Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

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Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:05 pm

Hi! I will be providing a home for a female veiled Chameleon whose family is moving to Washington state on Feb. 25. This morning, they found her on the bottom of her enclosure looking gray. They took her to an exotic animal vet (Dr. Minson is out of town until Tuesday, and his office referred them to Dr. Neel), who determined that the cham is egg bound but too calcium deficient to lay her eggs. The vet told them that their UVB bulb had probably quit emitting UV even though it still lights up.

In light of their upcoming move, they were told they had only one option if I weren't still willing to take the chameleon--put her down--which greatly upset the 12-year-old daughter whose pet this is. Her mother called me, told me what the vet had said, and without telling me their only other option was to put the chameleon down, asked if I was still willing to take her. I said yes, as long as they know I can only do my best to keep her alive and as long as they teach me how to take care of her and give her whatever the vet says she needs.

So . . . the cham (Lea) is being given a calcium shot and will be sent home with calcium drops. We've rescheduled Lea's move to our house from today to next weekend. Tuesday I'll go to the family's house to meet Lea and learn how to care for her.

However, I'd really like ANY suggestions anyone has to offer! TIPS, please!!

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:19 am

Hi Sandy,

Egg binding has killed many a herp.

In addition to making sure Lea stays warm and hydrated, if it's not too late and if she isn't too weak, I'd

suggest frequent, gentle handling.

Get her out and let her climb around a lot on your hands and arms.

Frequent, gentle exercise is a very effective treatment for egg bound herps, IF it's

not too late.

However, if Lea was down on the bottom of her cage and gray in color, it may be too late.

I'm assuming the vet thought she was too weak to surgically remove the eggs ?

Good luck.

I hope Lea makes it.

On a side note.

I always recommend to people who ask me that they get new UVB lights at least every year

because UVB lights quit emitting a sufficient amount of UVB long before they burn out.

Most of the research I've done supports this.

Bryan at AA has a little device that will measure UV output for you.

Additional thought (post)...........

Be sure Lea is provided with an appropriate place to lay her eggs.

Herps have been known to retain their eggs if they can't find an acceptable place to lay.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:03 am

Thanks, Larry! The Bradshaws (the family that is rehoming Lea) still have her, as I felt their daughter would be happier if she could see that Lea is improving before giving her to me; in addition, they have to give Lea calcium drops, and I felt Lea would be less stressed by them giving them to her than a complete stranger doing it, at least while she's so weak. They are definitely seeing improvement and are much relieved. I don't know whether surgery was even raised as a possibility. I do know the vet told them to provide a different substrate for laying (they were using bark alone; now they've given her some sand). I don't know a whole lot about those particular conditions. They have had Lea for a little over a year, so that explains why their UVB is definitely past its prime. Good knowledge for me to have.

I know that Lea has not been properly housed, as they read an older cham book that recommended a glass tank; not only that, but it's only 18 x 18 x 18!!!! I am ordering a 24 x 24 x 48 screen cage for her and will move her after she adjusts to our house a bit, hopefully within a month, but I'll need a little time to get it set up with live vegetation, etc. Her family hadn't provided any live vegetation, either, either for climbing or eating, so Lea has been fairly deprived even though they thought they did a lot of research before getting her. Sad The mom was really surprised when the vet told them Lea needed vegetation to eat to help boost her calcium levels. I think all she's been fed while with them is crickets. The mom described their gut-loading and dusting regimen, because she was surprised that Lea could be calcium deficient despite all their efforts to ensure a high-calcium diet. She apparently thought that the UVB gave Lea calcium, too; I told her that the light helped Lea make D3 so she could metabolize the calcium she ingested, and that without the UVB, she couldn't make adequate D3 and, hence, couldn't properly metabolize the calcium from the crickets.

Seems I'll have my work cut out for me. On the other hand, the mom almost burst into tears when I told her I would still take Lea despite her health issues, and when she told me the vet had told them that their only other option was to put Lea down, I was really, REALLY glad I had said YES!! DH is glad, too; he said, "As far as I'm concerned, we're doing this for the daughter as much as for the chameleon!"

I will be going to their house tomorrow morning to meet Lea and learn how to give her the calcium drops. Then we'll move her into our house over the weekend.

I'm really glad that Bryan has a device that can measure UVB output. I asked DH, but he doesn't have such a device, though he thought someone in the physics department probably does. As we go up to AA biweekly for crickets, it will be easy to have the UVB bulb checked.

I guess I'm going to have to start doing Dubias, too . . . Rolling Eyes I knew something was going to force me to get over my phobia someday!

Did you know that my life is never boring? Laughing

Hugs!





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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:36 am

It sounds like Lea's future is looking brighter.

In answer to your last question ........... yes, I fgured that out some time ago. Razz Razz

By the way, you probably alrerady know this, but glass and even screen filters out some UVB.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:00 pm

Yep, but not all of it, fortunately. Thanks for all the helpful info; I may be back to pick your brain again soon!

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:43 pm

She has been digging in her paint bucket today; cross your fingers that she lays!

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:36 pm

Fingers and toes are crossed.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:19 am

Now I'm more confused . . .

this morning, I peeked in to see how Lea was doing. She was on the artificial vine that crosses the top of her bucket (arranged there for her to cling to if she was climbing up into the bucket or down out of the bucket). Nothing seemed to be going on, so I decided to spray her & her Schefflera, as they got sprayed only once yesterday in my effort to leave her alone to do her thing.

When I started spraying, she turned away--almost falling off the vine--and crawled down away from me/the spray. I could then see two eggs on the surface of the soil--no hole, just lying on top of the sand mix. Shocked It appeared she was trying to expel another egg, too, so I hurriedly closed the cage door, put the curtain back, and left. Arrow

Question I'm concerned . . . maybe she's just too weak to dig a hole but the new laying medium stimulated her to go ahead and lay????

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:19 am

I don't know for sure, but my GUESS is that your assumption is correct.

The egg laying medium you provided probably provided the stimilation

she needed to lay.

She may be too weak to dig a hole and cover the eggs up and / or the

medium might not be quite to her liking, but it was close enough to do

the trick.

As I'm sure you know, female herps frequently dig "test holes" before they

finally find a spot they're satisfied with.

She may not be physically able to dig one hole much less several.

I sure am glad she got the eggs out of her though.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:17 pm

Well, she hasn't finished, and I can't really tell how many she's laid at this point. I've seen four as of a couple of hours ago, but I'm trying not to disturb her--I don't want her to quit laying! Just praying she manages to lay ALL of them and can eat afterward.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:04 pm

Turns out Lea quit laying because she prolapsed her rectum during laying. I found her lying on the sand this a.m. with no new eggs visible, so I picked her up to check on her; that's when I found she had the prolapse. After researching this condition, I made the painful decision to have her put down.

I tried to call my own vet, but their line was busy, so I called another vet I know here locally and asked if she felt able to put Lea down. The answer was yes, so, I did not try calling Dr. Minson--that's around an hour drive or more for me, and as I was planning only to have her put to sleep, I didn't feel taking her to a herp vet was necessary.

Fortunate for Lea that I did it this way--the vet to whom I took her is my husband's research partner's wife, widow, actually, and she has decided to try to save Lea. I told her we cannot afford the surgery, but she insisted that she wants to do it and won't charge, so she will be operating today. She does a lot of exotics and feels she can do it.

The real question is whether Lea is strong enough to survive the surgery.

Contrary to what the other exotic animal vet said, Lea is NOT overweight; indeed, she is UNDERWEIGHT. I realized yesterday that I could see her ribs as she was turning away from me in the evening, which had me wondering about the "overweight" diagnosis, and Kerry (our friend/vet) agreed--Lea has NO fat reserves at all. So we don't know if she'll survive the surgery, but as Kerry pointed out, once she is anesthetized, she will be feeling no pain, and if it doesn't go well, they will give her a deeper dose then to humanely end her life.

I will keep you posted. Think good thoughts for Lea . . .


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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:10 pm

What a turn of events.

I hope everything works out for the best.....for Lea.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:21 pm

Me, too. Kerry said, "If she survives the surgery, she'll need extra care & nursing." Then she looked at me and said, "I know you can do it. I really want to do this; I don't want her to die!"

What do you do with such a vet?

Go with the flow . . .

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:31 pm

In answer to your question............be thankful you found her.

She sounds like a great vet.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:46 pm

Kerry just called. Lea actually was able to pass an egg before they were able to do the surgery, so they have given her water/dextrose water and are going to hold her for observation to see if she might be able to lay the rest by herself tonight without surgery. Then they can repair the prolapse.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:56 pm

That's great news.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Spider Woman on Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:12 pm

That's wonderful...hope she pulls through. It's like watching a suspense show and you have to wait a week for it to come back on to find out the ending, hope its a good one!!!!!

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Not looking good . . .

Post  Chu'Wuti on Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:46 pm

Wednesday night & Thursday, Lea laid 34 eggs, bringing her total to 39. Thursday, my son got her to eat one cricket, and the vet's staff got her to eat a mealworm. Friday, they got her to eat one cricket; Friday afternoon, she pooped a mostly undigested cricket. Not a good sign.

We brought her home for the weekend, as the clinic wouldn't have anyone there to spray her. Since coming home around 5 Friday, she hasn't laid anymore eggs, and she hasn't eaten anything voluntarily. So I began force-feeding her bug juice in hopes of jump-starting her system. I'm not very hopeful, though . . . She's very weak and clearly just wants to be left alone.

Crying or Very sad

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:15 pm

Thanks for the update.

That's A LOT of eggs.

I really hopes she makes it.

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Sad News

Post  Chu'Wuti on Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Last night when I force-fed Lea some bug juice, she wasn't very responsive, but this morning she gulped down about 1 ml--kept opening her mouth and swallowing! That made me feel somewhat more hopeful except for the fact that she hadn't laid any more eggs and we knew there were more, and the prolapse was looking worse, too. DH and I took her back to the vet before noon. Midday they tried again on the force-feeding, and she refused, and she was looking so thin and tired we were all really worried. My vet friend tried helping her lay more eggs with gentle manipulation (which had worked last week) and gave her a calcium injection.

However, this afternoon Lea died. Kerry did an autopsy and found Lea had 23 more eggs in her little body. Kerry said, "You would not believe how thin she was after the eggs were taken out--she was absolutely emaciated, and her bones are really soft." I asked whether I could have done anything differently to have helped her and she said, "No, you couldn't have done anything in two weeks time--this was the result of long-term bad husbandry. If she hadn't been egg bound, you might have been able to save her from the poor diet, but I don't think so."

So there we are, at the end of our less than two weeks with Lea the chameleon. I wish we could have saved her . . .

I really appreciate all the help and encouragement. DH and I think that sometime in the future we will get a chameleon of our own, perhaps a male (avoid problems with egg binding!) Jackson's, as my DH really likes the way they look with their horns. After all, we now have a big enclosure for a chameleon and have set up in a nice spot where we can keep the humidity up, provide sunshine (without overheating), have lots of plants . . . but for now we are pretty sad about Lea, as she really grabbed our hearts in the short time she spent with us.

Thanks again for helping us make the effort to save her.

Sandy

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Spider Woman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:39 pm

Oh, how sad. She had to be hurting. I can't believe how many eggs she had in her. What's normal?

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:46 pm

I'm really sorry to hear that.

Reviewing your posts, I totally agree with the vet.

There was nothing more you could have done and IMO you definitely

went the extra mile with her.

There are a lot of really cool chameleons, but Jackson's are my favorite also.

They remind me of miniature triceratops.

Take care.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Chu'Wuti on Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:01 pm

Robin:
Clutch size ranges from 27 to 80 eggs every 90 to 120 days. Females will lay their eggs 20 to 30 days after mating or 90 to 120 days after the last clutch.
(http://animal-world.com/encyclo/reptiles/lizards_chameleons/VeiledChameleon.php)

So an unmated female like Lea will generally have 3-4 clutches per year . . . laying is hard work, and it's hard on their bodies in a general sense as well, as it takes a lot of their energy and nutrients to make eggs. Lea just didn't have enough extra reserves to see the job through, unfortunately.

Larry, you & DH agree re the triceratops look of the Jackson's! They do look interesting. Not a critter I'd ever thought about getting, but now that we have the cage & equipment . . . it was all pretty expensive, and shipping things back would present a significant loss, so I guess we oughtta use it!

We also have an 18 x 18 x 24 Exo-Terra that could be used for something interesting once we get it cleaned up . . . guess I'll have to think about what!

Tomorrow I have to go to Kerry's clinic and pick up all the equipment we took up there . . . that will be a sad visit.

I need to think of something special to do for Kerry . . .


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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Snakeman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:11 pm

My compliments to Kerry.

She also went the extra mile with Lea.

She sounds like a great vet.

If you are considering getting a chameleon in the future, you might enjoy

reading "Masters of Disguise, A Natural History of Chameleons" by James Martin.

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Re: Calcium Deficient, Egg Bound Chameleon

Post  Spider Woman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:28 pm

I like the panthers and veiled but I already knew in the past I did not want a female because of the egg issues.

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