Very Sick Chameleon


New Member
Sorry about the length of this thread but..

About three months ago i purchased a female veiled chameleon from a local pet store.. she was about 2 months old and seemed healthy.. in the cage was also a male of the same size and age.. i took her home and she has since thrived.. she is almost seven inches long, bones are strong.. extremely healthy with a voracious appetite.

i recently returned to the same pet store to purchase crickets.. while i was waiting i was checking out the reptile cages and saw a very small chameleon.. the cage he was kept in was a glass aquarium with one plastic plant, a water bowl and the temperature guage at the BOTTOM of the cage said almost 100 degrees!?

i asked the store owner about it and she said that it was the same male that was there when i purchased my female.. he is tiny.. a very pale white/green.. you can see his ribs poking out.. i believe he has mbd.. his front right leg looks like it has an extra knee and his casque is very rubbery.. i bought him a screened cage, proper lighting, plants, drip system.. everything my female has.. i dusted some pinhead crickets with calcium and vitamin supplements.. i am pretty sure that he has not eaten any of them.. he seems slightly more active than when i first got him which was only four days ago

i do not know exactly how to go about stimulating his appetite and getting him well.. i am at a loss.. i truthfully can not afford to take him to the vet.. i could barely afford all the provisions i had to buy for him but i could not just leave him there to die.. what can i do at home to get him well? I do not want this little guy to die.. and i am doing my best.. any suggestions that you have will be GREATLY appreciated
It is really very hard to say. MBD can get out of wack in so many ways it is really hard to say what adjustments need to be made to get them back to normal. The only real thing you can do without a vet to prescribe some medicine is to make attempts at proper husbandry and hope he comes out of it. A calcium supplement that is phosphorus-free with D3 given dusted daily on the feeders. I would confirm whether he is eating them or not. If not you can try to force feed him. The feeders should be feed a high calcium diet. I can will have to look around their is a recipe for some "bug juice" which you could use if necessary.

It is really kind of sad. I have thought about calling the authorities on a local pet store for abuse but I am not sure if it will go any where or not. People seem to care about whether a dog get beat or not. Most could care less if an animal like a reptile is denied UVB exposure. I really do not like saying this but pass them on if you see them like that. The pet store I spoke of has the cheapest crickets in town but I go else where now so I do not have to see them.

Sorry that was not much help if any but there is really not much you can do. I hope everything turns out alright. At least he has someone looking out for him.
Poor little chameleon!

I have treated a few over the years that have come to me with MBD and if they can survive the time it takes for you to bring their nutrients back into balance and the organ damage isn't too bad they can go on to live a fairly long life.

I'm sure you are already making sure he is getting his UVB. (It should not pass through glass or plastic, of course.) If its possible let him get some sunlight too.

The most common cause for MBD when a chameleon is "neglected" at a pet store is lack of calcium. In my experience its usually due to improper lighting (lack of D3) and lack of being fed gutloaded phosphorous-free calcium dusted insects. Improper temperatures that don't allow for proper digestion.

You can buy a liquid calcium at most pharmacies called calcium sandoz or calcium gluconate. Its supposed to be absorbed better than the powder and you can give the chameleon more of it than you can the powder. Be careful when you give it to him (with a needleless syringe or an eye dropper) because its kind of syrupy and they have difficulty swallowing just ease a little of it in at a time. I can't tell you how much of it to give him unfortunately....but if he's tiny it won't be much.

I would recommend talking to a vet to see if you could work out a payment plan because the vet could increase his calcium levels quicker and then give him a shot of calcitonin to draw the calcium back into the bones. THIS DOSING/SHOT HAS TO BE DONE BY A VET because if its not done right it can cause the chameleon to go into shock.

As far as getting food into him, its possible that his tongue isn't functioning properly due to the MBD and possibly due to if you can get him to drink, while his mouth is opening and shutting, stick a small cricket in between his teeth so he bites it. Hopefully he will eat it. If he does this is IMHO a less stressful way of feeding him than forcing him.

Hope its not too late for the little guy!
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