I have an almost 2 year old vield chameleon and recently he has refused to eat and is constantly keeping his eyes

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Customer: Hello,
JA: Hi there. What type of animal are we talking about?
Customer: I have an almost 2 year old vield chameleon and recently he has refused to eat and is constantly keeping his eyes closed
JA: I'll do all I can to help. When did you first notice this decrease in the chameleon's appetite? How is his energy level?
Customer: His energy is low and his appetite has been off for about 3 weeks
JA: Does the chameleon seem to be in any pain?
Customer: Not that I can tell. He is alot slower than usual and will somtimes tilt his head back and puff up, then relax again
JA: What's the chameleon's name?
Customer: Gus
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: He hasnt been drinking as much water
Answered by Dr. Michelle in 6 days 1 year ago
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Dr. Michelle
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5,922 satisfied customers

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

Hi! I'm Dr. Michelle and would like to help you with Gus.

I have 10 years of experience in small animals and pocket pets

All responses made outside the initial conversation may have a delay but will be answered within a 24 hour time period.

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I am sorry to hear that Gus is not feeling well with not eating and lethargy. There can be multiple reasons this is happening:

-Husbandry problems

-Food burn out for lack of variety of foods

-Over feeding

-Hepatic lipidosis which is a liver disease

-Infection

-Intestinal parasites

-Metabolic bone disease due to nutritional hyperparthyrodism or renal hyperparathyroidism

With chameleons that are not eating and lethargic, I do recommend examination by a reptile veterinarian to help determine the underlying cause. For at home supportive care, I recommend:

-Soaking in warm water for 30 minutes a day. This helps with dehydration

-Make sure husbandry is correct for Gus:

Housing

Housing size (length x width x height)

Large chameleon (12–24” [30–60 cm] length): 2 x 2 x 4 feet (60 x 60 x 120 cm)

Medium chameleon (6–12” [15–30 cm] length): 1.5 x 1.5 x 2.5 feet (45 x 45 x 75 cm)

Small chameleon (<6” [<15 cm] length): 1 x 1 x 2 feet (30 x 30 x 60 cm)

Free-ranging chameleons are usually territorial and prefer to live separately.

To avoid stress and predisposition to illness in captivity, two or more chameleons should not be housed in the same enclosure or within visual range.

Glass or plastic aquariums are not recommended because the internal reflection from glass may stress these solitary reptiles, and the ventilation is not sufficient to prevent eye, skin or respiratory infection.

The ideal enclosure is constructed from plastic-coated wire mesh (½ x ½ inches or ½ x 1 inches [1.2 x 2.4 cm]) with wood or metal framing. The large mesh provides good ventilation and protection.

Aluminum window screening should be avoided for adult chameleons due to the potential risk of damage to claws or toes.

The enclosure bottom may be covered with indoor/outdoor carpeting but should be free of other substrate to prevent accidental ingestion and subsequent impaction of the chameleon’s gastrointestinal system.

Several trees, plants, branches or even rope should be added to the enclosure to provide optimal climbing areas. Easy access to water, food and basking sites should be available.

Temperature

The tolerated ambient temperatures for lowland chameleon species range from 65–95°F (18–35°C).

Montane species need cooler temperatures.

A temperature drop of 10–15°F (6–9°C) at night is ideal.

A basking spot should provide a 5–10°F (3–6°C) increase in temperature and may be provided with a spotlight placed above the enclosure.

The temperature gradients may be monitored with a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer and a remote sensor probe on the side of the cage.

Lighting

Chameleons need access to unfiltered sunlight for at least several hours a week.

A full-spectrum, daylight fluorescent light that emits UV-A and UV-B radiation for lighting and an incandescent light bulb (60–100 watt) for the basking site should be included for indoor cages.

Water/Humidity

Free-ranging chameleons drink morning dewdrops and raindrops that collect on leaves or surfaces. The best way to provide this natural means of a water source is to mist or spray the cage plants 2–4 times a day.

Alternatives for dispensing water include: medical IV bag set to a slow drip, plastic cup with a pinhole in the bottom, or commercial reptile water drippers.

Humidity levels should be 40–90%. Humidity can be enhanced with a humidifier or greenhouse misting system.

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