Signs of Respiratory Infection

Hi everyone,

I was wondering what would be the definite signs of a respiratory infection?

And what would be the difference between this and a chameleon just trying to remove a salt deposit from its nostrils?

I'm a little concerned my chameleon may be getting a respiratory infection, but I would like to make sure of the signs before I freak out. I gave him a warm shower (mist off the shower wall) this morning just in case.

Thanks so much in advance!
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)
Pointing head upward, Excess saliva, Gaping, Noise when breathing, Wheezing, Bubbles in mouth
With chameleons an upper respiratory infection is caused by a bacterial infection on the lungs. URI’s are generally related to improper environmental conditions such as being kept too cold or too wet. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, gaping, excessive mucous in the mouth, discharge from the mouth or nose, popping or wheezing sounds, decreased appetite and reduced activity. An upper respiratory infection requires immediate treatment by a reptile veterinarian as antibiotics to treat the infection are needed. An immediate evaluation of temperatures, humidity and ventilation will assist in healing. If left untreated infection can turn into pneumonia which is more severe and harder to treat prolonging recovery.

This is taken off our Care Resources on medical conditions
 
Thank you Carol. I appreciate the response. Based on those signs it sounds like he doesn't have one yet because he is very active and hasn't been gaping or putting his head up to breath. Also he doesn't have any discharge and eats as much as normal. So I'll assume the "huffs" or "sneezes" he did this morning with his mouth closed, while I was at my computer, were him trying to remove the salt collection I see in his nostrils. When I put him next to my ear I heard him pop very long times in between but that may have been his spikes against my shirt or him really mad I was handling him.

I'll keep an eye on him though. Thanks again.
 

Gbetts1986

Member
My chameleon has been lathargic the last week or so and has one eye closed or both throughout the day. I noticed when basking he points his head upward. He doesn't have any mucus or any other signs of a respitory infection other then pointing his head upward. I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow, I just hope he can make it til then
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
My chameleon has been lathargic the last week or so and has one eye closed or both throughout the day. I noticed when basking he points his head upward. He doesn't have any mucus or any other signs of a respitory infection other then pointing his head upward. I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow, I just hope he can make it til then
You may want to start your own thread in the Health forum so more people will see it. This one is from 2013. If you do, cut and paste the "How to ask for Help" section from the sticky https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/how-to-ask-for-help.66/ and we can take a look. Pictures are definitely helpful. What are your temps like in the enclosure?
 

Bush baby

Avid Member
I've often wondered if Chams/Reptiles in general get RI in the wild (I'm sure they do) and if so, is it a sure death sentence, or are they able to fight it off due to their superior immune system...? If so, the key to helping our animals through these diseases is to try to replicate the way nature does it, as present day medicine is so hit and miss in this area.
 

LanceLee

Member
my sub-adult nosy be sleeps with his head pointing upwards, apart from that, no other signs like mucus or whatsoever. he is still eating, albeit less, and drinks a lot more than usual, should i start giving antibiotics or should i observe longer?
 

Gbetts1986

Member
my sub-adult nosy be sleeps with his head pointing upwards, apart from that, no other signs like mucus or whatsoever. he is still eating, albeit less, and drinks a lot more than usual, should i start giving antibiotics or should i observe longer?
I took my veiled to the vet, tested her stool for parasites, that came back negative. She doesn't seem as lathargic. The vet prescribed baytril to give her every other day. I don't want her to get too stressed out by force feeding it to her. She seems to be doing better then she was, I've read mixed reviews about baytril
 

jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've often wondered if Chams/Reptiles in general get RI in the wild (I'm sure they do) and if so, is it a sure death sentence, or are they able to fight it off due to their superior immune system...? If so, the key to helping our animals through these diseases is to try to replicate the way nature does it, as present day medicine is so hit and miss in this area.

I really believe that is the secret to healthy chameleons--a robust immune system.

Aside from a healthy immune system, a big part of the problem for captive bred chameleons is poor diet. In general, the food most people feed is garbage and I include myself in this. The crickets are poorly nourished and often full of bacteria. Few people actually feed their feeders healthy food and even when they do, the nutritional content is still very poor when compared to a wild bug.

Nutritional deficiencies cause so many problems I see here in the health section. Vitamin A deficiency causes eye problems, shedding problems, sperm plugs, respiratory infections and more. Vitamin A deficiency starts before a chameleon's egg is even fertilized since an egg should contain enough Vitamin A for the first few months of a chameleons life. If the mother is deficient of Vitamin A, she produces deficient eggs which hatch deficient babies. Poor chameleon is deficient right at hatch.

And then there is the whole problem of stress and how it suppresses the immune system. That is an irrefutable. I suspect there it is no coincidence that those that profess their chameleon enjoys being handled have more health problems and end up with chameleons who live shortened lives.
 

jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
I took my veiled to the vet, tested her stool for parasites, that came back negative. She doesn't seem as lathargic. The vet prescribed baytril to give her every other day. I don't want her to get too stressed out by force feeding it to her. She seems to be doing better then she was, I've read mixed reviews about baytril

Baytril is a good drug but like all drugs can have some side effects. Most antibiotics can damage kidneys. Make sure your chameleon is very well hydrated. When I medicate, I also give extra water plus I stuff a few silkworms into their mouths.
 

Sarahsarus

Member
Thank you Carol. I appreciate the response. Based on those signs it sounds like he doesn't have one yet because he is very active and hasn't been gaping or putting his head up to breath. Also he doesn't have any discharge and eats as much as normal. So I'll assume the "huffs" or "sneezes" he did this morning with his mouth closed, while I was at my computer, were him trying to remove the salt collection I see in his nostrils. When I put him next to my ear I heard him pop very long times in between but that may have been his spikes against my shirt or him really mad I was handling him.

I'll keep an eye on him though. Thanks again.


My girl has done this twice this past week while I was observing her and spot cleaning her terrarium. It was just the tiniest little puff of air out of the nose (mouth closed) that sounded like a sneeze. She has shown no other signs so far so I haven't worried about it since it's said they do that for a number of reasons.
 
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