Chameleon Mouth Disease

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Chameleon mouth disease, also known as infectious stomatitis or mouth rot, is a bacterial infection. It affects the gum, palate or tongue. Antibiotics are usually given to treat the infection.

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Chameleon mouth disease is the end result of poor nutrition and improper care. Mouth inflammation is a response to stresses such as poor temperature regulation, over-crowding, vitamin C deficiency and improper calcium or phosphorous levels. These stresses diminish the immune system, leaving chameleons susceptible to bacterial infection.


Symptoms of chameleon mouth disease are loss of appetite, swelling of lips, skin discolouration and white mould chunks in oral mucous.


To arrive at a diagnosis, the veterinarian will observe the symptoms, take a sample of blood to determine the complete blood count and grow cultures from mucus to determine the bacteria responsible.


Antibiotic injections are the primary treatment option. Additionally, dead tissue in the mouth are removed, and the area is washed with antiseptic solution. The environment that houses the chameleon must remain warm and constant during recovery. Hand feeding is recommended.


Simple measures can be taken to prevent mouth disease in chameleons. Enclosures should be properly cleaned and disinfected. Enclosures should maintain a proper temperature range, which does not fluctuate wildly. Ensure chameleons are fed properly.

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