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November 11, 2005

Neck Swelling

While my chameleon has had neck swelling on and off all of her life, usually corresponding loosely to feedings, she's got it all of the time now, and I'm wondering if there's some kind of medical problem that maybe I should be aware of. Here's a photo:

Neck Swelling

I would have preferred a photo from the side, but she doesn't respond well to the camera, even from 5-10 feet away, so this was the best I could get (at least she didn't hide completely behind the vine like she would when I'd try to get a closer shot). She is engaging in a bit of "puffery", there, which you can see directly under her chin, which she was doing to intimidate the camera. That swelling around the neck, however, is like that whether she's intending to threaten or not.

Anyway, is this normal? I think I've been feeding her more, lately. Mostly I give her 10-14 adult crickets about every other day. Perhaps I am feeding her more than is necessary, and maybe I should go back to a daily regimen.

I've made a pretty big deal out of having sand available, almost since she was hatched and brought home, because my previous chameleon died, in part, due to not being able to lay eggs. So far, this chameleon hasn't laid an egg, even though she's had eggs in her for months and months, and she's older than my previous chameleon was when she died. This x-ray was taken on May 9th of this year (6 months ago):

Eggs Present

Someone told me that female veileds live a lot longer if they're kept on a restricted diet and are allowed low temperatures. I've not worried too much about temperatures, but until recently I've probably been more restrictive on her diet. Maybe I'm overdoing it lately with crickets.


See Neck Swelling II.

Posted by Jeff at November 11, 2005 02:53 PM


I'm concerned about this perhaps being edema. See the photo of the tortise with the swollen neck at this link:


I'm cutting her food down to 4 crickets per day for a while to see what happens.

Posted by: Jeff at November 13, 2005 03:54 AM

A chameleon with edema:


Posted by: Jeff at November 13, 2005 04:01 AM

The picture of the swelling at the throat you posted is most definatly edema, or hypervitamatosis. It is directly related to vitamin dusting of your feeder insects, specifically vitamin A.

Insects that are properly gutloaded do NOT require dusting. Vitamin dust uses a synthetic form of vitamin A which cannot be utilized by the chameleon. Gutloads however contain vitamin A in the natural form of Beta-carotien which is easily processed by your chameleon.

To rememdy this issue I would immediatly stop dusting all feeder insects, up your chameleons water intake to try and flush the excess vitamins from it's system and begin using a quality gutload for your feeders. I find the best gutload available to be from www.wildeyereptiles.com

- Kyle

Posted by: Kyle K at November 14, 2005 10:23 AM

Hiya Kyle!

I don't really dust my crickets at all. Well...almost not at all. I've found reports that it commonly comes from vitamin A, it also comes from any number of other things, including a lack of vitamin A among other things, making its cause difficult to diagnose.

Her crickets are only dusted when they're given to her without being gut loaded here at home (i.e., I run out of crickets, get some from the store, and give her a few right away). She probably gets her crickets dusted twice or three times per month, no more. And they're dusted with Rep-Cal Herptivite w/beta carotene and Rep-Cal Calcium w/Vit D3.

The gut load for the crickets is consistent, though, which would tend to emphasize either a deficiency or an amplitude of a nutrient. I make my gut load at home using the "apple sauce" attachment to my juicer. Ordinarily, a juicer separates juice from pulp, but in this case, after the separation it just mixes them together (which in the case of apples would be apple sauce). I've chosen what greens to mix together using the following link (as well as advice from her veterinarian): http://www.greenigsociety.org/foodchart.htm

I chose the greens which seem to have the lowest oxalates (which inhibit the absorbtion of calcium) and are highest in calcium:
* Dandilion greens
* Watercress
* Collard greens
* Endive
That makes a dark green pulp which I separate into baggies and keep frozen. I take it out of the freezer just a little bit at a time and keep what I'm using in a glass jar in the refrigerator. When it comes time to feed it to the crickets, I take about a tablespoon of it and put it into a feeding tray which came with my Kricket Keeper. I then add some bee pollen and some egg yolk (see this link http://chameleonsonly.com/new_page_5.htm ). Sometimes I set the egg yolk and bee pollen to the side, like a side dish, and sometimes I mix everything together.

While this wet mix of food tends to supply the crickets with a lot of moisture, I tend to also supplement their water needs with Fluker's Calcium fortified Cricket Quencher.

My hallucination is that the greens are more than adequate in vitamin A, unless it's somehow being destroyed whilst inside the crickets. Even then, I'd assume that whatever deprivation is made up for by the 2-3 dustings that the crickets get per month.

Thanks for the response!

Posted by: Jeff at November 14, 2005 02:10 PM

I haven't taken her to see the vet about the neck swelling, but I did call earlier tonight for an appointment tomorrow.

Shortly after making that call, however, I discovered (well, I'm pretty sure that I've discovered) what the problem is with my chameleon.

As I reported earlier, my chameleon eats only crickets, nothing else. Further, my crickets are rarely dusted, on the order of maybe 2 or 3 times per month. That tended to rule out the supplementing as a cause of its apparent edema.

The crickets, as I reported earlier, are fed a sort of applesauce-ish type of mixture made of near equal parts of: 1) dandilion greens, 2) collard greens, 3) endive, and 4) watercress. That's the main dish. They're also given two side dishes: 1) bee pollen, and 2) dried egg yolks.

Edema in chameleons, I've found, is commonly attributed to over supplementation, especially with regard to vitamin A. Also, as I've reported earlier, my veterinarian told me that crickets should never be given carrots (though I don't recall having asked him why). I, as I've noted, certainly don't over supplement, and I don't give my crickets carrots, but I wondered about how much vitamin A they were getting from my gut load.

As it turns out, one of the ingredients is very high in vitamin A, and almost exactly 1/2 as rich in vitamin A as carrots. Here's the breakdown:

Amount in mix | Ingredient | RE of Vitamin A | % of Total
1 lb Dandelion greens-fresh 6350 58%
1 lb Watercress-fresh 2132 20%
1 lb Collards-raw 1511 14%
1 lb Endive-Raw Pieces 930 9%
----- ----
TOTAL: 10923 100%

By way of comparison, 4 lbs of carrots have 51030 RE of vitamin A. So she's been getting a whole heck of a lot of vitamin A. And, to make things worse, I'm pretty sure that dandelion greens actually make up more than 1/4 of the greens in my gut load paste, just judging from memory on how large are the bundles that they're sold in. In fact, dandelion greens may comprise as much as 2/3rds of the mix.

I wish now that I hadn't made the appointment with the veterinarian, because I'm pretty sure what the problem is. But, then again, maybe he'll have some great ideas about how to cure the problem, other than just backing off of the vitamin A.

Posted by: Jeff at November 17, 2005 07:56 PM

Hi. I have been reading the comments posted and now i'm really worried. Eight weeks ago I bought two male veiled chameleons having no experience whatsoever with keeping reptiles. I bought them as I felt sorry for the condition they were being kept in. I bought one and themn the other approx ten days later after I have got the accomodation problems under control.The first one rapidly put on weight and is currently shedding. The other had lost a lot of weight in the shop but is now also feeding very heartily from the hand. i have all the heat,UV,moisture, large tank etc sorted but what really worried me is the comment on handling. I have been handling both chameleons every day for a brief period of time and I must say they seem to be getting more used to it every day and although not delighted to be taken out of their tank are happy to eat from the hand when being held. Can this really result in death through stress? There are always people in the room and approching the tanks occasionally to peer in at them. This was kept to a minimum in the first few weeks but have slowly built up 'interaction'. Indeed, one of them seems to make his way a little closer to the glass in anticipation of food when his tank is approached. Are they on borrowed time if I persist in handling them?

Posted by: jan at February 17, 2007 05:32 PM

i have a baby veiled and his eye socket has kind of turned a whitish color and become swollen. i feed him crickets straight from the store so i dust them with repti-vite. could he have the vitamin a deficiecy or overdose other sites r talking about?

Posted by: andrea at April 26, 2007 09:21 PM

hi jeff,
im a bit stuck. im from the uk and struggle to find a good vet. i currently have a 1yr male veiled. about 4 months ago i noticed a swelling in the corner of his right eye. hes eating, drinking and walking around fine. he has a good size viv (not tank) with real and fake plants, proper lighting and heating, the humidity is great. ive checked everything in the viv to make sure theres no sharp bits etc and he has good ventiliation. ive done everything by the book. the problem is ive took him to 4 different vets and none of them have a clue what the problem is. its a small swelling not soft but not hard either. it doesnt seem to cause him pain, and hasnt grown. ive flushed it out, had a vet clean it out. he been on antibiotics for 5 weeks and nothing! if you have any ideas it would be a great help!!
thanks, kayleigh

Posted by: kayleigh at January 27, 2008 01:57 PM

Poor thing. I had a chameleon that had the same problem once.


Posted by: Dameure at April 5, 2008 12:46 PM

does yor chamelions neck look swolen andrea?
then your over calcium
just dont give him calcium for about a week and hell get back to normal

Posted by: andy at August 29, 2008 09:15 PM

i have just purchased a male yemen chamelion, i have kept bearded dragons for the last 6 years and have now decided to move on to a chamelion, however reading all these comments im a bit worried that handling a chamelion will make it stressed and lead it to a young death, i wasent told this in the shop, what should i do?
kirsty xx

Posted by: Kirsty at September 27, 2008 03:40 PM

HI all,
where i download drivers for Minolta CF2002?
this is wery important for me, please hlp
If I wrote is not in the correct section, please move to the appropriate section.
sorry my bad english, i use translator

Posted by: johnronni at February 27, 2009 12:57 PM

I tend to agree that excessive vitamin A is the direct result of your gutload paste.

Keep in mind that a gutload should address the poor calcium to phosphorous ratio of insects, not provide a base of nutrition for your pet reptile.

Posted by: Maurice Pudlo at May 28, 2009 12:45 PM

hi i recently bought a baby yemen chameleon and he jumped from his vine to the UV light and as it has nothing to grip on he fell off from really high and im wondering if i should take him to the vet as he is only very small?/

Posted by: Cassie at June 4, 2009 01:31 PM

My chameleon has gular edema and some other issues apparently. I took her to the vet monday, and just got the blood test results back today. Apparently her kidneys and liver aren't doing so well. There is also a high sulfuric acid in her liver. My vet (I don't like) seems to think there is nothing that can be done, but I don't just want to give up on my cham. Can anyone help with past experience or even suggestions on how to make her more comfortable, or even better all together.
Thanks so much

Posted by: ripper at October 28, 2009 07:00 PM

my chamelon tongue is purple and wont roll back in his mouth. he has had loss of appetite and strength. anybody had this problem. i feel horrible.

Posted by: allyson joyner at February 7, 2010 03:07 PM

my chamelon tongue is purple and wont roll back in his mouth. he has had loss of appetite and strength. anybody had this problem. i feel horrible.

Posted by: asdsad at October 11, 2010 02:25 PM


Posted by: jennifer520 at July 11, 2011 10:49 PM

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