Warning - Worming Chameleons

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Many of you may remember my dear Lily who died (I feel in hindsight) due to the fact that she was given Panomec (a brand name of Ivermectin). She died within hours of being given this drug.

I have recently spoken to a friend who’s vet mistakenly prescribed Ivermectin as a wormer for her chameleons - and most died shortly after the drug was administered. Just this evening I was talking to my Auntie who has a horse and told her of this and she too was shocked. She gives Ivermectin as a wormer to her horse and was told by the vet that her dogs should be kept well away from the dung, as it would kill them if they ingested any. I think we have plenty of evidence that Ivermectin (and various brand names of) kills chameleons.

Please, please DO NOT let your vet give your chameleon Ivermectin in any form to your chameleons if they need worming. There are perfectly safe alternatives. I have seen first hand what this drug can do to chameleons and it is devastating. It was heartbreaking to lose just one precious chameleon, so I can hardly even begin to understand the utter despair of my friend who trusted her vet and inadvertantly lost most of her chameleons as a result.

I now question everything that the vet tells me although I now use a different vet, I will always check things out for myself first if I have not heard of the drug he is suggesting we use.
 

vegas shooby

New Member
Many of you may remember my dear Lily who died (I feel in hindsight) due to the fact that she was given Panomec (a brand name of Ivermectin). She died within hours of being given this drug.

I have recently spoken to a friend who’s vet mistakenly prescribed Ivermectin as a wormer for her chameleons - and most died shortly after the drug was administered. Just this evening I was talking to my Auntie who has a horse and told her of this and she too was shocked. She gives Ivermectin as a wormer to her horse and was told by the vet that her dogs should be kept well away from the dung, as it would kill them if they ingested any. I think we have plenty of evidence that Ivermectin (and various brand names of) kills chameleons.

Please, please DO NOT let your vet give your chameleon Ivermectin in any form to your chameleons if they need worming. There are perfectly safe alternatives. I have seen first hand what this drug can do to chameleons and it is devastating. It was heartbreaking to lose just one precious chameleon, so I can hardly even begin to understand the utter despair of my friend who trusted her vet and inadvertantly lost most of her chameleons as a result.

I now question everything that the vet tells me although I now use a different vet, I will always check things out for myself first if I have not heard of the drug he is suggesting we use.
thanks miss lily for this info and heads up about this
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Tiff just reading this makes me cry. Losing several chams at once would devastate me. It is just like our medical care, we have to take responsibility and make sure we know what we are given by the doctor and why. I have vets in my small town who I can't trust as far as I could toss them. i am lucky as Ivan Alfonso bails me out from the other side of the country. Were it not for that excellent vet I could not allow myself to keep chameleons here in Montana. Thanks so much for this post, I hope everyone takes it to heart. I know I sure will.
 

sallyb

New Member
:eek: Thanks for that Tiff - I`ve made a note of the name for future reference. It is just awful to think that vet`s could prescribe this without realising the potential for disaster. I think I will also mention it to our vet next time we go in.
 

radstusky

Avid Member
Thanks for this warning. I guess this differs from something called Panacur (which is Fenbendazole). My vet gave my chams both a dose of this when I took them in for a check up last month. It seems to have had no ill effect, which is good.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I wonder if it could be a dosage issue in some cases??

These might be of interest to you....
Ivermectin and a Senegal chameleon....
http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1638/1042-7260(2001)032[0115:ITIACC]2.0.CO;2
"I have used Ivermectin quite often and quite successfully on a number of
chams for parasites not cured by some of the other antiparasitic choices"...and..."I have only known of one species that seemed to not tolerate
> Ivermectin well and even then most did and that was C.
> verrucossus"...
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/ADCHAM/message/2283
"A safer method is to use fenbendazole to reduce parasites over several weeks, then dose with ivermectin to remove any remaining parasites"...
http://www.melleridiscovery.com/health/health.htm
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, Panacur is one of the safe more effective drugs for chameleons. I should have asked for this instead of letting the vet inject Panomec. If only I had known then what I know now.
 

Kent67

Retired Moderator
Hey Tiff, I never knew what happened to Lily until now. Ivermectin has been known to cause quick death in chameleons for many, many years. In fact, the very first book I purchased about chameleons 19 years ago (General Care and Maintenance of True Chameleons by Philippe de Vosjoli 1990) has a warning about using that drug with chams because of its effects. I'm sure glad you've found another vet to work with. What a shame that these animals are still being killed by veterinarians not doing their due diligence. :(
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey Tiff, I never knew what happened to Lily until now. Ivermectin has been known to cause quick death in chameleons for many, many years. In fact, the very first book I purchased about chameleons 19 years ago (General Care and Maintenance of True Chameleons by Philippe de Vosjoli 1990) has a warning about using that drug with chams because of its effects. I'm sure glad you've found another vet to work with. What a shame that these animals are still being killed by veterinarians not doing their due diligence. :(
Thanks Kent. I had my suspicions at the time, but the post mortem showed an enlarged liver. Sadly, you trust the vet as a professional, so he could have overdosed her, I just don't know. I even questioned it after she died, but he wasn't about to admit anything was he? Yes, Lily was poorly, but she wasn't that poorly or close to death before she was given Ivermectin, yet in a little over 3 hours after she died in my lap. I will NEVER allow a vet to give that to either Amy or Tommy. After what has happened recently, I have no doubt as to what caused Lily's death. I would hate for anyone else to have to watch their chameleons die in the same way as both I and my friend have. I just hope that by posting this information, people will be more aware of what drugs to avoid when worming their chameleons. I think it will be very hard for me to 100 per cent trust a vet ever again.
 

warpdrive

Avid Member
Thanks Tiff for the warning. I'm going to write down the name(s) when I get home.
It just goes to sho you that you have to learn just about everything when it comes to our pet's safety.

Harry
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Tiff,

With all due respect, I think it is a poor decision to encourage individuals to undermine their vets advice without any regard to the individual case in question, the experience of the prescribing vet, or the knowledge of the keeper themselves. Many medicines can be fatal if administered incorrectly, and this is why care should always be taken to consult a qualified vet for advice. Ivermectin is a powerful drug which is easily overdosed and even on healthy animals with healthy livers, it can be a rough treatment, but there are some instances where such a strong treatment may be necessary or the best treatment for the infection in question. Your experience serves as an example that care should be taken when considering the use of Ivermectin, but the decision whether or not to use this drug should rest solely between the owner and their vet, not based on the recommendation of someone on a forum with not only no veterinary training but no information on the specific instance it is being considered.

Regarding Ivermectin in general, it is known to affect different species and even different breeds quite differently. There are reports of different dog breeds exhibiting different levels of sensitivity to it. Further, I've known vets who have claimed that while F. pardalis respond very well to its use, they would not recommend it for T. melleri due to the volume of problems they had seen in this species when treated with it. Some vets consider it the best medication for a number of different infections, however, but because it is easily overdosed, care must be taken to dose (much easier to do on a horse than a 15 gram chameleon) and prescribe appropriately.

Rather than making a short sighted, blanket recommendation, it would be better to advise keepers that while ivermectin is known to be used safely in some animals, it can be hard on chameleons and should be used with caution. Owners should educate themselves and if a vet recommends this treatment, the owner should discuss the other options and determine if the risk is appropriate to the circumstance or if a drug that isn't as hard on the animal or easily overdosed is a better option. In any instance this drug is considered for use in chameleons, it should only be done following appropriate fecal tests by a vet who understands that chameleons can be quite sensitive to it and is comfortable diluting it accurately for a chameleon of its size.

Chris
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Thank you Chris for your very sensible and completely accurate response to this issue. It's terrible that such a bad outcome came from the use of this product but it does not mean that will always be the outcome or that your vet is not trustworthy.

Just a side note for those of you with turtles or tortoises: ivermectin is documented to be toxic to them. No major toxicity issues have been recognized in lizard species yet if prescribed correctly to generally healthy animals. Caution should be taken in any animal with any underlying health issue of unknown health status withany drug.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Tiff,

With all due respect, I think it is a poor decision to encourage individuals to undermine their vets advice without any regard to the individual case in question, the experience of the prescribing vet, or the knowledge of the keeper themselves. Many medicines can be fatal if administered incorrectly, and this is why care should always be taken to consult a qualified vet for advice. Ivermectin is a powerful drug which is easily overdosed and even on healthy animals with healthy livers, it can be a rough treatment, but there are some instances where such a strong treatment may be necessary or the best treatment for the infection in question. Your experience serves as an example that care should be taken when considering the use of Ivermectin, but the decision whether or not to use this drug should rest solely between the owner and their vet, not based on the recommendation of someone on a forum with not only no veterinary training but no information on the specific instance it is being considered.

Regarding Ivermectin in general, it is known to affect different species and even different breeds quite differently. There are reports of different dog breeds exhibiting different levels of sensitivity to it. Further, I've known vets who have claimed that while F. pardalis respond very well to its use, they would not recommend it for T. melleri due to the volume of problems they had seen in this species when treated with it. Some vets consider it the best medication for a number of different infections, however, but because it is easily overdosed, care must be taken to dose (much easier to do on a horse than a 15 gram chameleon) and prescribe appropriately.

Rather than making a short sighted, blanket recommendation, it would be better to advise keepers that while ivermectin is known to be used safely in some animals, it can be hard on chameleons and should be used with caution. Owners should educate themselves and if a vet recommends this treatment, the owner should discuss the other options and determine if the risk is appropriate to the circumstance or if a drug that isn't as hard on the animal or easily overdosed is a better option. In any instance this drug is considered for use in chameleons, it should only be done following appropriate fecal tests by a vet who understands that chameleons can be quite sensitive to it and is comfortable diluting it accurately for a chameleon of its size.

Chris

Chris even as much as I admire and value you & your knowledge, I am going to disagree on your position. Anything that is known to wholesale kill our beloved chameleons is something we need to be aware of and informed about. At least we will know to talk frankly to a vet regarding ivermectin prior to allowing use with our chameleons. I personally would much rather be safe than sorry after losing a chameleon. I am so sorry this happened to Lily, I love that little girl. I also feel for her friend, that is horrible.
 
Ivermectin is a drug used in hearworm medication for animals, so why they gave it to deworm chameleons I have no idea. I use it on my dog monthly, it's also for roundworms and hookworms.
I don't know why they wouldn't use Pyrantel or panacur.
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Chris even as much as I admire and value you & your knowledge, I am going to disagree on your position. Anything that is known to wholesale kill our beloved chameleons is something we need to be aware of and informed about. At least we will know to talk frankly to a vet regarding ivermectin prior to allowing use with our chameleons. I personally would much rather be safe than sorry after losing a chameleon. I am so sorry this happened to Lily, I love that little girl. I also feel for her friend, that is horrible.
Laurie - I think you misunderstood my post. I never said the dangers of using this drug shouldn't be something to be aware of or informed about, or even that we shouldn't talk frankly with our vet with it is recommended. In fact, that is exactly what I said. I did, however, say that Tiff telling people not to allow their vet to prescribe this drug without consideration of the experience of the vet or the circumstances was inappropriate.

Ivermectin is a drug used in hearworm medication for animals, so why they gave it to deworm chameleons I have no idea. I use it on my dog monthly, it's also for roundworms and hookworms.
Most of the deworming medications used for chameleons and other reptiles are used primarily to deworm other animals (horses, dogs, etc.).

Chris
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Laurie - I think you misunderstood my post. I never said the dangers of using this drug shouldn't be something to be aware of or informed about, or even that we shouldn't talk frankly with our vet with it is recommended. In fact, that is exactly what I said. I did, however, say that Tiff telling people not to allow their vet to prescribe this drug without consideration of the experience of the vet or the circumstances was inappropriate.
Chris, I guess I could have selected my words more carefully. I just felt that I had to get this info over to people. It would appear to me that this drug has already caused the death of several chameleons too many. It is not nice to watch one die from the effects. I just wanted to make people aware that this could happen to them if thier vet uses this drug. Right now I am just in shock, I think. Recent events with my friend have brought back some memories of Lily that I would rather not remember. I love my chameleons very much as I know my friend loved hers. I will never get the image of Lily's last moments out of my mind, and it was this image that spurred me to write what I did.:(
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
I know where you're coming from advising people to be cautious but there are risks associated with every drug. Simple Tylenol kills thousands and thousands of people each year and it's the number one cause of liver failure in children. Yet it's still widely used by thousands more and sold every single day. But that doesn't mean everyone will be affected that way or that doctors that prescribe Tylenol are fools. There's nothing wrong with being aware of risks, just be careful how you warn people. The difference between "this drug will kill" and "be cautious with it" is the point Chris was emphasizing.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Ok I guess we are all on the same page, Tiff and I are just a bit more over the edge than you guys are.:D:D But now at least the info is out there so chameleon owners will know to take care as we all should all the time. Thanks guys.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
justjumpit621 said..."Ivermectin is a drug used in hearworm medication for animals, so why they gave it to deworm chameleons I have no idea"...chameleons get microfilaria....see post #4 in this thread.
 
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