Sudden Death


New Member
Hello all,

Sorry have not posted in some time, have been very busy with life issues like eveyone else. I am sad to report that we have lost our beloved Bumble to some mysterious issue.

Sunday morning the Hubby & I wake up and start the watering and feeding process.....we have many reptiles in the room and it is a daily process. Bumble is usually first on the list and we find him on the floor of his enclosure and his tail and back legs are parylized and barely functional :eek:.
We take him to the only available vet which is out of town and $500.00 later, we still know no reason for his illness.....the vet is stumped because everything is coming back clean. X-rays show healthy bones all parasites, no MBD. :confused: :confused: :confused:
Vet gives Bumble an atibiotic and a cortisone shot for swelling that I argue doesn't exist.:mad:
We took Bumble home and hand fed him and made sure he had water......he was not dehydrated, by the way. Monday we wake and he is still with us, but now the paralysis has moved it's way up to his front legs.....his hind quarters no longer respond to any stimulus at all (note : his color is gorgeous and the brightest I have ever seen it!:confused: ).
Monday afternoon Bumble takes his last breath in my hands.......we still know absolutely nothing about why this is happening. We check all the other "Kids" to make sure everything is fine, and so far it is.
We burried Bumble in our garden today because we find out that the vet does not do necropsies here. After afew choice words and hand gestures that are known world-wide.....I am now banned from that particular animal hospital.:eek:
Folks, we are not new to raising Veiled Chameleons. We did evrything we could to not only try to keep Bumble alive, but to figure out what the problem was in case it could affect our other animals.
Please, if anyone has come up against this wall, would you let me know what you know? Because I know less now than I did when this all started.:mad: :mad: :mad:
Just curious of a few things:

How old was Bumble?
Cage setting? How high?
Was he adventurous? Free roaming at all during the day?

My differentials if a reptile came in with inability to move it's back leg and tail:
1) trauma secondary to a) fall
b) Nutritional hyperparathyroidism (MBD)
2) neoplasia (cancer) like a nerve sheath tumor (though it would have to be pretty far up to affect both back legs and tail)//not a brain tumor
3) blood clot ( thrombolic event ) in the bloodvessels going to the rear end of the body shutting off oxygen to the back end of the body and consequently causing sepsis (infection of the blood.)
4) infection of the spinal cord
5) parasitism
6) if female (which I don't believe Bumble was) egg bound

From what you are saying fall or bloodclot would be highest on my list. Please do not think I am defending anyone, as I do not know the vet you went to (nor do I wish to get involved between two parties.)

Whether he/she gave the drugs for the appropriate reasons or not is up for debate (Vets are people too, and some are better communicators than others.) Anyway, steroids would have been helpful for a traumatic fall or blood clot. Radiographs would be helpful to evaluate if there was a complete transection of the spinal cord or to evaluate MBD (which is really tricky if it is mild// 70% loss of bone is required to see a change radiographically). Antibiotics would be helpful if he thought there was an infection in the spinal cord. (which will often not show up in bloodwork since the blood brain barrier often prevents exposure to the bloodstream and white blood cells.)

By the time Bumble was found paralysed it may have been too late. It sounds like you offered him every chance that you could give him...

I am sorry to hear of your loss,
Thanks for the input. Bumble was male and his enclosure is 4 ft H, 4 ft L, 3 ft W. He did roam about his enclosure during daylight hours but mostly for temp changes....he loved to bask in the sunlight in the mornings and cool down in the shade in the afternoons. He was an earlybird as far as bedtimes, he was sound asleep usually by 8 pm.
Bumble was 23 months of age. All the tests came back parasites, no MBD, no broken bones.....we had radiographs and all looks great according to the vet.
We do have 2 of his offspring, both males. One of the offspring (Quasimodo) hatched out with some obvious genetic issues.......his tail is one third the length it should be, he is approx. one third the size he should be,his head is normal size and his back is kinked....all that being said, he eats like a pig and is very active & fiesty.
Although we do not plan to breed Quasi, I will take care of him and see that he lives a comfortable life.......I couldn't bring myself to have him euthanized since he is thriving. The other offspring (Blue) is very healthy and doing well. We have had all the chameleons tested for parasites and had full bloodwork done for them all and all is well.
The paralysis worked it's way rather quickly from his tail to his entire was done and over in 2 days time from the onset of the problem. We kept feeding & watering him because he did seem to rally at first and then went fast.
I know I am coming across badly, please forgive me, I am angry , confused & heartbroken at the loss of Bumble.
These are photos taken of Bumble immediately after he passed away, his eyes were open when he passed. We gave him the dowel rod to cling to even tho his limbs were not functioning just to attempt to give him some comfort.



I don;t know what to say... It's so hard losing your babies.
My heart goes out to you. Good luck with the rest of your crew.

Cyndi and John
Chameleon Kingdom
My sympathy for your loss!!

Been there!! I had a Panther die on my husband and I last year. The difference was that it was a very slow downward cycle compared to your sudden loss.
Regardless, we also spent a lot of money taking him to this Exotic Vet (Almost $1,000 of Vet bills to try and diagnose and treat the problem) yet he died anyway. There was never a firm diagnosis made by this Vet, just vague comments and insistence that we do procedures like X-ray..etc.(which we O.Ked) but looking back, where do you draw the line in stopping Vet intervention when so much emotions are involved and all you want to do is to try anything that may save your beloved pet from dying!!
It turned out that the Vet thought it was probably a URI but he never had any of the symptoms of a URI except for one chronically closed eye. I look back and I'm positive that it was a Vitamin A deficiency that started his lack of appetite, weakness, and one eye closure.

So sorry for your loss and you did the best that you could for him!! I'm glad that you have other Chameleons that are doing fine and it wasn't something contagious where it could effect your other C.

Just want to add my sincere sympathy on Bunble's departure. I'm sure all your other babies will be fine. Just sorry for sweet Bumble. Take care.....
Thank you all for the sympathy & support, it is very welcome to us. The rest of our crew is doing just fine. We decided to do a thorough moving & cleaning of the area surrounding Bumble's enclosure are and we found a web in the bottom corner of the wall, my Husband thinks perhaps it was a spider bite even tho we went over him with a magnifying glass to look for any sign of bites and found none. Needless to say, we are re-arranging the entire room tomorrow and checking all the other enclosures........just in case.
Maybe he ate a spider? Still seems like a long shot, but since you can't have a necropsy....

I'm sorry Bumble died.:(
The toxicity from your average spider bite is most likely not enough to do any harm to a chameleon, it would have to be a significantly powerful toxin I think. I suppose it might be possible depending if you are located within the ranges of such spiders.

It might be worth looking into some of the more dangerous spiders that are in your area and keep watch for them. Additionally, you can study their web designs. The way webs are made can be a clue as to which spider was the resident of said web.
My condolences to the late Bubbles.
"The way webs are made can be a clue as to which spider was the resident of said web." - Will
I loath spiders! But non the less this is a cool fact. Makes sense that all different kinds of spiders weave different webs. Any spiders that you watch out for in Burlington? I imagine we have them here in Guelph too...
I lived on a farm for a while. Whenever we came across the sticky web that had the crackle sound, it was a black widow web. We had tons of them around. Scorpions too. We pitted a black widow against a scorpion once. Seemed unfair. We should have let her build a good web before introducing them into the same vessel. The scorpion quickly stung her 4 times FAST and she curled up and died instantly. :{
Same experience

I had a 4 month old baby of mine die exactly the same way you described. I had everything set correctly and no broken bones or anything. If you ever get more closure let me know.
Top Bottom