Sudden deaths

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi fellow members,

This will be a heavy thread and some pictures will be shocking, however I thinks it´s essential for our community to increase the learning curve for every chameleon keeper and to try filtering out unknown trial and errors to prevent it from happening again.
Why this thread? I´ve read lately, including my own, stories about ´healthy´ chameleons from beginners to intermediate to experience keepers die without any obvious indicators within 12 till 36 hours.
That ´without any obvious signs´ I would love to crystallize till maybe obvious signs. Because, with bad husbandry declining chameleons are mostly pretty obvious for us with the well known health signs. However, I would like the hear the stories from our fellow members, of chameleon that suddenly declined and died before we could bring them to a vet. Because, what are for us obvious indicators that gives us red flags:

- Sunken eyes
- No eating
- No drinking
- No stool for days
- Sudden swollen eyes
- Blood in the poop
- Mouth open and nose the air
- Mucous mouth

But what if your chameleon didn´t show any of these indications 12 hours prior to death, this is exactly what happened to my chameleon and what keeps bothering me!

What I would wish and hopefully I find followers, is to share our stories about our precious ones passing away from us and especially in what chronological order of signs. If possible and others agree with this thread, then maybe @Brad could be pin it to the health clinic topic, to keep it under the attention for everyone.


I wi´ll start with my terrible experience of my beautiful purple dinosaur Cher.

A brief history about Cher´s last weeks. Cher started to show receptive colors around the first week of March and this went on with restless behavior and everything what comes to it. This was her first clutch and as I witnessed this with Bella, this can be hard for them the first time. By the beginning of May, she still didn´t show any digging behavior and that was when I started to get restless. She never went to the bottom of her bioactive enclosure. By the time she started hiding and not basking I knew she was getting close, same as Bella´s first time. When she started to loosing interest in eating two weeks ago, I knew it was becoming critical and I made a rigorous decision, I swapped Neo and Cher from enclosure, because Neo´s enclosure has more foliage and hide outs at the bottom (and this was pure intuition). The next morning Cher went directly down to the bottom and we hadn´t seen her all day, that´s when we started to get a good feeling. In the evening just after lights went out, she sat all covered in dirt back up on the branch. And in the morning she was basking all wrinkled, skinny and covered in dirt. So later that day I swapped her back gave her a good long drink and lots of yummy, which she ate and drank, this was the 20th of May. I could see she was a bit dehydrated, and therefore I added the dripper for her, which she also used several days.

18.jpg


As the days past she ate and drank normal, only her `gravid colors´ stayed (the black and pink). She did her normal routine and I even had put her in the olive tree outside for some fresh sun, which she enjoyed for hours. Then something happened which I noticed, after her last time outside, she didn´t bask anymore under the heat and UVB light and stayed underneath the led plant light. Therefore, she stayed dulled in color. I imaged that maybe because of the bright sunlight outside, she now was confused and choice the brightest light in her enclosure. This went on for the last week, but she was still eating and drinking and active. Then the last 2 days I noticed she was regularly closing her left eye, that´s what made thinking about a vit A deficiency or multivit overdosing. Have seen this with my Veiled and Jackson sometime, after giving them Respashy Calcium Plus (which I stopped using). And normally this goes away within 1 á 2 days. Monday she didn´t show interest in food, which made worried a bit and knew that maybe a vet appointment was needed within the following days. Then when I came home yesterday from work, I found her high in the enclosure not basking and with her eyes shut. When I took her out of the enclosure to check her, she had full grip and power, however she all the sudden grabbed her back leg with her tail and she laid down on a side on my hand, her colors where normal and no sunken eyes. Then I put her under the UVB and heat light and that´s when she suddenly rapidly declined. Retracted her eyes and saw her heavily breathing, colors stayed normal and 2 hours later she hang on her tail from the branch. This is when I tried to take her off, but she still had a firm tail grip. Eventually, I managed to get her of and laid her on a towel, to slowly slip away comfortly. She passed away in the morning, but still had the most beautiful colors…….

After almost 2 hours when I took her of the branch

13.jpg


During the morning before she passed away

34.jpg
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for sharing your story. ❤️

This is one of those things that just sucks... We had another member that sent me a pic. I did not put two and two together because they said he was shedding and his eyes were sunk in. I did not realize that more was going on. I just thought the lil guy was pissed about shedding and sucking in his eyes. Beman does this when he is really angry about something. I should have asked more questions about it and felt awful that I didn't after I got the news that the cham passed away. But I did not realize they were asking a question, I thought they were just sharing a pic with me. I normally speak up and perhaps ask too many questions especially with pics. I did not do that this time and the keeper lost his cham. For sure a huge regret on my part as I hate to see things like this happen and I know how painful it is to lose a cham.

The sudden decline is what is nuts to me. They can appear totally ok then take a rapid nose dive showing outward signs of issues. I think this is the hardest thing about keeping chams. They hide stuff so well. By the time you realize something is wrong it is often too late. Even with the best husbandry something internal can be happening and we can not see it to spot an issue. Perhaps my greatest fear with Beman. And I feel like a crazy person making mental notes every day of every detail about him. So that I hopefully will notice something that is not normal. But this is not always possible.
 

Tkrd69

Avid Member
I don't blame anyone. It all happened so fast. I would see Sassy move eyes in an out to loosen shed in the past. I miss my boy but he made my life happier and I hope his too. Eating and drinking normally, poop looked good too. Maybe this thread will bring in more ideas.
IMG_20220727_091859_hdr.jpg
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for sharing your story. ❤️

This is one of those things that just sucks... We had another member that sent me a pic. I did not put two and two together because they said he was shedding and his eyes were sunk in. I did not realize that more was going on. I just thought the lil guy was pissed about shedding and sucking in his eyes. Beman does this when he is really angry about something. I should have asked more questions about it and felt awful that I didn't after I got the news that the cham passed away. But I did not realize they were asking a question, I thought they were just sharing a pic with me. I normally speak up and perhaps ask too many questions especially with pics. I did not do that this time and the keeper lost his cham. For sure a huge regret on my part as I hate to see things like this happen and I know how painful it is to lose a cham.

The sudden decline is what is nuts to me. They can appear totally ok then take a rapid nose dive showing outward signs of issues. I think this is the hardest thing about keeping chams. They hide stuff so well. By the time you realize something is wrong it is often too late. Even with the best husbandry something internal can be happening and we can not see it to spot an issue. Perhaps my greatest fear with Beman. And I feel like a crazy person making mental notes every day of every detail about him. So that I hopefully will notice something that is not normal. But this is not always possible.
Thanks for sharing your story 🙏🏻

Worrying is a part of this passion and I think at the moment we stop worrying, that’s the moment the chameleon is getting in the danger zone.

The internet made keeping chameleons more accessible, therefore we need to share as much as useful information as possible. And love this forums for that.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't blame anyone. It all happened so fast. I would see Sassy move eyes in an out to loosen shed in the past. I miss my boy but he made my life happier and I hope his too. Eating and drinking normally, poop looked good too. Maybe this thread will bring in more ideas.View attachment 327600
Thanks for sharing yours and know for sure he had a good life with you. Sometimes we can’t control it and it’s same with people, they also can die all sudden. Still people got symptoms, but everyone listens to his body. I.e my dad had a cardiac arrest out of nothing, due clogged veins. I always had symptoms, being easily tired, but he associated it with sleep shortness (he had a bad sleep).
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is a great place for information and support. Every time I have questions get good answers. Things happen could be genetics or any number of things. Reddit would say "where's your glass of water"?
They would only say, you killed your cham, because you didn’t listen to our advice! Chameleons are solidair arboreal amphibians, which live in the shade and can be only fed with edelweiss!!
 
Hi fellow members,

This will be a heavy thread and some pictures will be shocking, however I thinks it´s essential for our community to increase the learning curve for every chameleon keeper and to try filtering out unknown trial and errors to prevent it from happening again.
Why this thread? I´ve read lately, including my own, stories about ´healthy´ chameleons from beginners to intermediate to experience keepers die without any obvious indicators within 12 till 36 hours.
That ´without any obvious signs´ I would love to crystallize till maybe obvious signs. Because, with bad husbandry declining chameleons are mostly pretty obvious for us with the well known health signs. However, I would like the hear the stories from our fellow members, of chameleon that suddenly declined and died before we could bring them to a vet. Because, what are for us obvious indicators that gives us red flags:

- Sunken eyes
- No eating
- No drinking
- No stool for days
- Sudden swollen eyes
- Blood in the poop
- Mouth open and nose the air
- Mucous mouth

But what if your chameleon didn´t show any of these indications 12 hours prior to death, this is exactly what happened to my chameleon and what keeps bothering me!

What I would wish and hopefully I find followers, is to share our stories about our precious ones passing away from us and especially in what chronological order of signs. If possible and others agree with this thread, then maybe @Brad could be pin it to the health clinic topic, to keep it under the attention for everyone.


I wi´ll start with my terrible experience of my beautiful purple dinosaur Cher.

A brief history about Cher´s last weeks. Cher started to show receptive colors around the first week of March and this went on with restless behavior and everything what comes to it. This was her first clutch and as I witnessed this with Bella, this can be hard for them the first time. By the beginning of May, she still didn´t show any digging behavior and that was when I started to get restless. She never went to the bottom of her bioactive enclosure. By the time she started hiding and not basking I knew she was getting close, same as Bella´s first time. When she started to loosing interest in eating two weeks ago, I knew it was becoming critical and I made a rigorous decision, I swapped Neo and Cher from enclosure, because Neo´s enclosure has more foliage and hide outs at the bottom (and this was pure intuition). The next morning Cher went directly down to the bottom and we hadn´t seen her all day, that´s when we started to get a good feeling. In the evening just after lights went out, she sat all covered in dirt back up on the branch. And in the morning she was basking all wrinkled, skinny and covered in dirt. So later that day I swapped her back gave her a good long drink and lots of yummy, which she ate and drank, this was the 20th of May. I could see she was a bit dehydrated, and therefore I added the dripper for her, which she also used several days.

View attachment 327595

As the days past she ate and drank normal, only her `gravid colors´ stayed (the black and pink). She did her normal routine and I even had put her in the olive tree outside for some fresh sun, which she enjoyed for hours. Then something happened which I noticed, after her last time outside, she didn´t bask anymore under the heat and UVB light and stayed underneath the led plant light. Therefore, she stayed dulled in color. I imaged that maybe because of the bright sunlight outside, she now was confused and choice the brightest light in her enclosure. This went on for the last week, but she was still eating and drinking and active. Then the last 2 days I noticed she was regularly closing her left eye, that´s what made thinking about a vit A deficiency or multivit overdosing. Have seen this with my Veiled and Jackson sometime, after giving them Respashy Calcium Plus (which I stopped using). And normally this goes away within 1 á 2 days. Monday she didn´t show interest in food, which made worried a bit and knew that maybe a vet appointment was needed within the following days. Then when I came home yesterday from work, I found her high in the enclosure not basking and with her eyes shut. When I took her out of the enclosure to check her, she had full grip and power, however she all the sudden grabbed her back leg with her tail and she laid down on a side on my hand, her colors where normal and no sunken eyes. Then I put her under the UVB and heat light and that´s when she suddenly rapidly declined. Retracted her eyes and saw her heavily breathing, colors stayed normal and 2 hours later she hang on her tail from the branch. This is when I tried to take her off, but she still had a firm tail grip. Eventually, I managed to get her of and laid her on a towel, to slowly slip away comfortly. She passed away in the morning, but still had the most beautiful colors…….

After almost 2 hours when I took her of the branch

View attachment 327596

During the morning before she passed away

View attachment 327597
I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your ordeal which could help others.
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
So I'm going to link to my post here if people want to read a lot of the details that I'll sum up here: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/rip-cosmo.188028/

Cosmo had been to the vet a couple of times for a couple minor issues (a big eye booger and swelling in one arm, dangling) both cases of which happened several months ago and seemed to have no impact on his overall health. By all appearances and behaviors, he grew up real well and was thriving...keyword being "appearances"

This image was taken yesterday morning just before 8am. He woke up as his long shower just finished and the lights had turned on and he was lapping a little water off the leaves. Really nothing out of the ordinary. His food intake was a tiny bit less but I figured it was him looking milky and due for a shed.
IMG_8678.jpeg


Within an hour or two his eyes looked noticeably sunken in, but was otherwise behaving normally. Maybe a little more lethargic but it was tough to tell. I made sure there was a little extra water available to him in case his hydration was suffering, which had never been an issue prior, and I also put his security/night blanket up so he couldn't see me walking around and hopefully reduce stress. Plan was to call the vet and make an appoinment the very next morning (today) if he looked the same. This morning he looked the same, but was climbing towards his basking spot first thing in the morning and it seemed relatively ok. Plan was to call the vet as soon as they opened and get him in ASAP.

Now, I kid you not, I go out for a half-hour walk and upon coming back in and taking my headphones out, I hear him audibly gasping and scramble to find the nearest emergency room:
IMG_8686.jpeg


I was able to get him there in about 20 or so minutes and they saw him immediately, but by the time I got there he was just on his side, very dark in color and barely taking gasps. I thought he'd died on the ride there. And basically they said their attempts to hydrate and revive him weren't taking and that attempting CPR would very likely fail. My options were to wait and see if they could stabilize him, after which he would need to stay a few nights and it would've cost upwards of $2,000 OR euthanize him and I obviously chose the latter based on their description of his condition, basically already dying and unlikely to be revived anyways.

His last moments:
IMG_8687.jpeg



So mostly I'm pretty shocked and devastated. If you look in my post, I have all my care/husbandry laid out and to sum that up I followed the chameleon academy as closely as I could. I thought this was a URI and the ER said it might've been a liver problem, but he truly didn't show even any subtle signs other than the sunken eyes. I am kicking myself a bit that I didn't go to the ER yesterday, but I never imagined he would've deteriorated and died so suddenly after literally a couple days ago devouring a ton of roaches and patrolling his cage looking like an absolute unit.

I'm feeling pretty discouraged, but trying to remind myself this appears to be a rare exception and not a rule in terms of health outcomes. My panther previous to Cosmo lived about 4.5 years and was pretty hardy considering my level of experience was lesser then and his enclosure wasn't as well thought out as Cosmo's. Luck of the draw? Who knows...

Right now my life's got a lot of pieces that need to fall into place before I can consider another chameleon. I like the configuration of the enclosure I have and plan to keep it and clean it thoroughly. I'm proud of the plants and how well they're doing. But yeah, as far as I know Cosmo never had any parasites or real major problems and both times he went to the non-emergency vet (Odd Pet Vet here in MA) he got a clean bill of health, no parasites or issues.
 

dinomom

Chameleon Enthusiast
I so much know how you feel-the guilt can be overwhelming, even though you did nothing wrong. Try to be kind to yourself for the amazing job you did trying to give him the very best conditions!

There are so many things that can happen, from congenital conditions to a bug with a high bacterial load that can happen that are NO fault of yours nor preventable.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
@jcarlsen thanks a lot for sharing your story in detail. Like already I´m sorry for your lost of your handsome boy Cosmo. And don´t be to hard on yourself, you did everything you could and give him the best life and even stopped the suffering sooner for him. Because, it can take several hours before they really pass away, therefore euthanising was as human as it can get.

This is the reason why I started this thread, because lots of chams with good/ perfectly husbandry and care, pass away suddenly. Where we see with bad husbandry animals suffer for a long time, even able to start a treatment, is it with good husbandry always fatal within the shortest of time. If we can bring up those symptoms we can maybe intervene quicker.

The thing I´m always reading in your story and what I started to notice with mine was their thirsty behavior prior to this. Cher´s urates were perfect, yet I noticed her being more thirsty. When putting in a dripper, she would actually go for it directly. This could be related to organ failure, like a kidney of liver? Any suggestions @kinyonga @dinomom Maybe, some long term overdosing supplementation? Have noticed this same drinking behavior with my dog, who died from a kidney failure.
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
@jcarlsen thanks a lot for sharing your story in detail. Like already I´m sorry for your lost of your handsome boy Cosmo. And don´t be to hard on yourself, you did everything you could and give him the best life and even stopped the suffering sooner for him. Because, it can take several hours before they really pass away, therefore euthanising was as human as it can get.

This is the reason why I started this thread, because lots of chams with good/ perfectly husbandry and care, pass away suddenly. Where we see with bad husbandry animals suffer for a long time, even able to start a treatment, is it with good husbandry always fatal within the shortest of time. If we can bring up those symptoms we can maybe intervene quicker.

The thing I´m always reading in your story and what I started to notice with mine was their thirsty behavior prior to this. Cher´s urates were perfect, yet I noticed her being more thirsty. When putting in a dripper, she would actually go for it directly. This could be related to organ failure, like a kidney of liver? Any suggestions @kinyonga @dinomom Maybe, some long term overdosing supplementation? Have noticed this same drinking behavior with my dog, who died from a kidney failure.
That’s an interesting theory for sure. I figured I was doing a better supplement plan than with my ambilobe, Jasper, who lived 4.5 years and was getting d3 at every feeding. This time around with Cosmo I was doing the supplement plan from chameleon academy and honestly Cosmo seemed to be thriving way more than Jasper ever did, so it’s definitely confusing to me.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
That’s an interesting theory for sure. I figured I was doing a better supplement plan than with my ambilobe, Jasper, who lived 4.5 years and was getting d3 at every feeding. This time around with Cosmo I was doing the supplement plan from chameleon academy and honestly Cosmo seemed to be thriving way more than Jasper ever did, so it’s definitely confusing to me.
I think the plan isn´t the problem, that is tested and proven to work. However, we can´t control the exact intake, i.e. body weight vs. effective intake amount of supplement(s). There´s no direct information, like with medicines, about the intake ratio related to bodyweight. Speaking for myself, it´s always a guessing game how much to put on the feeders and even more how much mcg or mg actually reaches the mouth of the chameleon. I know we humans, wash out most of the excessive vitamins through peeing. How about chams? We already know about certain build ups in their body, making itself visual as bumps under their skin. But, against their organs we can´t see.

If we can eventually summarize certain symptoms like i.e. ´obsessive drinking´ then we got at least a new indicator which other keepers can keep their eyes open for, and maybe, just maybe an adequate intervention comes in time.
 

#Chams4life

Avid Member
(Posted to soon above and won’t let me edit.)

I want to start by saying that I am sorry for everyone who has suddenly lost a chameleon. I know it can be very hard but it sounds like you all did everything possible and gave them the best lives.

I also want to ask if anyone has had their chameleon tested for crypto. I’ve heard from a few people recently that it’s been popping up and with similar symptoms. The chameleons were acting normal and looked healthy but a few hours prior to passing had sunken eyes and went down hill real quick without any warning signs.

I’m starting to wonder if it may be feeder related or it could not be. Where have you guys been buying your feeders from?
 

Tkrd69

Avid Member
I get my mine from Millers bait and tackle. 2:00 every Wednesday new shipment arrives from farm. I gonna see if they will give me the farms name
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
(Posted to soon above and won’t let me edit.)

I want to start by saying that I am sorry for everyone who has suddenly lost a chameleon. I know it can be very hard but it sounds like you all did everything possible and gave them the best lives.

I also want to ask if anyone has had their chameleon tested for crypto. I’ve heard from a few people recently that it’s been popping up and with similar symptoms. The chameleons were acting normal and looked healthy but a few hours prior to passing had sunken eyes and went down hill real quick without any warning signs.

I’m starting to wonder if it may be feeder related or it could not be. Where have you guys been buying your feeders from?
Got point and all information is welcome. However, keep in consideration I’m from across the ocean. Feeders I don’t directly rule out, because it’s also popping up more and more. Yet, I feed more mouths then one with the same feeders and of course one feeder could be enough. I need to do some readings about crypto, that’s new for me.
 

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
Mine last ate a few silkworms on a Tuesday, he looked/acted normal. By Wednesday night I noticed his entire body was orange (same colors as when he sleeps or is in defense/stress mode) and he began occasionally making gasping sounds with his head up /entire body held in an upright position on branches. I had him at the vet emergency room the next day (Thursday) where he was given fluids and antibiotics. By Friday afternoon he passed.

I luckily had just moved him to a rubber bin with a single branch on the floor, a basking light, and UVB. Around 1 hour later I found him laying on his side on the bottom of the tub, next to the branch he was resting on -- I am glad he didn't drop 4 feet in his ReptiBreeze XL when he finally let go.
 

Tkrd69

Avid Member
So sorry to hear of your loss. Maybe one of the vets on here will find something out. A lot of people would like to know why this is happening.
 
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