swollen Glands, Eyes, and veil

Lady cham

New Member
Hi Guys,
I've answered a couple of the Questions posted, but haven't really stated the problem I'm having. Herbie is about 3 1/2 he a Veil Cham. 6-8 months ago his eyes started swelling to the size of small acorns. looks like they are filled with fluid. when he looks forward you can see inflamed red tissue. these problems come and go.when I got him to the vet I found out his veil and gland sizes we abnormal. They are very puffy and soft. He's my first cham and the swelling in his veil and glands has been there sense I got him at 6 months so didn't notice abnormalities. he's been dewormed, blood work is normal, very active but can't always see to catch his food
Hello Lady cham

A description of your setup would help in trying to diagnose the problem. What are you feeding him. What are you feeding your feeders? Also, what is your dusting schedule and what do you use? A picture is always good too. :)

I am not a vet or an expert on chameleons, but I will try and help. Because of his glands and the fact that both of his eyes have the same problem, it sounds like there is an internal issue. This could be related to the swollen casque as well. The cause could be his feeding, which is why I asked the questions above. What did your vet say? A good reptile vet with some chameleon experience should be able to diagnose.

I did a google search and found these pictures. Is that similar to what you are seeing?
Did your vet see anything wrong or say anything about his eyes? What was the reason you took herbie into the vet? I think brad has covered most of the basics. I would agree when he said a picture would help heaps! How is your watering for herbie? Do you use drip system? What is your read outs from gauges and what is the lighting you use? If you see tissue it could have blood clot or busted vessel. any visual blood?
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Thanks for the link!! That is what I am seeing. It's not constant thought, like the little guy in the pictures it comes and goes.
I took him to the vet for the swelling. I've been to many vets. My vet in oregon saw the problem but didn't know what was causing it. Maybe worms, he was infested when I got him. We did 4 treatments!
We were still working on a solution when I moved to V.A. The first doc. I took him to here was a quack and said nothing was wrong with him as Herbie's casque is throbbing in front of him.
The vet he's with now is a little better. she did blood work it came back normal. Today she Suggested a MRI. Do you think she's just trying to get my money?
Herbie's cage isn't the greatest. We're building him a bigger one. He mostly hangs out in the window or around the house chasing the dog, unless he's eating, basking, or drinking. He eats 5-20 crickets or superworms a day, he's still a little skiny though. He drinks tons of water I drip him and spray him twice a day. I use Sticky Tongue Farms Mineral All and T Rex Calcium Powder twice A week. He Has a 100 watt basking light and needs a new fluorescent bulb, he's outside a lot too.
Sorry I don't have any pictures I can Get to you. There is no visible blood just inflamed tissue that covers his irises when he looks forward and his lids are a little droopy.
I am a little suprised the blood came back normal. Then again I am definetely not a herp doctor ;)
X-rays and/or an MRI could find problems that do not show up in a blood test. A visit to the herp vet can be expensive. I think I spent around $180 last time I visited a vet (this was around 4 years ago). That included exam, blood work, and xrays. I did not know vets had MRI machines. Assumed they were too expensive. How much does your vet want for the MRI?
If that is what you are seeing and the vet doesnt realize that, maybe you should suggest that you read the article that brad posted and see what she thinks! This is very serious issue and time will play a factor with herbies life. If the chameleon looses his vision then I am affraid that he will not survive! Stress that to your vet and see if maybe she just over looked it. You said it comes and goes, when you take herbie in, is he have the inflammed eyes?
I wish you the best of luck, please take action as soon as possible.
This vet has never seen his eyes that swollen so as of now she's taking my word. I printed out the pictures that Brad found for me and gave her office the info on that forum. she's out of town until next week. hopefuly she will come up with a treatment plan as soon as she returns. she been some what hard to work with. not really paying any mind to his history with other vets or taking any input from me. but she does seem to have some knowledge about herps. The good thing is that herbies eyes have been doing really well these last few weeks.
Hey brad: thanks for asking about Herbie. He's been about the same not as good as last week though. It's really weird his eyes swell when he eats. After he gets a couple for bugs down you can see them start to fill with fluid. so I'm kind of concered about his weight. I think I'm going to try the bug juice recipe listed in the other post. Can you tell me the best way to administer it to him? It sound really gross to make. Anyone know of any other super shakes or feeding ideas. He drinks a lot of water and has a really healthy appetite.I also am going to get some silkies soon. when he does eat I want him to get the most nutrition possible.
I may start breeding silkies as well. I'm going to use the sleeve method. I have a yard full of elderberry trees, perfict for breeding. herbie and I thank you guys.
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If he is eating by himself it might not be good to try and hand feed him due to the stress involved. When a cham is not eating/drinking on their own then you would use a syringe to administer the food. Have you been giving showers and keeping proper humidity?
I have a yard full of elderberry trees, perfict for breeding.
lucky :p
Herbie will love them.
I too am gonna switch to slikies. I find the facts to be alomst flawless. If you see what they can provide for chams you too would switch. Also they are just as cheap if not cheaper than crickets.
Hey Ya'll:
I don't want to get too excited but I think the swelling in Herbies veil is going down. His eyes fluctuate but never his veil :) the mass is becoming softer and you can see wrinkles in it instead of the skin being very tight. His eyes are looking better as well. Over all an improvment in his health

The vet suggested that it might have something to do with vitamin A because A relates to the eyes. so I went to check his vitamins and there was no A. (Sticky Tonuge farms Mineral all). I have been using it for a few years. I don't think the vitamins the last owner was using had it eather. (reptivite) because I remember comparing the two when I bought the Mineral all. it definetly didn't have beta caratine.

I've had him on this new vitamin ( Hepr Care) for about a week now and I can see great improvments I have mixed emotion, overwhelmed with joy and feeling really bad. I will keep you all posted. cross your fingers.
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Great to hear Herbie is looking better :):):D

I have read a lot of contradicting articles on vitamin-A and chameleons. You are correct in saying vitamin-A deficiency can cause problems. However, excessive amounts of vitamin-A can cause serious problems as well. The chameleon will convert beta-carotene to vitamin-A as needed, which is why MinerAll does not contain vitamin-A directly. Recently though, I have seen more and more sources mentioning vitamin-A deficiency in chameleons.

Googled this nice article: Chameleons and Vitamin A by Holly Nash, DVM, MS
Thanks for the Info Brad. When I was looking for solutions for the swelling all I could find was the negative veiws on Vitamin A. Edema ( abnormal Swelling) is a side effect believed side effect of overdose I think thats why the majority of cham Vitamins don't include it. Most don't even have beta carolene, including Mineral all. It makes me wonder what else we are missing. It's definently improving his health drastically. color, energy, appitite. Is vitamin A/beta caroltene apart of your chams diet?
In that artical it was stating that if you give a cham the kind of A that he can't breck down he could have problems. which makes more sense to me than saying they shouldn't have it in their diet in any shape of form. because in the wild thats not how it would be. correct?
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I use the following supplements:
  • RepCal Herptivite (incudes beta carotene)
  • RepCal Calcium with vitamin D
  • Miner All

I think the common thought among experts was to give beta carotene directly via feeder dusting, and to provide vitamin A by giving feeders the proper vegies. That way, the chameleon gets a more natural vitamin A intake. If their body needs more it will convert the beta carotene. I am not an expert though, and could be wrong.

I recall reading an article or two that talked about things that interfere with the beta carotene to vitamin A conversion. Going to do some searching on that.
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I agree with Brad about feeding beta carotene directly, I gutload my feeder insects with grated carrot, watercress and romaine lettuce. This provides sufficient Vitamin A. In addition I dust all livefood daily with pure calcium powder and once a week I use a calcium/vitamin powder.
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I don't remember where but I heard calcium crosses out a lot of vitamins when mix. so to get the best from both you are to alternate them when dusting. I think it was in the instructions to the Herp Care vitamins I just bought
The article mostly restates that preformed vitamin A should not be used as a supplement. He talks about what low and high levels of vitA can do, and under what circumstances he uses preformed vitA.

As we give more provitamins (carotenoids), the conversion to retinol slows down and diminishes problems. But, if we give PREFORMED A it bypasses the barriers and barges in unabated. No problem, the liver will store it. What happens when the liver is full? A single dose can fill all available space in the liver. In most animals, it takes WEEKS for the liver to get back to normal concentrations of vitamin A after being at maximum capacity once all vit A has been excluded from the diet.
Conclusion (finally!): My opinion (for what its worth) is preformed vitamin A is a medication used to treat severe cases of hypovitaminosis A and symptoms suggestive of such. It is too dangerous to use as a supplement.
Chams do not have much opportunity to zap preformed vitamin A in the wild.
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