My panther chameleon is making a wheezing type sound. Just started today after I fed him 2 large hornworms And no

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Customer: My panther chameleon is making a wheezing type sound
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Does this wheezing happen all the time or only sometimes? Does the chameleon have a cough as well?
Customer: Just started today after I fed him 2 large hornworms And no coughing
JA: And what's the chameleon's name and age?
Customer: Barbosa he's 2.5 years old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No
Answered by Dr. Caryn – Vet in 1 hour 9 months ago
Dr. Caryn – Vet
Pet Specialist

2,204 satisfied customers

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

I am sincerely ***** ***** there was a delay in someone responding to your question. (Experts are independent contractors and as such are online based on their own schedules.) However, I am available now and can assist you if you still need veterinary advice.

Hello and thanks for posting your question on My name is***** and I have been a veterinarian in the US 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.

Thank you so far he has stopped making that sound I'm assuming it's from eating too big of a worm or 2 as now he seems to be fine

I am sorry to hear that your panther chameleon Barbosa is under the weather.

So typically wheezing is caused by an underlying respiratory infection but sounds like this might be associated with eating.

Is it possible they are stuck in his mouth or throat?

You can try to gently to open their mouth to see if they have any food items stuck in the glottis (the opening to his airway at the base of the tongue) or the choanae (the slit like opening to the nasal cavity on the roof of the mouth)? Please be gentle so you don’t hurt or get hurt yourself. If you can see objects blocking the airway in the mouth and are safely able to remove any items blocking the airway (you can use a tweezer) then please do so. Please remember that it is very important to remember to wash your hands after handling any reptile.

Sorry we were typing at the same time and I was wondering the same thing. I am so glad he is no longer wheezing!

So a good rule of thumb is to keep insect size to less than the distance between the chameleon's eyes so they are easy to swallow. Hornworms tend to be big though....

Customer attachment 2/4/2022 11:08:37 PM
Customer attachment 2/4/2022 11:08:40 PM
Customer attachment 2/4/2022 11:08:56 PM
This is what he sounded like he's very healthy though and now I don't gear that sound so he seems to be fine is there anything I should watch out for?
He has no mucus he is not dehydrated he's active so not too sure

That's good. Thanks for the photo (very handsome!) and the sound files. Chameleons can hiss and hoot but that didn't sound normal to be sure.

Very important to make sure tank temperature gradient is optimum to ensure proper digestion. And to provide proper humidity and dripping water (or frequent misting) as a water source since they don't drink from standing water.

For a panther chameleon, you'll need to maintain a temperature gradient for adults of 75-85°F (23.9-29.4C) with a focal basking spot that reaches 90-95°F (32.2-35C) and for juveniles a cooler gradient of 75-80°F (23.9-26.7C) with a focal basking spot of 85-90°F (29.4-32.2C) is recommended. Nighttime temperatures can be cooler but should be at least 70°F (21.1C) or higher. Chameleons require higher humidity than other lizards, 50-60% during the day but even higher, up to 80% at night (it will naturally rise as the temperature drops at night).

Signs of maldigestion might include bloating, vomiting, diarrhea. Signs of a respiratory infection (in case they aspirated any of the food) could include oral or nasal discharge, bubble blowing, sneezing, open mouthed breathing, abnormal body posture, increased respiratory sounds like gurgling or wheezing, crusted nares. Either (and other things) can cause systemic signs like weakness, lethargy or appetite loss.

In future if this happens again and he seems like he's choking, you can try to open their mouth and see if you can extract the piece.

(You will likely need a second person to help you and you will need a rubber spatula or a credit card (to open the mouth), a pair of tweezers and a bright small flashlight or pen light.)

Hold them in one hand and place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the head to prevent them from shaking their head. With the other hand gently introduce the credit card or small rubber spatula between the lips on one side of the mouth and work it back and forth until it causes the mouth to open. Then twist the credit card or spatula 30-45 degrees so it forces the mouth to stay open slightly. The other person can then shine the flashlight in the mouth to see if they can see the foreign object. The entrance to the airway, the glottis, is at the base of the tongue, you should see this open and close with breathing. If you see a something obstructing the glottis and you can safely grab it without forcing the object farther into the airway, then do so. If it's deep in the airway or you can't see well or are not comfortable doing this, do not proceed as you don't want to inadvertently force the object farther in causing a full obstruction of the airway.

If they are still having breathing difficulty and you cannot remove the object then you will need to get her to a veterinarian for treatment.

But hopefully, it was just a case of eating something too large and he was having a hard time swallowing it (or it may have been compressing his airway as it went down his esophagus). So smaller insects perhaps and spaced feeding if giving him bigger bugs in future? :-)
Ok thank you I feel so much better his ambient Temps around 70-75 f as well his humidity is 50-60% I mist 2-3 times a day basking spot is in upper 80s I use miner all powder once a month calcium with d3 2 times a month and calcium without d3 every feeding I feed him 5 superworms or 2 large hornworms every other day as he won't eat crickets(picky) I have a 18 inch t8 with 5.0 bulb as well as a compact 10.0 and a red 80 watt heating bulb I have a bioactive setup so open soil in bottom of cage I have a pothos and bamboo plants along with an elephant tree but it is dying I have a dripper on all day as well what am I missing?

Thanks for the additional info about Barbosa's husbandry.

So a couple of suggestions. Temperature gradient seems fine though panthers do need it a little warmer than other chams so you might consider bumping your set points up by 5 degrees or so (cool to 75, basking to 90F).

Consider gut loading your insects and adding a bit of variety. Superworms and hornworms are good but worms tend to be a bit high in fat which can interfere with calcium metabolism. Consider trying black soldier fly larvae (soldier worm larvae), Dubia roaches and cockroaches into the rotation.

It’s important to vary the type of insects you feed to your chameleon. To boost the nutritional value of the feeder insects it is recommend to "gut load" them for at least 24-48 hours prior to feeding them out. That means to feed the insects a nutritious food so that the chameleon gets the benefit of that nutrition. Some options for gut loading are:

Mazuri Better Bug Gut Loading Diet

Mazuri Hi Calcium Gut Loading Diet

Repashy SuperLoad Insect Gutload Formula

I agree that calcium without D3 is the goto for supplementation to avoid oversupplementation. But I do also recommend routine supplementation with a good multivitamin powder (they are usually a blend of vitamin A, D3 and calcium) for about 1/4 of their feeds or at least once weekly. Chameleons have a decent requirement for vitamin A, so gut loading and dusting with a multivitamin powder will help provide them with that. Some chameleons will eat occasional fruit or veggie treats, but not so much panthers, in my experience.

Sounds like you have good UVB coverage, just make sure the cage is sufficient height to provide areas that are out of the UVB so he can self regulate. And since your using fluorescent UVB bulbs, make sure you change them out every 6 months, even if still producing visible light, the UVB output decreases over time.

Ok so just warmer Temps? I use miner all which is a multivitamin once a month and the cage is 2x2x3 so plenty big enough for him
maybe some dubias etc

Miner-all without D3 does not have vitamin A, does it?

I recommend supplementation with a vitamin A (not beta carotene pre-vitamin) supplement once weekly to prevent hypovitaminosis A.

MINER-ALL INDOOR INGREDIENTS: Calcium carbonate, Dextrose, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Magnesium Oxide, Iron Sulfate, Ethyione Diamine, Dihydriodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Iron Oxide, Aquatic Vegetation.

Customer attachment 2/4/2022 11:43:11 PM
reptivite or rapashy?

So the Miner-All is a mineral supplement, calcium and trace elements. No vitamin A.


Zoo Med’s Reptivite with D3

Rep-Cal Herptivite Multivitamins

Repashy Superfoods Calcium Plus

Plus gut loading the insects for 24-48 hours prior to feeding out.

Some options for gut loading are:

Mazuri Better Bug Gut Loading Diet

Mazuri Hi Calcium Gut Loading Diet

Repashy SuperLoad Insect Gutload Formula

Ok that's good to know that k you so much I feel so much better
I do gutload my hornworms come with gutload in jar and I also have some for dubias crickets etc that's all I feed my feeders lol

I do have a panther chameleon care sheet if you'd like a copy. If so just let me know and I'll upload a PDF.

I would love to see it! Thank you so much

Personally I really like black soldier fly larvae, also sold as Phoenix worms. Good, natural levels of calcium.

It's attached, covers all the basics of panther chameleon husbandry. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

My sincere best to you and Barbosa.

Sincerely, ***** *****

Thank you
You are most welcome.
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Dr. Caryn – Vet
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Dr. Caryn – Vet
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