My gecko is spitting every time He is picked up. It just started about a week ago. Is something wrong or is he stressed

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Customer: My gecko is spitting every time He is picked up. It just started about a week ago. Is something wrong or is he stressed or something? What can we do?
Answered by Jav917 in 2 mins 13 years ago
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Jav917
Pet Specialist
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27,324 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hi,

Type of Gecko?

Can you better describe what is happening?

Set up?

Diet?

Substrate?

Heat source?

Temps and how measured?

Supplements?

Joan

Customer

Leopard gecko

When he is picked up and held he spits clear or brown liquid at whoever is holding him.

He is in a 10 gallon aquarium with mesh lid. Sand for substrate, one side heated with reptile heater, hiding place with moist sponge, shedding container, climbing rock to lay on and bask, basking light

Heat measured with digital thermometer 75 degrees at night to 85 degrees during day

Calcium available in small dish and freeze dried fruit flies

Was eating 15-20 crickets every two days. About two weeks ago.

Now eating about 10-15 crickets every 3 or 4 days. Crickets are gut loaded prior to feeding.

Water supplied in a shallow dish that is as long as his body so he can cool off if needed

Hi,

This is not a noral reaction from your Leo. This can possibly be a respiratory infection or an impaction. I am very concerned because of the sand substrate. I truely feel this Leo should see the Herp Vet. In the mean time I would get rid of the sand as that may be a contributing factor. I can lcoate a Herp Vet for you with a location. In the mean time I am going to give you my care sheet. Joan

 

 

http://homepage.mac.com/exoticdvm/reptile/PhotoAlbum181.html Sand Impaction

Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

The Leopard Gecko is originally from Pakistan, India, and a few other countries in Asia. Leopard Geckos are terrestrial (they live on the ground) and they are nocturnal (active at night). They prefer temperatures between 82 and 88 degrees all day and night. They grow to between 8 to 11 inches. Leopard Geckos are available in a wide range of colors and patterns which are the result of selective captive breeding. These include albino, ghost, striped, jungle, leucistic and high yellow. These colors have been made possible through selective captive breeding. Leopard Geckos make wonderful pets for almost any responsible person. Leopard Geckos also make good long term pets. They can live over twenty years. Never grab by tail it will break off. Leopard Gecko Housing: A male Leopard Gecko should never be housed in the same cage as another male leopard gecko because they will fight and possibly kill one another. A male can be housed with several females without any problems. I do not advise housing leopard geckos in the same cage with any other reptiles. A single Leopard Gecko can be kept in a ten gallon tank. For a male and a few females a twenty gallon tank or larger should be used. The cage should have a screen lid on top of it to prevent any escapes. Leopard geckos need places to hide and sleep during the day so you must provide a couple of hiding spots. They need a warm hiding spot and a cold humid hiding spot. Just put one hide box on the side with the heat light and put the humid hide box on the side that does not have the heat light. For the humid hide box, put moist peat moss or moist sphagnum moss (Paper Towels work well and easily replaced) inside a hide box. You can make your own humid hide box from a small plastic shoebox. Cut a hole in one end of the box and place moist moss inside it. The humid box should be cleaned out every week and remoistened. A humid hide box is needed so that the gecko can go in it when it needs to shed. The humidity helps the old skin come off.
Substrate: There is an abundance of products on the market that claim to be safe substrates. All Loose Substrates however are not safe to use. A substrate is what you put on the bottom of the cage for the lizard to walk around on. If a Leopard Gecko ingests any of the substrate accidentally, the substrate must pass through the digestive system. Trust me they will ingest substrate, sometimes on purpose. If it does not easily pass through the digestive system compaction will occur. Compaction is an extreme blockage of the digestive tract and is often fatal. Some substrates that I consider unsafe because they can cause compaction are: sand, orchid bark, crushed walnut shells, lizard litter, gravel, aquarium gravel, and coconut fiber. The safest substrate is using paper towels or plain newspaper, non-stick shelf liner , cage carpet or ceramic tile. For any leopard geckos that are younger than six months I advise using paper towels or plain newspaper until they are at least six months old. Calcium sand is not fully digested no matter what it claims. The stuff just does not break down completely. . Leopard Gecko Heating and Temperature: The cage should be between 82 to 88 degrees all day and night. There is two basic ways to heat the cage. One is to use a under tank heater like heat tape. The other is to use a black, or blue night incandescent heat light. I prefer to use a heat light. For a 10 gallon tank a 60 watt bulb should work depending on room temperature. Place the heat light on one end of the cage. By putting the heat light on one end of the cage it keeps that side warmest and allows the gecko to move to the warmer side with the light or to the colder side without the light as needed to regulate body temperature.
NEVER EVER USE A HOT ROCK, HEAT ROCK, OR ANY SIMILAR PRODUCT. Hot rocks heat unevenly and are notorious for causing terrible thermal burns. Do not buy a hot rock and if you know anyone who uses one, tell them to throw it away. Leopard Gecko Feeding: Leopard Geckos will do very well on a diet of mealworms and crickets. I like to provide some variety in feeder insects to create a more balanced diet. Feeder insects I use are silkworms, mealworms, and crickets with the legs on one side of the body pulled off. Crickets will bite your geckos while they sleep, these bites are prone to infection, so if you pull off one side of their legs then they cannot move around the cage and get to the gecko and also this prevents the crickets from climbing out of the cage. Gut load feeder insects for at least a day before putting them in with the gecko. Feed geckos insects that are not larger than the width of the head of the gecko.
Adults can be fed superworms, though I advise only feeding a couple superworms at a time. Leopard Gecko Vitamin/Mineral Supplement: For young geckos dust the feeder insects every other feeding or place a small feeder dish with supplement in it and some mealworms in the cage. For adults and babies place a shallow dish or a plastic lid in the cage with a teaspoon of calcium powder on it. The gecko will lick the calcium powder as needed. You still need to dust feeder insects every other feeding though with a vitamin supplement for young geckos. Adults use vitamin supplement once a week. Leopard Gecko Water: Use a shallow water bowl, fill with water as needed. Remove bowl from cage and clean out weekly.

Do Not Feed Pinkies

 

Customer

Sand impaction questions: He is fed in a seperate container so that he does not ingest the sand when eating. He is 10 months old and I was told to use sand after the age of 6 months because it holds the heat better. Is sand never supposed to be used? I am confused as to how he could have sand impaction if he doesn't eat in his cage. I am not arguing, just confused. How do you treat that?

Respiratory questions: He doesn't appear to have any bubbles around the nostrils or any obvious breathing problems. Why would he spit if he had a respiratory problem? What can we do.

The problem I have is that my hsuband won't allow me to take him to the vet and although Twilight is a member of the family my husband isn't being very cooperative. What should I do...(besides hit hubby over the head and take Twilight to the vet anyway)

Hi,

Geckos lick their environment, there by picking up sand. If you looked at the link I supplied the Gecko in the picture was also fed in a separate container. I use a non stick shelf liner or tile ( tile or slate are my favorites for the substrate). It is the safest and I know they cannot get impacted from the tile. You can try to give a nice soak in warm water and pedialyte. While in the soak, you can gently massage the stomach from snout to vent. As far as a respiratory infection, I tend to lean more to an issue with a sand impaction or parasites, that is compounded by the stress of being picked up. Please do not hurt the Hubby! They just do not understand a woman's attachment to her Reptile. Joan

Customer

I will try the soak and the massage and get rid of the sand. I there anything else I should try? Syringe feed water or supplements or anything? How long does it usually take for the sand to pass through?

Hi,

If the Twilight is eating you can offer a little canned pumpkin on a cricket and see if the he will take it. canned Pumpkin is a natural fiber that may help the sand pass. The soaks and massage will do the most good. He should pass some stool in the warm soak as it is relaxing. Try not to handle him too much other than for the soak and massage and see how he does. If he continues to spit up and seems to get worse, the Vet is a going to be a must. Joan

Customer
He is not relaxing in the water...he is pretty feisty. How deep should it be? He keeps trying to get out of his bath. He liked the belly massage though. How long should he stay in the water? Sorry for being such a pain. I just want to do it right.

Hi,

Just shallow but above the stomach to help stimulate the digestive tract. If you can go 15 mins that is great, but we do not want to stress him too much, play it by ear as you are with him and can tell what he will tolerate. Make sure to dry him gently and get him warmed up again in his tank. Joan

Customer
Thank you so much

Hi,

You are welcome and if you need anything you can always hit reply and get back to me for further help on thhis issue. There is no charge for follow up questions. Joan

Customer
Well, he has had his soak and his massage. He is back in his habitat without the sand now. He never defecated but we will see how things go. Thank you again.

Hi,

Remember to bookmark the page if you need me again. Joan

Hi,

Geckos lick their environment, there by picking up sand. If you looked at the link I supplied the Gecko in the picture was also fed in a separate container. I use a non stick shelf liner or tile ( tile or slate are my favorites for the substrate). It is the safest and I know they cannot get impacted from the tile. You can try to give a nice soak in warm water and pedialyte. While in the soak, you can gently massage the stomach from snout to vent. As far as a respiratory infection, I tend to lean more to an issue with a sand impaction or parasites, that is compounded by the stress of being picked up. Please do not hurt the Hubby! They just do not understand a woman's attachment to her Reptile. Joan

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