Why it is so important to pay attention to warning signs

Dez

Chamalot Chameleons
I wanted to share my experience with a sick chameleon and why is is so so important to pay attention to warning signs, even thought they may be hard to spot. Something as simple as a change of behavior can be a warning sign. Chameleons are very good at hiding sickness and a lot of keepers don't realizes until its too late.

Monday late afternoon I noticed my 3 year old Panther Chameleon keeping his eyes closed and acting lazy in general. He would open his eyes when I would walk by but seemed to not be his normal active self. His eyes where still bright and clear and not at all sunken in. his color seemed normal. His urinates where a light yellow so I bumped up his misting

I started him on some reptiaide to see if that would give him a boost in energy.

Wednesday evening I noticed him holding his head up in addition to occasionally finding him with his eyes closed during the day.

I could not get him to eat, he shows no interest in crickets or even superworms which is highly out of his character. I examined his mouth and saw small traces of yellowish phem on the roof of his mouth.

My regular cham vet was out of town and the soonest I could get an appointment was a week away :eek:. I wasn't happy about that but luckly they refereed me to another herp vet. He was a little further to drive but could see me right away.

On examination ,The vet found a foul smelling lesion in the chameleons mouth. It was toward the back of the roof of his mouth. What he cleaned from the lesion looked like old blood.. brown colored.

It is some sort of bacterial infection but the vet could not tell me what exactly caused it. An injury from a feeder that bit the inside of his mouth, was one possibility.

He took a culture and said he will call me with the results when they come in.
.
In the mean time he prescribed:

Metacam Suspension
Enrofloxacin (baytril)
Carafate

He also said I could swab the infected area with diluted Iodine if I felt comfortable doing so. He also suggested feeding the Omni avian powder food until he starts eating for himself again. He weighs 152g and still a good weight.

Honestly if you looked at him he doesn't look sick at all. He looks as robust as ever and has a strong grip. It was his change of behavior that set off the red flags. I am hoping I have caught this early enough that he is strong enough to fight this off.
 
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Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
I totall agree with you. When my Lily was sick she just started closing her eyes a bit one day - I took her straight to the vets the very next day. Sadly, she died only 5 days later.

So glad you realised something was wrong with your cham, and he was prescribed meds before things got too out of hand. They are so good at hiding things though. I had no indication at all that Lily was poorly before that Monday - she just suddenly kept closing her eyes. I knew from reading on here that something wasn't right.

I hope your boy makes a full recovery.
 

eisentrauti

Avid Member
Sorry to say but if sb doesnt notice that closed eyes are unnormal for a diurnal animal the chances for the animal are very low to get external help before its too late...
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry to say but if sb doesnt notice that closed eyes are unnormal for a diurnal animal the chances for the animal are very low to get external help before its too late...
A lot of people new to keeping chameleons may not know that closed eyes in the day is a bad thing. I learnt that very fact from this forum - it's something that caresheets, etc, don't mention!
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Dez, I certainly hope he will be ok. Keep us posted. I think you have made a great point here. So many times the chams look gorgeous and act fine and then just get sick and die within 24 hours. Parasites can do this to them. Luie had coccidia a couple of years ago and the vet didn't even know. Every time I took him to the vet he'd never give me a poop to take and since the vet said he was one of the healthiest looking chams he's ever seen I didn't worry about the fecal too much. Well finally Luie gave me a poop for a fecal and he was loaded with coccidia which is like the worse parasite they can get and highly contagious and the clean up for it was awful. I will now over night him poop for fecals if they don't give me one when they go for their regular 6 month check up's or if I can get a fresh poop to take to a reptile show where he's doing fecals. Check ups and fecals are very important and chams can get coccidia just from eating a feeder. They can also catch something from just being around your other chams and sometimes they can catch things from the air and if you ever allow them to share cages or trees they can catch even more stuff and chams really go down fast. By the time they show a sign of sickness it can be too late for a vet visit.
 

eisentrauti

Avid Member
But this is written down in every book about chameleons probably even in "the chameleon handbook". So if sb isnt interested in reading books or homepages before purchasing an animal we can just have pity with the poor animal not with the human
 

Dez

Chamalot Chameleons
Sorry to say but if sb doesnt notice that closed eyes are unnormal for a diurnal animal the chances for the animal are very low to get external help before its too late...
The point of my post was to illustrate that closed eyes during the day can be a very serious thing.

Somebody new to chameleons may have a cham that closes their eyes in the afternoon but they think:

"well he opens his eyes again when I come near the cage....I have only seen him with his eyes closed a few times... he looks healthy he is probably fine..I 'll wait and see how it goes."

Then the next thing they know the cham has lost weight and has sunken eyes and is very weak.

The first symptom usually is closing eyes in the day... so it should be taken seriously
 

Dez

Chamalot Chameleons
Dez, I certainly hope he will be ok. Keep us posted. I think you have made a great point here. So many times the chams look gorgeous and act fine and then just get sick and die within 24 hours. Parasites can do this to them. Luie had coccidia a couple of years ago and the vet didn't even know. Every time I took him to the vet he'd never give me a poop to take and since the vet said he was one of the healthiest looking chams he's ever seen I didn't worry about the fecal too much. Well finally Luie gave me a poop for a fecal and he was loaded with coccidia which is like the worse parasite they can get and highly contagious and the clean up for it was awful. I will now over night him poop for fecals if they don't give me one when they go for their regular 6 month check up's or if I can get a fresh poop to take to a reptile show where he's doing fecals. Check ups and fecals are very important and chams can get coccidia just from eating a feeder. They can also catch something from just being around your other chams and sometimes they can catch things from the air and if you ever allow them to share cages or trees they can catch even more stuff and chams really go down fast. By the time they show a sign of sickness it can be too late for a vet visit.
When I took him to the vet the first thing the vet said was he looked good and alert! (This was before the examination started)
He said most chameleons that come through his office are young and are in really bad shape because people don't realizes somethings wrong till its too late..
 

Cham Fan

New Member
The point of my post was to illustrate that closed eyes during the day can be a very serious thing.

Somebody new to chameleons may have a cham that closes their eyes in the afternoon but they think:

"well he opens his eyes again when I come near the cage....I have only seen him with his eyes closed a few times... he looks healthy he is probably fine..I 'll wait and see how it goes."

Then the next thing they know the cham has lost weight and has sunken eyes and is very weak.

The first symptom usually is closing eyes in the day... so it should be taken seriously
I am very new to chams (don't own one... yet :) ) and I had no idea that closed eyes was a trouble sign. I would have thought exactly that^^^ I haven't seen anything in the multitude of caresheets I've read but have seen it mentioned a couple times here on the forum (THANKS GUYS). I work with dogs for a living, and one of the first things I always ask my clients is has there been a change in attitude/behavior such as eating and sleep patterns so it makes perfect sense. Then again all my friends on my leo forum keep reminding me to stop comparing mammals to herps, which I'm tying to do but I often find myself falling back on my mammal knowledge to try and figure things out.

Being able to recognize early symptoms is crucial in any care wheter it's herp or mammal so I at least appreciate this thread for what it has to offer :)
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
This is a thread that is so repetitive to most of us. However you are completely correct, this is something that new people need to be reminded of. There is no substitute for knowing and watching your chameleon. Excellent thread.
 
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