Took in sick baby chameleon with MBD

BCarl19

Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, Male, past owner said 4 months old but he clearly looks ~2 months. Been in my care for a couple days.
  • Handling - He has been handled so far a few times a day to help feeding or help him move when he falls
  • Feeding - Feeding him small crickets. The first night he ate one small cricket, the second day he ate 4 medium ones. Fed mostly in afternoon and night when he seems interested, going to try to feed him in the morning tomorrow. I leave small collard green leaves in the crickets' pen.
  • Supplements - I am so far dusting every single cricket with calcium (no d3) he eats and mixing reptile vitamin powder in with every other cricket
  • Watering - Currently manually spraying his terrarium, keeping his humidity level at a consistent 50-60%
  • Fecal Description - Brown, slightly watery fecal, with a little yellow spot in it.
  • History - Took him off a breeder that was housed with other baby chams, he seemed to not be getting food against the other chameleons due to his severe state.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Currently in a 20 inch by 10 inch by 12 inch terrarium. Glass sides and screen top. Ordered a smaller cage online that is coming in tomorrow that is 10 inch by 10 inch by 10 inch all aluminum screened cage to better fit his small body and was recommended only low hanging decor since he likely falls off high heights.
  • Lighting - Have two brand new UVA and heat bulbs over his cage. Try to have it on 12 hours a day off 12 hours at night.
  • Temperature - Temperature sits around 75 at the bottom to 90 at the top, however because he cant climb too high he cant bask in the higher temperatures. Night time drops to as low as 65 degrees. Have two thermometers in his terrarium to measure.
  • Humidity - Using a humidity gauge to measure. Keeping his terrarium around 50-60% humidity by manually spraying.
  • Plants - No. I have left small pieces of collard greens in front of him in hopes he'll eat one but no luck yet. No other real vegetation/plants.
  • Placement - Cage is located on top of a general table. Around 3 feet off the floor. No fans generally near his cage.
  • Location - Living in Toronto, Canada

Current Problem -

I recently found a baby veiled chameleon in bad shape and took him off his owner. They say he's about 4 months old but he is clearly younger. The little guy has trouble walking and climbing as well as holding himself up. I've already done lots of research online and also took him into a vet today but would like any extra insight I can get. From what it seems he has a clear calcium deficiency and likely has MBD. The vet identified multiple fractures in his bones already as well as a soft jaw. They say there's a chance he might pass away and its up to me if I want to euthanize him but he appears to be trying his best to keep active and has not given up even with his frail legs so I am choosing not to give up on him either. They've already prescribed me to keep doing what I'm doing by gut feeding my small crickets fresh collard greens and dusting them with calcium powder (with no d3) as well as reptile vitamins. He is currently contempt and happy with eating crickets but I was also prescribed with feeding syringes to force feed him in the case he begins to reject eating.

My current questions are: if in the case I have to force feed him, the vet gave me canned feline food to feed him but I'm not too sure about this, do you have any other recommendations I can syringe if worse comes to worse? How many crickets a day do you think he should eat? I leave small collard greens leaves in the crickets pen, are they considered gut loaded right after eating the greens or should I wait a while before feeding the Chameleon? I ordered a smaller cage to give to try to give him an easier time hunting and since he cant climb too well he wont be as far away from his lamp all the time, is this okay? Also the cage is aluminum screened which the vet informed me that might be a threat to him if he tries to climb it, should I be worried about this, he currently isn't too much of a climber regardless. Also this cage is screened on all sides (except bottom), I recognize that his glass sided cage can cause respiratory issues but I'm also concerned that this new cage wont be able to maintain a good temperature and humidity. Any other insight to help me out? Sorry for the long text and thank you for your time!
 
I hope I have waited enough time to chime in with advice with being somewhat new to the forums... You can cut to size and add plastic shower liner to the back and one side on the screen enclosure to allow for ventilation while also having some help with maintaining temp/humidity. Live plants also help with maintaining humidity, make sure they are safe for your Cham though. Pothos & Ficus are good choices that are recommended often. I have Umbrella plants in with mine as well as some other varieties. As mentioned above, UVB lighting is def needed. I'm not sure about the canned catfood but you can always mash up some bugs if force feeding becomes necessary. If you could provide a photo of the lil guy so we can get an idea of his size that too would be helpful. I would recc ~10 small crickets daily for the age you gave. Thank for helping this lil guy out!
 

BCarl19

Member
Does his enclosure have any uvb lighting?

Good catch, my mistake I meant to say UVB, NOT UVA bulb. He currently has a brand new UVB light bulb dueled with a brand new "Day light blue reptile bulb" for heating. Now that the topic is up, I guess there are no additional benefits for having UVA lighting as well? I'm thinking that might be overkill especially as a third light bulb but its a thought.
 

BCarl19

Member
I hope I have waited enough time to chime in with advice with being somewhat new to the forums... You can cut to size and add plastic shower liner to the back and one side on the screen enclosure to allow for ventilation while also having some help with maintaining temp/humidity. Live plants also help with maintaining humidity, make sure they are safe for your Cham though. Pothos & Ficus are good choices that are recommended often. I have Umbrella plants in with mine as well as some other varieties. As mentioned above, UVB lighting is def needed. I'm not sure about the canned catfood but you can always mash up some bugs if force feeding becomes necessary. If you could provide a photo of the lil guy so we can get an idea of his size that too would be helpful. I would recc ~10 small crickets daily for the age you gave. Thank for helping this lil guy out!

I got the new enclosure this evening and going to work on putting it together tomorrow as well as taking ur advice into thought when testing out maintaining the temp & humidity. UVB is the lighting being used, my error! I appreciate also the tips for mashing up bugs instead as well as how many crickets a day he should be eating. The first night I took him in he ate one small cricket, the second day he ate 4 small to medium crickets, and the third day (today) he's up to eating 8 crickets! Going to try to get him up to around 10-15 a day though. I'll add some pictures of him that I currently have but can't take any more detailed ones until he wakes up tomorrow.
 
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BCarl19

Member
Here are two pictures of him I currently have.
 

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BCarl19

Member
Some new questions I have:

Because he is too slow too catch crickets I have to take some legs off the crickets and drop them in front of him. Does anyone have any recommended alternative strategies to feeding him? It takes a lot of time and mental to rip off 10 to 15 crickets' legs a day. Because he's not much of a climber currently he usually is not in a position to hunt above the crickets into a cup unless he's on his rock (provided a picture).

My other question is, I haven't my self seen him drink any water. Although he doesn't seem dehydrated it is hard to tell since he's in bad shape already. His eyes seem to have no problems and bulged out and not flat which is a good sign. Am I overthinking it and just haven't my self watch him drink, how often do other owners witness there chameleon drinking off the leaves? I make sure to spray the fake leaves thoroughly as well as lightly mist him and his eyes.
 
You can bowl feed to make it easier. As long as you are misting his cage a few times daily as well I would gently mist him, this should stimulate his drinking response. They drink from the wet leaves, I see the water droplets on the fake vines near him in the photos so he should be getting water.
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey Sweetie, I do rescues and deal a lot with MBD so please read thoroughly and ask any questions, you are welcome to PM if you need an answer right away and I am not responding. But here we go.

For force feeding if he refuses food, feed a prepowdered diet that can be bought on ebay (at least in the states) called oxbow carnivore care. If he's currently eating please don't resort to this. Buy wax worms, very small supers (keep his water intake up), you should also be able to get silks if I remember correctly for canada or horns it's one or the other, and keep doing what your doing with crickets. I know it sucks but encouraging tongue usage and hunting instincts is massively important right now. When you can try to set up a catch net. So he stops falling onto hard surfaces and possibly/likely breaking bones. Ummm other than this I am not sure what other questions you have that haven't been answered yet. Please ask though. The MBD is pretty bad on this boy for being so young.
 

BCarl19

Member
Hey Sweetie, I do rescues and deal a lot with MBD so please read thoroughly and ask any questions, you are welcome to PM if you need an answer right away and I am not responding. But here we go.

For force feeding if he refuses food, feed a prepowdered diet that can be bought on ebay (at least in the states) called oxbow carnivore care. If he's currently eating please don't resort to this. Buy wax worms, very small supers (keep his water intake up), you should also be able to get silks if I remember correctly for canada or horns it's one or the other, and keep doing what your doing with crickets. I know it sucks but encouraging tongue usage and hunting instincts is massively important right now. When you can try to set up a catch net. So he stops falling onto hard surfaces and possibly/likely breaking bones. Ummm other than this I am not sure what other questions you have that haven't been answered yet. Please ask though. The MBD is pretty bad on this boy for being so young.


Hello, thank you so much I'll make sure to ask you any more questions that I get. One new concern I have for him is that his mouth is a little open today and his tongue is slightly sticking out and am not sure what it means. However positively, he is definitely less shaky in the legs since the day I first got him :) .
 

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BCarl19

Member
Hello, thank you so much I'll make sure to ask you any more questions that I get. One new concern I have for him is that his mouth is a little open today and his tongue is slightly sticking out and am not sure what it means. However positively, he is definitely less shaky in the legs since the day I first got him :) .


Adding on, he also doesn't seem to have a big of an appetite today as the last 2 days and hoping he eats more soon
 

BCarl19

Member
Just an update: This is his new, smaller, enclosure all set up, I'm still gonna work on covering at least one more side with plexi glass or shower curtain so it can maintain a good temperature/humidity. Then I will move him in once I think it's good.
 

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Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
im worried he may have injured his tongue. try and give him a break for today other than medication and hydration. no feedings.
 

BCarl19

Member
im worried he may have injured his tongue. try and give him a break for today other than medication and hydration. no feedings.

Okay, the good sign is that his tongue is in his closed mouth now, he was only doing it for a couple hours. I did just order the Oxbow that you recommended online that is coming in on Wednesday.

I'm gonna leave him alone for now but he hasn't ate anything yet today, considering still trying to at least get him one cricket in him before he goes to sleep tonight. Do you think thats okay? There is also currently two crickets with a couple missing legs walking around his enclosure I've left for him for if he feels comfortable at any point to eat one. I'll take them out if they're not gone by the end of the night or leave some leafs for them to snack on instead of him
 
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