I was wondering if you can help i have a 11 week leopard gecko who was housed on sand substrate when i got her but i

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Customer: hello i was wondering if you can help i have a 11 week leopard gecko who was housed on sand substrate when i got her but i house her on newspaper we have had her for nearly 3 weeks now, she seems quite lethargic to me and eats very little if anything, i feed her black crickets which she will go for occasionally but i would say she only eats about 3 every 3 days she's not interested in wax worms or mealies she loves sitting in her moist hide sleeping all the time. i have not seen her shed yet, i do not see many poos only tiny white grains of rice bot round when i first got her she had 3 motions daily the size of a co codamol covered in sand, this morning i noticed a lump about the size of a pea on her anus it looks like she's constipated i have put her in a small dish with warm water to see if this helps, what can it be? her viv set up is a heat mat under half of tank and an infra red light during the day temp is 90f daytime 70f night, i turn the light off at night please help!
Answered by Anna in 4 hours 13 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,050 satisfied customers

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

Hello,

Your gecko is probably impacted from the sand she was housed on before you got her. You're on the right track with the water, but there are steps you can take to make such a soak more effective. Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants), and prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak your gecko for about 20 to 30 minutes. With him still in the water, gently massage his underside from front to vent for an additional 10 minutes. That may be enough to help him finish passing the feces if there’s a partial blockage. The soak can be repeated twice a day. Try putting a few drops of vegetable oil (canola, olive) on a cricket and see if he'll eat it. If these measures don't help within a day, it would be best to make an appointment with a reptile vet. This link will take you to a directory of them:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. You can use it as a checklist to be sure all conditions are right. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your gecko will be fine.

Anna

A first aid measure that may help is to give your gecko a special soak. Buy some Pedialyte (made for human infants and available in discount stores and pharmacies). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 Pedialyte and 1/2 warm water. Soak the gecko for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s possible the gecko has a partial blockage, so after soaking him for the first 10 minutes, and with him still in the water, gently massage his underside from front to vent for an additional 10 minutes. That may help him pass droppings. A gecko that is impacted or even somewhat constipated will not want to eat.

The temperatures in the enclosure are a bit too cool. That alone can cause appetite loss. The temperature gradient in the tank should be 82*F to 88*F day and night. An unhealthy gecko is better off with warmer temperatures.

You should get rid of the calcium sand. Pet stores often recommend it, but it does frequently lead to serious health problems, including impaction. It’s also a leading cause of eye infections and respiratory irritations. It's better to use a solid substrate, such as ceramic tile or reptile carpet. You can see the results of using loose substrates here (includes graphic photos):

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

You can try soaks (twice a day) and warmer temperatures for a day or two to see if they help. If the gecko doesn’t improve quickly. it would be best to see a vet. Of course, you can do that right away if you’re too worried to wait. Here is a clinic in Casper that treats reptiles:

The Animal Hospital XXXXX
Casper 82064 (NNN) NNN-NNNN

If that one doesn’t work out for some reason, this link will take you to a list of the others in Wyoming:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/wyoming.html

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. You can use it as a checklist to make sure all the conditions are right. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your grandson’s gecko will reach a full recovery.

Anna

Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

The Leopard Gecko is originally from Pakistan, India, and a few other countries in Asia. They actually live on hard rocky outcrops 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 age 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. I actually prefer an under the tank heater for heat source rather than a light since the geckos are Nocturnal. For the humid hide box, Paper Towels work well and easily replaced inside a hide box. You can make your own humid hide box from a small plastic shoe box or from a margarine conatiner. Cut a hole in one end of the container and place moist paper towel inside it. The humid box should be cleaned out every week and re moistened. 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 (Please note the link above) 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, bark, Calci sand, 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, roaches 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
hello anna, thankyou for your advice, i placed abi in a warm bath and rubbed her belly with veg oil i also got her to lick a small amount off my finger, she did poop a little about half the size of your little finger nail it was all sand..poor little love she has not eaten yet but she has had a small lick of water off my finger, i also put some chicken babyfood in a milk bottle top just incase she got hungry in the night, there are 2 crickets running around her viv but she is not interested in catching them, i also have 2 waxworms in there also, is there anything else i should be doing, thankyou for your help
The poor little thing is probably full of sand. I do recommend that you take her to a reptile vet. In the meantime, continue the twice-daily soaks with stomach massage. The massage should be done while she's simply soaking in water. Rubbing oil on her stomach won't help - she needs to consume it. See if she'll lick more off your finger.

I would take those crickets out of the cage. when crickets aren't eaten right away, they tend to bite the lizard. It often happens while the gecko is asleep. Such wounds become infected and often abscesses and sores develop.

There really isn't more that you can do on your own, but a vet may be able to offer more assistance. However, a local vet who treats mostly dogs and cats probably wouldn't be of much assistance. See the link I gave you above for a reptile vet.

There's no need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

Anna
Customer

dear XXXXX,

i just wanted to update you on abigail, after at least 7 motions of sand and lots of baths/belly rubs/baby food with oil mixed in she is doing fantasticly, i am so proud of her she ate 4 crickets last night and 2 the previous night, she pooped and guess what! not a trace of sand, she even shed with a little help from mum (thats me), i am so so pleased she's doing well and i wanted to share the news with you, thankyou so very much for your advice and just for being there, did i mention this is our first gecko, well what a struggle but she is worth every minute,

all the very best to you anna and please keep doing what your doing

regards jennyxx

Hello Jenny,

I'm happy to get such good news. That's a relief that all the sand seems to be out and she's eating.

You're an exceptionally responsible first-time owner. Keep up the good work.

Anna

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