I have a leopard gecko that is about 2.5 - 3 years old. She had shedding problems, due to my own ignorance, which

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I have a leopard gecko that is about 2.5 - 3 years old. She had shedding problems, due to my own ignorance, which resulted in retained eyelid shedding/eye caps. The caps were removed by a vet and I was prescribed a gentacamin opthalmic solution (http://www.1800petmeds.com/product.jsp?id=prod10066&sku=10066&MID=1616&CID=12058&CAWELAID=613071125). I asked what I could feed her, because at that point she had lost a LOT of weight from not being able to hunt, and he told me baby food. He didn't tell me how much and how often, nor did he tell me how much solution I should use in her eyes, so I have just been guessing. I read online about the "Golden Gate Gecko Slurry"(http://www.repticzone.com/forums/Geckos-Leopard/messages/1758235.html), but wanted to ask a vet or professional if that's the right path to go. She is even skinnier now and has no more fat reserves in her tail. I haven't tried wiggling live prey in front of her face (I hate bugs...) and was thinking maybe it'd be best to mash up/grind gut-loaded meal or wax worms and feed it to her with a medicine dropper. By the way, as an expert, what do you recommend using to gutload worms? I've read different things and am not exactly sure which is best. I know that geckos heal slowly and they need the reserves to stay alive! I feel so horrible and I want to save her! I hope I can get some answers.

Extra info:
- Substrate: Reptile Carpet
- Heating: UTH (I actually haven't had it on for a while because it's been hot. I'd guess the tank has lately been around low to mid 70's..maybe low 80s when it's been really hot) I've also read many different temperatures that the floor "should be"; what is your recommendation?
- Tank: 20x10x12
- Food: She used to eat mealworms...at the moment I am feeding her sweet potato baby food with repti-cal calcium and vitamin powder mixed in. She has water available at all times.
Answered by Anna in 8 hours 11 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,050 satisfied customers

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


I apologize that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question. Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

Has your gecko been passing normal droppings?

What substrate do you use on the floor?

What method are you using to feed the baby food?

Thank you.


Did your vet check a fecal sample for parasites?
Her droppings are normal, just not as frequent. I've already posted in my question that I use reptile carpet as my substrate and I use a medicine dropper to feed her the baby food. My vet did not check a fecal sample for parasites. I don't think it's parasites though (I could be wrong, of course). The reason she is so skinny is (most likely) is because she hasn't been eating much because she can't see and I believe I haven't been providing her enough nutrition.
Sorry - I missed the part about reptile carpet. Thank you for getting back to me. I'm working on your answer, and will post it as soon as it is typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Please don't reply to this post as that can lock me out so I won't be able to post your answer.

I'll be back in a few minutes.

Thank you for waiting. I'm going to start you off with a first aid measure to begin right away. after having a poor appetite, your gecko is probably dehydrated. Buy some unflavored Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak your gecko for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely.

A big factor in both the appetite loss and the shedding problems may be the temperature. Your gecko is cold. The temperature in the coolest part of the cage should be 82*F. On the warm side, it should be 88*F. These temperatures should be maintained day and night.

Because geckos eat mostly insects, a better baby food would be plain chicken or another meat. Besides being less nutritious for an insectivore, vegetable foods are lower in calories and will not help with weight gain. You can use the recipe you read if you like, but the meat baby food with added supplements will work just as well. After your gecko has had a nice long soak and has been warm for several hours, try feeding her again. Just put a small dollop of the baby food or slurry on the end of her snout. Most of the time, they'll lick it off. Don't force anything into her mouth - that often leads to aspiration into the lungs. Keep giving her more as long as she continues to eat it. Feed her twice a day. It's possible that after a few soaks and a day or so of being warm enough, she'll begin eating normally.

As for the eye solution, put a drop or two in each eye.

Commercial cricket food along with some vegetables or fruit and dry oatmeal are good for gut loading. The reason you find conflicting information is that there is no single best food to gutload with. Mealworms generally only eat grain meals (that's where their name comes from). Oatmeal is a good thing to feed them. Wax worms should only be fed as treats, so don't worry about gut loading them.

Try the warmer temperatures and the soaks. If your gecko doesn't begin eating a couple of days, it would be a good idea to consult your vet again.Parasites can cause a loss of appetite, so you could have fecal sample checked. Blood work may also be needed. I hope a second visit will not be necessary.

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 gecko will reach a full recovery.


(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. Thank you.)

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 (28* to 31*C) 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 container. 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 (28*C to 31*C)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.

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