My veiled chameleon looks like she has bumps on one sode of her ribs that I've never noticed before. Could they be

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Customer: My veiled chameleon looks like she has bumps on one sode of her ribs that I've never noticed before. Could they be broken?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. When did you first notice the bumps? Has the chameleon been licking or rubbing the skin?
Customer: no licking or rubbing. I noticed it this morning she has fallen in her cage a couple times due to a few of her front claws coming off due to screen climbing in the cage... she never appears to be hurt though
JA: And what's the chameleon's name and age?
Customer: Wanda and shes about 6 months
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: No. Other than the bumps, she seems fine
Answered by Anna in 9 mins 2 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,022 satisfied customers

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

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with over 20 years of experience keeping reptiles. I’m sorry to hear about Wanda’s problem.Some additional information may help me determine the best steps for you to take.

Does Wanda seem to have trouble climbing? When she falls, is it off her branches or off the screen?

How often do you give her a calcium supplement?

Have you seen the missing nails hooked to the screen?

What brand of UVB light do you have? Does it sit on top of a screen?

Thank you.

Customer
Hello. She does not appear to have any trouble climbing, but she has really picked up on screen climbing, as she has really been wanting to spend time outside of her cage. I use the zoo med tropical lighting combo with the 5.0 uvb and a 100 watt heat light. It does sit on the screen or very close to the screen.
Customer
Her claws are not on the screen, but i did notice when they started to break off. However, they are gone now and must have fallen somewhere in the cage
Customer
I use the calcium powder with and without D3. D3 a few times a month...usually about 80% of her crickets are dusted.
Customer
Then I use the multi vitamin couple times a month
Customer
Crickets are gut loaded with flukers complete cricket diet and quencher

Thank you for getting back to me. I’m going to go to work on some information for you now, and will be back as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Customer
No problem. Thank you

You’re welcome, thank you for waiting. The bumps on Wanda’s ribs, the fact that her claws have fallen off, and her falls, point to the possibility of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). MBD is caused by insufficient calcium and/or UVB rays. In this case, it is probably both.

I can tell you have been trying hard to take excellent care of Wanda, but I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store. Most people do. While we should be able to rely on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After months of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Some of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why Wanda is having some trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep her healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong.

When a UVB is placed on top of a screen, only half the rays get through to the chameleon. While chameleons do only need a 5.0 light, such a light on top of a screen is only providing 2.5 % UVB. That’s when it’s new. After a few months, only about 1% gets through. For that reason, when a light is on top of a screen, we need a light with a 10% output. I recommend the Reptisun 10.0. Because the output diminishes with time, the lights need to be replaced every 6 months. UVB is invisible to our eyes. The lights will continue to emit visible light for years after no UVB is given off.

I’m going to give you this much now, but will be back with more.

Wanda also needs calcium much more often. As a baby, her crickets should have been dusted every day. As an adult, it should be every other day. It’s best to use calcium without D3 most of the time. D3 can be overdosed and cause kidney damage if it given too often. I would only use the calcium with D3 once a week, and plain calcium on the other days. Even though Wanda can be on the adult schedule at this age, I would provide calcium every day for the next several weeks to make up for the deficiency. Leave her new UVB light on for 12 to 14 hours per day.

Her nails should not come off from climbing on the screen. Strong, healthy nails would be more likely to hold her in place on the screen. When a chameleon falls, it is most likely due to weakness in the legs. The bumps on her ribs are probably malformed bones. It’s good that they don’t seem to hurt her. MBD can be reversed with adequate UVB and calcium. It can take weeks to months to see a difference, but healthy new nails should grow in, and she should stop falling. The bumps on her ribs may be permanent.

Screen climbing is not a good habit for Wanda to get into. It may be hard to break. A bigger cage may help. But with the present cage or a larger one, try to increase climbing places with branches and live plants to explore. That may help to keep her off the screen.

As she recovers, you’ll want to make sure everything in her environment is optimal. I’m going to give you a link to a comprehensive article on veiled chameleons that was originally published in Reptiles Magazine.

http://www.kingsnake.com/rockymountain/RMHPages/RMHveiled.htm

It has several pages, and the information is reliable. If you have more concerns, just let me know. I’m glad to help. I hope Wanda will be fine.

Customer
Thank you very much! I just ran to the store to pick up the 10.0 and I just switched out the bulbs. She looks happier already! I will also follow your advice on calcium. Thank you for all of the support!

You’re very welcome. I hope she’ll recover quickly.

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Anna
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