Mouth Rot (Stomatitis)

Also known as an oral infection or “canker.”


  • Red, swollen lips
  • Sticky mucus or discharge on lips
  • Dark “plaque” on teeth


  • Dehydration
  • Injury
  • Stress
  • Poor husbandry
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Lack of UVB


If you’ve noticed symptoms of mouth rot in your Jackson’s chameleon, the first thing you want to do is check the humidity and your supplements. Low humidity, inadequate misting, or an absence of vitamin A (retinol) in the diet are the most common culprits.

A healthy chameleon will be able to fight off by itself if they have plenty of access to fresh water and nutritious food.

If the mouth rot doesn’t seem to be resolving on its own, use a cotton swab to apply betadine or diluted chlorhexidine to the affected area every day. Some chameleon keepers swear by a mixture of Terramycin and Nature Zone Rot Guard for mouth rot. Mix the ingredients into a claylike paste, apply generously, and reapply every 2-3 days.

If you don’t see improvement after 7 days, make an appointment with a certified reptile veterinarian. The vet will most likely prescribe Baytril or similar. But if that doesn’t work a culture may be needed to determine specific antibiotic needs.

Mouth rot can take 3-9 weeks to fully heal.

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