Tongue not shooting / mobility issues / slipping

jcarlsen

Avid Member
Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Male ambilobe panther chameleon. 4yrs 1month old. Been in my care about 3.75 years or so.
  • Handling - Maybe once or twice a week. I put my hands in daily for a hand feed or to clean a poop and the occasional chin scratch.
  • Feeding - Feeding mainly superworms every 2-3 days. He will eat hornworms and silkworms just not as much. I can occasionally get him to eat a dubia if it’s on the branch and moving. Offering 10-12 and he'll usually take between 3-8. I'm gutloading primarily with Repashy’s bug burger in both powder and gel form along with apples, carrots and sometimes greens.
  • Supplements - lightly using repashys calcium plus on every feeding
  • Watering - I primarily use a mistking with a rain dome set up above the pothos and a nozzle in the cage. My misting schedule is:

  • 730am/5 mins
  • 10am/30 seconds
  • 1pm/5 mins
  • 3pm/1min
  • 5pm/2 min

I do see him drink, but not every time. He doesn't seem to rush for the water from what I can see.

  • Fecal Description - Fecals have mostly been normal. Last two
  • History - Other than coccidia a couple years ago he hasn't had any other major problems. He's a bit small for his age and unfortunately due to my desire for hand feeding I got him hooked on supers. I tried offering others for up to 10 days but no takers, so I gave up. This past summer there was blood in one of his poops, but after an emergency vet visit and a round of antibiotics, he seemed to return to normal.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - 24x24x48 dragon strand keeper screen cage.
  • Lighting - I'm using a double 22" fluorescent fixture with 6% Arcadia and a 6500k plant bulb, both T5HO. It's on at 7:15 am and off at around 7:15pm.
  • Temperature - Floor is in low 70s, low 80s under uv and 85-87 right under basking spot. I have a probe for the basking and a heat gun to measure the rest. Lowest overnight temp wouldn't be below 70.
  • Humidity - have an analogue humidity gauge and it is around 40%, but during the winter it's dipped down to 20 at times right before a misting. I wrapped several panels on 3 sides with plastic to retain spray and help with humidity.
  • Plants - Just a large pothos in the rear left opposite the basking spot. Fake foliage and branches cover the rest.
  • Placement - Cage is in living room, it is next to but not blown on by heat vents which are to the left of it and above and below cage level. Top of cage is about 6 or so feet off the ground so basking spot is eye level.
  • Location - Boston, MA

Current Problem - The last couple of months I’ve slowly noticed he hasn’t quite been shooting his tongue like he used to, and in particular hasn’t gotten it farther out than a few inches and has missed his prey more and more from my hand and the feeder cup. By missed I mean he simply won't shoot it far enough, not off target per se. He'll typically get his face in close either in the feeder cup or to my hand to half shoot/grab it with the tongue. This past month in particular I've really noticed his mobility take a decline, where he won't really reach out past his neck with his front arms and he seems to have trouble finding the branches with his rear feet, particularly when trying to turn around and go the other way. His grip still feels strong, but I've observed him slip when trying to reach for a branch or turn around and save himself with his tail.

Quick disclaimer: It's gonna be another week or two minimum before I can get him to the vet (about an hour away). I've just undergone spine surgery about 2 weeks ago and shouldn't be riding in a car for more than 30 mins at a time until the recovery period is over. So definitely any actionable things I can do at home be it changing the supplements, trying again to just deny him worms and see what he does for a period longer than I described, changing the lighting out...whatever I can do in the meanwhile would be helpful. I had a brief interaction with one of the staff members here who said they use Rep Cal Plus LoD every feeding with the same lighting as mine, so I've ordered that in hopes that it might help. Recent pics of enclosure and Jasper below.



Current Problem - The last couple of months I’ve noticed he hasn’t quite been shooting his tongue like he used to, and in particular hasn’t gotten it farther out than a few inches and has missed his prey more and more from my hand. At first I figured it was because I don’t have the steadiest hand or the worm is about to fall off, but still a bit concerning. At almost 4 years old, I guess he’s kind of approaching the lifespan-ish of a panther, but I wouldn’t expect this to be age related unless you all think it could be.
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry to hear about your guy not feeling well and I hope you recover quickly from your surgery. Reading through everything seems good. Humidity is a little low. When last did you change his uvb bulb?
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
Sorry to hear about your guy not feeling well and I hope you recover quickly from your surgery. Reading through everything seems good. Humidity is a little low. When last did you change his uvb bulb?
Thanks. Humidity is definitely a challenge up here in Boston, I’ve got an evap humidifier going right next to his cage 24/7 and it seems to keep the base living room humidity around 40 on not super cold days so I hope with the misting schedule his enclosure is moreso. New England... dry as hell in the winter and swampy as hell in the summer haha.

As for UVB, I’ve been replacing the Arcadia 6% every 10 months and his bulb is due to be replaced in May according to my calendar. I think part of my fear is that I’ve screwed up on the lighting/supplement combo. I figured since Kammerflage does Rep Cal Plus on every feeding that it’d be great for my guy, but in looking back at emails I had with them, they use T8 reptisun 5.0, so maybe the supplements just jive better with that? It could also be that my guy has really been a worm hound most of his adult life, despite me trying to break the habit. I didn’t have the heart to watch him go past 10 days refusing other feeders :/.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks. Humidity is definitely a challenge up here in Boston, I’ve got an evap humidifier going right next to his cage 24/7 and it seems to keep the base living room humidity around 40 on not super cold days so I hope with the misting schedule his enclosure is moreso. New England... dry as hell in the winter and swampy as hell in the summer haha.

As for UVB, I’ve been replacing the Arcadia 6% every 10 months and his bulb is due to be replaced in May according to my calendar. I think part of my fear is that I’ve screwed up on the lighting/supplement combo. I figured since Kammerflage does Rep Cal Plus on every feeding that it’d be great for my guy, but in looking back at emails I had with them, they use T8 reptisun 5.0, so maybe the supplements just jive better with that? It could also be that my guy has really been a worm hound most of his adult life, despite me trying to break the habit. I didn’t have the heart to watch him go past 10 days refusing other feeders :/.
I am not super familiar with repashy Rep cal plus... I thought it was more of a multi vitamin. But it sure does sound like he is having a lack of D from what I have read which was why I was curious about when you replaced his uvb.... I wish you the best with your health and his though. :)
I will tag a few others that really no so much more then me. :) They will be able to read through your help sheet to give you some feedback about what they see with his symptoms and the information you provided. @Brodybreaux25 @Matt Vanilla Gorilla @salty dog @SharpShooter @JoshD49 will ya'll read his care sheet on his panther... I am not familiar enough with his supplements. :)
 
Can we please have some pictures of your chameleon? I am a big fan of variety! I realy feel that one supliment alone just can not cover all needs! Can you please do some research for me? 1) Please look in to the use of vitamin A. 2) More greens for gutloading. 3) he benefits of a bigger variety of feeders. 4) Obesety and health and the benefits of feeding every other day. 5) How to get the humidity in the cage higher at night.

Best of luck and please ask if you have questions!
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
There is a good chance some sort of nutritional deficiency is going on. If he had coccidia, he may have gotten reinfected which is very common and had just lived with it for awhile. Either that or other parasites that would disrupt nutrient uptake, leading to signs of deficiency like you're seeing. Can't say for sure this is the issue without a vet of course. On top of that I agree with everything @Matt Vanilla Gorilla pointed out.
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
Can we please have some pictures of your chameleon? I am a big fan of variety! I realy feel that one supliment alone just can not cover all needs! Can you please do some research for me? 1) Please look in to the use of vitamin A. 2) More greens for gutloading. 3) he benefits of a bigger variety of feeders. 4) Obesety and health and the benefits of feeding every other day. 5) How to get the humidity in the cage higher at night.

Best of luck and please ask if you have questions!

Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve attached some more images of him. The white spot is from a burn a couple years back. I had put too strong a basking bulb in one winter, unfortunately. For Vitamin A, are you thinking of adding more of it or am I already overdoing it? For #5) Should I look into running a humidifier into his cage at night? Definitely gonna have to look into something to counteract the humidity dip we have at night!
 

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Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m going to chalk this up to nutritional deficiencies as well. Feeding only supers is the equivalent of only feeding your kids French fries. It will keep them alive for a while but will ultimately catch up to them health wise. On top of that supers do not take a gutload well at all, might as well have not been using one at all. You’ve got to break him of this super worm addiction, it like making your kids eat their veggies, the will resist but you can’t give in.

How are you covering your D3?

Let’s start with getting him stable, then break him of his habit. Since supers are all he will readily take I want you to use them with the “chips and dip” method.(yes, I totally just made that up!) I want you to mix up a wet gutload and dip his supers in it before hand feeding him with them. It’s a good way to get a lot of load in him quickly...
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
I’m going to chalk this up to nutritional deficiencies as well. Feeding only supers is the equivalent of only feeding your kids French fries. It will keep them alive for a while but will ultimately catch up to them health wise. On top of that supers do not take a gutload well at all, might as well have not been using one at all. You’ve got to break him of this super worm addiction, it like making your kids eat their veggies, the will resist but you can’t give in.

How are you covering your D3?

Let’s start with getting him stable, then break him of his habit. Since supers are all he will readily take I want you to use them with the “chips and dip” method.(yes, I totally just made that up!) I want you to mix up a wet gutload and dip his supers in it before hand feeding him with them. It’s a good way to get a lot of load in him quickly...

What do you recommend for a good wet gutload mixture? Also you’re making me crave some chips and guacamole right now lmao
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Supers would be more like peanut butter. Like peanut butter, the calories can add up quick. The main point is they don't hold much in the gut though. I doubt this is the reason for deficiency though. More likely a lack of preformed vit A, calc, or vit D which could be due to a parasite overload interfering with the absorption.
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
It does look like yes metabolic bone disease! He is also a little obese! As for vitamin A please read through the thread below.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/thr...nced-keepers-please-share-your-wisdom.152159/
Pretty cool thread but I gotta admit my head is spinning from reading it. I saw quite a few people recommending dosing vit A like the gel from the pills but others saying that was dangerous. In my case, what would you recommend I do? Coat a worm in vit A and how frequently?

Any thoughts about nighttime humidity increase?
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
If you get the 8 000 to 10 000 IU gelcapd of Retinyl Palmitate and poke a hole in one and put a smudge on the back of one bug (size appropriate bug for your chameleon) once a month and feed it to your chameleon is it quite the perfect dose.
As it happens I had some 8,000 IU Retinyl Palmintate that's good till June! I swabbed some onto a super and hand fed it to him. I didn't realize how the stuff made the super greasy enough for the tongue not to stick, but I managed to get it in his mouth.

I'm gonna set up my mistking to do a few 30s mists overnight to start helping with that humidity and I'm going to the store today to get some more greens and things to mix in a better gut load and to do Brody's "chip and dip" method for some direct nutrition to stabilize Jasper a bit before nixing the worms more from his diet. Again, thanks for all the advice folks!
 

jcarlsen

Avid Member
While I agree with the suggestions above there maybe another factor as well. The tongue has a muscle and hand feeding doesn’t use its entire range. I had a similar situation with one of mine. I added flying feeders to his diet and gradually his aim and range improved.
So I’ve been babying him too long haha. I DID see him make an attempt at a loose cricket the other day so I’ve been offering him food he has to hunt as opposed to cup or hand. No catches yet, but I’m hoping the same scenario plays out with Jasper’s tongue if he had to work a bit more for his food.
 
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