Tough week

Mansfield

Established Member
Hello All. Sorry for the VERY long story in advance. I have a tough story to tell that has me really upset. It all started last week. My 9 month old male Panther Cham, Emerald, was having another hunger strike. I had a post a month or so ago where he stopped eating certain feeders, so I switched to others (from mostly BSFL to crickets got him eating again). This time he just stopped eating the dubia roaches and crickets I was offering (or at least eating 1 every other day). During the next couple days I offered him crickets, dubias, mealworms, superworms, and a hornworm (he never really liked hornworms, so this was just an attempt). By the third day I decided to get more BSFL thinking maybe he just wanted to switch back, but they are ordered online, so not here yet :(. Anyway, Thursday I started to notice him thinning, dull colors, eyes sunken....all the signs I know are very bad. Throughout this time I actually watched him drink from his Big Dripper and during mistings (provided by a mist king), just to make sure he was at least getting water, which he was.

Saturday I was panicked when I woke up and he was VERY sluggish, and slow to even go to his water sources like he always does when he wakes up. It took him 3 hours to climb up from his sleeping spot to his basking spot! Something was very wrong. I took him to the emergency vet with a reptile specialist because my normal vet isn’t open on weekends. 6 hours and $400 later he received the following:
- Vitamin/Supplement injection (Vitamin A, E + D3...something called injacom...these are listed as two shots on my bill, so I’m unsure if it actually was two shots or just one).
- Subcutaneous Fluid injection (they suggested maybe he was having an internal organ issue preventing proper absorption of the water he was drinking).
- Metacam
They sent me home with:
- Calcium Glubionate (2 weeks)
- Ceftazidime shots (5 doses)
- Bene Bac
- Meloxicam (5 doses) - for inflammation and discomfort
and finally
- Critical Care nutrient mix to basically tube feed him with for now.
The vet thought he was too small to do a blood panel and I optioned not to do the radiography and skip to treatment (with the vet agreeing of course). They also thought that with the right care, he can recover, so I still have hope.

I am in the process of monitoring his new cage, so I’m providing conditions in his “first cage” as well as the new one. The vet and I reviewed all of my husbandry and they thought I was way on top of it. Just a quick review of key items because I know people will ask to try and help:

Temps and humidity monitored by devices I can monitor from my phone while I’m away at work as well as basic needle gages to verify (I monitor 4 locations with these)
Daytime
88-90 basking (provided by a ceramic heat emitter)
70-72 at the middle of the cage
Nighttime
All 60-67 (there was a single day it went as low as 59 in the 6 months I’ve had him. I know this because these devices are data loggers and I have all of his data measured every minute).
Humidity is a gradient with the lowest being at his heat source around 35% at the hottest time of the day day with the lower temp areas all reading 65-70%, and at night I use a fogger to get it up to 85-90% throughout (fogger ONLY at night).
Lighting
Tropic Blaze quad from light your reptiles with 1 Arcadia 6% bulb and 3 6500k bulbs. UVI measured are his perch is 2.8, measured with my solarmeter.
At night all lights and heat go off.
Supplements/feeding
I dust every feeder lightly with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD (except the BSFL when I was feeding those). He has pretty much always fed from a feeding cup, cleaned daily.
All live plants provided and verified safe by checking a safe list and using replanting/cleaning methods (7 plants in total).
Oh, and also, I have an Arlo Q security cam trained on his cage, that I can pull up and review real time or all motion detected inside (this is another way for me to check on him, as well as see if he is just a shy eater!)

When I brought him home I moved him to his new cage I had been monitoring for a month, just in case there was something I just couldn’t see making him sick in his existing cage. It’s a dragon strand medium tall atrium. I actually bought another light fixture from light your reptiles to fit the new cage also, this time with a 12% Arcadia UV bulb with the UVI measured at the highest point he can reach of 3.5. I also added a jungle dawn LED since this cage is bigger.

Today he is huddled under the heat lamp, basically where he has been since I brought him home. He is opening his eyes, but he will also shut them if he isn’t disturbed. I am so worried and know that he is in critical condition. My wife keeps trying to tell me that it isn’t necessarily anything that I did, but I hold myself completely responsible and take the commitment very seriously. I am feeling like even when everything that is recommended is followed, there are still some things that can just happen or be missed or something. I think most of all, I feel like I just failed my little friend.
Again, sorry for such a long post, and know that I am devastated, but I wanted to share and see what others who have cared for similar Chams can recommend to nurse him back to health. He is still in very critical condition and I haven’t given up on him yet. Thanks for listening.
 

Mansfield

Established Member
We took a sample because he defecated when they administered one of the shots. Very little feces, mostly urate, but they said it was clear of parasites.
 

Mansfield

Established Member
when we went to give him his meds today, even though he was hardly moving, he had a ninja grip on the branch he was on. Hopefully this is a good sign of some strength returning.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I dust every feeder lightly with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD
Some chams do seem to react poorly to LoD, doesn’t happen right away. Maybe back up to the traditional 2 calcium’s and a multi

- Vitamin/Supplement injection (Vitamin A, E + D3...something called injacom...these are listed as two shots on my bill, so I’m unsure if it actually was two shots or just one).
- Subcutaneous Fluid injection (they suggested maybe he was having an internal organ issue preventing proper absorption of the water he was drinking).
- Metacam
They sent me home with:
- Calcium Glubionate (2 weeks)
- Ceftazidime shots (5 doses)
- Bene Bac
- Meloxicam (5 doses) - for inflammation and discomfort
and finally
- Critical Care nutrient mix to basically tube feed him with for now.
I feel like they are just throwing darts at the wall here, hoping something hits...

The vet thought he was too small to do a blood panel and I optioned not to do the radiography and skip to treatment (with the vet agreeing of course).
We need lots of pics of everything. If your Cham is 9mo he should be plenty big enough for blood work. I’m wondering if it could be a genetic issue that’s taken this long to manifest. It’s possible that by opting out of the blood test you’ve denied yourself the one test that would give valuable insight into what’s happening.

I am not a vet. Just my thoughts.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I feel like they are just throwing darts at the wall here, hoping something hits...
With that treatment plan and no further work up, I'd concur. But it's an educated guess that covers all of your major bases. The vets I work with will take an extremely similar shotgun approach to exotics medicine if nothing is readily apparent and additional diagnostics aren't feasible or the owner doesn't want to pursue them. It'll often work, though it becomes very difficult/impossible to pinpoint the root cause.

I'd avoid tube or syringe feeding unless he absolutely isn't eating period for longer than 2+ weeks and is emaciated. Pictures would be helpful to gauge his body condition, if nothing else. It's a stressful procedure that can cause chams to shut down further, and can easily cause harm if done incorrectly. A safer method is to wait until he's actively drinking (or drip water in his nose until he's drinking) and then slip a feeder between his teeth. Unless he's very poorly, he will likely eat it. When Lily was very sick, this is the method I used to get good, gutloaded food into her. Critical Care is a last ditch effort, and poorly optimized for use lasting longer than a couple weeks.

I'm not a medical professional, but that's my .02 after dealing with a sick cham for months.
 

Mansfield

Established Member
Thanks Brodybreaux. I appreciate the replies. Just to be clear, I only opted out of the radiology, not the blood test, the vet said they didn’t recommend it. Basically I asked the vet if the radiology results would change what treatment they would do and they said probably not, so I said save me the other $400 and let’s treat, probably why they took the shotgun approach. I will add pics tomorrow, since I don’t want to disturb him (been lights out for a couple hours now). But I do have these recent pics of him.
About 2 weeks ago:
BB1F48DA-50C3-488D-B1A2-66EE03F8A6F9.jpeg

Thursday when I first noticed he was taking a turn:
3D5BF604-55FD-411D-B95B-4451D1BF8CAC.jpeg

when I am able, I will get a new pic of him, but he looks very rough. Makes me so sad to see.
 

Mansfield

Established Member
Current pics:
Enclosure - please forgive the hose/cable disarray it will go under the cabinet. I hadn’t meant to move him in so abruptly, but the temp/humidity are well balanced. I need to mount the plants from his other cage.
691332EE-68DC-406C-A444-8F6455926913.jpeg

solarmeter reading where he is at (which is the highest perch right now.
705407AE-EDF4-452D-81BA-C93C8D35CCAE.jpeg

My poor little guy (I put the drop of water on his lip just now, I don’t think he moved more than 3 inches since I checked him this morning).
9A310555-9A27-4B40-A3FC-584A32643854.jpeg
 

Mansfield

Established Member
Just to start listing things I am suspicious of from his old enclosure (seen in the previous pics):
He had a few fake vines that I feel are junk from the time I’ve had him, so they will not carry over to the new enclosure. they just have a lot of hidden surfaces that are practically impossible to ensure are clean, so I’m throwing them out.
The exo terra backdrop is going to be tossed out. Again, just too much that is not easily verified clean. Risk that I don’t like.
A manzanita branch. Seemed clean and not too hart to clean, but idk, I’m suspicious of everything at this point.
So basically only the plants will be carried over once I can quarantine them and repot them, just in case they have an unseen issue.
 

Mansfield

Established Member
Also troublesome today though, he opened his eyes when I came in, but he hasn’t even bothered to go over to his hot spot (89F). Instead he is at the UV spot which is closer to 74F. I am just not sure he is still there by choice.
 

Mansfield

Established Member
With that treatment plan and no further work up, I'd concur. But it's an educated guess that covers all of your major bases. The vets I work with will take an extremely similar shotgun approach to exotics medicine if nothing is readily apparent and additional diagnostics aren't feasible or the owner doesn't want to pursue them. It'll often work, though it becomes very difficult/impossible to pinpoint the root cause.

I'd avoid tube or syringe feeding unless he absolutely isn't eating period for longer than 2+ weeks and is emaciated. Pictures would be helpful to gauge his body condition, if nothing else. It's a stressful procedure that can cause chams to shut down further, and can easily cause harm if done incorrectly. A safer method is to wait until he's actively drinking (or drip water in his nose until he's drinking) and then slip a feeder between his teeth. Unless he's very poorly, he will likely eat it. When Lily was very sick, this is the method I used to get good, gutloaded food into her. Critical Care is a last ditch effort, and poorly optimized for use lasting longer than a couple weeks.

I'm not a medical professional, but that's my .02 after dealing with a sick cham for months.
Thanks for the reply. Yeah the vet and I talked through this exact logic, so I am confident your description of the treatment plan is accurate.
 

Mansfield

Established Member
Yeah. He has only worsened since Saturday. I have video from my enclosure cam of him drinking water every day last week. So the vet was suspecting something affecting his ability to properly use the water intake, because his dehydration symptoms are classic. The vet gave him fluids subcutaneously. He hasn’t gone to drink on his own since I brought him home, so I have been either trying to put drops on his lips or sneaking a few in when I am giving him meds.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your chameleon is really worrying me. His eyes are quite sunken. I don't think it's just a matter of dehydration. Have you called the vet back to tell him/her about the changes?
 

salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
Uugghhh... I hope they find the problem, sounds like you are trying and researching, we thank you for that, try giving him some water, and post a picture of his poo please!! Thanks!!
 

nickeeyy

Member
Hello All. Sorry for the VERY long story in advance. I have a tough story to tell that has me really upset. It all started last week. My 9 month old male Panther Cham, Emerald, was having another hunger strike. I had a post a month or so ago where he stopped eating certain feeders, so I switched to others (from mostly BSFL to crickets got him eating again). This time he just stopped eating the dubia roaches and crickets I was offering (or at least eating 1 every other day). During the next couple days I offered him crickets, dubias, mealworms, superworms, and a hornworm (he never really liked hornworms, so this was just an attempt). By the third day I decided to get more BSFL thinking maybe he just wanted to switch back, but they are ordered online, so not here yet :(. Anyway, Thursday I started to notice him thinning, dull colors, eyes sunken....all the signs I know are very bad. Throughout this time I actually watched him drink from his Big Dripper and during mistings (provided by a mist king), just to make sure he was at least getting water, which he was.

Saturday I was panicked when I woke up and he was VERY sluggish, and slow to even go to his water sources like he always does when he wakes up. It took him 3 hours to climb up from his sleeping spot to his basking spot! Something was very wrong. I took him to the emergency vet with a reptile specialist because my normal vet isn’t open on weekends. 6 hours and $400 later he received the following:
- Vitamin/Supplement injection (Vitamin A, E + D3...something called injacom...these are listed as two shots on my bill, so I’m unsure if it actually was two shots or just one).
- Subcutaneous Fluid injection (they suggested maybe he was having an internal organ issue preventing proper absorption of the water he was drinking).
- Metacam
They sent me home with:
- Calcium Glubionate (2 weeks)
- Ceftazidime shots (5 doses)
- Bene Bac
- Meloxicam (5 doses) - for inflammation and discomfort
and finally
- Critical Care nutrient mix to basically tube feed him with for now.
The vet thought he was too small to do a blood panel and I optioned not to do the radiography and skip to treatment (with the vet agreeing of course). They also thought that with the right care, he can recover, so I still have hope.

I am in the process of monitoring his new cage, so I’m providing conditions in his “first cage” as well as the new one. The vet and I reviewed all of my husbandry and they thought I was way on top of it. Just a quick review of key items because I know people will ask to try and help:

Temps and humidity monitored by devices I can monitor from my phone while I’m away at work as well as basic needle gages to verify (I monitor 4 locations with these)
Daytime
88-90 basking (provided by a ceramic heat emitter)
70-72 at the middle of the cage
Nighttime
All 60-67 (there was a single day it went as low as 59 in the 6 months I’ve had him. I know this because these devices are data loggers and I have all of his data measured every minute).
Humidity is a gradient with the lowest being at his heat source around 35% at the hottest time of the day day with the lower temp areas all reading 65-70%, and at night I use a fogger to get it up to 85-90% throughout (fogger ONLY at night).
Lighting
Tropic Blaze quad from light your reptiles with 1 Arcadia 6% bulb and 3 6500k bulbs. UVI measured are his perch is 2.8, measured with my solarmeter.
At night all lights and heat go off.
Supplements/feeding
I dust every feeder lightly with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD (except the BSFL when I was feeding those). He has pretty much always fed from a feeding cup, cleaned daily.
All live plants provided and verified safe by checking a safe list and using replanting/cleaning methods (7 plants in total).
Oh, and also, I have an Arlo Q security cam trained on his cage, that I can pull up and review real time or all motion detected inside (this is another way for me to check on him, as well as see if he is just a shy eater!)

When I brought him home I moved him to his new cage I had been monitoring for a month, just in case there was something I just couldn’t see making him sick in his existing cage. It’s a dragon strand medium tall atrium. I actually bought another light fixture from light your reptiles to fit the new cage also, this time with a 12% Arcadia UV bulb with the UVI measured at the highest point he can reach of 3.5. I also added a jungle dawn LED since this cage is bigger.

Today he is huddled under the heat lamp, basically where he has been since I brought him home. He is opening his eyes, but he will also shut them if he isn’t disturbed. I am so worried and know that he is in critical condition. My wife keeps trying to tell me that it isn’t necessarily anything that I did, but I hold myself completely responsible and take the commitment very seriously. I am feeling like even when everything that is recommended is followed, there are still some things that can just happen or be missed or something. I think most of all, I feel like I just failed my little friend.
Again, sorry for such a long post, and know that I am devastated, but I wanted to share and see what others who have cared for similar Chams can recommend to nurse him back to health. He is still in very critical condition and I haven’t given up on him yet. Thanks for listening.
Me personally, I would not offer any H20 at all during night time/ sleeping hours as cham's are very susceptible to RI I HAVE found during these what I call the crucial hours.

Hang in there and keep us updated
 

Mansfield

Established Member
Thanks everyone. We just finished giving him a couple meds to ease the pain/inflammation over night and I snuck just a couple drops of water in. Not too much, but just a small amount to give him something. When I went to put him away he (VERY weakly) pulled himself up a few branches back to his perch. It’s the small improvements I am watching for right now.
 
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