Chameleon Medical: Dystocia – Egg Binding

Dystocia (egg binding)


Dystocia describes a number of conditions that keep eggs from being pushed out of the oviduct when it is time for them to be laid. This can be due to thing s as diverse as obesity with the fat pads in the hip area too large to allow eggs to pass through the area to eggs literally bursting in the oviduct.


The female chameleon in dystocia will begin showing signs of distress. Her eyes will close and sink in and she may begin to gape. Her body is using powerful muscles to expel the eggs, but they are being held up by some opposing force so she has this conflict going on inside her. It is a deadly situation. If the eggs are not expelled she will die.


Dystocia is a very difficult condition to treat. This isn’t because of knowing how to treat each of the conditions that make up dystocia, but determining which of the conditions is at play. If a female digs holes and doesn’t lay the eggs it is difficult to tell if this is a natural attempt at digging a hole and then deciding that it wasn’t good enough and then trying again or if her body tried to lay the eggs and couldn’t. The issue is that if this is just a natural hole selection you do not want to interfere until it is obvious she will never be happy and it is threatening her life. At that point you can give vet prescribed oxytocin which can start the labor. If it is due to an obstruction then you would want to perform a C-section and remove the eggs surgically. The challenge you and your vet have is to determine which of these conditions are in play and what the appropriate timing will be for any one of these approaches. And there is not much room for error before the female expires.

Husbandry Correction

In a healthy female, egg laying is a standard part of life which can be done multiple times a year. In a female that is on the edge of healthy or unhealthy it is a life threatening process. The solution is to simply provide proper husbandry. No magic formula. Just the basic husbandry conditions you are learning on this website.