Hello and thanks for posting your question on JustAnswer.com. My name is***** and I have been a veterinarian for over 21 years, specializing in aquatics, reptiles, amphibians, avian and other exotic species. You may already be aware, but on this platform veterinarians can provide insight and advice, but as this is not considered a legal client-patient relationship, we are unable to prescribe medications, provide medical records or sign documents for your specific pet. For that you would need to make an in person visit with a local veterinarian. I am happy to chat with you via text but if you are interested in a phone call instead that is an option you can choose for an additional charge. In the meantime, I am putting together some questions and/or suggestions to help with your pet’s concern.
I am sorry to hear that your veiled chameleon Atria is having some eye issues.
There are a number of reasons that a chameleon might develop an eye problem, such as swelling, crusting, discoloration or keeping one or both eyes closed.
Causes might include trauma (bite or scratch from a tankmate, scratched cornea), foreign body (like dirt or sand) on the eye or under the lid, infection with parasites, bacteria, viruses, or mites, nutritional deficiency (Vitamins A or D), neoplasia (cancer), environmental problems (humidity too high or low, irritants in environment from waste or toxins, dehydration or difficulty shedding skin around eyes. Although the ear, mouth and eye are different anatomical structures, the proximity of the eye to either means that a problem inside the ear or mouth, such as an abscess, can sometimes cause the eye to protrude outwards and appear swollen.
-If it is caused by incomplete shed or dehydration, then misting your chameleon several times a day might help.
-Although more common in other types of reptiles, mites can infect chameleons. Mites will appear as brown, black or red dots on the skin and you may see white dots (eggs) as well.
-Scratches to the corneal can be painful and they will keep the eye closed due to discomfort. Infections can also cause the eye to close. If the eye is closed or crusted you can try to gently irrigate the eye with saline eyewash sold at a pharmacy (over-the-counter). Make sure it is just saline and not a medicated eye drop.
-Nutritional deficits such as hypovitaminosis A (too little vitamin A in the diet) can lead to changes in the tissue lining the eye causing swelling and eye closure. Feeding a balanced diet is important and supplementing a couple times a week with a multivitamin powder (usually mixed with calcium) that has vitamins A and D3 is recommended.
-Double check the tank humidity to ensure it is in the ideal range.
-Make sure the UVB bulb you have is appropriate for the enclosure size and depth. If the bulb is too strong, it may cause discomfort or even burning leading to closed eyes.
-Lastly make sure the chameleon’s enclosure is clean and well-maintained. A dusty or dirty enclosure can be irritating to their eyes.
Because similar signs can be caused by many different causes, for eye problems that persist, recur or cause discomfort to your pet, an ocular evaluation by a veterinarian experienced with reptiles is recommended. The veterinarian will examine your chameleon to find the source of the problem by looking in the mouth, nares (nostrils) and at the eye and ear. They will do a thorough eye exam with a special hand-held magnifying tool, an ophthalmoscope, and may also place a special stain into the animal’s eye to look for signs of damage to the cornea. They may need to do additional diagnostics like imaging or bloodwork. Treatment will depend upon what is found from examination and diagnostics.
Thanks for the photos btw, I can see he's keeping the eye mostly closed. There's not much else I can tell from the images (other than he's very handsome and I don't see any discharge, swelling or obvious discoloration of the small bit of the eye's surface I can see).
You can try gently irrigating the affected eye with a saline only eye wash, once to twice a day for a couple days, just in case it's some dirt or other irritant causing the problem. He probably won't like it very much, though, from personal experience. Just be gentle with the wash.
Humidity is very important and veiled chameleons need it to be a bit humid, at least 50% (50-60% is a good range).
You'd need to check the bottle, some are ok, others not so much. It's ok if they have a preservative and a lubricant (most saline eye washes do) but you don't want them to have an active medication (like Visine). If you let me know your brand of contact lens solution I can look up the ingredients.
He's rubbing because it's probably itching or irritation him. So good to try the eyewash. (Though itching or irritation doesn't necessarily rule out the other potential causes of eye problems.)
Chameleons do have a higher vitamin A requirement then some other reptiles, so supplementing with a multivitamin at least twice weekly is a good idea. I also recommend gut-loading your feeder insects for 24-48hours at least before feeding them out, this will help make them more nutritious. Something like:
Mazuri Better Bug Gut Loading Diet
Mazuri Hi Calcium Gut Loading Diet
Repashy SuperLoad Insect Gutload Formula
Thanks for the additional info, i can look it up to see.
Carrots are good sources of vitamin A but using a gut loading formula might be better as they also are good sources of calcium and other nutrients.
Yes, please. I recommend dusting every insect. Use the calcium only powder for most days and on 2 days substitute the reptile multivitamin powder (that has calcium, vitamin A and D3) for the calcium only powder.
Especially for crickets, they are not extremely nutritious.
Mealworms along with wax and silkworms or ok as occasional treats, they are high in fat....
Black soldier fly larvae (soldier worm larvae), superworms, earthworms (they'd need to be small or cut for him to eat them), Dubia and cockroaches and the occasional wax worm, mealworm or silkworms (limit them due to their high fat content).
I don't think so, as long as the urates are white and not discolored. And if the urination frequency remains high, then there could be kidney issues.
You are most welcome! Chameleons are amazing reptiles but the majority of the issues I see as a vet relates to their husabndry. Important to make sure he has a dripping source of water, they don't drink from dishes.
If the appetite depression continues, then getting him checked out by a local reptile veterinarian is a good idea. It may related to the eye, but you want to rule out an underlying condition. If you need assistance finding a reptile vet in your area, please let me know your zip code and I can search for options in your area.
Okay, thanks. Please give me a few minutes to search for options in your area....
Both of these practices are not far from you and each employs a number of veterinarians who are members of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) so would have reptile interest and experience:
Arizona Exotics Animal Hospital
744 N Center St, Ste 101
Mesa, Arizona 85201-5084 United States
Avian & Exotic Animal Clinic
1911 S Lindsay Rd, Ste 101
Mesa, Arizona 85204-7103 United States
You are most welcome! Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. My best to you and Atria. Sincerely, ***** *****
That is awesome!! Thank you so much for the wonderful update. My best to you and Atria. Sincerely, ***** *****
No worries, it's an unusual spelling (could never get a personalized license plate for my bike as a kid). :-) Have a nice day!
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