Reptiles/Eye infection antibiotics
QUESTION: Recurring eye infection:
I have a 1.5 year old male ambilobe panther chameleon. About a year ago, he was treated in house at an exotic pretty vet for stomatitis. It stemmed from an eye infection that we thought had been adequately treated by the previous vet. A course of many antibiotic injections followed by oral injections finally rid him of the massive infection. We took him to the vet a handful of times during the course of treatment for white cell counts to monitor the infection and recommended treatments. (SEVERAL other tests were performed by the exotic vet initially that led to the stomatitis diagnosis) antibiotic eye drops and ointment were also given. A few times since then, the same eye had developed minor infections (bulbous area in eye socket seen when swishing the eye, like to keep it closed). The vet said that he is prone to infection in that eye, possibly as a side effect of the massive infection he had previously.He will likely need oral and drop antibiotics a few times a year. ( just as a note, cage is kept clean, humidity and temp zones accurate, adequate uvb, goes outside whenever possible, proper gut loading food, various vitamin supplements to ensure proper timing of dosage for all of them). Other than the eye infections, he is a wonderful specimen.
My question is this: I saw in another of your posts that you know of an online store to buy antibiotics. I know he will need them from time to time, because we've been through the usual vet routine enough. But if I can get the meds myself, I don't have to pay hundreds of dollars every time I take him for the same thing. I know his symptoms by now and also know when there is something else going on. I'm not trying to get out of vet advice, but if it's the same thing (minor eye infection) and they've already told me he will likely always get them, I really would like to medicate him myself.
ANSWER: Hello Chan mom,
Gosh, I am so sorry to hear of your chameleon's troubles! Poor thing, I wonder what the initial cause of the infection was, did they ever figure that out?
I do know of a few or a couple right now. I can dig out the links for them. Which antibiotic do you normally use or need? I completely understand just trying to keep them on hand. Most of the time, antibiotics are relatively easy to find.
Do you have any pictures of him & his tank setup?
Just for overall knowledge for me, which UVB type & brand are you using? What vitamins, etc do you use for him, & what is the brand?
I am sure that the eye socket has probably been a little damaged from the massive infection previously which does make him more prone to those types of infections.
I am glad though that you have gotten it cleared up & he is eating well, etc too.
Let me know how he is doing. I will get those links for you also.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Tracie, thank you for getting back to me. I apologize for the delay - the response email did not go directly to my inbox.
Falcor (our lovely blue bar) is holding steady at "near normal". His grip is strong, he is responsive to surroundings and stimuli, he is eating well. He does seem just a tiny bit under the weather, but this change is so very slight that it would likely go unnoticed by a vet or anyone else whom does not see him every single day. In other words, except for the closed eye, he is doing rather well. He HAS decided that his only cuisine will be crickets, but I guess if you're cranky with an irritated infected eye, you're allowed to be picky. I am going to order some silk worms and see if that appeals to his appetite. Note that his appetite is good, it is only his choice of food that has narrowed.
Now to the questions you asked:
Housing: 24"x24"x48" screen cage with fake vines and vegetation. We had live pothos in his cage, but when he first encountered the eye infection quite some time ago, we removed the live plants as we were unable to sanitize them. We replaced with all fake plants that we can remove and sanitize as needed. He has a misting system with several nozzles. We had been using a ReptiRain, but the pump just quit for that, so I have ordered an ExoTerra Monsoon (larger reservoir is quite a perk). With the misting system down waiting for the new one to be delivered, we have been manually misting the cage several times a day. He also has a Biobubble waterfall, though I am unsure if he actually uses this. It was the most recent addition to his cage, and with so much foliage, I have yet to witness him using it.
UVB: Exoterra UVB 100 coil;
basking: Exoterra Daylight 100
night heat: 100 W ceramic heat emitter (this is also used during the day to keep his canopy/basking area heat up. With a screen cage, we found that one basking light only adequately heated a portion of his canopy. The addition of the ceramic bulb during the day helped a lot. He had plenty of shady foliage and 4' of vertical space, so there is plenty of room for him to get to a cooler zone to thermo-regulate).
Rep-Cal Calcium (green jar) no phosphorus, no D3
Rep-Cal Hertivite (blue jar) multivitamin with beta carotene
Sticky Tongue Farms Miner-all
Crikets are gut loaded with Harrison's High Potency Bird Mash (recommended by the bird and exotic animal hospital that treated his stomatitits) and fresh dark greens.
Temperature at the edge of the cage at canopy level is high 80's (around 90 directly under lighting). Humidity is kept within green zone.
While his cage is primarily indoors, we live in southeast Georgia, so we transport his whole cage outdoors as much as possible. Lately the temperatures have been in the 90s with utterly sticky humidity, and he has been loving it. Of course, the foliage is kept wet when outside. While outside, we have the luxury of drenching the foliage so that it is as "drippy" as possible so that his water sources are kept maximized any time he is outside. The last thing we want is for him to have to search for water when outside in the sun. Let me say again that his cage allows for shady, hiding areas to escape direct sun as much as he wants. He has been loving the outside treatments so far. He is placed outside for most of the day on the weekends, and for an hour or two in the evening on weekdays.
Now to the root of the matter. I am in search of oral Baytril or Flagyl. We have gentamicin drops for his eyes, but as discussed previously, he will likely need periodic oral antibiotic treatments to fully clear his inevitable eye infection recurrences. I don't have a problem doing this, but dropping hundreds at the animal hospital every time he gets this way is simply... taxing. If we need to take him to the vet for other issues, we do what we have to for him. But having been down this road and with the vet acknowledging that we will periodically have to treat him this way, I can't see spending all of that money for a diagnosis and prescription that is the same every time. Getting the meds myself to administer only when he is not getting better by the drops would be very very helpful. Please let me say that I do not take his condition or the medications lightly. I know the risks and adverse effects of the drugs, and caution is the first word in our vocabulary. But for this little guy, this is the path that we must take. And unfortunately, if a situation arose where is simply didn't have the money to take him to the vet AGAIN for the same thing, I would feel utterly horrible that I had not pursued this home administration before.
Almost forgot, you asked about the source of the infection that caused the damage. Before the massive infection, we had taken him to a different vet for a simpl eye infection. He was treated with drops, and the infection cleared up in days. We thought all was well. A few months later, his eye infection came back. He seemed to be taking it harder this time, and the drops weren't totally clearing it up (it did help his eye slightly). He was going downhill, so we tried to get him in to the vet again. But before we could take him, he appeared dead in the morning. No response - not even to touching the eye lid. He is a reptile, so it's not like we could see if he was still warm. So we turned off the lights and prepared to bury the little guy after work. To our amazement, he was is a different spot in the cage upon returning home. Obviously, this was something we could not ignore. The next morning, we packaged him up and set off for Jacksonville before anyone was even open. Our original vet was closed on that day, so we started searching exotic vets. One vet said they treat exotics, but did not have experience with chameleons. We finally were referred to the exotic bird hospital. They ran a whole panel of tests. Long story short: massive bacterial infection. Visual examination pointed to mouth rot. (we just didn't see the signs in his mouth since we had a preconception of eye symptoms. Needless to say, lesson learned). They kept him overnight. The next day, they sent him home with antibiotic shots, which he was on for weeks (a few vet visits along the way for more tests to monitor the infection). He eventually got back to like brand new. A few months later, his same eye started showing symptoms again. We took him in right away. It really was only an eye infection this time, but in light of his medical history, their conclusion was the same as yours: there was tissue damage to his eye and it was then and will always be susceptible to eye infections. They gave him oral antibiotics that day and some more drops. They told us in the future to try the drops first, and if it clears up right away and stays that way, good. But if there is any sign of it taking a bit longer, he will need oral antibiotics to really flush the infection. So a few months later, he got an eye infection that was successfully treated with drops. After that, another one that needed oral antibiotics. Since we have become comfortable with his symptoms and treatments, I am ready to take on his medication without spending hundreds of dollars at the vet IF I CAN AVOID IT. I will say again that if there was any reason to think that there was something else going on, we would take him right in. So to answer your question about the stomatitis source, the bird hospital vet thought that the initial eye infection was insufficiently treated and remnant infectious bacterial settled elsewhere in his body and eventually led to mouth rot.
Thank you again for all of your help. If you don't mind, please do send over some trusted links for oral antibiotics for him. I ask here because I don't want the run-around of random online pharmacies. We all know how dangerous they can be. So ones that you know have been successful in the past would be greatly appreciated.
I will post pictures shortly.
ANSWER: Hello Chan mom,
It sounds like Falcor is doing ok right now?
Here is a link to a 10% Baytril solution, already suspended:
Are you using the eye drops from time to time then? I can help with the
dosing for the liquid Baytril, if you ever need. I understand though, as
the eye issue is a recurring problem, you can definitely treat it at home.
I can look to see if the other couple of sites have powder form that you
have to compound. Sites always changes, but most of the ones online are
from Canada. There are a couple of decent ones.
Your Reptiglo Exoterra coil light is pretty hard on the eyes & it doesn't
emit very good quality UVB either. I would highly recommend changing out
the UVB light to either the Reptisun 10 tube bulb, or, the Arcadia D3 12%
tube bulb. You can get either light from here:
I doubt that the light caused any of the eye issues, but, it is known to
be hard on the eyes due to the low UVA ranges & UVB that is not correct.
Though, since he gets outdoors SO much, he should be getting adequate UVB
right now. You could replace the UVB more towards the winter then if you
wanted to wait on that. His tank sounds great, I bet he loves it outside,
That makes perfect sense though. Reptiles tend to harbor infections if they
are not cleared up the first time. Then, it may appear to be gone but will
crop up again later on. Poor guy, he has been through a lot! You drove a
lot miles to find a vet for him, that is stressful I know trying to find a
The insects sound like they are very healthy & fed well, too. How often do
you give Falkor calcium & vitamins.
Definitely send some pictures! Let me know if you want me to dig up a site
for powdered Baytril or the Flagyl. I hope Falkor is happy & doing well! :-)
Keep me posted on him.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Here are a few pictures of his cage (while enjoying the summer sun before Tropical Storm Collin). Obviously, lights and mister are inside.
Pictures of him: his left eye is alert and open, right eye is closed.
We have some of the triple antibiotic eye ointment from the vet still (though nearly gone). I have been putting that on the eye as well, but his eye hasn't even wanted to open lately. A few times when rubbing the ointment on him (clean hands), he actually leans into my finger and seems to enjoy the rub much like a dog enjoys scratching.
Yesterday, I managed to coax his eye open just s little bit when applying drops. So I quickly dropped another drop in to maximize him getting the medicine. Soon after, he willingly opened his eye on and off and looked around. This made me so happy since I was growing concerned about him going from not wanting to open it, to maybe he can't? We are continuing the drops and ointment, but I think that he really needs the oral antibiotics to work internally against the infection.
I have ordered the 10% Baytril from the site you sent. Since we have always gotten pre-dosed syringes from the vet, I would GREATLY appreciate guidance for methods of dilution (or is it just a tiny amount of 10%?) Given the awful taste, I believe we are going to dose a feeder and make sure he eats that before being given the rest of his food.
Thank you again for all of your help. I will still use this thread during his treatment for questions about home administration of the Baytril. Once he is all better, I will post some follow up pictures of his normal self!
Hello Chan mom,
Terrific, I am glad you went ahead & ordered the baytril since he does appear to need it now.
Sure, it is a 10% solution, so it's 100mg/ml. You wont need to dilute it, I don't think you can use it full strength. What is his weight & I can go ahead & figure the dose.
Wow his eye is swollen, poor Falcor! I bet he loved rubbing his eye. It probably itches a little bit, just from the infection. Maybe the drops will help out a little bit.
I really hope that he starts doing better, that can't be comfortable for him.
At least though he is eating so he must not feel too bad, it is an annoyance for him I am sure!
He is so beautiful!
Definitely keep me posted on him & let me know his weight too so I can go ahead & dose him for the Baytril. They have fast shipping so you should have it pretty quick. Yes, I have tasted it & no, it definitely is bitter! Poor feeder, you are going to squirt it into one?
The other option would be to flavor it a little with an extract, slightly. :-)
My home email is:
Talk to you soon.