WARNING ! WARNING !!! VERY GRAPHIC fetus pics - very sad

little leaf

Avid Member
PLEASE, before you read any further- know these things -
this was NOT my cham to start with, she came to me a few days ago- the original owner said she was losing the use of her back legs - I am very sad about the death, I am going to describe a few things that may be upsetting to you ( there were to me ) but I am trying to learn form this, and maybe others can also learn - I dont make a habit of cutting up my chams- I came very close to not posting this at all , as one part is very upsetting - but I want to know why. But a greater loss would be to learn nothing from this.......


it was a sad day today, the little mamma lost her battle - I don't quite understand , because she was doing fine one hr, and when I checked on her, almost dead the next, and then her tongue fell out ? I waited until she passed, and then tried to save the babies, the X-rays were correct, and there were in fact 14 babies, and 1 slug - that is just to many for her size, she is only about 4.5 " long vent to nose - she just had no room to breath, and that I think is what lead to her URI ? - she just gasped all the time - I am posting these pics because I find anything you can learn from a good thing - these babies were fully formed, even have tiny little tongues and toe nails . I think there were maybe 2/3 weeks until due- they only needed their "skin" - if anyone knows how far along they are- please say - I have seen babies born, but never a fetus like this - if they were more formed I do believe they could have made it - this I do not understand - when I was sure she had passed, I did sever her spine behind her neck , just encase I was wrong - but I am sure she had passed, now this is upsetting, and really bothers me- I made a small slit, removed the uterus - as seen in pics- now mind you, at this point there is NO WAY the mother is still alive, the babies had heart beats for almost 15 min AFTER they were removed from her - how can this be? it was extremely upsetting - I called the vet, but could not get them to see how to end the heart beats - I do not think they suffered, they lay quiet in the little sacks - until they passed. how can this happen, or were they further than I think? we took one out of the birth sack to see if it could breath, but it could not- it was very sad
I hope some find this useful, or at least may have found a bit of info that will help them help a cham- I had her to one vet, and she had an apt on Thur w/ another - but she just could not hang on
I save the little fetuses, I am going to give them to my vet because he is also a teacher of vet/ med. and these can help show the fetal development of the Jackson X chameleon - note the one slug , and how they are all facing the same way ~
also, if I did anything wrong on her care ( see other post ) , someone please tell me , so I do not repeat any mistakes - there are post in health - thanks to all who offered help -
 

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Turningdoc

New Member
Black looks like tissue necrosis. This can cause death in and of itself from organ failure in the mother. This seems more likely than not being able to breathe due to overburden
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Thanks for sharing! I'm so sorry that she didn't make it, I know you put in a lot of effort. But it's always interesting to see the inner workings of chameleons.

As far as the babies, their hearts simply kept going until there was no more oxygen left in the system to keep them alive. I couldn't tell you how long they had left, but probably more than a couple weeks, so they probably had no awareness of what was happening.

Edit - Chameleon GI tracts are naturally dark/black. That's not an abnormal color.
 

LazardLizard

New Member
Sorry for your loss and the loss of lives:(

Perhaps just a bad pregnacy, like human women who have to have the babies removed early to save one or both:(
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
I'm sorry to hear she didn't make it. That is sure a lot of babies to carry for her small size and given that she wasn't in good health. That poor girl.
 

ponders

Chameleon Enthusiast
Very interesting to see them all lined up on both horns of the uterus, and those giant eyes. Amazing how much energy is spent making the eyes.
Sorry she didn't make it and the babies too young to survive. You gave it your best shot, wish she had come to you sooner.
Thanks for posting this.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Cheryl I have no idea what to say. I thought there was a chance if you took the babies quickly you might save them. I remember seeing the black inside and thinking that was what killed my cham. After a couple vets looked at the picture they said she was completely impacted. I guess with your you will never know. Sorry you lost her. Still amazed you got a 15 year old daughter who helped with that process.
 

little leaf

Avid Member
Cheryl I have no idea what to say. I thought there was a chance if you took the babies quickly you might save them. I remember seeing the black inside and thinking that was what killed my cham. After a couple vets looked at the picture they said she was completely impacted. I guess with your you will never know. Sorry you lost her. Still amazed you got a 15 year old daughter who helped with that process.
yes, Emmy is always right in there with me , she has no issue with any of this type of thing, she loves to learn about the body, she wants to go into being a scrub nurse or go into Anesthesiology - she was asking me what it felt like to palpate a mare- lol had the mare not foaled so soon, she would have gotten her chance :p
 

little leaf

Avid Member
As far as the babies, their hearts simply kept going until there was no more oxygen left in the system to keep them alive. I couldn't tell you how long they had left, but probably more than a couple weeks, so they probably had no awareness of what was happening.

Edit - Chameleon GI tracts are naturally dark/black. That's not an abnormal color.
thanks, I sure hope they did not feel anything - they did not really move, but OMG- that was one of the most awful feeling to be able to do nothing for them - I really thought they were further along- she was just huge, but I think it was just way more pressure than her body could handle - they were all the way packed up in her chest area :(
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
Sorry to hear she didnt make it. I do applaud you learning from a death. Great pics.

Oilmpia, stated it well. When the host dies. Each individual with separate organs being feed from the host will basically suffocate from the lack of oxygen.

I may be completely wrong about this. I think i have read some where that it either "is" or "thought" that the liver, kidneys, etc are black from the synthesis of uvb/Vit D. I cant find the post im looking for and i may have completely misread it but i think it was from Chris Anderson. Again i could be completely wrong.

Here is a link to a necropsy
https://www.chameleonforums.com/extremely-graphic-self-veiled-necropsy-105771/index2.html#post966393
 

little leaf

Avid Member
Sorry to hear she didnt make it. I do applaud you learning from a death. Great pics.

Oilmpia, stated it well. When the host dies. Each individual with separate organs being feed from the host will basically suffocate from the lack of oxygen.

I may be completely wrong about this. I think i have read some where that it either "is" or "thought" that the liver, kidneys, etc are black from the synthesis of uvb/Vit D. I cant find the post im looking for and i may have completely misread it but i think it was from Chris Anderson. Again i could be completely wrong.

Here is a link to a necropsy
https://www.chameleonforums.com/extremely-graphic-self-veiled-necropsy-105771/index2.html#post966393
thanks for the link - :) I knew by looking at her lungs they were bad - I also ( and I could be wrong-) think her large intestine looks very large- the pics were taken only a few min after her death - so I know the black was normal ( how odd is that- ) but they look very big to me- or not? its just such a shame to lose all of them , but I think (after seeing how many babies were in her ) she just could not take the babies pushing on everything- 14 is alot for such a tiny little cham - or do you think it could have been something else?
 

spadefish

Member
I'm so sorry this happened! Based on all of your posts about this, I wonder if she had developed a systemic infection of some sort? Although, I think what you are saying about having so many babies might have contributed to her inability to move very well. Perhaps they were pressing on that part of her spine. Was she passing urates/stool? I would be very interested in what your vet has to say. While this is tragic, everything we can learn from it can only help for the future. Thanks for having the fortitude to do what you did. Again, sorry for your loss.
 

little leaf

Avid Member
I'm so sorry this happened! Based on all of your posts about this, I wonder if she had developed a systemic infection of some sort? Although, I think what you are saying about having so many babies might have contributed to her inability to move very well. Perhaps they were pressing on that part of her spine. Was she passing urates/stool? I would be very interested in what your vet has to say. While this is tragic, everything we can learn from it can only help for the future. Thanks for having the fortitude to do what you did. Again, sorry for your loss.
yes, she passed one HUGE - and I mean the biggest bm I have ever seen last night - it did have a white urate - but was almost gel otherwise - I had only been feeding her soft bodied worms, and then also cutting the legs,heads,and rear end ( I dont what you call the "feelers " on a crix butt- lol ) all that off of crix, and feeding her just basically the abdomen of the crix so she would not have alot of bulk in her belly- I had the first X-ray to be sure she did not have a broken back or pelvis,and also to see how many babies she had- I counted 14 on the X-ray = and that is how many she had in her- so at least I did that part right- :eek:
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Cheryl I am so sorry that she passed. You did everything you could for her. I think the pregnancy was just too much for her. If the fetuses were already compressing her pelvic nerves so that she couldn't walk I can't imagine them making it to full term inside her. I'm surprised they weren't farther along based on how big she was. I'm very sorry she didn't make. But thank you for posting the pictures! They are fascinating. You did a beautiful job dissecting out the full uterus without tearing the delicate ligaments and vessels. And like others have said, the little fetuses weren't aware of anything but their little hearts kept beating until they ran out of oxygen supply. With reptiles' slow metabolism that can take much longer than expected unfortunately.

The top part of her lungs looks terrible! The top part should look just like the bottom part - pink and lacy. They look white and lumpy like they're full of abscesses/pus. Her stomach is empty and her colon is large most likely from ingesta/feces probably trapped in the fetus mass. That's about all I can see from the pictures though. It must have been the little fetal spines in the x-ray. You can kind of see them through the skin from behind the head to the base of the tail. Good to know for the future!

I'm so sorry she didn't make it. :( She's no longer in any pain.

Black looks like tissue necrosis.
Black intestines are normal in chameleons, not signs of necrosis.
 
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little leaf

Avid Member
Cheryl I am so sorry that she passed. You did everything you could for her. I think the pregnancy was just too much for her. If the fetuses were already compressing her pelvic nerves so that she couldn't walk I can't imagine them making it to full term inside her. I'm surprised they weren't farther along based on how big she was. I'm very sorry she didn't make. But thank you for posting the pictures! They are fascinating. You did a beautiful job dissecting out the full uterus without tearing the delicate ligaments and vessels. And like others have said, the little fetuses weren't aware of anything but their little hearts kept beating until they ran out of oxygen supply. With reptiles' slow metabolism that can take much longer than expected unfortunately.

The top part of her lungs looks terrible! The top part should look just like the bottom part - pink and lacy. They look white and lumpy like they're full of abscesses/pus. Her stomach is empty and her colon is large most likely from ingesta/feces probably trapped in the fetus mass. That's about all I can see from the pictures though. It must have been the little fetal spines in the x-ray. You can kind of see them through the skin from behind the head to the base of the tail. Good to know for the future!

I'm so sorry she didn't make it. :( She's no longer in any pain.



Black intestines are normal in chameleons, not signs of necrosis.
thanks ferret , this is not the end I was hoping for , but I did learn a few things, and her lungs- as soon as I saw them , its no wonder the poor girl could not breath - and with the babies , you can see in the x - ray they are all the way pushed up to the chest/lung area - a cham C-section was a first for me, but I am glad I got a chance to do it, at least I know if I should ever need to do it again, ( I sure hope not ) I know kinda how to do it - I had made arrangements with my friend Dr. Hirt, to do a midnight C section if needed- but I see now it would have been pointless - be we are ready at least, and know what to look for - I do have another ? - are X-rays harmful to the Cham? I was thinking of having Olive x-rayed once a mo. after she breeds to see just what shows up and when, but NOT if it can harm her- but then we could track a preg/ and know just when the spine does show up, I do not know when this cham was bred as she was from a wc from a show-

thanks for your input on all of this- I will feel a bit better about the little babies not suffering
 

tdismang

New Member
I have to commend you on being brave enough to do this. I know it's hard enough to do this to a mouse that I have no emotional bond with, I can't even imagine doing it to a beloved pet. I think this will be valuable information in the future.
By the way, I'm amazed at how similar the uterus is to that of a mouse.
 

Psychobunny

Avid Member
I'm just now seeing this, I am so sorry you lost her, that is very sad.
You did everything you possibly could to save her :(
 
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