Sunken eyes, hasn’t eaten or drank water for days, I do not access to an exotics vet

ximena.western

New Member
Hi all, I am desperately seeking help. I went to the vet today but they didn’t have an exotics vet and couldn’t help much. They did recommend her to spend the night there until someone specialized could see her but I couldn’t afford it. My chameleon hasn’t eaten or drank water for a few days now, she has her eyes closed but she’s moving every now and then. She’s also rubbing both eyes against branches. She’s never had gravid colors, or laid eggs. They weighted her today, and she’s 118 grams.

Chameleon Info:
  • She’s a female veiled chameleon, about 2 years old.
  • I don’t handle her at all, today was my first time touching her directly and it was to scoop her and place her on a branch inside a box to take her to the vet.
  • I usually feed her calcium-dusted crickets (4-6) and/or superworms (1-2), every other day.
  • I use repti calcium, and a water conditioner from the same brand. I have been irresponsible and have not been using any other supplements.
  • I mist the enclosure once or twice a day, and I turn on the dripper during the day. She’s not shy drinking water in my presence.
  • I have not seen any feces the past few days, which is worrying me.

Cage Info:
  • I have a 2x2x4ft screen enclosure
  • I have a T5 uvb light, and a 75 watt heat bulb.
  • The humidity is about 60, and the temperature 75 degrees.
  • I use live plants, a pothos and an exotic angel, plus a lot of fake plants
  • The cage is on top of a desk, in a quiet corner of my room. No fans or air vents nearby, but there is a humidifier (not pointing directly at the cage tho).
  • I am geographically located in Brooklyn NY
Please let me know if you can help me, maybe I should “force” feed her and hydrate her but I have no idea how or if it would be appropriate. Any insights or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_9510.jpeg
    IMG_9510.jpeg
    164.9 KB · Views: 12
  • IMG_9511.jpeg
    IMG_9511.jpeg
    213.1 KB · Views: 10
  • IMG_9512.jpeg
    IMG_9512.jpeg
    261.4 KB · Views: 12
  • IMG_9519.jpeg
    IMG_9519.jpeg
    304.9 KB · Views: 10
Hi and welcome. I’m sorry your chameleon isn’t doing well. Give me a bit of time to go thru your husbandry and perhaps I can find a reason.
 
I’ll be putting my feedback in bold and if it’s something serious or urgent, in red.
Chameleon Info:

  • She’s a female veiled chameleon, about 2 years old. How long has she been in your care?
  • I don’t handle her at all, today was my first time touching her directly and it was to scoop her and place her on a branch inside a box to take her to the vet. Once she is feeling better, you should work on building trust with her. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/building-trust-with-your-chameleon.2396/
  • I usually feed her calcium-dusted crickets (4-6) and/or superworms (1-2), every other day. Ok. The amount isn’t bad, but adding more variety is needed. Also, you need to make sure to eep your feeders well fed with fresh produce like greens, veggies and a little bit of fruit. There are a few commercial products that are ok to use, but the cubes and jellies do nothing more than hydrate. Attaching some graphics for you.
  • I use repti calcium Does this contain D3? and a water conditioner from the same brand. I have been irresponsible and have not been using any other supplements. This may be the cause of why your girl isn’t doing well. She needs not only a good multivitamin, but supplemental vitamin D3. I advise starting her immediately on either Repashy calcium plus LoD OR Reptivite with D3. These are quality combination multivitamin and D3 supplements that you want to use for one feeding every other week. Because they contain fat soluble vitamins, you do not want to give any more frequent than that or you then risk overdosing her. It will take a bit of time to see positive results, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she perks up a bit after the first dose.
  • I mist the enclosure once or twice a day, and I turn on the dripper during the day. She’s not shy drinking water in my presence. It’s best to mist for at least 2 minutes right before lights go on and off. If you use a dripper, you only want it to run for about 15-20 minutes. Many chameleons are secretive about drinking, so consider yourself lucky.
  • I have not seen any feces the past few days, which is worrying me. You could try giving her feeders a bit of pumpkin right before you give them to her. Also, try giving her some hornworms. They are basically just bags of water and will help her to poo.
I’m breaking this up into two parts, so to be continued…
IMG_0025.jpeg
IMG_0005.jpeg
 
Cage Info:
  • I have a 2x2x4ft screen enclosure Excellent
  • I have a T5 uvb light, what is the strength of your uvb bulb? What is the distance between lights and her basking branch? and a 75 watt heat bulb.
  • The humidity is about 60, This is too high. You want humidity to be between 30-50% during the day and the temperature 75 degrees. This is a bit too cool. Ideal basking temp for a girl is 78-80.
  • I use live plants, a pothos and an exotic angel this is just the nursery’s line of house plants - not a plant species. If you post a pic, we can probably tell you what it is. plus a lot of fake plants Those need to go. Veileds and especially the girls like to nibble their plants. This is why it’s super important that they are all live and safe. Just one bite of a fake leaf can cause a serious bowel obstruction. Also, having lots of live plants helps maintain humidity and just looks nicer. This will help. https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/ I hang my fake plants on the outside of my enclosures to give my chameleons more privacy. Also, make sure you have lots of branches and vines of different diameters for lots of traveling and moving around and exercising little mitten feet muscles. It can be a challenge to hang things and the key is to have the frame hold the weight. There are Dragon Ledges https://dragonstrand.com/dragon-ledges/ you could make a scaffolding support from branches or use garden trellis or whatever else you can think up.
  • The cage is on top of a desk, in a quiet corner of my room. No fans or air vents nearby, but there is a humidifier (not pointing directly at the cage tho). Ok, good. Height is safety for our arboreal beauties. You don’t want to use the humidifier during the day. Heat plus high humidity increases risk for and can cause respiratory infection. If your night time temps are always below at least 68-70, that is when you can use the humidifier. Run it for a few hours in the early AM to simulate the natural hydration obtained in the wild thru fog.
  • I am geographically located in Brooklyn NY
If she does not already have a lay bin as a permanent part of her enclosure, I suggest putting one in. Saves stress for you and her when it’s laying time.

Please let me know if you can help me, maybe I should “force” feed her and hydrate her but I have no idea how or if it would be appropriate. Any insights or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Force feeding is really stressful and is best as a last resort. Hornworms can be magical for breaking hunger strikes in many types of animals. Make sure they aren’t the massive bloated giant ones. I prefer feeding smaller than my animals can handle. Anyhow, put some of the Repashy LoD on the hornworm and offer it to her. Word of caution though - hornworms have super sticky feet and she could damage her tongue if it clings too much to whatever it’s on. Try this - Put a hornworm or two in a shallow deli cup and sprinkle them in the cup with some of the Repashy LoD and place it where she can easily see it. Sometimes the worms don’t move enough to attract attention so I gently poke them with my tongs or pick them up an inch and flip them over. You’ll also have to make sure that her eyes are open for this. Maybe reach in and gently touch her if needed. Hopefully she won’t be able to resist the magic green jelly worms and will get a good healthy dose of multivitamin. Another thing to try is to drop water onto the tip of her nose to try and stimulate her to drink When she opens her mouth, quickly pop a cricket or worm coated in the Repashy. Normally we want to give the feeders a light dusting. However, this time only I want you to make them look like dirty snowmen if you can. However you can get her to open her mouth…maybe she’ll get mad and hiss and gape at you and you can shove a dusted feeder in her mouth.
If you have tried all of that and nothing is working, only then would you resort to force feeding. There are a couple of different liquid nutritions - Fluker’s ReptiBoost (available at all pet stores usually) or carnivore care which is a bit harder to find. Alternatively you could just bite the bullet and mash up some feeders like the dusted hornworms and add a bit of water to make a slurry. Either of these will need to be given via a small oral syringe and you want to aim towards the back of the throat. The airway is in the front of the mouth. Only give a little at a time slowly so you don’t cause her to aspirate. Getting her to open her mouth is the hard part. I put the cham on a scrunched up towel so she has something to grip and gently try pulling up on the casque. Usually this works. If not, then you will need to apply gentle pressure to her jaw joint (just a hair past the corners of the mouth) and this may work. If not, let her relax and try again later. Like I said, this is very stressful and should only be used when all else fails. The most recent time I needed to force feed one of mine, once I was able to get his mouth open, I just popped a cricket in. Much safer than risking aspiration with liquid.
Of course, a vet with chameleon experience is always your best option. I believe the problem is serious vitamin deficiency and a vet may have a better way to give her a healthy booster dose. @elizaann2 has a list of vets that she can provide you with. I really hope you’re able to get your pretty girl back to good health.
 
Cage Info:
  • I have a 2x2x4ft screen enclosure Excellent
  • I have a T5 uvb light, what is the strength of your uvb bulb? What is the distance between lights and her basking branch? and a 75 watt heat bulb.
  • The humidity is about 60, This is too high. You want humidity to be between 30-50% during the day and the temperature 75 degrees. This is a bit too cool. Ideal basking temp for a girl is 78-80.
  • I use live plants, a pothos and an exotic angel this is just the nursery’s line of house plants - not a plant species. If you post a pic, we can probably tell you what it is. plus a lot of fake plants Those need to go. Veileds and especially the girls like to nibble their plants. This is why it’s super important that they are all live and safe. Just one bite of a fake leaf can cause a serious bowel obstruction. Also, having lots of live plants helps maintain humidity and just looks nicer. This will help. https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/ I hang my fake plants on the outside of my enclosures to give my chameleons more privacy. Also, make sure you have lots of branches and vines of different diameters for lots of traveling and moving around and exercising little mitten feet muscles. It can be a challenge to hang things and the key is to have the frame hold the weight. There are Dragon Ledges https://dragonstrand.com/dragon-ledges/ you could make a scaffolding support from branches or use garden trellis or whatever else you can think up.
  • The cage is on top of a desk, in a quiet corner of my room. No fans or air vents nearby, but there is a humidifier (not pointing directly at the cage tho). Ok, good. Height is safety for our arboreal beauties. You don’t want to use the humidifier during the day. Heat plus high humidity increases risk for and can cause respiratory infection. If your night time temps are always below at least 68-70, that is when you can use the humidifier. Run it for a few hours in the early AM to simulate the natural hydration obtained in the wild thru fog.
  • I am geographically located in Brooklyn NY
If she does not already have a lay bin as a permanent part of her enclosure, I suggest putting one in. Saves stress for you and her when it’s laying time.

Please let me know if you can help me, maybe I should “force” feed her and hydrate her but I have no idea how or if it would be appropriate. Any insights or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Force feeding is really stressful and is best as a last resort. Hornworms can be magical for breaking hunger strikes in many types of animals. Make sure they aren’t the massive bloated giant ones. I prefer feeding smaller than my animals can handle. Anyhow, put some of the Repashy LoD on the hornworm and offer it to her. Word of caution though - hornworms have super sticky feet and she could damage her tongue if it clings too much to whatever it’s on. Try this - Put a hornworm or two in a shallow deli cup and sprinkle them in the cup with some of the Repashy LoD and place it where she can easily see it. Sometimes the worms don’t move enough to attract attention so I gently poke them with my tongs or pick them up an inch and flip them over. You’ll also have to make sure that her eyes are open for this. Maybe reach in and gently touch her if needed. Hopefully she won’t be able to resist the magic green jelly worms and will get a good healthy dose of multivitamin. Another thing to try is to drop water onto the tip of her nose to try and stimulate her to drink When she opens her mouth, quickly pop a cricket or worm coated in the Repashy. Normally we want to give the feeders a light dusting. However, this time only I want you to make them look like dirty snowmen if you can. However you can get her to open her mouth…maybe she’ll get mad and hiss and gape at you and you can shove a dusted feeder in her mouth.
If you have tried all of that and nothing is working, only then would you resort to force feeding. There are a couple of different liquid nutritions - Fluker’s ReptiBoost (available at all pet stores usually) or carnivore care which is a bit harder to find. Alternatively you could just bite the bullet and mash up some feeders like the dusted hornworms and add a bit of water to make a slurry. Either of these will need to be given via a small oral syringe and you want to aim towards the back of the throat. The airway is in the front of the mouth. Only give a little at a time slowly so you don’t cause her to aspirate. Getting her to open her mouth is the hard part. I put the cham on a scrunched up towel so she has something to grip and gently try pulling up on the casque. Usually this works. If not, then you will need to apply gentle pressure to her jaw joint (just a hair past the corners of the mouth) and this may work. If not, let her relax and try again later. Like I said, this is very stressful and should only be used when all else fails. The most recent time I needed to force feed one of mine, once I was able to get his mouth open, I just popped a cricket in. Much safer than risking aspiration with liquid.
Of course, a vet with chameleon experience is always your best option. I believe the problem is serious vitamin deficiency and a vet may have a better way to give her a healthy booster dose. @elizaann2 has a list of vets that she can provide you with. I really hope you’re able to get your pretty girl back to good health.
Thank you so much for the fast response. I’ve had her for a year and a half. I have not been gutloading the crickets properly, Petco employees told me the little water orbeez were enough and I have no idea why I never questioned it. I use calcium with vitamin D3, should I get one without D3, and purchase a multivitamin? The humidity is around 45 during the day, but the heat is definitely always about the same, but it is measured from kinda far from the basking branch, so I assumed it was fine. The uvb is 5.0, but I just realized I haven’t changed the bulb since August. I totally just read the label on the pot to write down what plant it is because I had no idea, but I looked it up and it’s a prayer plant. The only reason I have the fake plants at the top of the enclosure is that the leaves of real ones were dying because of all the water from the dripper, but I’ll change that as soon as possible (I’m guessing I shouldn’t do it right now to not stress her out, but she has tried to bite them off, unsuccessfully). I cannot thank you enough for all the information you have already given me, I feel hopeful I can nurse her back to health now.
 
Thank you so much for the fast response. I’ve had her for a year and a half. I have not been gutloading the crickets properly, Petco employees told me the little water orbeez were enough and I have no idea why I never questioned it. I use calcium with vitamin D3, should I get one without D3, and purchase a multivitamin? The humidity is around 45 during the day, but the heat is definitely always about the same, but it is measured from kinda far from the basking branch, so I assumed it was fine. The uvb is 5.0, but I just realized I haven’t changed the bulb since August. I totally just read the label on the pot to write down what plant it is because I had no idea, but I looked it up and it’s a prayer plant. The only reason I have the fake plants at the top of the enclosure is that the leaves of real ones were dying because of all the water from the dripper, but I’ll change that as soon as possible (I’m guessing I shouldn’t do it right now to not stress her out, but she has tried to bite them off, unsuccessfully). I cannot thank you enough for all the information you have already given me, I feel hopeful I can nurse her back to health now.
If your daily calcium has D3 in it you need to get calcium WITHOUT D3. Repitcalcum without D3 is a common choice here. If you've been dusting with Calcium with D3, she may have too much of that in her system, and it takes a good while for that to clear, because D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin.

It'll be easiest to confirm what you have if you can post pictures of what you're using. :)
 
I saw her poop this morning, a weird green color I’ve never seen her poop before, I’m attaching a picture.
Also, the calcium with vitamin D3 brand I use is Zoo Med
 

Attachments

  • IMG_9524.jpeg
    IMG_9524.jpeg
    134.7 KB · Views: 8
The calcium needs to have no D3 in it. D3 is fat soluble, so it doesn’t break down quickly and instead builds up in the body, which can lead to overdose.
I have no idea about the color of that poo, although partly looks like urate. You definitely want to get a fecal done.
 
Back
Top Bottom