Thick stringy saliva and trouble eating! :(

Discussion in 'Health Clinic' started by Anastasia_k, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. Anastasia_k

    Anastasia_k Member

    Over the last days Lenny seemed to have decreased appetite for crickets, he used to love hunting them but now doesn't bother, he still eats from the cup but a lot less than he used to and kind of stays in one spot and won't eat unless I put the cup really close to him, he would sometime try stretching his entire body to reach the cup but won't actually walk to it. Although he showed some interest when a housefly got into his enclosure. I figured he might like "flying" insects more and was feeding him with tongs which he enjoyed more, but yesterday his tongue got stuck on the metal and he had some trouble unsticking it. Today in the morning he yawned as usual and I saw a lot of thick stringy saliva at the sides of his mouth, it was clear and transparent. I took him out of the enclosure and he did not like it so he was breathing out loudly, like hissing but with mouth closed, and I swear I heard some popping sounds, although there was no discharge from his nose. I panicked and rushed to the vet, but the vet said everything is fine. He listened to his lungs and said all is good, and the extra saliva is normal as long as it's clear and not white and there is no discharge from the nose. Lenny did not make any popping sounds throughout the day, only when I held him in the morning. Later when I came home I tried feeding him, but he seemed to have trouble getting his tongue fully out, he missed twice and only ate when I held a cricket really close to him. Could it be that he injured it and would it heal on it's own? Do you guys think he is really ok apart from that or should I double check with another vet?
  2. Anastasia_k

    Anastasia_k Member

    Chameleon Info:
    • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? - Veiled, male, around 6 months. I had him since May.
    • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? - Every other day for few minutes, only when he wants to go on my hand.
    • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? - Crickets, 15-25 per day, half in the morning and half in the afternoon, gutloading with kale, oranges, blueberries, apple etc.
    • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? - Calcium every day, multivitamin with d3 once in 2 weeks (confused about that one)
    • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? Misting twice a day, just one minute at a time because humidity is high now, he always drinks when I mist on him. He has a dripper plant too but I never saw him drink from it.
    • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Healthy looking dark droppings, white urate, been tested negative for parasites 2 weeks ago.
    • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

    Cage Info:
    • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? Glass with screen top and vent holes on one side, 120 x 60 x 60 cm
    • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? Exo Terra daylight basking bulb 25 w, Exo Terra tube UVB 10.0
    • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? Average temp 24-27 C depending on the weather outside, basking spot 29 C (85 F)
    • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? 50-60 throughout the day, 70 right after misting but drops quickly, although at night it gets up to 70 again :( I plan to cover the doors with mosquito net and leave them open overnight for extra ventilation.
    • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? Pothos, ficus, bromelia, dracena, umbrella plant.
    • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? It's in the corner between 2 windows, I usually have 1 window open during the day for some fresh air to go through. (It's pretty warm now)
    • Location - Where are you geographically located? Czech Republic (central Europe)

    Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about - Described in the post above
  3. Matt Vanilla Gorilla

    Matt Vanilla Gorilla Chameleon Enthusiast

    Most likely cause: dehydration.
  4. Pitcard

    Pitcard Member

    To clear up your dusting dilemma:
    Calcium w/ NO D3 - A
    Calcium w/ D3 - B
    Multivitamins - C

    If you feed him 7 days a week, your dusting schedule should look like this : AAAAAAB, AAAAAAC, repeat. The idea is that the cham gets D3 and multivitamins in a 2 week cycle, with plain calcium in between.

    I would get a screen cage as well, Chameleons like the open air draft. Get the biggest one you can and give him plenty of basking levels and avenues to crawl on. He could just be getting bored. Like you said, he enjoyed catching a different feeder. Try to mix up his bug diet a little, if possible you can try keeping worms until they hatch into moths, that might perk him up.

    If you're worried about hydration, try filling a hand dripper or plastic syringe/baster and drip water down his forehead. Eventually he should start licking the droplets up if he's thirsty.
  5. Anastasia_k

    Anastasia_k Member

    Thank you for the tip! I the multivitamin I have is with D3, so I assume I'll just use that once every 2 weeks. As for the screen cage, I know they are popular in U.S., but here in Europe most keepers and breeders successfully use glass, as the climate is generally more dry and winters get really cold. He does have extra vents for air circulation and I'll keep the door open over the summer for extra breeze, but in winter I'm afraid my cham would freeze in a screen cage, as it gets pretty cold indoors even with central heating, and also much more dry. Unfortunately getting more variety of feeders is a problem here, the ones commonly sold online and at expos are crickets, grasshoppers, dubia, mealworms, waxworms (which I heard are not good) and super worms. I've been searching for silks, BSFL and butterworms but no luck so far. I did find some green bottle fly larva though and will try to hatch those and feed to him. Can he already eat superworms at 6 months and if yes, how many?
  6. Pitcard

    Pitcard Member

    If you're having success with glass, then stick with it. I've had no problems with screen cages and Canadian winters, but my house is relatively new and the climate is in check. That's simply what I know.

    6 months should be fine for supers, you have to be the judge though. Try a smaller one, see how he handles it and make sure he's got it we'll down before trying another one.
    Anastasia_k likes this.
  7. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chameleon Enthusiast

    @Anastasia_k I think you are unnecessarily afraid of humidity. It is normal for humidity to increase at night. A 70% humidity is not high. Veileds did not evolve in the harsh conditions that exist in Yemen today, but at a time when the Arabian Peninsula was lush and green. Don't be afraid of humidity. I also agree with the use of glass. You obviously have a good airflow in the cage or the humidity levels wouldn't drop as quickly as they do.

    Veiled chameleons make a vibrating low frequency buzzing when upset. Perhaps that is what you heard?

    Based on your description, I really don't think you are giving him enough water. I also think your humidity levels are too low.

    As far as the tongue, it could be that he injured it. It is not uncommon for them to get it stuck on something immovable (such as a caterpillar) and have to run up to the prey, pulling their tongue in as they run. Tongue injuries do happen.

    It could also be a nutrient deficiency, with calcium being the main culprit. Poor tongue function is an early symptom of metabolic bone disease.
    jason93w and jamest0o0 like this.
  8. Anastasia_k

    Anastasia_k Member

    @jajeanpierre thank you for reply. His tongue is working fine now, so I guess he just injured it but now it seems to be healed. He still has poor appetite though. He also has been looking like he is about to shed his body skin for over a week now, but seems to be "stuck". I read they also get grumpier and lose appetite before and during shed. Anything I can do to help him? I'm misting more frequently now to keep the humidity higher and also got some silkworms which he enjoys, but completely lost appetite for crickets. I read about the shower method but afraid it would stress him out even more, he doesn't want to come out at all now.

    Attached Files:

  9. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chameleon Enthusiast

    @Anastasia_k I've never found shedding to cause any change in behavior. By the time the skin is actually shedding, it is completely separated from the underlying layer of skin. A lower appetite can be caused by many things. Maybe he isn't growing as much as he gets older so doesn't need as much food. Maybe he is being kept cooler. Maybe he is sick. Maybe he is overfed so is now not so motivated to eat the same old food. There are lots of reasons an animal isn't hungry, some benign and some worrying.

    Shedding problems can also be a Vitamin A deficiency, which captive chameleons are notorious to have. I supplement with human Vitamin A once or twice a month. I put one drop of an 8000 IU Vitamin A gel cap (retinyl palmitate) on a feeder and hand feed.
  10. Anastasia_k

    Anastasia_k Member

    Thanks, I'll give it a try. So far I've been giving him multivitamin with D3 twice a month (which I assume contains vitamin A) and calcium every day. He did eat 4 big silkworms today which I guess equals to 10-12 crickets in nutritional value. I'm also not sure how much he is supposed to eat at this age. Some care sheets I read said they should be given as much as they can eat until 1 year, but the care sheet on this forum says 10-12 small crickets at 3-5 months every day, and 10-12 medium crickets at 6-9 months every other day. He is about 5-6 months old now. I was just surprised how suddenly his appetite started to go down. 2 weeks ago he would get really excited about crickets and run to hunt them, and could eat up to 20 in one go, and now would only eat 5-10 per day from a cup. He does seem to be more excited about the silkworms though, and I guess they also help with hydration because his urate was completely white today. I just wish he would shed...
  11. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    All great advice, I especially love reading every post from @jajeanpierre always learning something!

    Personally I've noticed obvious behavior changes in all of my panthers around shedding time. I think it might be in relation to the hormone rushes rather than the shedding itself. Since most of us buy Chams only a couple of months away from their grumpy 'teenage' moments. I assume that's why many report behavior changes when shedding.

    All I can add is, don't use tongs anymore! I used to use them and had the same thing happen, they get stuck very easy.
    Anastasia_k likes this.
  12. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chameleon Enthusiast

    Vitamin A in reptile multivitamins is probably not usable. Most reptile multivitamins contain Beta Carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A. Chameleons have not been shown to be able to convert Beta Carotene to Vitamin A. There is also the problem that vitamins deteriorate quickly. I am not a big believer in vitamins out of a bottle. The industry is not regulated, even for human vitamins. I do regularly supplement calcium.
    Anastasia_k and jamest0o0 like this.

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