What's going on with Yato's Skin

BugzNelson

Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Yato is a Male Panther Chameleon, 3 years old. I've had him most of his life.
  • Handling - Weekly to apply skin treatment.
  • Feeding-
    • Normally: Dubias, Black Soldier Flies and Hornworms. Occasionally a super worm or a silk worm. All tong or hand fed.
    • Gutload:
      • Repashy superload and Repashy bug burger.
  • Supplements - RepCal Calcium no Phosphorus no vitamin D3, dusted daily. Repashy Cal Plus (with D3) dusted twice a month.
  • Watering - I have a Mistking setup on an automatic timer, twice a day a for 2-3 minutes, early morning and late night. Also, a little dripper when needed.
  • Fecal Description - While he doesn't poop as often as he used to, it always looks healthy
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - 2ft x 2ft x 4ft. Mix of PVC, screen mesh at the top and bottom, and a plexi-glass door.
  • Lighting - Arcadia 6% UVB T5 HO; Zoo Med 100W basking bulb on a dimmer, though I've not needed it recently. Sansi LED 70W Grow Light.
  • Temperature- I read the top temp with an inkbird thermometer and the bottom temp with a Govee Thermometer/hydrometer
    • Top/Basking:
      • Week Average (Day and Night) Temp: 75.5 F
        • Max (Day) Temp: 91.3 F
        • Min (Night) Temp: 57.3 F (bought a heating pad to stop it from dropping this low at night again, though it does stay in the low 60s).
    • Bottom:
      • Week Average (Day and Night) Temp: 64.7 F
        • Max (Day) Temp: 71.6 F
        • Min (Night) Temp: 56.7 F
  • Humidity
    • Average: 68.4%
      • Max (Night): 91.8%
      • Min (Day): 53.6%
  • Plants - Pathos x3, common/poet's jasmine, a few fake plants for added foliage.
  • Placement - It's a low traffic room without a fan and the vent is closed. Window occasionally open though. The top of the cage stands roughly 6.5ft from the floor (4ft cage+~2.5ft table).
  • Location - California, valley not coastal.
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I've had Yato for 3 years. After he was just a little older than a year, I noticed a strange discoloring on his front left hand. In the following weeks, a few spots on his side appeared so I scheduled a visit with our local exotic vet. She examined him, said it may be bug bites (because I was releasing live crickets at this time), so I stopped with the live feed, started to only hand feed him and treated the spots with Chlorhexidine and Silver Sufadiazine cream. About 10 months later I returned to the vet because not only had the spots not gone away, they appeared worse and there was some type of growth on him. I didn't want to mess around anymore, so the vet took a stool sample, a blood sample, and scraped off some of the growth to send to a lab. Over a grand and a few weeks later, the lab came back saying it's not a known fungus, blood did not run positive for a variety of problems and basically we still have no idea what it is. I continue to treat the spots with the Chlorhexidine and Silver Sufadiazine since the vet said it's anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. But poor Yato's skin continues to look worse and the growths are now quite big and often get stuck shed on them. He's been dealing with this for 2 years now.
Note, Yato doesn't seem otherwise ill. I know the spots and growth are painful because he sensitive when I apple the topical treatment. However, Yato sill has energy, he does laps around his enclosure, his eyes are not sunken in, he's got a good appetite and decent strength. I know chameleons hide illness well, but these things still give me hope that this might not be fatal.

Has anyone dealt with this before, or have any information on it. How much of a threat is it to him?
 

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Looks like he has papillomas. They are viral and not curable and contagious to other reptiles.

Scan down until you find this…
Papilloma is an extremely contagious virus in lizards. It’s transmitted through direct contact with another infected animal, or even contact with something that the infected animal has touched.”…
https://reptilecraze.com/white-spots-on-a-chameleon/
Ooof, I just read the link. Thank you for sharing. Did not know it could be something that could spread to people too, so that changes a lot because I have a baby. How did he get it if there aren't any other reptiles around?
 
I’m not sure that the papilloma virus the chameleons can get can be transmitted to humans in spite of what was said in that link (“ Make sure you don’t touch your chameleon with bare hands, as the virus can transfer to humans as well“) because from what I’ve read …
“Papillomaviruses are very host-specific and tissue-associated. Infections cause the formation of papillomas and skin growths”…
https://laboklin.com/en/infectious-dermatoses-in-reptiles/
 
@MissSkittles has a cham with papilloma. She might be able to provide additional info. I thought it was host specific as well. Not the same type that humans get. My understanding is that they can come to you with the virus but it lies dormant in the body until you start seeing the physical signs of the growths. You would need to take him to a reptile vet to get it biopsied to confirm that is what it is. There is not much that can be done for it.
 
Hi. Your guy seems to have quite a few of the growths. They do look like papilloma, but because there’s so many I’d be taking him to a vet for confirmation with a biopsy. If that is what they are, they are relatively harmless. They only cause a problem if they are in a location that they would limit function, like growing over an eye. My girl came from Petco (moment of weakness, but no regrets) so I’ve no idea of her history. Her papilloma came out I suspect due to the stress of me having to completely redo her entire enclosure when she was just a week away from laying eggs. Hers was small and removed with doing the biopsy, but has grown back a small amount. I’ve had no reservations about touching her with my bare hands, the papilloma site often sheds poorly and I will touch it bare handed to help remove the stuck shed. She bites me on a regular basis, I hold her at least once a week, plus there is all the cleaning of her enclosure. I have eczema on my hands and combined with excessive hand washing, my skin is always cracked. If her virus was contagious to humans, I certainly would have caught it by now. I have 4 other chameleons and 7 other reptiles, plus a dog and cats and it is the reason for all my hand washing. None of my other animals has gotten her papilloma, nor has anything spread amongst any of them because of my basic precautions.
 
Hi. Your guy seems to have quite a few of the growths. They do look like papilloma, but because there’s so many I’d be taking him to a vet for confirmation with a biopsy. If that is what they are, they are relatively harmless. They only cause a problem if they are in a location that they would limit function, like growing over an eye. My girl came from Petco (moment of weakness, but no regrets) so I’ve no idea of her history. Her papilloma came out I suspect due to the stress of me having to completely redo her entire enclosure when she was just a week away from laying eggs. Hers was small and removed with doing the biopsy, but has grown back a small amount. I’ve had no reservations about touching her with my bare hands, the papilloma site often sheds poorly and I will touch it bare handed to help remove the stuck shed. She bites me on a regular basis, I hold her at least once a week, plus there is all the cleaning of her enclosure. I have eczema on my hands and combined with excessive hand washing, my skin is always cracked. If her virus was contagious to humans, I certainly would have caught it by now. I have 4 other chameleons and 7 other reptiles, plus a dog and cats and it is the reason for all my hand washing. None of my other animals has gotten her papilloma, nor has anything spread amongst any of them because of my basic precautions.
Hi MissSkittles,
Thank you so much for this response! <3 This was very helpful. I've got some concerns about some of the decor in Yato's enclosure--I think the frequent misting has caused some water damage overtime, so I'll have to redo it in order to ease mind and make sure it's spotless considering his condition. It's great to know that they are not fatal.
Are biopsies to remove the growths? Or to identify them? I kinda hate taking him to the vet, and she did remove one of the growths before and did not identify it then.
 
@MissSkittles has a cham with papilloma. She might be able to provide additional info. I thought it was host specific as well. Not the same type that humans get. My understanding is that they can come to you with the virus but it lies dormant in the body until you start seeing the physical signs of the growths. You would need to take him to a reptile vet to get it biopsied to confirm that is what it is. There is not much that can be done for it.
Thank you for tagging MissSkittles. I took him to an exotics vet twice over this and didn't get a lead on what it is. Last time she took a chunk of the growth to send to a lab but said they didn't know what it was.
 
Thank you for tagging MissSkittles. I took him to an exotics vet twice over this and didn't get a lead on what it is. Last time she took a chunk of the growth to send to a lab but said they didn't know what it was.
I think you need a better vet that is an actual reptile vet. Just because they are an "exotics vet" does not mean they know the species or how to treat them.
 
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