We have a veiled chameleon with a front swollen limb that just hangs there. He gets around ok, but not using that limb.

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Customer: We have a veiled chameleon with a front swollen limb that just hangs there. He gets around ok, but not using that limb. Hes eating and looks healthy otherwise. What should we do?
Answered by Anna in 16 mins 9 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,022 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary


I'm sorry to hear your chameleon is having a problem. Some additional information will be helpful.

What brand and size of UVB light do you have?

Does the leg seem to be broken?

How long has it been this way?

Thank you.


the uvb light is Repti Glo exo terra reptiglo 5.0 UVB

he can move the leg and bend it, it has been this way 3 days

its seems like the hand is not grasping.


Thank you for getting back to me.Your chameleon has symptoms of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Unfortunately, the pet store sold you a UVB light that is nowhere near the potency a chameleon needs. You need one with an output of 10.0, rather than 5.0. The 5.0 lights produce almost no UVB at all after 3 months. The 10.0 are good for 6 months. Swollen and broken legs are one of the most common symptoms.Chameleons are particularly susceptible to MBD and even with a fresh UVB light, it's difficult for them to produce enough vitamin D without access to natural sunlight. It can take months to years for MBD to progress to the point where it causes symptoms, and once it does, it's very difficult to treat. MBD can result from too little vitamin D, lack of calcium, too much phosphorus, or an imbalance of these and other nutrients. The most common cause, however, is insufficient UVB light.You can read more about it at the following site:


The first thing to do is get a new UVB light. I recommend the Reptisun 10.0 in the straight tube style. Second, if your climate is mild enough to take him outdoors, carry him out for a supervised sunbath every day. Of course, if it's cold, you won't be able to do that. You should also make an appointment with a reptile vet. The vet can make a certain diagnosis of the problem, which of course is impossible with only an online description. Then, if MBD is present, the damage will have to be assessed, followed by proper treatment. If it turns out MBD is not the problem, the vet will be able to determine what is wrong (infection is another possibility), and treat that. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:


If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your chameleon will reach a full recovery.


Please be sure to rate only SMILEY FACES to complete this transaction, or, if you need more help, click on REPLY and let me know what else you need. Thank you.

Ok thank you! I will try this.


You're welcome. Seeing a vet will be the best option, but you do need the new, more powerful UVB light no matter what. Chameleons are among the most fragile of reptiles, and once a health problem develops, they seldom recover without veterinary help.

I'm hoping for a good outcome. If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.


If you found my information helpful, please remember to rate it with a smiley face. I don't receive credit or get paid until you do. Thank you very much.
Hi, I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going? MsAM
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