Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), also know as Nutritional Secondary HyperParathyroidism (NSHP), occurs in many reptiles that are non-carnivorous. This page talks about MBD in chameleons, although it is most common in the green Iguana.
There are differences in why chameleons get this problem as opposed to MBD in the green iguana, but the main problem of inadequate husbandry stays consistent. You should visit our Iguana page on MBD for much more information regarding cause and treatment of this terrible disease.
Veiled chameleons are highly susceptible to stress, and usually do not do well in captivity. Therefore it is important to pay as much attention to proper husbandry as possible. Veiled chameleons do not drink from a water bowl, and need to be misted. They need a basking spot with a heat bulb that gives them a heat range of 72-80 degrees F. They should have exposure to direct sunlight, or else a full spectrum UVB (ultraviolet B) light. Adult chameleons should be fed gut-loaded crickets (feeding the crickets collard greens, mustard greens, and squash), dusted with calcium and vitamin powder.
This is what we prefer to see, a normal veiled chameleon with an attitude!
This female veiled chameleon came to us with a problem. She was unable to eat or walk well. Any time we have an ill chameleon we handle them gently because they are fragile.
Notice anything wrong?
Maybe this picture will help in your diagnosis
Her MBD problem is so severe that her tongue just hangs out
She was dehydrated, so we rehydrated her medically with fluid injections We were worried her tongue would dry out, so we dripped water on her on tongue.
We kept her surrounded by warm blankets and soaked paper towels
She was able to pull her tongue into her mouth once she was better after our rehydration and medical treatment
We applied a temporary porous tape bandage to keep the tongue inside when we were not feeding her
In addition to the tongue problem, she is filled with eggs and has fractures of her bones. This chameleon is seriously ill, and if we can get the bone problem solved we would think about spaying it to remove the eggs.
The splint we put on her fractured leg
Their eyes are amazing!
This is another chameleon with MBD, although the tongue is not affected on this one.
This chameleon is weak and cannot walk
It has a spine curvature, along with fractures in all four legs.
This is the radiograph of this chameleon, see if you can see the fractures on all 4 legs. The bones lack density, and do not show up well on this radiograph, further evidence of the severity of this chameleon’s MBD. Compare it to the normal uromastyx below.
The straight spine, and increased bone density, is apparent
Before we can correct the husbandry and nutritional problems that caused this, we need to stabilize these fractures. It will be done with custom splints that will stay on at least one month.
Talia, our ace RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) went to work, and made custom splints
It is important to put lots of padding under the splints
The left front leg is getting its first layer of gauze wrap
Half way there, both front legs are done
Our finished product, a four banger splint
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Lets hope nobody encounters this when flying in the United States. I am not sure the pilots here are as used to this as the bush pilots in Africa. They have seen this before, and make sure the coast is clear (and they do the clearing) before unloading passengers.
We neuter (castration or orchiectomy) Guinea Pigs in a manner similar to other animals. We always use the laser for its major advantages of minimal to no bleeding during surgery, and minimal to no pain, swelling, and inflammation after surgery. Those of us that have had surgery are aware of how much pain there is after surgery, and we do anything we can minimize that pain for our patients.
Our laser is warmed up and calibrated for the specific surgery we are doing before we start the procedure
The laser is so important for our patients we use it on all of our neuters. Here is a short video of how we use it on a dog. Notice the lack of bleeding.
Sometimes people get a jaded mindset when it comes to routine surgeries like neuters, that are performed by the thousands, especially at low cost spay and neuter clinics. It is a major surgery, and we treat it as such at the Long Beach Animal Hospital, which you will learn about in this page when we neuter a cutie named Felix.
Several days prior to any surgery one of our doctors will perform a physical exam to confirm your pet is ready for anesthesia. At that time we will go over any questions you have.
On the day of surgery we need your Guinea Pig in the hospital between 7:30 AM and 8 AM. Feed your Guinea Pig the morning of surgery, and we will feed it also when it is here. We don’t fast them like we do with some other animals.
Our surgeon will call you after the surgery is complete and your Guinea Pig is awake. It can go home in the late afternoon the day of surgery unless instructed otherwise. Please call our office at 4 PM for pickup time, you will be given written post operative instructions then. We are open until midnight if you need to pick up later.
This is a sterile surgery, and our surgeon starts the pre-surgical process by using special soap to clean his/her hands
We scrub all the way to the elbow to minimize any chance of spreading an infection during surgery
While our patient is being anesthetized our surgeon is already in our surgical suite setting up instruments. Our surgeon is ready to start before our patient is at a proper plane of anesthesia. Once the anesthetist gives the green light the surgery starts immediately. We want our surgeon waiting for his patient, not the other way around. All of this is to minimize anesthetic time.
We keep a close tab on important physiologic parameters for all of our surgeries to minimize the risk of anesthesia. Minimizing the anesthetic risk also allows our patient to recover from anesthesia faster and recover from surgery faster.
Brianna is listening to the heart rate of Felix during the surgery
Monitors give us an early warning of an impending problem. Instruments like this give us a big safety margin since we can anticipate problems before they cause any trouble.
This machine monitors:
Carbon dioxide level
Important anesthetic data is recorded for this surgery
Most Guinea Pigs have both testes in the scrotum, making them readily accessible by a scrotal incision. On rare occasion they might be undescended and in the abdomen, although this is more of problem in dogs and cats.
Brianna, our anesthetist, is keeping Felix cozy and warm as she brings him into our surgical suite
Felix is put on a warm water blanket and Dr. Wood performs an exam on him to make sure he is ready for anesthesia. When the OK for anesthesia is given Felix gets a pain injection.
After the pain injection he is placed in a chamber with 100% oxygen along with an anesthetic
When Felix is relaxed his oxygen and anesthesia are administered by a special mask that fits over his face
Felix is given fluids under the skin (SQ or subcutaneous) to help support important internal organs like liver and kidney
Felix’s boy parts are cleansed carefully prior to surgery
Extra attention is paid to keep Felix warm due to his small size. Starting at the bottom, you can see three things in this photo to accomplish this:
Warm water blanket on the bottom
Fluids that have been warmed up above the blanket
Warm blankets that surround Felix on top
The lack of bleeding on this highly vascular and sensitive organ is because of the laser, as opposed to a scalpel blade. In the above photo the scrotum has been incised with the laser and what you are seeing is a strong tissue covering the teste called the tunic.
Notice in this video how there is no bleeding as the testicle is brought out of the incision with the tunic still covering it. The laser will now cut through the tunic to expose the testicle.
Guinea Pig testes have substantial fat around them
The fat is ligated first. This fast has minimal blood supply so one suture suffices.
The teste has a much greater blood supply than the fat. It is double ligated as an extra safety margin to prevent any bleeding after surgery
A close up of the teste after it has been removed. On the right is the epididymis, on the left is the teste.
The scrotum is closed with surgical tissue glue, which is much more comfortable than sutures
Our surgical patients are given cold laser (we call it Companion Laser) treatment to aid in healing and minimize post operative swelling and discomfort. You get to wear cool glasses when using this type of laser!
Dr. Wood is making sure our patient is doing OK before bringing him to recovery.
Felix recovered without any problems, and was soon munching away at his favorite food. The pain inject he was given prior to surgery is in full effect when he wakes up from surgery. If he needs more he will be given another one, although that is rare when we use the laser. He was a great patient, and will be back to doing his Guinea Pig thing in no time.
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First things first, if you want to shoot a flying falcon you need a flying falcon. Dr. Palazzolo has a friend that is a licensed falconer. She has a wild falcon that was given to her when it was young because the parents were attacking it. She has been training it and will be releasing it soon.
This very fast flying bird is an ideal candidate to practice BIF photography. Hang on to your hats for this one, because it doesn’t get any faster than this in the natural world. A peregrine falcon on a dive can go up to 240 mph! On two separate occasions Dr. P had a chance to photograph this female falcon as it was flying around him preying upon pigeons.
Birds in flight is one of the most difficult photographic situations encountered in wildlife photography (or any photography for that matter). Birds fly very fast, faster than people realize. A bird that is flying at 40 mph, which is par for the course, is going almost 6o feet every second!
It usually takes one of the higher end DSLR cameras with regards to autofocus and frame rate to consistently get your BIF shots in focus and with the right pose. More important than that though, is to practice with whatever equipment you have.
Dr. P’s equipment are a Canon 1Dx Mark II camera with a Canon 400mm f/4 D.O. version II lens handheld. The aperture was kept at f/4 for all photos, and the ISO was at 400, giving a shutter speed that varied from 1/3000th of a second to 1/8000th of a second. The camera was set to manual mode, and all autofocus points were active in a custom setting for flying birds.
On a camera that shoots ten frames per second (10 pictures per second), a bird at 40 mph is going 6 feet in between each of those shots. Ten frames per second is just marginal for a bird at 40 mph, let alone the speed of this peregrine which can be much faster.
The falcon is always transported hooded to keep it calm. Once we got to the beach the hood comes off, although it cannot fly away because of the jesses being held by the falconer.
The falcon has not been fed, so its senses are keen and it is ready to hunt. You can tell by the way it moves its head, even though it is hooded, that it is primed to go.
The hood is off and its time to find something to eat
In no time it is off
While it is still close now is the time to see if your camera settings are appropriate
It needs height to assess its prey and to have enough speed to dive, so the first thing it does is go up. Now is when the fun starts!
It banked right past as I tried to keep the lens right on her
One time she flew right at me lower than usual because the pigeon she wanted was flying just above the sand
Unfortunately, the falcon was far away when it got the pigeon
It flew off to a sand dune and enjoyed its pigeon dinner
The bird has complete trust in our falconer, and she was able to walk right up even though it was eating
She was able to put the jesses back on with no problem
The bird didn’t miss a beat and kept on eating in between shaking feathers out of its mouth
Another day, another try…….
Off it went to find a new pigeon, and a pigeon it found
It always wants to go high for a good vantage point and to be able to dive
When it spotted the pigeon it banked hard to the right
And streaked down at high speed
This time the pigeon stayed low, and used a garbage can for cover
The falcon closed in…..
….. but the pigeon made a hard turn at the right time
This pigeon lived to see another day
Our falconer called the falcon back for some food she had for it
When it saw the food she had it came right in
In September Dr. P met his cousin in the Puget sound area to enjoy the beautiful scenery and look for Orcas. We hired a private boat and guide from Maya Legacy in Friday harbor. Allen our guide did a great job, and we learned much and saw many pods. His assistants April and Zoe also helped out.
We were in a part of a large ecosystem called the Salish Sea that is filled with salmon breeding grounds, which has attracted Orcas.
The resident (there are transients here also that eat marine mammals) Orcas are in serious danger of extinction. This is due to a major decrease in their main food source, chinook salmon. It is also due to pollution in the waters around them, and excessive sounds in the water, confusing them and making communication difficult. These sounds come from all the boats (the cavitation from the spinning propellors) in the area, and also the active sonar from Navy ships.
We stayed in Friday Harbor and went whale watching 3x all around the area
Friday Harbor is in the San Juan Islands, just east of Victoria, Canada
The people that live in this part of the world know their Orcas. This ranged from the naturalist that talked to us about them on the ferry ride over to Friday Harbor, to the captain of our boat and his assistant. They know all of the pods, whether they are local or transients, each family member, and what they eat.
It takes a team effort to find them in these vast waters. There are biologists and naturalists that continually do research on the Orcas. Their knowledge is critical to understanding them. They worked together well as team with the local guiding companies that take people out to see them. The companies that take tourists out to find the Orcas are professionals, and share their knowledge with each other to help everyone see them. These guides have a private radio channel and private Facebook page to help facilitate this communication. It was a job well done!
The Orca kids!
Allen with his assistant Zoe scanning for the mist from the whale blowholes when they exhaled
Zoe using Allen as a tripod to keep her binoculars steady. Hey, whatever works to find them!
Nicole was part of our team of Orca scanners
It takes a lot of eyes to find them, so Hugh used his “eagle eyes” and helped out also
Hugh got his chance to use the big glass. The most important things he learned was not to drop it in the water!
Chloe got jealous when Hugh got to use the professional camera and lens, so we had to let her have a go at it
This is a large male, as evidenced by his large dorsal fin, near our boat
You never know what direction they are coming from, so you need to be observant at all times
They are not easy to photograph. You need to be ready and time your shot for the few seconds they pop to the surface to breathe. In a bobbing boat this can be a challenge!
They were quite active and breached several times
Allen did a great job of anticipating where they would go. One time several members of a pod swam just a few feet in front of our bow.
Allen put a hydrophone in the water as they swam by
Their eerie sounds as they communicate with each other are mesmerizing. They can communicate like this for vast distances
Even though we were close to them, sometimes it was nice to see them in the distance
There is plenty of other wildlife throughout the area, including southern sea lions, bald eagles, and several different species of seals.