly on and a heat or uv bulb on for a short period. However the fluorescant light stopped working a month ago and I have been unable to fix it. (I have changed the bulb and even the ballast) As a result I've had his Heat and UV lamp on constantly not knowing if this would affect him. Any input is appreciated because I'm stuck for answers and I love that little guy and dont want him to die. p.s. I have just gotten him an appointment with a vet who hopefully will be able to help me out.
 
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Scrappy

New Member
First thing I would say is if you have lights on him 24hrs a day that's the first problem. They need dark and down time. He should have about 12hrs on and 12hrs off. He also needs a uvb light, these are critcal to their health, and a heat light. A regular flourescent will not do the trick, though you can use a double tube system with a regular flourescent and a uvb together. He still needs a heat lamp as well, and it should be on a 12 and 12 schedule too. Think about it this way, you don't sleep with all the lights on do you? The other issue I see that you have is the pond. This can e a breeding ground for bacteria and that can make him extremely sick with upper respiratory or even pneumonia. I would change the light set up and get the pond out. The trip to the vet is smart as well.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Keeping his eyes shut during the daytime is not a good sign.

Does he have any signs of metabolic bone disease? Do you use a substrate in his cage? Are any plants non-toxic? What are the temperatures (warmest, coolest areas of the cage? Day and night)?

You said..."I feed him gut fed crickets usually covered in Calcium powder"...is it phosphorous free calcium? Insects already have a poor ratio of calcium to phos. so adding calcium by dusting is intended to balance it more. You should also try to give him a bigger variety of insects and gutload the insects appropriately. Being that its a veiled, it should eat greens (dandelion greens, kale, collards, endive, etc.) and veggies (sweet red pepper, sweet potato, carrots, squash, zucchini, etc.) and some fruit (apple, pear, melon, berries, etc.) also. They are omnivores.

You said..."He has a pond with an airstone for drinking but has his enclosurre misted occassionally"...IMHO he should be misted daily...and likely even more than once a day. I don't ever use airstones or fountains or waterfalls....they are too hard to keep clean and germfree.

You said..."My only plausible reason as to why his eyes are shut is his lighting. I mix his lighting with a fluorescant light constantly on and a heat or uv bulb on for a short period. However the fluorescant light stopped working a month ago and I have been unable to fix it. (I have changed the bulb and even the ballast) As a result I've had his Heat and UV lamp on constantly not knowing if this would affect him"...I have a florescent full spectrum/UVB light on my cages 12 to 14 hours a day. The light must not pass through glass or plastic. I have a regular incandescent light in a hood for a basking area. Because mine don't get any direct sunlight, I also dust with a calcium/D3 powder lightly twice a month. IMHO you are not providing him with enough UVB and not providing him with D3 to make up for it.

I also dust the insects with a vitamin powder twice a month (one that the vitamin A source of is beta carotene. Preformed vitamin A builds up in the system, but beta carotene doesn't.)

You said..." p.s. I have just gotten him an appointment with a vet who hopefully will be able to help me out"...I hope the vet can help you out too!
 

ChameleonsTree

New Member
Any standing water is a big no no. They drink from leaves that have been misted or from drippers dripping down on leaves. He needs to go to the vet and my guess is he will be put on antibiotics. During his recovery you will need to get a liquid food and you will have to give it to him in a dropper or syringe. repti-aid sells a powder you mix with water. Make sure its the formula for insectivores. I personally have a misting system for all mine that i run for 30-45 minutes a day. They love the warm shower they get.
 

Godzilla

New Member
Thanks for all the help,


I took the chameleon to the vet. As he is so skinny I have begun feeding him a high energy and fat liquid via a tube I insert into his stomach with antibiotics and calcium just to buy him time until we figure out what is wrong. Im also providing him with eye drops to alleviate any pain he may be suffering from. Im happy to report that after seeming to be at deaths door hes is beginning to gain more muscle mass and his eyes opened breifly today before closing again. I do have some other questions however in regards to your advice. one being as the humidity in the room where he is kept is about 90% is misting for the purpose of raising humidity necessary? And secondly how do I feed him vegetables? He only seems to go for live animals.
 

ChameleonsTree

New Member
Normally chameleons when they are sick from anything their eyes close...so it is possible that the infection has nothing to do with the eye. I would be surprised if the humidity was 90% because that would be like your bathroom after a shower...with your mirrors all fogged up. Its possible your instrument isnt reading right. I use fogging nozzles for 30-45 minutes a day in my reptile room and it still never gets over 80% and that during the misting.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Re:feeding veggies,etc....I usually start off with wedges of apple...I hold it so that when the chameleon opens its mouth, I stick it in far enough that it will be bitten when the chameleon shuts its mough. I also put some chopped up greens and veggies and fruits in a jar lid on the floor of the cage so that the insects will come to eat the mixture. The chameleon will usually get some of the greens, etc. in its mouth when it eats the insects....and soon figure out that its food.
 
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