Sudden multiple deaths

SaveDeafDogs

New Member
Super sad... im having a really serious issue...

Problem. Ive acquired two male panther chameleons recently that seemed healthy when i brought them home and then dropped dead within a week or two and went from seemingly healthy to dead in an hour period.

Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - 3 different ambilobe panther chameleons
Handling - daily
Feeding - gut load crickets with cricket food and dust them with vits and calcium, super worms, and occasionally dubias.
Supplements - twice a month multi vit and couple times a week calcium
Watering - I've watched them all drink water from the day dripper, i showered the female and the first male for half hour each multi days, and mist them each 3x daily
Fecal Description - all the fecal samples we saw seemed normal, except the last one from the last male we bought. VERY large and the white part had an almost hard shell


Cage Info:
Cage Type - 4x2x2
Lighting - 12 hours 100w Powersun and 5.0 tube UVB lamp
Temperature - 75 at bottom, to 90 at basking. Night drops to 75 overall
Humidity - open air mesh cage, with heavy misting several times a day
Plants -live ficus and fake plants hanging
Placement - the cage was in the dedicated higher humidity reptile room for the first two deaths, and then we moved it into the living room to quarantine the 2nd male, who died there
Location - southern california

Current Problem
Hey! So I have owned two female panther chams for about a year. I recently purchased a male from a less than reliable breeder (apparently) and he mysteriously dropped dead a week and a half after we got him (was a bit dehydrated when we received him but seemed to be doing okay). It was very strange and we were incredibly alarmed. One of our females (who we had raised since a baby, and seemed very healthy) developed an eye infection immediately after receiving the male, and after taking her to the vet and giving her eye medication for 10 days...still died one night a few days later. We woke up that morning to find her dead on the floor of the cage.
I had the vet do a necropsy on her and she said it was liver failure from the infection spreading, even though it was almost cleared up by this point. She said it wasnt contagious and that everything should be back to normal now. After some hesitation and much sadness, we bought one more chameleon from a guy on craigslist, seemed healthy, though he had an odd sleeping schedule, waking up early and sleeping by 6 or 7 pm. After a week of the chameleon being active with wide open eyes and seemingly health... he was suddenly found limp at the bottom of his cage after being totally normal early that day, he was even basking outside for a bit that morning. He died an hour later.
I'm terrified that it was something I did.
The vet wasnt even an option because it happened so fast each time. We have many other chameleons (veiled and oustalets) and have never had any health issues with them, and we still have one female panther (who might be gravid now). I'd love to eventually buy a male from a reputable breeder (possibly another female as well), but I can't seem to figure out whats causing these issues... And i dont want to risk killing any others :(
I'm about 600 bucks poorer than i was and really discouraged about this... Both males seemed 100% fine a couple hours before. Then... suddenly their eyes were INCREDIBLY sunken, and hand grip was almost nonexistant. Within the hour they were gone...

What would you suggest at this point? have you guys ever heard of this or had any similar issues? Im pretty sure the cages are set up correctly and they have enough water and heat. I keep temps between 75-90 and mist multiple times a day as well as keep a constant dripper going. I even sent pictures to the previous breeder of the first male to ask if i did something wrong and he said my set up looks great...
Any ideas? I really appreciate any help.
As a reptile keeper I feel like Ive failed these little guys.

I have pictures of two of the chameleons after they died and the fecal matter... Ill post anything you guys think is helpful... thanks :(
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Feeding - gut load crickets with cricket food (what brand food? What's in it? Many commercial cricket foods aren't much good unless you add fresh dark leafy greens and fruit.
Supplements - twice a month multi vit and couple times a week calcium you should be dusting lightly with plain calcium once a day, with calcium with added D3 every couple of weeks, and multivitamin once a month
Watering - I've watched them all drink water from the day dripper, i showered the female and the first male for half hour each multi days, and mist them each 3x daily If they are drinking all day they are dehydrated. What is the cage humidity range (from high to low)? Their setup may be drier than you realize for much of the day. How do you measure humidity?

VERY large and the white part had an almost hard shell Hard large urates suggest dehydration


Lighting - 12 hours 100w Powersun and 5.0 tube UVB lamp That's a LOT of intense light, possibly too hot and too intense.
Temperature - 75 at bottom, to 90 at basking. Night drops to 75 overall Night temps are high and possibly the day temp in the non-basking part of the cage was a bit high as well. Warmer temps often mean drying as well. Possibly they are getting a little cooked and not resting OK
Humidity - open air mesh cage, with heavy misting several times a day

Then... suddenly their eyes were INCREDIBLY sunken, and hand grip was almost nonexistant. Within the hour they were gone... The sunken eyes and weak grip are common signs that a cham is in serious trouble but doesn't really explain why.
 

SaveDeafDogs

New Member
Feeding - we gut load with fulkers cricket food
Supplements -we've changed the vits since the vet visit because the vet suggested we up the amount. We started dusting with calcium every day since the females eye infection, and bumped the multi up to once a week.
Watering - they dont drink all day, they were drinking normal amounts and I dont think it was dehydration because all three had constant access to dripping water and the 2nd male and my female had a very round head. The vet even looked at the female and said she was very healthy.
The male that had the large fecal matter at the end had been pooping regularly as well, and had a normal sized bowel movement the morning he died with no apparent issue. He looked great at 2pm, active and alert, when we took him outside to bask. After 20 min we brought him back in and by 9 pm he died.
The Powersun bulb and the florescent are about a foot away from the highest basking point. Temps RARELY get above 88. I was told by the breeder to increase the basking temp to 90degrees because panthers prefer
The first male just had a 100w powersun bulb, the female had both the tube and the powersun. And the second male had a 100w powersun.
Temperature - day temps in the lower areas stay about about 73.
Humidity - my reptile room has a constant humidity of about 30 percent, with misting and 15 hours a day of water dripping the humidity shouldnt have been an issue...

The weird part was how sudden all three deaths were. I'm a very experienced reptile owner, and although I've only kept chameleons for a couple years, I'm generally very good at noticing problems or behavior changes. The first male was slightly dehydrated, but not critical by any means, and i watched him drink water and showered him daily to help. If it was dehydration shouldnt the eyes have been sunken for DAYS before they die? All three seemed 100% normal behavior and eating and drinking the day before, up to a couple hours before their deaths.
 

SaveDeafDogs

New Member
I started with a coil bulb, but read that could have caused the eye infection, so i switched to a power sun, but was worried the UVB range wasnt reaching the lower areas of the cage at all. So i got a large tube above for multi chams, and have continued to use the powersun just in case. Ive never heard of overdosing uvb when at low watt so I wasnt worried about switching it with a normal basking.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Honestly, you do not need the uvb to reach to the bottom of the cage. They should be able to escape it if they choose to. If they want to get uvb rays they can hang out at the top. Think about when they are in the rain forest. The sun does not always penetrate to the ground. I am not saying that is what killed your chameleons, but just for the future if you get another, I would switch out the powersun for a regular household light bulb and keep the 5.0. This is the set up that the majority of us use with great success.
 

reptoman

Avid Member
It might be helpful to post pics of your setup just to see if there is something obviously wrong. It almost sounds like you have something either infecting the chameleons as they come in or they are being poisoned somehow. The only other thing that comes to mind would be if your temps were way off and your measurements were incorrect due to faulty equipment and you were unknowingly cooking them to death after a few days. I hope you can get this figured out quickly.
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
Problem. Ive acquired two male panther chameleons recently that seemed healthy when i brought them home and then dropped dead within a week or two and went from seemingly healthy to dead in an hour period.

We have many other chameleons (veiled and oustalets) and have never had any health issues with them, and we still have one female panther (who might be gravid now)(

Hi, the fact that you have "many" other chameleon thriving in your care and these "new" chameleon are dieing with 14 days of being in your care leads me to believe your luck is not with the IRISH.

If everyone is drinking the same water, has the same plants, eating the same feeder, etc...The only way your truly going to get a good answer is to have a necropsy done.
 

SaveDeafDogs

New Member
The additional UVB was very recent but from now on I'll stick with the heat lamp and tube 5.0, seems to be the most recommended set up.
I dont think its the equipment... if anything my initial temps were too low, not high.
I have 3 other chameleons that are 100% healthy and havent had any contact with the plants, fake plants, cage or even light fixtures of the Panthers. And i have 1 female Panther that was housed with the first male briefly and the other female. Im worried about her more than anything.... She seems to be acting normal but she's gravid, so its hard to tell if any behavior changes are due to that or some internal problem that may start.
They all eat the same food.

I'm thinking it was some kind of contagious infection brought by the first male :( I got him from Underground Reptiles. Idk if theres anything i could/should do at this point to help prevent my female from getting sick and dying suddenly too..... has this happened to anyone?
 

drcrossfire

Avid Member
Do you keep your flukers in the fridge?

The orange gel grows bacteria that can kill crickets if not refrigerated. Probably not the cause of.this... But an overall concern.

Seems to be way too much UVB. Power suns are supposed to be used on.their own. Just keep the 5.0 linear and use a regular household incandescent 75 or 100 watt should be good.

Do you use dry water crystals at all? Was anything wild.caught? Have you done any fecal analysis.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
very sorry to hear this. how awful for you (and the chams of course)

You say one male (or was it both?) was fine before going outside, then died minutes later. Is it possible that he ate something toxic?

Its possible the death of the female with the infection is unrelated to the new males that died.
Its possible that one of the new animals had an illness that spread to her, and in her weakened condition it finished her off.

were the cages for the new males new? Could there have been something in them that contributed to the deaths?

Without a vet necropsy of one or both dead males, you may never have an answer.
 
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