struggle with one's mouth open (with video link)


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Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon- The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
    • The species: veild chameleon
    • Sex:male
    • Age: 1year and 6months
    • Care: 1year and 6months
  • Handling- How often do you handle your chameleon?
    • Almost didn't do it. However, for a month, I have been handling it for about 10 minutes every morning to give it medication(drug).
  • Feeding- What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    • Before March 1, 2024, approximately 5 adult crickets were eaten every 2 to 3 days. Gut-loading was done with carrots. However, my leon(chamelon’s name) haven't eaten since March 1st.
  • Supplements- What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
    • Until March 1, 2024, calcium was dusted every day, and calcium and vitamin D combined and multivitamins were dusted every two weeks.
  • Watering- What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
    • Water is supplied through a dripper. The dripper continues to drip a few drops for 24 hours. The mist is a Mist King product, and is sprayed for 4 minutes twice a day at 6:30 in the morning (30 minutes before the chameleon wakes up) and 7:30 in the evening.
  • Fecal Description- Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
    • Feces were checked a week ago. (I'm surprised my chameleon has feces even though he hasn't eaten anything since March 1st.) It used to be hard and long, but the black stool that came out a week ago was very watery (I couldn't pick it up). And about 90% of the remaining stool color is yellow.
  • History- Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
    • My chameleon hasn't eaten since 3/1/24.
    • We took her to the vet on March 10th when we noticed she was suddenly sticking her tongue out and in pain (and had her tongue put back in with great difficulty). Her tongue was not resected as she could easily retract it on its own, and she was diagnosed with stomatitis. She was prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication and started taking them. (Related post:
    • On the morning of March 19th, I saw something sticking out of my anus. I ran to the vet and checked and found that the genitals were prolapsed. They said this could happen if the infection spreads to the genitals. So the genitals were removed.
    • On the morning of March 29th, I noticed that the chameleon had stuck its tongue out and could no longer keep it inside. I took him to the vet and had his tongue removed. The vet said the entire tongue had not been removed. (But I doubt whether he will be able to stick out his tongue again.) From then until today, I have been force-feeding him a powder called Foodivite mixed in water every two days.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type- Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
    • The cage is a mesh-shaped cage as shown in the photo below. To prevent water from splashing onto the wallpaper, only the back is covered with a thin panel. The size is 2feet X 2feet X 4feet.
  • Lighting- What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
    • I am using 75w lighting for the basking spot. The uvb is T5 and I changed it about a month ago. I use it with plant lights. Basking spot lighting starts at 7:30 a.m.~ 5:00 p.m. UBV and plant lights are on from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Temperature- What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
    • During the day, the temperature from the lower part of the cage to the upper part usually ranges between 22 and 26 degrees. The lowest overnight temperature is around 21 degrees. Temperature is measured using an automatic thermometer. For reference, the temperature of the basking spot is 30 degrees.
  • Humidity- What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
    • Humidity is maintained at 50-55% during the day. At night it is around 60-70%. Raise humidity in the morning and evening using a Mist King sprayer.
  • Plants- Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
    • All plants in the cage are alive. This is Hong Kong Palm and Skin Dapsus.
  • Placement- Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
    • The cage is in my room, and because the weather has been cold recently, I haven't ventilated it through the window. Instead, I'm running a circulator. The height of the cage from the floor is approximately 50cm. The temperature in the room was set at 21 degrees.
  • Location- Where are you geographically located?
    • I live in South Korea, and since it is spring now, it is about 12 degrees outside.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

Today's observation showed that he was sitting still and then suddenly opened his mouth and began to struggle violently. He goes on for about 2 or 3 seconds and once his struggle is over he sits back down as if nothing had happened. I would like to resolve what is causing this phenomenon. It looks so painful. It started happening about 2 weeks ago, and usually he starts struggling like that right after he drinks water. But today, while I was sitting still, this symptom suddenly occurred.

The link is as follows.


Please Note:

  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
Hello and warmest welcomes to you and your chameleon! I'm going to tag some people here that may be able to help you sooner that I will be able to today.

@Beman @MissSkittles - I won't have time to do a husbandry review for several hours today, can either of you help?
I’m NOT a vet and only speak from years of experience with chameleons.

You said…”I took him to the vet and had his tongue removed. The vet said the entire tongue had not been removed. (But I doubt whether he will be able to stick out his tongue again.)”…I have seen this type of reaction ONCE before when part of the tongue is left. IMHO, the chameleon is trying to shoot its tongue out but can’t, because of the partial amputation.
The chameleon, IMHO, is trying to adjust what is left of the tongue in the space in its mouth where the whole tongue should be…but I think they can’t get it to be comfortable, nor can they get it into a position where it will shoot, so it’s frustrating the chameleon.

If the amputation is done at the end of the hyoid bone, so that part of the tongue muscle is still left covering the bone, I have always found that they can adjust to having no tongue…but in that one case, when it’s was a partial amputation, the chameleon never adjusted and eventually went down hill and passed.

Remember…I’m NOT a vet and am only giving you my best guess/opinion.
Hi. I’m sorry that your guy has gone thru so very much. I see nothing out of order in your husbandry. I’m afraid I have nothing of any significance to offer.
What is the antibiotic the chameleon was put on? Anti-inflammatory?

You said there was stomatitis…did the vet do a culture and sensitivity test on the infection.
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