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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11061
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My chameleon has gular edema. I took her to the vet and they

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My chameleon has gular edema. I took her to the vet and they drew blood. THe blood results came back with high levels in the liver and kidneys and also sulfuric acid (?) My vet (I don't like) says there is nothing that can be done and she should just be put down. But me as the owner of my chameleon wants to do everything possible to try and save her. Is there anything that can be done to help her?? She still has a strong grip and will, so I don't just want to give up. Any suggestions would be appreciated.. Thank you,

Some additional information will be useful.

Did the vet give you a cause for the problem?

Was the vet you saw a reptile specialist?

In what state do you live?

What do you feed? Any supplements? If so, brand names?

What temperatures do you maintain on the warm and cool sides of the cage?

How is your chameleon's appetite?

Energy level?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The vet is an exotic specialist, but she did not have an answer as to what has caused this. I live in Ontario, Canada. Her cage temp is about 86f in the warmer and 80f in the cooler area. The humidity is usually between 90-95%. I do dust her crickets with reptivite. She is not able to eat because the edema is so bad she can barely swallow, her eyes are bulging (can't see), they are swollen shut basically. She doesn't move much because she can't see, but her grip is still very strong. I have had problems with this vet before and don't really trust her judment. So that is why I am asking you.
Thank you,
Thank you. What variety of chameleon do you have - veiled, Jackson's, etc.?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX are several different causes of gular edema in chameleons. It is a common condition in them. Too much vitamin A supplementation is the most frequent cause. It is recommended to dust crickets and other prey with only plain calcium (no vitamin D3) every day, and to give a multiple vitamin, such as Reptivite, only once every other week. If the excessive vitamin A is removed early in the course of the problem recovery is likely. When the excessive supplementation continues damage to the kidneys and liver occurs, and recovery is more difficult, though not impossible.

Dehydration can also be a factor. I'll give you a first aid measure to take. Get an electrolyte solution (such as Pedialyte or Lectaid) and prepare a shallow warm bath consisting of 1/2 electrolyte and 1/2 warm water. Soak your chameleon twice per day for 20 to 30 minutes each time. There are other measures you can take at home, but most of them involve feeding. since your chameleon cannot eat, you won't be able to implement those. I recommend that you read the following post. It has extensive information from a person who cured her chameleon that had gular edema.

For some other causes of gular edema, there are surgical and medical solutions. I don't think your present vet has explored all the options. You need a vet who is willing to work more closely with you to figure out exactly what is wrong and what could be done about it. Your chameleon may also need emergency support, such as fluids and /or IV nourishment. This page has an extensive list of reptile vets in Ontario:

Perhaps you can make a few phone calls and find one who is better able to work with you. There is also the veterinary teaching hospital at the University of Ontario. Teaching hospitals usually have the latest information and the best diagnostic eqiuipment available. If it's possible for you to go there, it would be your best choice. Here is their web site:

The phone number for the small animal clinic is(NNN) NNN-NNNN

I fthis were my chameleon, I would try to find a more suitable vet right away, and also begin the electrolyte soaks. In the end, it may still turn out that nothing can be done, but at least you'll know you tried. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your chameleon will recover.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much for all of your help. I actually had already read the article about the cham with gular edema that was cured. I went to the vets (just got back) because I had scheduled an appointment to have her euthanized, but I don't think she is ready to give up, so I'm not either. I told my vet that I don't want to put her down and instead do whatever we can to make her better. She ended up giving me some baytril, that I have to give her daily, injected some fluids under her skin to stop dehydration, and also some diaretics. On the way home Leona (cham) had a poop and pee, so I am very excited about that. I am going to try and feed her some crushed cricket and critical care in a little bit. It does appear that the swelling is coming down a little bit from last night, so I have some hope even though my vet really doesn't. This was the 3rd time that this vet clinic has told me to just put the animal down and buy a new one! Anyways, I'm rambling because I'm happy that we are doing something for I will stop now though, I just wanted to make sure that I thanked you, and thought that you may like to know what was done so that maybe it will help someone in the future.
Thank you so very much!
I'm glad to hear that you're seeing some small improvements. When an animal is so ill, every little bit can give us hope. Thank you for sharing what was done. I suspected that she needed some fluids. If crushed crickets don't work for feeding, see if you can get a softer food, such as silk worms. I hope Leona will be fine.


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