UPDATE on Neil

Suzapalooza

New Member
My last post: https://www.chameleonforums.com/gas-intestinal-blockages-139870/#post1196558

After three weeks of meds and no BM in over a month, we decided surgery was our only recourse. Neil went in around 12PM today. We're hoping they find the blockage and our guy gets back to his feisty self.

Here's a pic of my son with Neil (we transported him in a shoebox to keep him calm. This is in the parking lot of the vet office).
 

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Suzapalooza

New Member
Here's the latest on our male veiled Neil.

The exploratory surgery on Monday went OK, in that he made it through. He has a beauty of an incision, with about 4 stitches, as well as a couple stitches in his intestine.

Vet found no blockage, which is rather what we were hoping for if only that it would be easy to correct. Instead he found a distended part of the intestine that had weakened (the vet thought this was what had appeared to be a "gas" bubble on the x-ray). He relieved the pressure via a small incision. He thought a combo of the low calcium and earlier constipation compounded the issue.

The worrisome part was that Neil's kidney did not look good. Vet said it was not soft, but somewhat firm and did not look well. As the surgery is done from the side, he did not have the opportunity to view the other kidney, but he did take a biopsy. We'll know results of that in a week or so.

So, it looks like possible kidney disease, which is disheartening as we have been doing our best in the three months we've had him to keep him hydrated via misting, a dripper, and humidifier. We've seen him drink from his leaves and from the little catch cup in his cage, too.

The other possibility is an infection, so we've added a second antibiotic, and a new GI motility enhancer, along with the calcium supplement. We're feeding liquid food via syringe to get him back up to strength, then adding butterworms tomorrow. We're also giving him as much water as he'll take via syringe.

Here's a pic of him on Day 1 after surgery. Vet suggested adding a small platform for him to prevent as much climbing as possible the first two days, so he's on that. (We've since removed it.)

Through it all he's been a trooper! Thanks for the well wishes. We and Neil appreciate it :)
 

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Suzapalooza

New Member
Well, after six weeks, one surgery and a battery of medications, Neil finally pooped :D Haven't seen it in person (housemate came home for lunch and made the discovery), but from the description, it appears normal.

And our little guy has impeccable timing, too, as today we go our for the one-week post-op vet visit. Of course, we'll be taking the sample!

Thank you all for the advice, support, insight and sharing. Because of your help, we've adjusted several things in Neil's world, from supplements to lighting and diet. Hoping his life is a little easier from here forward.

I'll post an vet update. We're still awaiting kidney biopsy results. Crossing my fingers!

Thank you!
 

Lathis

Chameleon Enthusiast
Go, Neil! (Once again, pun fully intended.). Sounds like he's recovering well. Good luck at the follow up visit.
 

bobcochran

Chameleon Enthusiast
Is it me or does Neil's back right ankle look deformed/broken/swollen? His crest and right front leg look normal, kind of rules out MBD. He doesn't appear to have signs of edema any where else. Has it always looked like that? Sorry, I don't mean to be a downer, but if you're going to the vet anyway you might have him look at it.
 

Suzapalooza

New Member
Is it me or does Neil's back right ankle look deformed/broken/swollen? His crest and right front leg look normal, kind of rules out MBD. He doesn't appear to have signs of edema any where else. Has it always looked like that? Sorry, I don't mean to be a downer, but if you're going to the vet anyway you might have him look at it.
Good eyes, bobcochran! :cool:You are correct, his right rear leg does have a slight bend in it. During an x-ray the vet discovered that he'd had a broken leg at some point, likely before he came to live with us (he's not fallen or been dropped on our watch). It healed with a slight curve, but he can use it like normal.
 

zlew

Member
Is it me or does Neil's back right ankle look deformed/broken/swollen? His crest and right front leg look normal, kind of rules out MBD. He doesn't appear to have signs of edema any where else. Has it always looked like that? Sorry, I don't mean to be a downer, but if you're going to the vet anyway you might have him look at it.
That front leg is not normal. It is not supposed to be curved like that at all, and you can see that he is lying down as opposed to standing up, because he's having trouble standing up. This guy really is a trooper though. I wouldn't be surprised if you woke up one morning and he was completely normal, healed by the sheer force of his will :D
 

Suzapalooza

New Member
VET UPDATE: Our hard work is paying off! Neil is well-hydrated, and on the mend. The kidney biopsy showed some tubule mineralization, likely due to our overuse of a supplement with D3, combined with too little water, and having the wrong light (UVA only). No definitive kidney disease or infection, so the vet thought he would be just fine with a little more TLC.

We're keeping the diet soft (all butterworms for now...we anticipate one spoiled cham), with a nutritional supplement (Critical Care) and continued calcium and antibiotics until they are done, along with a GI motility enhancer. He advised adding a cricket or two as his appetite increases, but to remove the rear legs (less chitin). And lots of water by syringe, drip, mist or bath!

He'll get his stitches removed in 2-3 weeks.

Thank you all for your feedback! We are very grateful. Without this forum, Neil would likely not be with us. His light, supplements and hydration were not what he needed, and you all set us straight.

Our challenge now is that my son works at the small local pet shop where we got Neil. I truly think they meant well, but they steered us wrong. I'm working on a gentle way to let them know they need to brush up on their cham husbandry :D

Here's Neil discovering that his "Nike Cham Transporter" has a peephole.
 

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Suzapalooza

New Member
That front leg is not normal. It is not supposed to be curved like that at all, and you can see that he is lying down as opposed to standing up, because he's having trouble standing up. This guy really is a trooper though. I wouldn't be surprised if you woke up one morning and he was completely normal, healed by the sheer force of his will :D
Thanks, zlew :) In both pics in this thread he is either feeling crappy and weak, or waking up from anesthesia (I'd be laying down, too!), but we'll keep an eye on how he uses that leg. Thanks for the heads up.

For awhile he wasn't able to use his rear legs due to the protrusion in his intestine and calcium deficiency. It was horribly sad to witness. We're hoping he doesn't have any lasting damage from the deficiency. His x-rays looked promising, with no noticeable curvature in the bones, and the vet didn't seem too worried.

The leg looks a little better here is this pic from today
 

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jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here's Neil discovering that his "Nike Cham Transporter" has a peephole.
First off, kudos to you for working so hard to help this guy. We're all rooting for Neil.

Is that peephole in the box you use to transport Neil? If a chameleon can see (with light) while being transported or even held in a strange box, I think they are more likely to be stressed. If the box/carrier is completely dark, they shut right down.

That's how birds (falcons) respond to visual stimulation--studies have shown the heart rate and stress indicators of wild-caught falcons that are being handled by falconers drops right down immediately upon putting on their hood. The hood is that little helmet they wear when not actually being sent after game. It goes over their eyes and completely blocks vision. Falcons can be worth in the neighborhood half a million dollars each for some of the rare Gyr color morphs, so there is lots of money (in the Middle East) to do all kinds of studies with them. No money in chameleons, but I suspect the same applies to them since they respond in the same way when they are put in the dark.
 

Suzapalooza

New Member
Thank you, jajeanpierre. He's much like taking care of a newborn with all of his meds and special foods.

The peephole is in the shoebox we use to transport him to and from the vet. It has a soft towel and one of his branches inside for him to grasp.

We typically cover the box with a towel to block the hole and light (you are correct - he goes right to sleep. He even started to doze at the vet when they turned the lights out in the exam room to show us his x-rays).

At this point we'd removed the towel and were preparing to go back to the exam room when we noticed his little face in peeping out :D
 
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