Please help us figure it out!
We have had Elmo for about 4 mos. He has done remarkably well since then. WE have a very large outdoor screened "home" for him with perfect plants, basking spots, climbing toys and he seems to love it. WE are careful to watch temperatures and humidity as well. He also has some of my flower beds he loves to explore when we take him out and visit with him which is daily! He has a lot of interaction with people and children and he doesn’t seem to mind. He rides on my shoulder throughout the day and spends time in the top of some artificial trees on our back porch... He’s rather spoiled if a chameleon can be.
a few weeks ago, he escaped his tree to head for his playing ground (flower bed with elephant ears) I was watching him make his escape! along the way, he spotted something to eat (I didn’t see what it was) and he "slurped" it up before I knew it. Since that moment, he has had problems. Almost immediately he acted like he couldn’t swallow. he gagged and choked until he finally spit something out, but we never found it. He stopped eating crickets completely and wouldn’t eat anything at all. I immediately made an appointment at the vet and took him in thinking he may have either eaten something poisonous, OR hurt his throat.
The vet said he was the best looking chameleon he has seen and overall seemed very healthy. He x-rayed him, but nothing showed. He put him on antibiotics just in case and told us to give him some cod liver oil drops in addition to his medication for 5 days.
He has somewhat regained an appetite, but nothing compared to what it was. We diversify his diet with meal works and other small insects, but he’s not interested. He is drinking, but acts as if he has trouble swallowing. We opened his mouth to look into his throat 2 days ago. There appeared to be some brown, bubbly mucous in the back of his throat. In addition, he had the remains of some things he had eaten the night before. (meal worms) We took some q-tips and swabbed as much of the mucous as possible. We also took him back to the vet yesterday at which time they swabbed and sent for cultures. He seems very happy, active, not lethargic... but not able to get down what he obviously has an appetite for.
He still wants to eat! But now, we are checking his throat and it seems that what he eats doesn’t go down... The vet pulled a meal worm, a cricket, a snail, and a piece of a leaf from the morning feast left in his throat. When we got him home, we let him bask in the flower bed which is his favorite place to be. He ate a HUGE grasshopper and was attempting to swallow but obviously labored. We ended pulling it out. We are trying everything to be sure he can eat something... while we are waiting for the cultures to come back.
I’m attaching some pictures of the mucous stuff in his throat (gross.) Has anyone else had this happen and could you help us identify his problem. We love our little guy!