(Warning) Necropsy Photos - Gout (Pseudogout)

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Howdy All,

I posted the videos of the parasites in the WC (~1 yr in captivity?) Oorana Mena Panther Chameleon earlier. While the parasite load appeared to be (scary) high in both his blood and his fecal sample, they probably didn't cause his quick demise. A more likely culprit was what appeared to be an advanced case of gout or more correctly probably pseudogout. Real gout is the presence of monosodium urate crystals. Pseudogout is the formation of any crystal other than sodium urate. Either way, as you can see in the photos, he's got a classic case of periarticular gout. I can say this with a bit of confidence since my photos are a dead ringer (pun :eek:?) for the gecko photos (pg. 795) in Mader's reptile medical book. Some of the photos are also of a Veiled's foot too.

Here's what I wrote to my keeper-friend about what I found during the DIY necropsy of her panther:

I think I’m leaning towards gout related kidney failure as the reason for the loss of your chameleon. The white deposits that I found in the feet as well as on his spine and kidneys is probably gout.

Pasted out of: http://animalark.eapps.com/animal/CIN/ContentMgmt.nsf/Trouble/$first?openDocument

“Kidney failure may culminate in gout, a disease that results from high uric acids levels in the blood. Chameleons that develop swelling in the joints or begin dangling a leg (usually a hind leg) while perching may be suffering from this painful disease. Needle-like crystals of uric acid inflame joints, causing pain when the chameleon puts weight on the afflicted leg. Your veterinarian should be consulted immediately if you observe this in your chameleon. X-rays and blood tests can be used to diagnose whether the swelling is due to injury or gout.”

Pasted out of: http://www.reptilerepublic.com/university/stories/clinical-veiled.html

“There are two classifications of gout: primary (hyperuricemia) and secondary (chronic disease or a drug that interferes with normal balance between the production and excretion of uric acid) I'm afraid that you got a case of tophaceous gout which is the inability to excrete uric acid resulting in urate crystal deposits in cartilage, synovial membranes, tendons, and soft tissue.”…“In reptiles, uric acid is cleared from the blood through the kidneys tubules, dehydration does not impair tubule excretion, but lower ambient temperatures does decrease renal tubule function.”


From Mader’s book (he wrote this chapter himself):

“In the blood, uric acid is present predominantly as monosodium urate. Both the free uric acid and the urates salts are relatively insoluble in water. When the concentration of either or both of these forms becomes elevated in the blood (a condition called hyperuricemia) or in the other body fluids, such as synovial fluid, the uric acid crystallizes, forming insoluble precipitates that are deposited in various tissues throughout the body.”



My thoughts are that those deposits are likely a symptom of kidney failure related gout or visa-versa. The big chunk that I found in the kidney was probably also gout related. Some of the info that I posted via those links were almost word-for-word right out of my Mader medical book. The Mader book has necropsy photos of feet etc. that show the exact same condition as your chameleon. The bottom line is prevention if gout hasn’t already formed. There are drugs to treat it in its early stages but we’re talking about 30-60-90 days of treatment which my end-up being needed forever if it doesn’t clear-up. With gout, the prognosis is poor. What your chameleon had was a very advanced condition and I doubt that treatment would have done anything. Prevention is through: “Proper diet, correct ambient temperatures and continuous access to fresh clean water…” That quote is straight out of the chapter on gout in the medical book.


Similar condition in all of his feet:


Inside foot:


Kidneys appear to show possible gouty deposits:


Rock-hard deposits (~1/4") lodged inside kidney plumbing:
 

Cainschams

New Member
Great photos Dave. This is very interesting to me because I think I lost my first cham (jacksons) to gout. Well I had him put to sleep before he got even worse than he already was. I took him to the vet because he had an abcess from a cricket bite Im guessing. He also had other "bumps" just like on the feet of the veiled and other places. The vet who had kept chams but not for a long long time and hadnt seen any for a while either was leaning toward cricket bits all over him. I told him I cup feed and that there wasnt crix running all over his cage. The bite on the cheek was from him striking one and it kinda hung out the side of his mouth and bit him im guessing. The vet lanced the one abcess and tried also to lance the other bumbs. He came back and said it was possibly gout and he had to do some more tests and send out some samples. He asked what I was gutloading with and I told him the huge list of things. He said thats to much just use dogfood:confused: This is when I was kinda transitioning into being a very novice keeper to a more experienced one so I knew about not using dog food and it made me very leary about the vet. He did the tests and said it came back negative for the gout so it could be just plain old arthritis:confused: By this point he couldnt move and was hanging off branches. He was still able to eat and drink and would try to move to the basking site and around but really was bad off. I decided to have him put to sleep. I wish I would have been more interested at that time to get further info but again it was my transitioning point. I had just gotten my first panther and hadnt found out about this forums yet. Sorry for the long windedness but I was wondering if you had an opinion on this. Is it possible for them to get plain old arthritis?
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
...I think I lost my first cham (Jackson’s) to gout.

...He asked what I was gutloading with and I told him the huge list of things. He said that’s to much just use dogfood:confused:

...Is it possible for them to get plain old arthritis?
Howdy Cain,

I think there have been a number of undiagnosed (at the time) gout/kidney related chameleon losses seen on this forum :(.

Dogfood will probably grow a feeder but not necessarily make them a healthy food item. I'm glad that you recognized that back then :). One thing that I worry about (maybe unnecessarily?) is too high a level of (animal) protein in a chameleon's diet. Animal protein (like catfood) in an iguana's diet will cause gout in iguanas and I wonder if high a high protein diet via some kinds of feeders could have possibilities to put things in motion with chameleons :confused:.

I'm suspicious of an arthritis diagnosis. I don't know if we've seen/heard much about it in chameleons compared to the gout/pseudogout problems that we've seen here.

What is critical is to not let gout get started in the first place :eek:.
 
gout is so common. A guy bought one of my holdback males several years ago - for several hundred dollars. I grilled him for over an hour (I was NOT planning on selling the thing), and he kept beardies. The one problem I had was that he fed his crickets fish food. I informed him - and stressed multiple times - that such a diet would likely lead ot gout in the beardies, but woudl DEFINATLY lead ot gout in the chameleon. He insisted that he would switch cricket foods.

I got a call almost a year later - he had gout. He had NOT switched from fish food. I was a bit ticked off, but he was taking him to the vet. Havent' heard back. I hopehe's still alive.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I also think some cricket breeders use chicken food for layers (like layena), which is again fairly high in protein.
 

Dsignrguy

Member
Dave,
Was this the cham that was at the september meeting? I hope not, but have a feeling it is. He was such a cool looking (and healthy looking) guy.
 

mattjillson

New Member
Nice work Dave. I've actually seen those feet deposits in a lot of WC Mt. Meru Jackson's back when I was trying to raise a group of them many years ago as well as a few other Meru's I have come across in the years since. I always wondered what the hell it was and what had caused it. You might have solved this long standing question. Thanks!
 

Cainschams

New Member
Howdy Cain,

I think there have been a number of undiagnosed (at the time) gout/kidney related chameleon losses seen on this forum :(.

Dogfood will probably grow a feeder but not necessarily make them a healthy food item. I'm glad that you recognized that back then :). One thing that I worry about (maybe unnecessarily?) is too high a level of (animal) protein in a chameleon's diet. Animal protein (like catfood) in an iguana's diet will cause gout in iguanas and I wonder if high a high protein diet via some kinds of feeders could have possibilities to put things in motion with chameleons :confused:.

I'm suspicious of an arthritis diagnosis. I don't know if we've seen/heard much about it in chameleons compared to the gout/pseudogout problems that we've seen here.

What is critical is to not let gout get started in the first place :eek:.

Hey Dave. About the too high animal protien in an animals diet. I was feeding him petshop crix that were more than likely fed only potatoes along with the regular fluckers high protien gutload. I fed this for 2 to 3 years before I actually knew what proper gutloading was. So this would also mean that just high protien contents in feeders can cause gout if that is what my animal had. I also only fed crix and nothing else. Again this is when my transitioning was taking place. This is why you really cant bash someone who is getting into the hobby. I know you should research your animal before you buy and yes mine was an impulse that was actually for my GF at the time. I was more into aquariums at that point. BUT you would think that if a petshop carries an animal they would be able to tell you how to properly care for it but obviously that is not the case with chams as we see many times. Also to add I bought my guy when he was maybe 1 month old.

About the too high protien content in feeders even without a high protien gutload. I have recently got into feeding roaches and have been kinda wondering this same thing. I do like to feed a great variety but crix roaches and silkies are the main along with WC grasshoppers and whatever they catch when outside in the warmer months in Maryland. I know the crix and roaches are high in protien but what would be too much:confused: I guess this is the beauty or better put the beast in chameleon keeping. still much to learn.
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
...About the too high protien content in feeders even without a high protien gutload. I have recently got into feeding roaches and have been kinda wondering this same thing.

...I know the crix and roaches are high in protien but what would be too much:confused:..
Howdy Cain,

It's great that you are able to find a variety of feeders to feed-off :).

Crickets are listed at 21% protein and (I can't find the link I saved for roach nutritional content :mad:) roaches are probably very similar. That is probably a reasonable level. Plant protein (and likely insect protein :)confused:)) is probably less of an issue than if one was to feed a lot of animal protein (mice and other meaty lizards) to their chameleon. I think the chameleon/protein topic is going to need some good science to get better sorted out. http://www.grubco.com/Nutritional_Information.cfm
 

Cham_love

Member
So I need some input my veiled chameleon has three swollen joints he was checked for gout and he was free of gout he did have a sign of respiratory infection and given medicine for it and the swollen knee and right back ankle. The swelling went down. A bit but we went back for a follow up because his left front ankle started to swell . He’s respiratory infection was cleared so the doctor wanted to do a culture to see what kind of bacteria was in the joints and to see what was growing in his joint he was cleared of everything serious and given anti inflammatory and pain meds and the swelling is going down . But I’m still afraid that he is getting gout . He doesn’t seem in pain he gets around his cage just fine I’ve been keeping him hydrated by giving him water when I handle him every morning he’s a very calm Cham that likes to come out the cage and on my shoulder as soon as. I open his cage for the daily cleaning. Any thoughts on what could be happening.

Could his joints swelling be do to him falling or slipping on a branch. ?

And also what could have caused him to stop eating?
 

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Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
So I need some input my veiled chameleon has three swollen joints he was checked for gout and he was free of gout he did have a sign of respiratory infection and given medicine for it and the swollen knee and right back ankle. The swelling went down. A bit but we went back for a follow up because his left front ankle started to swell . He’s respiratory infection was cleared so the doctor wanted to do a culture to see what kind of bacteria was in the joints and to see what was growing in his joint he was cleared of everything serious and given anti inflammatory and pain meds and the swelling is going down . But I’m still afraid that he is getting gout . He doesn’t seem in pain he gets around his cage just fine I’ve been keeping him hydrated by giving him water when I handle him every morning he’s a very calm Cham that likes to come out the cage and on my shoulder as soon as. I open his cage for the daily cleaning. Any thoughts on what could be happening.

Could his joints swelling be do to him falling or slipping on a branch. ?

And also what could have caused him to stop eating?
this thread is over a decade old, if you need help I suggest u create your own thread lol, good luck!
 
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