Tongue Problem - Urgent (10 pictures)

Discussion in 'Health Clinic' started by ohclinue, Dec 4, 2018 at 9:12 PM.

  1. ohclinue

    ohclinue New Member

    Hello Experts,

    I have been doing some research on my own, but it's about time to post and seek for sincere help from you experts on my beloved veiled chameleon, Hank. He mated 3 month ago with a female who died while laying 50 eggs, and I want the daddy to be alive at least until the babies hatch from them eggs.

    SYMPTOMS*Recently I noticed Hank making uncomfortable noise, he was puking some mucus type, which was dangling on the side of his mouth. When I opened his mouth to examine, I saw more mucus with bubbles in his mouth (see attached photos 1&2). Next day it went away. I force fed some crickets.

    A few days go by I did not see him hunt for crickets, nor did I see any of his droppings. I was worried and while I was feeding him slice of apple, I noticed his tongue is not looking normal. I force opened his mouth to look, and there were some disgusting shit happening in his mouth. There were some blood, and parts of his tongue falling apart or seemingly rotting. It looked really painful and it is breaking my heart.

    HISTORY One month ago, he went through about 3/8" tip of his tail amputated, then I applied antibiotic ointment and betadine daily for about 2 weeks. Could this be related to his tongue problem? Could crickets be infected with bacteria/viruses? Cricket pan photo also attached. I am attaching pictures of my free range set up condition for your reference.

    I know the best thing is to take him to the vet, but she is only available after 4 weeks from today. Please don't just say "take him to the vet", rather I need as much information from experts here, about whatever I can possibly do at home until the vet is available for Hank. Also I have about 50 fertile eggs to be hatched next spring, so as much information I can get to prevent future disease of chameleon based on my current set up would also be appreciated. Thank you in advance and below is my basic cham info.



    Chameleon Info:
    • My Chameleon - Veiled, Male, perhaps less than a year old. I bought him 6 month ago he was still tiny.
    • Handling - Every other day-ish, very gently. sometimes he sleeps on my chest while I sleep too.
    • Feeding - Gut loaded Crickets feeding them fresh vegetables, open basket top exposed so my chameleon can hunt all he want buffet style.
    • Supplements - "Repashy superfoods calcium plus" dusting a little amount directly to chameleon's mouth every other day.
    • Watering - Monsoon automatic Misting system with a timer 16 seconds of spraying every 4 hours, plus occasional spraying by hand.
    • Fecal Description - it has looked healthy but haven't seen him pooping in the past days...
    • History - His tail started to rot so the tip of his tail was amputated one month ago about 1/2 inch. Betadine+warm water mix was applied to wound daily for about 2 weeks.

    Cage Info:
    • Cage Type - FREE RANGED, on the window side of my bedroom, plenty of plants to explore and roam around, but he stays in one window zone which is about 3' x 1' x 5' although he has access to other zone.
    • Lighting - (2) ceramic heaters (100 watt, 150 watt), (1) Zilla 18" UVB slimline Desert Type and (1) Exoterra UVB 200 13W, *I know these desert UVB lamps are perhaps too strong for chameleon in a cage but I have him freeranged and I wanted to give cham a choice to get as much UVB he want.
    • Temperature - room temperature about 70-75F, basking area about 90F 24 hour with no light emitting ceramic lamp.
    • Humidity -
    • Plants - Pothos his favorite and about 15 different species of live plants
    • Placement - no cage, see the attached photos for the freerange set up by south east facing window area
    • Location - New York

    Attached Files:

    #1 ohclinue, Dec 4, 2018 at 9:12 PM
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018 at 9:21 PM
  2. Thehippie

    Thehippie Established Member

    he needs a vet asap, that is not good it could be a number of things but most likely mouth rot. I'm no vet but I sure know that he does not look okay
    jannb likes this.
  3. ChameleonRave

    ChameleonRave Avid Member

    Okay - so here is the blunt honest answer to your questions at hand. 1. I am not a veterinarian. 2. Your chameleon needs to be attended to by a state licensed veterinarian. The unfortunate thing is that since this is an online public forum, you aren't going to get the desired answer that you are desperately needing. I'm speaking from a vetmed stance after working in that specific field for so long. Did you know that giving medical advice to someone on the internet is extremely frowned upon by veterinarians/CVTS etc? Not only could it be severely inaccurate because I nor a veterinarian haven't had a chance to perform a complete physical exam on your chameleon, there hasn't been any interaction between your or I up until this posting, and there hasn't been any form of blood work or diagnostic testings done to your animal to determine the correct medical step to take next. Not to mention, if I were to advise you something medically over the iternet/phone what have you and your chameleon dies. Well thats grounds for you to come at me after your animal passes saying I was the root cause because I advised you incorrectly and now you don't have your special pet anymore. I don't want that and I'm sure you'd rather get advice from an experienced licensed veterinarian. With that being said, I will not tell you to further adjust your care right now, because you have bigger fish to fry at the moment.

    I'm sorry if this sounds like a harsh post in regards to your much needed help. The most that I can advise you of over the internet is the get your sick chameleon into an emergency veterinarians office. If you are in a metro area you will have an easier time finding one and calling them too see if they have a veterinarian on staff that has worked with exotics. That is the simple answer to your questions. The other simple answer is to monitor him at home, make sure he is getting plenty of hydration, try to feed him and see if he is eating. collect a fresh as possible fecal sample to bring with you to the veterinarian and maybe even show them this posting to share with them in regards to what your concerns are directly and what his care is exactly like. Now working with clients that have had emergency situations with their beloved pets sometimes things get missed. This is why I request that you bring along your phone and have them read through your original posting requesting help.

    To touch base on the eggs that you are incubating. There is no way to tell if there is a genetic issue that is going to affect them unless there was something previously stated with your current animals. Alongside that you will find out when they develop and hatch. From what it looks like your eggs are a bit odd in the fact they are not calcified normally? I know that there is a lot going on and this can be kind of a frantic feeling going through you.

    I would recommend reviewing basic husbandry because it looks like there may be changes needed, but like I said I am not going to touch base on that.

    My simple answer is the bring him to a veterinarian immediately. It's what's best for him after all. They will be able to help diagnose and treat his symptoms if anything at all.

    Best of luck with everything!
  4. salty dog

    salty dog Member

    Your cham needs a vet asap!! If you care
    jannb likes this.
  5. salty dog

    salty dog Member

    Your eggs are not going to make it
  6. bobbydigital

    bobbydigital Avid Member

    How long exactly has this been going on for? Very hard for me to give my opinion, as I don't want to give you any false information. With that being said, I can only tell you from my experience.

    My first chameleon was a female panther, one day she started spitting her tongue out and seemed like she was choking on it and was unable to properly retract it in her mouth which led to her biting down on it. I had to force her mouth open with a credit card and push it back in. This kept happening and I took her to a vet asap. None of my local animal hospitals are familiar with chameleons, even the exotic animal hospital. I searched online and only found one similar case that was not nearly as severe as mine but resulted in amputation of the tongue. The chameleon lived for 8 months (if I remember correctly) eating like a lizard and with the help of the owner. I thought I would do the same thing, but the exotic vet was strongly against it and recommended euthanasia. I reluctantly agreed but as a last ditch effort I asked her if they had any food to give her and they had canned mealworms. I put one to her mouth and she ate it. I figured she still had some fight and life left to her and wanted to do everything I possibly could before euthanizing so I took her home. With the problem still occurring, I was mostly home to help her she eventually bit off her tongue. About a month went by of me giving her medications and mashing up her crickets and worms and putting them in a syringe for her and she passed away. A big part of that was she also had a bad respiratory infection, she was a rescue and was in bad shape when I got her.

    I know mucus and bubbles often are symptoms of respiratory infections. As far as your tongue issue, 4 weeks is a long time and a lot can happen before your boy even gets a chance to see the vet. I know you want what's best for your cham and that is why you are here. If this gets worse obviously his quality of life will decrease even more. I'm sure you don't want your cham to suffer and there comes a time when you have to do what's best for your chameleon. I'm sure there are some success stories about chams without tongues who lived somewhat decent lives. I know this is probably traumatic and stressful and I can sympathize. Just try to accommodate your boy as much as possible and maybe see if there's another reptile vet you can take him to. I drive an hour and a half to take my chams to their vet. Also, I would refrain from giving the chameleon supplements directly into the mouth. Lightly dust your feeders if you try to force feed him, but just know he's probably in pain and doesn't want to eat. Try to keep him hydrated and his tongue moist. Good luck to you and your boy, and keep us updated.
    ERKleRose, Rontti and Brad like this.
  7. Brad

    Brad Administrator
    Staff Member

    I'm sorry to hear about Hank's tongue.

    The link below may help you find another qualified veterinarian. Click the big green "Find A Vet" button.
    ERKleRose, celeste_knitter and jannb like this.
  8. ohclinue

    ohclinue New Member

    Hi, thanks for reply. Could you give more explanation to your comment and thoughts why you think they will not make? above eggs are laid by mother, below with red colored eggs are taken out from the body by surgery immediately after the death.
    Brad and Thehippie like this.
  9. ohclinue

    ohclinue New Member

    Thank you for your time and effort to make this comment. However, like I said, I know the best thing is to take him to the vet, but what I am looking for here is anything possibly I can do besides that. I hope you understand that there are people who are not in the situation to visit vets as many as they would like to. This chameleon will die soon from illness if I don't do anything, and if I at least try something and he dies anyways, I can at least say I gave my best for him. I don't want to do nothing and just watch him die. I hope you understand.
  10. ohclinue

    ohclinue New Member

    I think it has been about 2 weeks now when I first noticed mucus in his mouth. I went to visit my parents for thanks-giving, and when I came back home he didn't look good. I had everything set up - watering on timer, UVB lights on timer, 200+ crickets to eat, etc. At first I thought it was respiratory infections when mucus was visible, but now that seem to be gone although still is my concern, I see the tongue problem seemingly more urgent. He also went through the tail amputation about 6 weeks ago on Halloween evening.

    yes it will be another 4-5 weeks, January 8th 2019 is the first day I can see the vet. My chameleon might die before then. I just need information that I can possible try at home, it would still be my responsibility to accept and execute regardless anyone comments what information.
  11. ChamChamChangeForMe

    ChamChamChangeForMe New Member

    I'm very sorry about your Cham :(
  12. Brodybreaux25

    Brodybreaux25 Chameleon Enthusiast

    You see all that black stuff on what’s left of his tongue? And that horrible smell I’m sure it emitting? That is all rotting flesh. Your Cham is rotting from the inside out, and the outside in. All the rotting flesh is allowing bacteria to thrive which will accelerate the rot. If it is not removed soon it is going to spread to his organs via his circulatory system. His organs will begin to shut down and fail, they most likely already are.

    No one, and I mean no one, on the internet can save your chameleon. There is NOTHING you can do to save him without medical intervention. This Cham only has days to live if you don’t get him professional help now, maybe less.

    You said it yourself in your last post and I agree, he is your responsibility. Where do you live in New York? We will help you find another vet.
  13. celeste_knitter

    celeste_knitter Avid Member

    If you call a vet (exotic with cham experience) and tell them the extent and urgency of the matter - say the words, I think my chameleon will die today without help, they will work you in or refer you to an emergency clinic that can get you in.
    SharpShooter and Jesspete like this.
  14. salty dog

    salty dog Member

    How long does this problem take to develop? I think if my chams were having a problem, I would notice it right away, or at least before it got so bad that amputation is the only option, chameleons are a terrible impulse purchase, they require modified living conditions or the attention that would mimic the environment they live in, chameleons are from madagascar not n.y.
    #15 salty dog, Dec 5, 2018 at 2:37 PM
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018 at 2:43 PM
  15. Syreptyon

    Syreptyon Chameleon Enthusiast

    Veiled chameleons are not from Madagascar. At least get your facts straight if you're going to come in to a thread and be rude, which I've noticed is a habit of yours. Your response added nothing to the conversation besides shaming the owner for not noticing sooner (and showcasing your own ignorance). That's not what this forum is for.
  16. ERKleRose

    ERKleRose Chameleon Enthusiast

    Definitely vet ASAP! Make the drive if you’re far away! If your cham makes it (hopefully!), there are some husbandry issues to address. Make sure to only handle him if he asks for it (climbs onto you). What veggies are you gutloading with? I’d move the cricket bin away from the set up and give him the recommended amount of feeders every other day. Which Calcium Plus formula do you have? Dust every feeder completely, but lightly, right before feeding instead of giving him the supplement straight. Make the mistings 2 minutes long and space it out appropriately for the correct humidity. I’d get a 3’ t5HO linear fixture and either a Zoo Med 10.0 or Arcadia 12% uvb bulb. The lighting brands you have aren’t the best for uvb. Make sure to have 12 hours of basking and uvb and 12 hours of complete darkness with no supplemental heating at night unless it drops below 50*F. What’s the humidity? It should be between 40-70%. Are all of the plants cham safe? I’m hoping for the best!

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