Worried - Cham leaning a lot, not moving

RazziS

New Member
Hi all,

Hoping to get some ideas about what could be wrong with my boy. He's been very happy, active, and healthy. Yesterday he seemed a bit off. He only ate 2 of his 10 roaches, and he hardly moved all day, sort of just hanging his head and staying on his basking branch. My wife noticed a fresh dropping that looked off - urate was very runny. Figured he just had an off day.

Today he is acting very unlike himself. He's been in his basking spot all day, but heavily leaning to one side. When we first noticed, I went inside to check and he didn't seem to care I was eye level and close to him. He eventually stood up slowly and puffed up a bit and showed some color, which was good to see, but after I left he was quick to be leaning on his side again with dark colors.

I went to feed him (he's very good with hand feeding from a cup) and he stood to take a roach, then was back to leaning again while it was in his mouth. He stayed like that for a long time and eventually ate it. After awhile he ate some more from the cup (I placed in his enclosure and left) but just went back to leaning. His eyes have been open and he seems very alert - but not a lot of movement and he's stayed pretty dark.

We're pretty worried about him. In a panic I tried to get an emergency vet visit, but no one can see him today. We have a drop-off appointment tomorrow.

In the meantime I'm just hoping for some probable answers, or any suggestions on how to help. Does it look/sound like he's showing any signs of MBD? Are we overreacting?

Thanks for reading.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon- The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
    • Panther, male, 10 months, have had him for 6 months
  • Handling- How often do you handle your chameleon?
    • Only very recently he has climbed on us to allow hand feeding; maybe the past 1-2 months. He hasn't ever fully come out for an extended amount of time
  • Feeding- What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    • Alternate between Dubia Roaches and BSFL - 10 small items a day. Dubia are gut-loaded with carrots/collard greens/kale
  • Supplements- What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
    • Repashy Calcium Plus when fed Dubias - 4-5 times a week
  • Watering- What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
    • MistKing schedule is currently - 2:30AM/2 min, 7:30AM/4 min, 11:30AM/4 min, 2:30PM/2 min, 5:30PM/2 min, 8:30PM/4 min
  • Fecal Description- Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
    • These have always looked super healthy; yesterday he had one where the poop looked a bit off, and the urate was very runny. Has not been tested
  • History- Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
    • Nothing notable; has always seemed to be a happy, active, healthy boy

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type- Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
    • Dragon Strand Tall Hybrid 24x24x48
  • Lighting- What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
    • Fluker clamp/100W incandescent, (2) T5 HO single light strips - UVB Arcadia 6% T5 & 6400K daylight
      • UVB: 8AM - 8PM
      • Daylight: 8:30AM-7:30PM
      • Basking: 9AM-7PM
  • Temperature- What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
    • Controlling temp with Herpstat 2 - temp set at 86 degrees; probe is placed at basking branch
  • Humidity- What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
    • Measuring humidity with Herpstat humidity probe at basking area + Govee hygrometer in bottom 1/3 of enclosure; have MistKing and fogger (night time) to work with for maintaining levels. Average 40% at his basking site and 70% in bottom 1/3. It gets to around 85% overnight.
  • Plants- Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
    • Yes, 3 golden pothos
  • Placement- Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
    • Our bedroom, clear of fans/vents/high traffic, top of enclosure is 7ft from floor
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
    • Las Vegas, NV
 

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RazziS

New Member
Are you urge you thermometer is working properly?
He's not shoeing a preference to lay over on one side...he looks like he slopes to either side...right?
The Herpstat regulates the temp and keeps it at 86, although I can't say I've verified. I will buy something to double check that.

Yeah, he is leaning to both sides. Or he's been hanging his head over the branch. Overall he seems like he can't hold himself up? Unless he's just choosing not to... for whatever reason. I attached another photo - this is how he is now.
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
What is your total distance from the bottom of the uvb fixture to a branch directly below it?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
It's about 10 inches - 3 from the fixture to the top of the enclosure, and 7 from the enclosure to the branch.
ok so that would still be within acceptable UVI range... More like a 2 UVI...

If you open the door and put your hand in does he pull himself straight up off the branch? Because they will lean when basking and this is normal. But if he is not fully supporting his weight then something is off.
 

RazziS

New Member
ok so that would still be within acceptable UVI range... More like a 2 UVI...

If you open the door and put your hand in does he pull himself straight up off the branch? Because they will lean when basking and this is normal. But if he is not fully supporting his weight then something is off.
He does a bit, but it takes him a really long time. Like he doesn't pull away until I'm close enough to touch him. Usually he's pretty quick to pull away. I've seen him lean before while basking, and this feels completely different. He just looks/acts so droopy

Would you say it's best to go tomorrow? I'm a bit worried because they're completely booked and said we'd have to just drop him off and the vet will see him between other appointments. There's another vet I'd prefer to take him to, but they couldn't get him in today or tomorrow. I was considering calling again to see about next week. Would appreciate any thoughts! Hard to see past the worried chameleon mom feelings haha.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
He does a bit, but it takes him a really long time. Like he doesn't pull away until I'm close enough to touch him. Usually he's pretty quick to pull away. I've seen him lean before while basking, and this feels completely different. He just looks/acts so droopy

Would you say it's best to go tomorrow? I'm a bit worried because they're completely booked and said we'd have to just drop him off and the vet will see him between other appointments. There's another vet I'd prefer to take him to, but they couldn't get him in today or tomorrow. I was considering calling again to see about next week. Would appreciate any thoughts! Hard to see past the worried chameleon mom feelings haha.
Ok.... so here is the thing... The repashy calcium plus may be a bit much for him to handle. Not all chams do well on it.

The runny fecal would be a reason to get a fecal test done to rule out parasites... Just because his primary diet is harder bodied items so we would expect it to be more firm.

With the herpstat being set at 86. I am guessing you have the probe tied in at the branch below the heat... So where he rises up is going to be warmer. He may be leaning more because he is too warm.

Not being interested in food... Does not surprise me since there is not alot of variety in his diet. Panthers can get very picky with feeders and not eat as much because of it.

Your husbandry is basically on point though. Visually he looks really good... He is holding on to the branches with all of his feet as well.

So I would say unless this vet has chameleon experience or is a reptile vet then wait and go to one that is. Just because a vet that is not familiar with these guys can make things worse rather then better.
 

RazziS

New Member
Ok.... so here is the thing... The repashy calcium plus may be a bit much for him to handle. Not all chams do well on it.

The runny fecal would be a reason to get a fecal test done to rule out parasites... Just because his primary diet is harder bodied items so we would expect it to be more firm.

With the herpstat being set at 86. I am guessing you have the probe tied in at the branch below the heat... So where he rises up is going to be warmer. He may be leaning more because he is too warm.

Not being interested in food... Does not surprise me since there is not alot of variety in his diet. Panthers can get very picky with feeders and not eat as much because of it.

Your husbandry is basically on point though. Visually he looks really good... He is holding on to the branches with all of his feet as well.

So I would say unless this vet has chameleon experience or is a reptile vet then wait and go to one that is. Just because a vet that is not familiar with these guys can make things worse rather then better.
Is there an alternative you recommend over the Repashy?

We will try switching up his diet. Good news is I called the other vet and they apparently changed their minds and can take him tomorrow! So we will do that and see what they say. I found them through the ARAV website.

Thank you so much for your help @Beman! Your posts were one of my main sources of info while we were dialing in our husbandry. We really appreciate you taking the time :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Is there an alternative you recommend over the Repashy?

We will try switching up his diet. Good news is I called the other vet and they apparently changed their minds and can take him tomorrow! So we will do that and see what they say. I found them through the ARAV website.

Thank you so much for your help @Beman! Your posts were one of my main sources of info while we were dialing in our husbandry. We really appreciate you taking the time :)
Awww thanks hun... that means a lot to me ❤️

Ok so the Repashy is ok but use it two times a month only say the 1st and the 15th. Then get this repashy calcium without D3. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3BKCGA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You would use this at every feeding except when you use the other one 2 times a month.

The issue is that the repashy Calcium plus has higher levels of vitamin A and D3... These are fat soluble so they do not leave the system fast like water soluble ones. So they store them in their tissues and basically can overdose. This supplement all the time with the T5 Lighting is overkill. It was great when we used T8 lighting due to the need for more D3. But now with T5 lighting and the output abilities of it you do not need the additional D3 supplementation.
It will take a month or two for the fat soluble ones to decrease in his system.

If you can get a fresh fecal take that in with you for them to test since your taking him anyways. :)
 
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