We have a female leopard gecko. I would estimate her age to be 6-8 months. We recently acquired a second female from a

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Customer: Hello. We have a female leopard gecko. I would estimate her age to be 6-8 months. We recently aquired a second female from a friend. Her age is 8-10 months. She appeared to be very healthy when we got her. Alert, fat tail, active. She ate great for 4 days. After that, she stopped eating. We noticed her stool was a pink, fleshy color with an orangy / yellow urate after she stopped eating. She has not eaten for 7 days now. The last couple days we have gotten her to drink water from our fingers, and eat a single cricket. We have been feeding them a mix of crickets and meal worms but she is just not interested in either of them. I got some wax worms as a treat (I know they are very fatty but I wanted to get her to eat something) and I did get her to eat two of them. I didn't want to give her any more than that. Her stools now have a regular white urate in them, but there doesn't appear to be any regular dark brown part, just like a little mucus. What should we do???
Answered by Anna in 1 hour 10 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,054 satisfied customers

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

Hello,

I'm sorry to hear that your gecko is having this problem. Some additional information will be helpful.

What substrate do you use on the cage floor? What substrate was used by Hanna's previous owner?

What is the temperature gradient in the cage?

Is Hanna's abdomen swollen at all?

Thank you.

Anna
Customer
We are using reptile carpet, while the previous owner was using a sand. She did explain to me that she had just switched to an "orange" type sand but didn't like it because it was dusty. We keep 3 hides in our vivarium. Cool, warm and moist. We have lights set on a timer. They are zoo med lights. I believe the day light is a 75 watt. and then a red light for night. During the day, the warm side is 90-92 while the cool side is 85-87. At night, each side drops about 4 or 5 degrees. Hanna spends most of her time (Day and night) in the warm hide. I have not noticed any swelling of her abdomen.
Thank you for getting back to me. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back shortly.

Anna
Thank you for your patience. My first concern is that Hanna may be impacted from the sand she was on. 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. I am happy to hear that you are already doing that. Impaction can cause no stool at all, or abnormal ones.

I'll give you a first aid measure to take. Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants), and prepare a shallow warm bath consisting of 1/2 warm water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak Hanna for about 20 to 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, with her still in the water, gently massage her underside from front to vent for an additional 10 minutes. That may be enough to help her pass some feces. Be sure to supervise closely. The massage can help if there's some constipation. Reptiles can absorb fluids and nutrients through their vents (where droppings pass out), so the soaks also help with any dehydration that is present. You can repeat the soaks twice per day.

Another possibility is that Hanna has parasites. That can cause an abnormal stool, too. You would need to take a sample of her droppings in a plastic bag to a vet for a diagnosis. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

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

I'll also give you an alternate feeding method to try after Hanna has had a couple of long soaks. Get some plain chicken baby food. Drop a small dollop of it right on the end of her snout. Most of the time, they'll lick it off.

If Hanna doesn't perk up after a few soaks, or she doesn't pass any droppings while the massage is being done, or if her conditions seems to worsen, you'll want to go ahead and make an appointment with a vet.

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. You probably already know much of what is in it as you seem very well-informed, but 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 Hanna will reach a full recovery.

Anna

If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to ask! There’s no additional fee for such follow-up questions.

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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.

Do Not Feed Pinkies

Customer
Thank you for your help. We set up another vivarium and put her in it. We gave her several baths no luck. We ended up taking her to the vet who took an xray and said she is not impacted. So we got her to eat some chicken baby food and she pooped a little. It was mostly a mucusy very light beige color with clear liquid and had an orange and white urate. We took it to the vet and they checked it and said there are no parasites. He told us to continue feeding the chicken baby food with an oral sysringe. Is there any other help you can offer us?
Hello again. I'm glad to hear you visited the vet. It's good news that she isn't impacted and doesn't have parasites.

Did you try feeding the baby food by dropping it on your gecko's snout? If not, I would give that a try before using the oral syringe method. Syringe-feeding often results in accidental aspiration into the lungs, and then pneumonia. Of course, if the vet showed you exactly how to do it, you should be fine.

The other thing I highly recommend is to continue twice-daily Pedialyte soaks. Skip the massage part since she has now pooped and you know she isn't impacted. Just soak her twice a day for 20 to 30 minutes.

You might also check into an under-the-cage heat mat. Geckos, especially sick ones, often do better with heat from underneath, rather than from a light bulb. Try to adjust the temperature to the optimal range for geckos - 88*F on the warm side and 82*F on the cool side.

Beyond this, you are doing a great job of everything you should be. I hope your efforts will pay off.

If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.

Anna
Customer
Again many thanks for your help! Her stools seem to be getting a little better. They are getting a little more formed but the urate is still a bit off color. It is an off white or light biege color and not well formed. She still will not eat and we are still force feeding her the chicken baby food. We tried to get her to eat either waxworms or mealworms both trying to put them directly in her mouth and also on her own with no luck. Are there suggestions you could give us to get her to eat on her own? Also do you still think we should be giving her the soaks?
Glad to hear she is improving. I would continue the soaks as long as she isn't eating well. They can't hurt anything. As long as she doesn't feel good, she probably won't eat on her own. You could try skipping the feedings for one day (but continue the soaks), then offer her something she really likes (like a treat of a wax worm) the following day. But only try this once if it doesn't work.

If the situation doesn't improve, you may need to return to the vet for blood work. a problem with internal organs could be causing this, and blood work is the only way to detect them. Be sure the vet you're seeing is a reptile vet.

Anna
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