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Please Help My Poor Squishy :(

Discussion in 'Chameleons' started by mrussell, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. mrussell

    mrussell Member

    I've had my beautiful chameleon Squishy since Mother's day, and have taken very good care of him and love him dearly! Last night I got home and fed him, noticed he was laying on the floor of his terrarium (VERY unusual) he was purpleish brown and would not move, he had a feces coming out (very large for him). I took him to the vet and they thought he had passed away. They don't know what's wrong. He would not open his eyes or move at all except to open his mouth once every couple minutes. They tried giving him oxygen and a couple shots, which succeeded in making him green for a few moments. The vet said they could put him down, or wait to see if the shots took any effect. I took him home to see if he would get any better. This morning he opened his eyes and was looking around intently, but still the horrible color and no movement at all. :( I don't want to put him down if he will get better, I just don't know what's wrong. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this?

    Thank you,
  2. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    I am sorry that I can't really provide you with any real help, but I send best wishes and I hope he recovers. Can you do a rundown of his habitat currently? (temps substrate size etc)

    and what is he currently being fed?
  3. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Sorry but it sounds like improper husbandry methods have caught up with him.
  4. mrussell

    mrussell Member

    Thank you so much. He has a glass terrarium with a mesh top, 3 trees that line the back of the tank spreading from the "cool area" (about 70 - 75 degrees) to the "hot area" (about 95 - 100 degrees) I have an automatic dripper at the top of the tank that drips onto one of the leaves of the tree on the cool side and catches into a bowl at the bottom. a heat lamp (on top of the tank is on for about 12 hours a day) and heating pad (under the tank on all the time) on the hot side. The tank is misted 2 - 3 times daily, and the humidity is about 40% I do not know the exact size of the terrarium offhand, but he has tons of room. I feed him about 5 small crickets daily and about 20 small mealworm throughout the week (all dusted with protein powder) I only handle him when I need to remove him from the tank to clean it.
  5. mrussell

    mrussell Member

    :( I sure hope that's not it. I would be even more devastated to know that I caused this, can you read what I posted about the care I was providing and let me know what I've done wrong? I followed the care sheet I was given. He was just a baby (though I don't know his exact age) He was perfect for the entire time I had him, no warning signs at all, then one day he was like this. The vet said it could be that he was constipated and when he finally did go it tore the lining of his colon and got into his bloodstream (he thought this because Squishy has feces "stuck" hanging out of his bottom. I don't know much about chameleons besides the reading that I've done, but to me it seems like if that was the case, some blood would be present with the stool, but what do I know. If I have done something wrong, please be as blunt as you would like, I just want him to be better, or at least not make the same mistake again. Thank you!
  6. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Chameleons need a screen enclosure with plenty of ventilation, a glass tank with a screen top will not do. Also 40% humidity is a bit low, and I'm sure 100 degree heat is too hot.
  7. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    I don't know a lot about chameleons, but I don't think a glass terrarium is good for them. If they see their reflection they can get very stressed out and the chronic stress could kill them after a while. The best are the screen-type or mesh enclosures.
    Do you have a UVB lamp? I am pretty sure that chameleons require UVB radiation to facilitate their calcium metabolic pathways.
    Chameleons don't drink out of bowls and standing water is just a place for bacteria to grow so you should clean out that water bowl every day.
    Good luck with him! I hope he gets better.
  8. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Definitely UVB is required for them. The constipation was likely caused by dehydration and I agree that 40% humidity is much too low.
    That's where a lot of people fail with Chams. I myself used to have a pair a while back and lost them due to not using UVb and not enough humidity.
  9. mrussell

    mrussell Member

    @kriminaal first, thank you! yes he does have a light but I am not positive if it is UVB, I will check asap. @justor thank you! I did not know they made mesh enclosures!!! Wouldn't that let out all the humidity? (I live in a very dry desert - today it is 116 degrees out and no humidity) @blackjack Thank you also! I understand that they do not drink out of bowls, I only have the bowl there to catch the water that it dripping, so it doesn't flood the tank and it is cleaned when full (about 2 times a day)

    I wish I would have come to this site before getting Squishy :( I followed everything according to the sheet (even the temperatures and humidity) What is the correct temp and humidity?

    I have one more question, he is still laying down on the floor of his terrarium, when he opens his mouth should I try to put a drop of water in his mouth? I don't want him to get dehydrated on top of everything else. :( Thank you all so much again, your help and kind words help more than you know!
  10. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Dilute some gatorade 1:1 with water and drip that in his mouth.
  11. mrussell

    mrussell Member

    Thank you so much
  12. CentriRitanni

    CentriRitanni Elite Member

    I am not a cham expert, but I know when I got my dragon it was too emaciated and blind to eat, so I soaked it in a pedialite solution. With that in mind, I found this for you:

    Chameleon's Owners Manual - Preventing Problems
    It says:

    Causes: Inappropriate delivery of water is the most common cause of dehydration.
    Symptoms: Signs of low-level dehydration are easy to miss! In advanced cases, it can lead to loss of appetite, lethargy, sunken eyes/cheeks, wrinkled skin, and eventual death. A chameleon desperate for water may be seen trying to lick water off the ground.
    Treatment: For a mild case, orally administer electrolyte solution (Pedialyte). You can also soak your chameleon in this (note, once opened the container must be used with in 24 hours!). You should also heavily mist the enclosure and alter your water system. For advanced cases, your vet can inject saline solution subcutaneous.
    Prevention: Correct husbandry! Kidney Failure; is the most common cause of death in captive chameleons. Probably a result of a general lack of overall quality of water delivery systems provided to captive chameleons. Kidney disease is detected through diagnostic blood tests.

    You might read over that site, as well. It has a lot of information that your vet just might not have.

    Best of luck.
  13. mrussell

    mrussell Member

    Thanks so much for the info!!! He didn't look dehydrated at all, the vet said the skin would be wrinkled (as you mentioned above) and I regularly say him drink water (though I don't know how much they need to drink in order to not be dehydrated) I will definatly look into this! The vet did give him a shot to "rehydrate him just in case" and this made his bring green momentarilly but didn't change anything :( Thank you again, I will try this and hope to god it works!!!
  14. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Chams most often drink from dripping water or from being sprayed. You should spray your cham once a day atleast. Helps to keep their humidity up and they usually drink from the water rolling down into their mouth. UVB is a must! 12 hour cycle. Why are you giving him protein powder? They should be using a multi vitamin once or twice a mounth, a calcium powder without D3 every other day and a calcium powder with D3 also a couple of times a month. They are high maintenece creatures and require work everyday.

    Good luck with your little guy, hope he recovers.
  15. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    You need a fogger to maintain humidity in an all screen enclosure.
  16. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Here is an article on making your own drip watering system.
    Drip Watering System

    Sending healing thoughts your way
  17. CentriRitanni

    CentriRitanni Elite Member

    Even if he isn't dehydrated, it's a good way to get him some nutrients, so I would give it a shot. It's not detrimental at all, so it's worth trying at least for the sake of knowing you did everything you could.
  18. mrussell

    mrussell Member

    Thanks everyone, I checked and he did have a UVB bulb, I got his terrarium up to 70% humidity and the temp down to 90, I gave him diluted pedialite yesterday (after doublechecking with my vet) and his color went back to green and he started to move his mouth more, and I was very hopeful that is morning he would come back, but unfortunately he passed away this morning :( I appreciate everything you all have said, thank you for trying!
  19. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    That's too bad. Unfortunately that's the most people learn in the reptile hobby. From mistakes, myself included too many times in the past.
    Thanks for trying your best at the end though.
  20. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Sorry to hear that he passed away!

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