Swollen back legs

Hi Everyone! I have an eight month old panther chameleon. He’s behaving normally and is still active but his back legs have become very swollen. It’s causing just his back legs to shed excessively. I’m not sure what’s causing the swelling and I’ve been calling emergency vets but I can’t get him in anytime soon. Does anyone have an idea of what may be causing this and what I can do to help?? Thanks so much!
 
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it doesn’t look as bad in these photos but his back legs are significantly larger than usual and you can see the shed coming of his back legs only. He’s already shed quite a bit from his back legs.
 

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Millz&Jukka

Avid Member
Looks like gout to me, definitely keep calling vets for an emergency appointment ASAP and tell them you think it's gout. Not much you can do until he's seen a vet really. He is beautiful though, i hope he gets to a vet soon!
 
Update: I got kinda pushy and demanded an appointment at the emergency exotic vet today. I got him in by 10 am and they said since he’s so young it’s highly unlikely it’s full blown gout. They gave him fluids and a warm water flush to get rid of any build up or parasites. They said he looks quite healthy and it could just be from dehydration. Bazel is very stubborn and refuses to drink from his dripper even though water is available to him at all times. I also have an automatic mister that goes off every morning and night while the lights are off. I’m considering also getting a fogger for the night to make the humidity even higher. I suppose if he’s not drinking he’s just gonna have to get his water from the air and the food he eats. Time to go get some hornworms! haha
 

Millz&Jukka

Avid Member
Update: I got kinda pushy and demanded an appointment at the emergency exotic vet today. I got him in by 10 am and they said since he’s so young it’s highly unlikely it’s full blown gout. They gave him fluids and a warm water flush to get rid of any build up or parasites. They said he looks quite healthy and it could just be from dehydration. Bazel is very stubborn and refuses to drink from his dripper even though water is available to him at all times. I also have an automatic mister that goes off every morning and night while the lights are off. I’m considering also getting a fogger for the night to make the humidity even higher. I suppose if he’s not drinking he’s just gonna have to get his water from the air and the food he eats. Time to go get some hornworms! haha
I'm a bit confused about the treatment they gave him, as far as I'm aware a warm water flush doesn't get rid of parasites, parasites have to be tested for and identified to have the correct treatment but I wouldn't say parasites were related to the legs at all. Is this vet an exotic vet with experience with chameleons? If he was just dehydrated you would be able to tell from his eyes but they look fine to me... Chams can be super secretive about drinking and he seems hydrated to me, what are his urates like? I suggest you take him to a different vet or get another appointment becaue in my opinion none of that treatment will really address anything, it definitely looks like gout to me, anyone else agree?
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
@Millz&Jukka said..."as far as I'm aware a warm water flush doesn't get rid of parasites"... I have to agree with this. I don't think you're going to flush the intestines doing this to begin with because the fluid would likely only go into the cloaca...and some parasites attach themselves to the walls of the intestine anyway so they won't be able to be flushed out.

What color are your chameleon's urates?

Did they run any blood tests for uric acid levels?
 

DonKeesh

Chameleon Enthusiast
They don't appear to be that abnormal/swollen to me but maybe it's just the angle. My chameleon started shedding sections of it's body and not a complete shed around 18 months old.
 
I'm a bit confused about the treatment they gave him, as far as I'm aware a warm water flush doesn't get rid of parasites, parasites have to be tested for and identified to have the correct treatment but I wouldn't say parasites were related to the legs at all. Is this vet an exotic vet with experience with chameleons? If he was just dehydrated you would be able to tell from his eyes but they look fine to me... Chams can be super secretive about drinking and he seems hydrated to me, what are his urates like? I suggest you take him to a different vet or get another appointment becaue in my opinion none of that treatment will really address anything, it definitely looks like gout to me, anyone else agree?
Hi! This vet is an exotic vet in my area with experience with chameleons. I made sure to check that they knew what they were doing before going in. Bazel's urates are purely white and appear quite normal. The vet said that since he's so young they don't suspect gout, and he doesn't seem to be in much pain or immobile at all. They said he appears healthy but he could be slightly dehydrated after I explained his drinking habits. They also think the reason the shed is coming mainly from the back legs is because he has already shed on the rest of his body and most likely ate the dead skin, and he's just having more trouble removing the skin from the back legs. She thinks it all looks normal but did the warm water flush just to be save and flush out any build up he may have. She said it could help prevent worms since chams are prone to them and help with any possible infection. I'm going to keep a close eye on Bazel and if he begins showing any signs of discomfort or the swelling gets worse I will take him right back in. I don't want to just make him another appointment because the transport to the vet is extremely stressful for him and I don't want to put him through that unless he absolutely needs it.
 
@Millz&Jukka said..."as far as I'm aware a warm water flush doesn't get rid of parasites"... I have to agree with this. I don't think you're going to flush the intestines doing this to begin with because the fluid would likely only go into the cloaca...and some parasites attach themselves to the walls of the intestine anyway so they won't be able to be flushed out.

What color are your chameleon's urates?

Did they run any blood tests for uric acid levels?
Bazel's urates are pure white and appear to be normal. I don't think the flush was specifically to treat parasites, I think that was just a perk. I think they did the flush to flush out any buildup he may have. Since it wasn't that severe and he appeared quite healthy, they think that this will be a sufficient treatment and he should just continue to be closely monitored. They didn't want to do any blood tests because they believed it highly unlikely for a 11 month old chameleon to have gout. He was also still very mobile and didn't appear to be in much pain.
 

Millz&Jukka

Avid Member
Hi! This vet is an exotic vet in my area with experience with chameleons. I made sure to check that they knew what they were doing before going in. Bazel's urates are purely white and appear quite normal. The vet said that since he's so young they don't suspect gout, and he doesn't seem to be in much pain or immobile at all. They said he appears healthy but he could be slightly dehydrated after I explained his drinking habits. They also think the reason the shed is coming mainly from the back legs is because he has already shed on the rest of his body and most likely ate the dead skin, and he's just having more trouble removing the skin from the back legs. She thinks it all looks normal but did the warm water flush just to be save and flush out any build up he may have. She said it could help prevent worms since chams are prone to them and help with any possible infection. I'm going to keep a close eye on Bazel and if he begins showing any signs of discomfort or the swelling gets worse I will take him right back in. I don't want to just make him another appointment because the transport to the vet is extremely stressful for him and I don't want to put him through that unless he absolutely needs it.
If the urate is all white that means he is well hydrated so certainly not dehydrated. The swelling certainly isn't normal and unfortunately as I've said I dont think anything the vet has done has addressed it, so it will most likely get worse. I would say he absolutely needs a blood test to see if his uric acid levels are high (which would support a gout diagnosis that is likely the case in my opinion and experience) but if you wait too long there's more likely to be toxicity from kidney damage and subsequent issues and failure of the kidneys long term. because the kidneys filter uric acid out, if he has gout then he most likely has kidney issues too which can cause things to go downhill fast, especially in chams as they are so good at hiding when they are sick. Without another vet visit and diagnosis with a good treatment plan then there's not much we can help with other than any husbandry issues.
 

Millz&Jukka

Avid Member
Mine has the same, i don't see anything abnormal, that bump is muscle. Unless im missing something
They don't appear to be that abnormal/swollen to me but maybe it's just the angle. My chameleon started shedding sections of it's body and not a complete shed around 18 months old.
I think in these photos of the chameleon in question if you compare them to the front legs they're swollen especially in the second picture. Some of it could be muscle however because of how its distributed closer to the ankle it looks more like gout associated swelling than just muscle
 

Vinesar21

Avid Member
I think in these photos of the chameleon in question if you compare them to the front legs they're swollen especially in the second picture. Some of it could be muscle however because of how its distributed closer to the ankle it looks more like gout associated swelling than just muscle
But you cannot compare it to the front legs! Same as you comparing your legs to arms. Different muscles and structure. My panthers legs look the same. Wouldn't gout be more in joints/wrists??
 

Millz&Jukka

Avid Member
But you cannot compare it to the front legs! Same as you comparing your legs to arms. Different muscles and structure. My panthers legs look the same. Wouldn't gout be more in joints/wrists??
I know but there's a normal amount of difference and then this level of difference, and if OP is saying that they have noticed swelling then surely that shows that the difference didn't used to be as big as it is now. Especially in picture 2 you can see how it is not normal muscle distribution, its the swelling on the ankle, because of the shape and how it gravitates towards the bottom of the leg as oedema.
 
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