Veiled Chameleon has MBD - please help

Connie McCoy

New Member
Chameleon His name is Leonard. He is a Veiled Chameleon, male, juvenile
We adopted him 7 months ago. We purchased him from PetSmart 12-24. They said he was a juvenile but now that I’m looking at pictures he might have been a little older. He already had a crest
Handling Not often. He hasn’t been very open to handling. I have held him a few times. I’ve tried to give him his space & respect the hissing if I get too close. I do try to pet him lightly a few times a week as I would like to interact with him more.I have had to handle him some lately. When we modified his cage we took him out of it, I was holding him in my hand & he walked up my shirt & snuggled in my shoulder-this was day 2 or 3
Feeding He WAS eating 4-6 large crickets a day 2-3 in the morning and 2-3 in the early afternoon, with powdered gut feeding – I was not consistently doing this, I know now that is wrong
Supplements Calcium without D3, Calcium with D3, & Herptivite. Schedule is one of my questions
Watering I’ve always misted his cage, now have a fogger too. Before his MBD he was drinking from a water bowl. I know this is different than what I have read that they do, but I have videos :) He was drinking heartily each day. I didn’t really track it until he got sick. Now that he is sick he drinks from the dropper & I try to get him to take some a couple of times a day. I drip some on his closed mouth to avoid his nose holes etc Yesterday he started reaching up to the dropper & drinking it in a few gulps at a time
Fecal Description We have not had him tested for parasites but I have been on the lookout for them. His poop has a white section & brown section. We are on day 6 since we recognized the issue & he has pooped 2x since then. Once on day 3 & once yesterday
History I have specific details below
Cage Type He was in a glass cage, we have changed him to a screen cage, and have sectioned off a hospital area
Lighting We have a daylight for UVB and a heat “night” light. I use “night” because it has no light coming from it and it stays on all the time. The daylight for UVB gets turned off at night. Prior to him being sick I was turning it off around 8ish. Now that I have better educated myself I have been turning it off 2 hours after his last feeding-which as varied because of his issues. He also is beside a low traffic area with a full window providing natural light. We’ve been taking him outside for direct Sunlight when weather allows.
Temperature We have 2 temperature gauges. One is directly under the lightening we’ve been keeping it around 70-80. We have another one that measures temp & humidity closer to the front of the cage away from the lights. That has been staying around 70. At night I’ve been letting it drop lower to like 60.
Humidity The humidity has been staying between 60-80. We measure this by a thermometer that has dual readings. We are creating with misting & a fogger
Plants No live plants. Right now all I have is plastic leaves to provide him some comfort & moisture access.
Placement We did have his cage by a door, across from my desk in my home office. This wasn’t a high traffic area, had zero vents near it, etc. But we have moved him now by an area that has really no traffic, is away from vents, but is by a glass door/window that has blinds to be closed & opened but the window itself doesn’t open so no draft or anything. The top part of the cage, now converted to his hospital cage is around 5ft from the ground
Location North Alabama.
Current Problem Details
There are no local vets in my area that will see him.
We have done a ton of research once we realized something was wrong.
But still need help as we are on our own.
His arms & legs are showing definite signs of MBD. His right leg is the worse & might have a small fracture – but he still uses it.
We have modified his cage to a hospital cage (see pictures). We have also changed out the bulbs to ensure he is getting the fully functioning UVB necessary for his digestion.
He still has a small amount of screen on the sides & he does climb it. He appears to be more comfortable climbing up & hanging on the screen than being flat on the floor.
We did add back a low laying log back & some fake leaves because he is moving around more & more on his own .. and we are thinking this is helping his stress level having somethings in there. I put one of his vines at first but he doesn’t seem be able to be on it sturdily so I’ve swapped it to his log.
We had been gut loading his crickets but I don’t think we were doing that enough. We also were not aware of the extent of his calcium needs & were not dusting or anything like that.
We now have Calcium without D3, Calcium with D3, & Herptivite with Beta carotene. Right now we have just given him the calcium with the dusting & a liquid calcium to his water.
What is the best rotation & timing of the Calcium with D3 & Herptivite – we've found there are a 1001 different opinions on how to administer these two.
He had been eating 4-6 large crickets a day. Recently we noticed he was eating on the fewer side of that & then after a particularly bad day we realized the symptoms of MBD, & took immediate action.
We did try to find a vet in our area but none are comfortable treating him; so we’re kind of on our own.
We ordered some liquid calcium for direct feeding but there are not instructions for how much to give him?
My next question is how much dosage should I give him?
We are on day 6 since we realized what we were dealing with.
He can walk on his own. His walk is not strong by no means, but is improving daily. It does appear to be worse in the late afternoons than first thing in the morning. He can & does climb the screen – what little bit he has available now.
He will go to his water bowl which is now a very shallow small bowl with round edges away from the screen so he doesn’t fall on it – but he will just lay on the edge not drinking.
Before he started having issues he would drink healthily from his regular bowl. I have been able to give him water with a dropper by dribbling it on his lips while trying to be mindful not to send it directly into his mouth & airway.
He definitely is still interested in food. He goes after his dusted crickets – but he can’t keep them, if that makes sense.
While he will go for the cricket & has been able to eat on his own. There are a few times, more so the last few days, he appears to have trouble keeping the cricket in his mouth. I’m thinking it might be the MBD affecting his jaw? But I'm not 100% sure. I'm also thinking it is related to size of crickets & maybe the powder?
I changed his crickets from large crickets to small crickets after reading that the size shouldn’t be bigger than the space between his eyes.
I just did the swap out yesterday-day 5. He ate 3 large crickets before 9am on his own yesterday, but on the last one he ate he obviously struggled to get it down. I went & bought the smaller crickets & he does not seem interested in them at all – as in he doesn’t even look at them. Last night I did accomplish hand feeding him. He opened his mouth on his own & I put the cricket just inside his mouth & he took it in & ate it. He also is more willing to drink from the dropper now. Today so far he has ate 14 small crickets – but all are by way of me feeding it directly to him. I have to kill the crickets to do this, but if I put the small crickets in there live for him to eat on his own he doesn’t have any interest. If I put them in dead he surely isn’t interested. However, a small lady bug got in his cage last night when I had it open giving him water and he was very interested, went after it several times – he never did catch it & I removed it.
Days leading up to day 4 he ate 3 or 4 crickets each day – all on his own, but it did take him two & sometimes three tries to ‘keep it’ in his mouth, almost like he can’t bite it sturdy enough to keep hold or maybe it's too big.. I really don't know how to tell what the issue is.
I’ve read about the rubber jaw & some impacts to tongue functionality. However, he launches his tongue fine so it appears to be working correctly as far as that goes. He does miss the target sometimes but just launches again & usually hits the mark - if he feels up to trying again. The last few days he seems to give up after 1 or 2 tries.
I’m wondering if the dusted powder could keep them from sticking when he does get the mark but not bring it back to his mouth.
Could his lack of interest in the small ones be because is having to work so hard for the food or is it his jaw or the powder?
How long should I expect before he resumes his own eating of the crickets & drinking of his water normally? Is there something more I should be doing?
He pooped on day 3 a small one then yesterday he pooped a larger one.
How much should he be pooping?
Lastly, I’ve read too much light can be harmful to their eyes & cause them to bulge. I’ve noticed this a time or two when I’ve added extra heat or light to bring the temperature up or he gets close to the light to bask.
How do I balance the lightening & temperature control?
I realize these are questions I should have asked in the beginning. I know better, but took things for granted & didn't realize how delicate he was.
Any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated!!

Body details:
We’ve adopted him 7 months ago. We purchased him from PetSmart on Dec 24th, 2017. They said he was a juvenile but now that I’m looking at pictures of juveniles he might have been a little older when we got him. He already had a crest when we got him.

He is about 8 inches from nose to tail. I don’t know his weight. I don’t really have a way to weigh him and I’m fearful of the extra handling. I have added pictures of him, his cage, and the vitamins I have.
 

Attachments

  • 1.jpg
    1.jpg
    75.5 KB · Views: 246
  • 2.jpg
    2.jpg
    19 KB · Views: 245
  • 3.jpg
    3.jpg
    77.3 KB · Views: 252
  • 4.jpg
    4.jpg
    187.8 KB · Views: 283
  • 6.jpg
    6.jpg
    73.8 KB · Views: 242
  • 5.jpg
    5.jpg
    112.6 KB · Views: 239
Hello! I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I did notice something odd in your calcium supplements. I'm fairly new to chameleons myself so I could be misinformed. Although when I bought my chameleons (they are also a different breed, panthers, so this may be completely wrong for your veiled) the breeder had one for about 2 years before I bought him and the other for about 9 months. He was very adamant about me using these supplements specifically. I hope this helps!
55200971998__5D6F29A4-ADBF-4908-B68C-9BD8E75368B5.JPG.jpeg 55200979730__A7F5D7B3-74D3-4F63-BF03-98F153D86E46.JPG.jpeg
 

Connie McCoy

New Member
Hello! I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I did notice something odd in your calcium supplements. I'm fairly new to chameleons myself so I could be misinformed. Although when I bought my chameleons (they are also a different breed, panthers, so this may be completely wrong for your veiled) the breeder had one for about 2 years before I bought him and the other for about 9 months. He was very adamant about me using these supplements specifically. I hope this helps!
View attachment 208826 View attachment 208827

Thanks. Do you know what the "without LoD" means? I haven't seen those bottles but maybe I can compare ingredients and someone can say if it would be the same for my veiled that it is for your panther. Thanks again!
 
Thanks. Do you know what the "without LoD" means? I haven't seen those bottles but maybe I can compare ingredients and someone can say if it would be the same for my veiled that it is for your panther. Thanks again!
Sorry to say this but I'm actually not sure what it means exactly, the breeder sent me the pictures of the bottles instead of describing them to me. I forgot to add that I also only give my chams the green/white bottled calcium 3x a week and the red and black bottle of calcium 3x a month.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
I'm sorry to hear about your chameleon's health. Can you post more photos of him? The current images are small and it's hard to see any detail.

If your chameleon has a significant case of MBD then I strongly suggest getting help from an experienced veterinarian. They can properly diagnose the issue and offer calcium injections if needed. Proper husbandry is more of a preventative measure. Correcting those mistakes now might not be enough by itself to save him. Exotic vets are not cheap and you may have to drive a bit. The link below should help you find the closest exotic veterinarian from your location.
https://arav.org/

In terms of supplementation you can see what we suggest for healthy veiled chameleons below.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/food/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
 

Connie McCoy

New Member
Thank you. I will try to get better pictures. I'll also look through the link for a vet. He does seem to be improving and I don't think it's severe, or I'm hoping it's not. Thanks again for the links.
 

Connie McCoy

New Member
Here are pictures I just took. He does seem to be moving around better today.
 

Attachments

  • 8789CF02-018A-42D2-8B98-E0CD37CCD84E.jpeg
    8789CF02-018A-42D2-8B98-E0CD37CCD84E.jpeg
    308.4 KB · Views: 229
  • 5EEB5B55-8659-47B5-A692-F79A566ABDE4.jpeg
    5EEB5B55-8659-47B5-A692-F79A566ABDE4.jpeg
    306.6 KB · Views: 198
Top Bottom