What is this? Does he need to go to the Vet?

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi Everyone. I noticed this morning that Beman had a slight discoloration to the bottom part of his mouth right in front where it meets the top of his mouth. I took a ton of pics and would greatly appreciate all feedback. I don't know if I am over reacting or if I should take him in to the Vet immediately. Looks almost like stuck shed but when I got pics of the inside of his mouth it looked as though it might be the start of mouth rot. At least that is what I am guessing from what I have read. It does not appear to look off on the top part of his mouth. Just the bottom.
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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not sure if you would risk it, but does it wipe off? Maybe bug guts?
He is super friendly and let me wipe water across the front of his face. Nothing moved and the discoloration is still there. He has been extremely active the last 2 weeks wanting more room. With this he rubs the tip of his mouth against the screen. Could that have caused a wound? I won't have his big cage for another week.
 

timw1

Chameleon Enthusiast
He may have a little mouth rot. If I was you I would bring him to the vet asap. Mouth rot is an infection that will get worse if untreated.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
He may have a little mouth rot. If I was you I would bring him to the vet asap. Mouth rot is an infection that will get worse if untreated.
Thank you I actually just scheduled the soonest appointment they had for Monday afternoon and they put me on a cancellation list in case anything opens up Monday morning. I would rather just take him and make sure. They will do a full check up as well while I am there. There is only one Vet in the area that specifically works with Chameleons and other reptiles. She only works Monday-Thursday though. Everyone else is 2-5 hours away from me. Right now he has a normal appetite and perfect urate and stool. Should I specifically watch for anything else besides a change in appetite an urate?

To transport him I just put him in a box with some air holes and small towel right? Nothing that he can see through or it will cause more stress right?
 

timw1

Chameleon Enthusiast
Good deal having a vet who works with chams nearby. Maybe try to wedge a stick in the box to give him something to hold onto.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Good deal having a vet who works with chams nearby. Maybe try to wedge a stick in the box to give him something to hold onto.
Ok thank you. Do you think if it is mouth rot that it could have been caused by rubbing the tip of his mouth against the screen?
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
We see a lot of mouth rot at the clinic I work at, and the culprit is usually rubbing +/- husbandry issues (especially regarding hygiene). In your case, it sure sounds like rubbing is the cause! The bigger cage you have on the way should remedy that.

Good job catching it early on! I'm sure Beman will have a swift recovery. :)

If it's especially chilly where you're at/it's a bit of a drive, I personally like to recommend to owners to place a carrier inside of a cooler with a hot pack between the interior of the cooler and the box the reptile's in. Karma has been taking it extremely well for his weekly visits to the vet! I don't drive, so we have an hour and a half bus ride to look forward to haha! He stays nice and toasty, and seems to nap for duration as he's asleep whenever I open the carrier.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
We see a lot of mouth rot at the clinic I work at, and the culprit is usually rubbing +/- husbandry issues (especially regarding hygiene). In your case, it sure sounds like rubbing is the cause! The bigger cage you have on the way should remedy that.

Good job catching it early on! I'm sure Beman will have a swift recovery. :)

If it's especially chilly where you're at/it's a bit of a drive, I personally like to recommend to owners to place a carrier inside of a cooler with a hot pack between the interior of the cooler and the box the reptile's in. Karma has been taking it extremely well for his weekly visits to the vet! I don't drive, so we have an hour and a half bus ride to look forward to haha! He stays nice and toasty, and seems to nap for duration as he's asleep whenever I open the carrier.
Thank you so much! Now I am really anxious for his big cage to come. :( It is only a 10-15 minute drive to the vet. Our weather is pretty wonderful right now thank god. I am just stressing that I can't get him in until Monday. Hoping since I caught it fast and he is not showing any other issues that he will be ok until then. Do you recommend me do anything additionally in the mean time? Or watch for anything specifically?
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh good! Warm weather makes it much easier. Yeah, a shoebox with a couple of air holes punched in it and a stick/vine/something for him to hold onto is all you need. I like to line boxes with a little paper towel for easy clean up.

Definitely keep an eye on him, but he should be totally fine until Monday. It's early stage mouth rot, so as long as he's eating, drinking, pooping, and otherwise behaving normally I wouldn't be super concerned in the mean time. There's not too much you can do if he's rubbing due to him feeling he doesn't have enough space, unfortunately, beyond providing him more room. He's of the age when he's probably looking for a mate, too, which may be making him more agitated in general. If he has some sort of free range space, he'd probably appreciate a bit of extra time out and about if possible! I'm afraid I don't have much else in the way of solutions, beyond keeping his enclosure immaculately clean. It may be worth giving his enclosure a good deep clean over the weekend. JacksJill has a good guide to deep cleaning here, and uses very similar techniques to what we recommend to owners at our clinic. I'm super paranoid about using bleach anywhere near my birds, so I do any bleaching outside and let it dry in the sun for most of the day when applicable- don't sun dry PVC or plastic, as it'll warp!! Since I work at a clinic I have access to bird/reptile safe disinfectants that i tend to use instead of bleach (i love HemaPeroxy!). I'll try to remember to ask my vet if she has any additional tips when I see her in a few hours, if she isn't too busy. :) I know she's on her surgical rotation today.

They'll probably flush his mouth out with an antiseptic while you're at the vet's, and prescribe an antibiotic (likely in the form of a cream, possibly oral meds). It's early days, so it should heal up quickly!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh good! Warm weather makes it much easier. Yeah, a shoebox with a couple of air holes punched in it and a stick/vine/something for him to hold onto is all you need. I like to line boxes with a little paper towel for easy clean up.

Definitely keep an eye on him, but he should be totally fine until Monday. It's early stage mouth rot, so as long as he's eating, drinking, pooping, and otherwise behaving normally I wouldn't be super concerned in the mean time. There's not too much you can do if he's rubbing due to him feeling he doesn't have enough space, unfortunately, beyond providing him more room. He's of the age when he's probably looking for a mate, too, which may be making him more agitated in general. If he has some sort of free range space, he'd probably appreciate a bit of extra time out and about if possible! I'm afraid I don't have much else in the way of solutions, beyond keeping his enclosure immaculately clean. It may be worth giving his enclosure a good deep clean over the weekend. JacksJill has a good guide to deep cleaning here, and uses very similar techniques to what we recommend to owners at our clinic. I'm super paranoid about using bleach anywhere near my birds, so I do any bleaching outside and let it dry in the sun for most of the day when applicable- don't sun dry PVC or plastic, as it'll warp!! Since I work at a clinic I have access to bird/reptile safe disinfectants that i tend to use instead of bleach (i love HemaPeroxy!). I'll try to remember to ask my vet if she has any additional tips when I see her in a few hours, if she isn't too busy. :) I know she's on her surgical rotation today.

They'll probably flush his mouth out with an antiseptic while you're at the vet's, and prescribe an antibiotic (likely in the form of a cream, possibly oral meds). It's early days, so it should heal up quickly!
That makes me feel much better. I currently have an area with all his plants for the new cage set up. I have been putting him out on that when I am in the room. It seems to calm him down when he can get out and wonder a bit.
Thank you for all the cleaning details. I had not seen that info by JacksJill. I will read through all that. I have been cleaning his cage every morning. All paper towels on the bottom get replaced and then I use an antibacterial soap solution to clean out the base. Then rinse and dry and replace the paper towels. All urates and stool are cleaned immediatly and paper towels replaced. All plants wet wiped down with warm water each weekend as well and dead leaves taken off when they happen. The new cage will have a drip easy pan as well.
I just found this link in the forum about giving meds. http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2014/05/how-to-give-different-medicines.html I think this is pretty much the one thing that is totally freaking me out. I have worked with so many animals over the years but never reptiles. I did rehab for puppies, kittens and birds. From bottle feeding to hand rearing baby birds... Giving meds when needed was a totally different ball game with these.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
It can be a little tricky to get a chameleon's (or most reptiles in general...) mouth open, but it's much easier once you get the hang of it! It's much easier with a second person if your cham is being stubborn (but more stressful), but I've been able to ninja my way in with the syringe pretty successfully so far. Karma likes to lock his jaws, and the gular trick doesn't always work with him so I've had to pry his jaws open on more than one occasion. I have pretty long nails, so I prefer to use them instead of a card/tongue depressor. He eventually gets annoyed enough that he loosens his jaws, though I've definitely bruised his lips a couple times. If you can get Beman to open his mouth without using force, I'd recommend it! As long as you get the meds right to the back of the throat and go slowly with the plunger, you shouldn't have any problems.

That's an excellent resource for techniques you have there! I might just bookmark that for later reference when I'm trying explain giving meds/force feeding reptiles. I especially like the bit on injecting feeders with medicine - I'll definitely be trying that if I have a patient with an appetite that needs meds! I "hide" meds all the time with birds/cats/dogs/etc - why not reptiles too? :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
It can be a little tricky to get a chameleon's (or most reptiles in general...) mouth open, but it's much easier once you get the hang of it! It's much easier with a second person if your cham is being stubborn (but more stressful), but I've been able to ninja my way in with the syringe pretty successfully so far. Karma likes to lock his jaws, and the gular trick doesn't always work with him so I've had to pry his jaws open on more than one occasion. I have pretty long nails, so I prefer to use them instead of a card/tongue depressor. He eventually gets annoyed enough that he loosens his jaws, though I've definitely bruised his lips a couple times. If you can get Beman to open his mouth without using force, I'd recommend it! As long as you get the meds right to the back of the throat and go slowly with the plunger, you shouldn't have any problems.

That's an excellent resource for techniques you have there! I might just bookmark that for later reference when I'm trying explain giving meds/force feeding reptiles. I especially like the bit on injecting feeders with medicine - I'll definitely be trying that if I have a patient with an appetite that needs meds! I "hide" meds all the time with birds/cats/dogs/etc - why not reptiles too? :)
Yeah that was what I was thinking if he does need meds I would rather try to inject them into the feeder.. He hand feeds without any issue and actually prefers his Dubia's to be hand fed lol. He has been taking his food without issue if this continues to remain the case after he sees the vet. I am thinking that the least stressful for both of us would be injecting the feeder. I could inject and immediately feed. :) easy 123 and done lol
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Absolutely! If Beman'll take it in a feeder, why stress him? Dubia seem like an an excellent med carrier too, since there's nice and plump to begin with
:) it'll be such a relief once Karma starts eating on his own!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Absolutely! If Beman'll take it in a feeder, why stress him? Dubia seem like an an excellent med carrier too, since there's nice and plump to begin with
:) it'll be such a relief once Karma starts eating on his own!
Thank you for all your feedback!!! I really appreciate it! You helped me stop panicking. I hope Karma gets to feeling much better soon too. It’s hard with these little guys to know when something is wrong. I’m just glad I am really observant with him to see a difference.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for all your feedback!!! I really appreciate it! You helped me stop panicking. I hope Karma gets to feeling much better soon too. It’s hard with these little guys to know when something is wrong. I’m just glad I am really observant with him to see a difference.

No problem! Happy to ease your mind a bit. :) Mouth rot is really nasty if left untreated, but Beman will be completely fine. Let us know how the vet visit goes!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@GoodKarma19 He is still acting like himself. He ate all his food this morning and is drinking. :) I have a question though. What should I expect that the Vet will want to do? I am going to just have them do whatever they feel is necessary and make it his first real check up. I got a stool sample run for parasites back in November right after I got him. That came back negative but it was with another vet and it turned out that they weren't an actual reptile Vet. Should I have this new Vet do one more just in case? Do they do a blood screen to make sure he is healthy? I am figuring that with the mouth rot possibility that they will just swab it to test.... I am taking with me all his supplements and a fresh stool just in case. Am I forgetting anything?
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
To be entirely honest, what my vet tends to do is take one look and go "yep that's mouth rot" and rarely bothers taking a swab! It's pretty much always the same bacteria responsible, and they all respond to the same treatment. Depending on the severity she'll flush the reptile's mouth out with an oral disinfectant and/or recommend sedation to debride any dead tissue and then send the owner(s) home with a topical cream +/- oral or injectable antibiotics and pain control. I haven't seen injectable antibiotics used often unless it's a severe case and there's something else going on as well.


At our clinic we don't tend to draw blood samples from reptiles for routine wellness exams, as it can be a pretty stressful experience for the animal and is more often than not unnecessary (with reptiles). It can certainly be useful information to have, and you can catch some things early. I guess some of it is personal preference! We don't tend to run reptile bloodwork unless we suspect that something is wrong and the doctor deems it necessary. I'd bring it up with your vet and see what their thoughts are on the matter!

You don't necessarily need to run another fecal if you've already had one done - honestly, the principle is the same regardless of species when it comes to looking for parasite ova (eggs). I'd still bring a sample as your new vet will probably like to see it (the fresher the better!), and I'd bring it up with them to see if they'd want to retest.

For the wellness exam itself, it's really quite similar to any other pet exam. Doc will get Beman's weight, access his overall body condition, test his grip strength/mobility/etc, look in his mouth/eyes/ears... very routine stuff! As the person that fairly regularly ends up going over husbandry with owners, it's very helpful to us if you bring all of your enclosure parameter information. The "how to ask for help" form on this site is actually quite similar to the questionnaire that we have new reptile clients fill out! I personally like a picture or two of the set up as well.

Hope that helps a bit! :)

~Amanda
 
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