Sick chameleon

Discussion in 'Health Clinic' started by pantherbob, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. pantherbob

    pantherbob New Member

    Hi everyone, this will be my first post here, unfortunately its about a problem I'm having with my chameleon scooter.

    Scooter is an almost 2 year old male ambilobe panther chameleon. I've had him since he was 2 months old

    I handle him everyday at least once. He was never good at catching food with his tongue so i put crickets in a cup for him and hold him near the cup so he can catch them.

    I feed him crickets everyday except sunday with the breeder recommended supplements. He was eating super worms in addition to his crickets for about 2 months, but just recently doesn't seem to be interested in them. I feed the crickets fluckers gut load and also some carrots and lettuce, sometimes cucumber.

    The supplements are Rep Cal phosphorous free Calcium with VIT.D, Rep Cal Herptivite, and Sticky tongue farms Miner all. I dust the crickets with these supplements one per day. Mon-thurs- Calcium, tues-fri- miner all, weds-sat herptivite

    I have the little dripper witch I uses every day and I mist all his leaves once a day. Sometimes he will drink when I hold his mouth on a leaf with water dropping on it and sometimes he drinks on his own.

    His fecal matter is fairly consistent, dark brownish, about an inch to an inch and a half. He has had a parasite test about 8 months ago from Dr. Greek in yorba linda ca, and he tested negative for parasites

    His cage is all screen, about 2 1/2 feet long, 2 feet high, and about 1 1/2 feet across. I have the reptisun 5.0, a moon light for night time only and a heat lamp. His lights come on at 9am and go out at 8am. Lately I have not been using his night light, rather a sheet over the cage to keep drafts out and keep it dark.

    the temperature ranges from about 65-70 degrees F at night to about 95 degrees F (at the hottest point), I use a zoomed temp gauge. I use a zoo med humidity gauge to monitor humidity, but to be honest I really never pay to close attention to the humidity, the temp is pretty consistent and his spray/water schedule is also consistent.

    I use a live ficus in the enclosure, he as always had one, lately the leaves have been falling off more, so it is fairly slim, I'm thinking of switching to another, fuller, ficus.

    The cage is located in the living room, but there really isn't anyone home until about 6pm. The cage is not near a fan or a window, basically just the center of the house. The top of the cage where he basks is at chest level, around 4 feet.

    I live in orange county, in southern Ca.

    Since I've had Scooter he has always been active, crawling around his cage and when I arrived home at about 6pm he would come to his door so I could let him out to walk around and to feed him. For about the last 3 months he has been slowly becoming more lethargic, he doesn't really crawl around his cage much. At about a year and a half I changed his repti sun 5.0. I wasn't aware it needed to be changed sooner.

    He has been to Dr. Greek several times. He did not see any signs of MTB, or any other issue with him other then his left eye being closed most of the time, which he has done since he was about a year old. I've used different eye medications to cure it, but still it remains closed, but when having it examined nothing showed up, he just seems to like it closed. He was still very active with his one eye closed.

    Now he is starting to close his other eye and is not very active, though some days when he is out of his cage he runs around like normal, but I can still see he is slower less adventurous then he used to be.

    Also he used to eat around 5-8 crickets per day and now has slowed down to about 2 per day and some days doesn't seem to have interest in food at all.

    On his last visit to Dr. Greek we had blood drawn and he said that he had some very very slight signs of possible dehydration or possible kidney damage. Today I am starting him on antibiotics to see if he gets any better.

    I'm sorry for the long post, I'm just trying to be thorough. If you need me to answer any questions, post pictures, or anything please let me know, I'm just scared that something will happen to my friend.
  2. Elizadolots

    Elizadolots New Member

    Pictures would help.
    It's great that you already have a vet involved because this seems to be somewhat serious.

    I think you need to address the dehydration issue. Can you increase the number of mistings? Really get the cage soaking like it's raining. Regardless of what other issues there are, getting his hydration up will help him.
  3. phussman

    phussman New Member

    First off im very sorry to hear that scooter is not doing well.... I think you need to cut back on your supplements alot and focus more on your gut loading, dusting your feeders once a week with each supplement i feel would be sufficient. This is my schedule that works great for my chams Mon ------- Multivitamin with Beta Carotene Tues---------- Calcium with D3 WThFSat------- Calcium without D3 Sun--------- No dusting required. Over supplementing is as dangerous as not supplementing at all... Also i think you need to ditch the heat lamp and just use a basking light (household lights work well). lastly i dont think it would hurt to get him in a larger enclosure. I hope this helps a bit.
  4. phussman

    phussman New Member

    I may have read your supplementing schedule wrong im assuming that tues-fri meant everyday in between also... if im wrong i apologize. Also i forgot to stress the fact that u need to know your humidity levels its very important
  5. Elizadolots

    Elizadolots New Member

    Also, it's good you are no longer using the night light. They don't need it. You should also not use any heat at night. Let the cage cool down. Southern California has a very diverse temperature range, but at this time of year, I doubt it get cold enough at night to be a problem (unless you live in the mountains). They actually benefit from a significant (15 to 20 degrees) drop in temperature during the night. My standard is: if it's warm enough for my family to run around without bundling up, it's warm enough for my chameleon.
  6. carol5208

    carol5208 Chameleon Enthusiast

    What kind of Sticky tongues Minerall are you using? There is an outdoor forumula which contains no d3 and an indoor which contains d3. If you have the indoor, then you are also giving more d3 when you supplement with that. The repcal has a very high content of d3 and you are giving that 4 days a week then? That would be too much. Also giving the multivitamin twice a week is also alot. Most of us do twice a month. You seem to have been over supplementing. Dr Greek never said anything about your supplementing schedule? One other thing, which I don't think has anything to do with your cham's illness but just an cage is too small for an adult. I would get a 24 X 24 X 48. Two feet is not near tall enough. They like heighth!!
  7. lslcronk

    lslcronk New Member

    #7 lslcronk, Jul 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  8. albacheck

    albacheck New Member

    Your chameleon is overfed. An adult chameleon requires only 2-3 feeding-days a week, maximal 5 crickets a serving. Cut down on the super worms, they are high-caloric. If you continue to feed him this way, he most certainly die due to kidney failure.
  9. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    There seem to be a lot of panthers that have issues that start off with eyes closing. I'm still not sure why although a some people say that it could be to do with a lack of prEformed vitamin A. Excess D3 can also create quite a few problems...and the A and D can interfere with each other if not in balance too. Caution needs to be taken with dealing with prEformed vitamin A and D3 from supplements since they can both build up in the chameleon's system. (See more on that below.)

    Is the minerall the indoors (D3) one or the outdoors (no D3) one??

    Male panther chameleons seem to need quite a bit of food and hydration. If you look at the pads on the top of its head and they are full/protruding rather than flat or sunken in it seems to give an indication that both the food and hydration levels are good....just my opinion from keeping them for many years....nothing scientific to back it up that I've found so far. You indicated lethargy for about 3 months, which IMHO means there is something going on.

    Here's some information that might help concerning supplements and the reasoning behind it...
    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.

    A wide variety of insects that have been well fed and gutloaded should be fed to it. At that size you only need to feed it every two or three days. Feed it enough that it doesn't get fat (and, of course, doesn't get thin either).

    Since many of the feeder insects we use in captivity 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). Not sure how to tell you to dust WC insects if that is what you will be doing.

    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 which has beta carotene.)

    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 too...
    If you can't access the sites above that have the word "archive" in you can do it through the WayBackMachine.
    #9 kinyonga, Jul 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  10. pantherbob

    pantherbob New Member

    Thank you all so much for all of the good information. I'm at work now but I will post some older photos along with some more recent later today. Also I will post some more info regarding your questions. Thanks again!
  11. ataraxia

    ataraxia Avid Member

    superworms: they are a horrible staple feeder and should not be used "unless" you properly gutload. Even then i would use them as a snack. They are the cause of many apptite problems. this will take your cham a long time to get over. im going through this also. i made the mistake and have learned a valuable lesson. my veiled is eatting now but one of my panthers is still boycotting food almost 2 month later :/

    Cage: needs to be much bigger. he needs to have more room to be more active.

    Temps: i dont understand exactly from the info you provided. basically he needs low to mid 70's ambient temps in the cage with a basking spot of 90.

    Lights: why do you use a heat lamp at night? he will benefit from within range temp flux from day time to night time temps. mid to high 60's is great for night time.

    1. buy this
    2.get him the sun as much as you can.
  12. Elizadolots

    Elizadolots New Member

    As the superworms were not a consistent feeder for much time, I sort of doubt they are central to the problem. The OP stated:
  13. pantherbob

    pantherbob New Member

    These attached photos are of scooter about six months ago. You can see how vibrant his colors were. Lately they just not been as bright. I also mentioned he seems to be more lethargic lately, but occasionally he will come out of his cage and act him self again, crawling around and reaching for my hand and objects. Though his colors like I said don't change as drastically or get as vibrant. So I really don't know what to make of it.

    Some on posted a question about the dome of his head, it seems to be the same as it always has, I took a photo from today as well as one about six months ago.

    I am only able to upload 5 photos on this post so I will post again right after this to show you his current photos. (Photos I took of scooter today)

    The photos attached are from about six months ago. Also I took a photo of the supplements that I give to him.

    I apologize if the supplement schedule I posted earlier is not clear.

    I give him:
    Miner-all Monday and thursday
    Rep cal phosphorous free calcium with VIT. D tuesday and friday
    Herptivite Wednesday and saturday
    Nothing on sunday

    Again the photos attached are from about six months ago, my next post will show his current photos

    Attached Files:

  14. pantherbob

    pantherbob New Member

    here are his current photos

    Attached Files:

  15. pantherbob

    pantherbob New Member

    What supplements are you guys using with your feeders? And how often?

    Also someone commented about taking him in the shower do you recommend him being directly under the water and if so what temp is the water? Cool, warm, cold?

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