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Anna , Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 10992
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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What would a good general antibiotic be which can be used for

Resolved Question:

What would a good general antibiotic be which can be used for a variety of eye infections?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 6 years ago.

There is no over-the-counter antibiotic that is effective. If you'll give me some more information, I may be able to offer yous oem otehr dieas.

What type of reptile do you have?

What are his symptoms?

What substrate do you use on the cage floor?

What types of lighting and heating equipment do you have?

What do you feed? Any supplements?

Thank you.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I was babysitting the Chameleon. The owner had given me a tube of antibiotic cream because his pet often developed eye infections. Unfortunately, I misplaced the tube and the owner did not recall the name. I was hoping to be ably to buy a medicine online.

He eats crickets dusted with supplement powder. He has a heat light and broad spectrum lamp. His eyes are both closed. We got him to eat some wax worms today by coaxing him. He is not on a substrate, we have a screen cage.

I really don't have the money to go to a vet. Unfortunately, I am disabled and am on disability retirement. I don't have the extra money that a visit would cost. Down here on Long Island vets are very expensive. I want to help the guy...And I don't want the Chameleon to suffer.
Expert:  Anna replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. Chances are good that the owner got the antibiotic from his/her vet. If it's possible for you to contact the owner, that's what I'd recommend. You can then find out where they got the antibiotic and arrange to pick up a replacement tube. Most pet owners tell the person babysitting their animal that they will cover vet visits if needed - there's no reason you should pay for a vet visit for someone else's pet.

If you can't contact the owner, I would buy some preservative-free saline solution (the kind made for contact lenses). Put a few drops in each eye several times a day. That won't cure the infection, but will at least soothe the eyes. You'll also want to make sure the temperatures are right for the chameleon. Being too cold can lead to infections. The ambient air temperature in the cage should be 80 to 90* F. That means the coldest part of the cage should be 80*F. There should be a warm basking area that is kept at 90-105*F. Digital probe thermometers are required for accurate measurements.

I hope you'll be able to contact the owner. Chameleons are very fragile, and any illness in them can quickly turn serious. Since the chameleon also is reluctant to eat, I'm concerned that something more than an eye infection may be going on. If the owner approves a vet visit, or you find another way to be able to see a vet, this site has a directory of reptile vets:

If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope the chameleon will be fine.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you very much, but nothing that was said was helpful. Everything that was mentioned I have already found in chameleon manuals or online. I wrote expecting to be told what the general antibiotic names were.

Going to the vet is not an option, as I indicated.

I have just spent my time unproductively and my chameleon is that much more weak.
Expert:  Anna replied 6 years ago.
I'm sorry that you're not happy, but I'm glad you expressed that so I can give you more information. First, the only eye antibiotic available online is terramycin. Here's a source:

I feel I must be honest with you. There is probably something more going on than an eye infection. An eye infection does not make a chameleon weak. Part of the problem may be that there is perhaps no UVB light. Check the broad-spectrum bulb to see if it specifically emits UVB. Without UVB, the chameleon will develop Metabolic Bone Disease, and die. Weakness can be a sign of MBD. Broad spectrum, full-spectrum, UV, UVA, DayGlo, and daylight bulbs are NOT the same thing. The light must say UVB. Also, UVB bulbs must be replaced every 6 months. After that, they still look fine, but they no longer produce enough UVB to do any good. Try to get a UVB bulb as soon as possible. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand. Also, be sure to check the temperatures in the cage. Wrong temperatures can result in serious illness.

I feel that without veterinary care, this chameleon's life may be in danger. I would hate to see that happen, so Im going to give you some first aid measures to take in hopes that they'll result in some improvement. Get some Pedialyte (made for human infants and available in discount stores and pharmacies). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 Pedialyte and 1/2 water. Soak the chameleon for 20 to 30 minutes. Supervise closely the entire time. Repeat this twice per day. Lizards can absorb fluids and electrolytes through their vents, so this will help with any dehydration that is present.

To get the chameleon to eat, try mixing some plain calcium powder with chicken baby food. Put a small dollup on the chameleon's snout. Many times, they will lick it off.

If financial aid would help you to see a vet, the following organizations offer that. Many offer to actually pay vet bills for qualifying people, while others have low-interest loans.

American Animal Hospital Association

Angels 4 Animals

Care Credit

God's Creatures Ministry



The Pet Fund

United Animal Nations

This site has links to more groups, but does include some of the above:

Here is a list of ideas for people who can't afford vet care:

I hope you'll get results with home remedies and the OTC terramycin.


Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 10992
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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