Our eyelash crested Gecko is extremely lethargic, is alive but appears to be dying. Its tail is looking shriveled and it

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Customer:

Our eyelash crested Gecko is extremely lethargic, is alive but appears to be dying. Its tail is looking shriveled and it has not been eating well. We got him for Christmas and our little girl is devastated. HELP!

Answered by Anna in 5 mins 4 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

I'm sorry to hear you're having these problems with your gecko. I'll give you a first aid measure, but first some additional information may help me figure out what is going on.

What temperatures do you maintain in the warmest part of the cage, and in the coolest part?
What types of lighting and heating equipment do you have?
Has the gecko had a poor appetite the entire time you've had him?
Has he been passing normal droppings?
What substrate do you use on the cage floor?

Customer

Cage floor is compressed coconut fiber by Eco Earth. Yes he has always had a poor diet since we got him at Xmas. I personally have never seen a dropping but my daughter said they are white and lately he isn't pooping much lately. We have the house at about 68-70 we don't have a heat lamp for him as we were told we didn't need one.

So far, our pet store recommended that we stick a lamp next to the cage, which we have, he seems to be perking up since then. He won't eat and he looks dehydrated so my thought is to mist him but they said don't make him cold so I have not.

By the way, we feed him Fluker's Crested Gecko Food, spherical granules. Apparently, he is not a fan, so we got him some tiny crickets a few times and he perks up whenever he eats them. He seemed lethargic today to my daughter so we went and got more crickets. We became very concerned when he wouldn't move and appeared shriveled when we went to put them into the cage. Assuming he comes through this, I would say we should start using a heat lamp despite what the store said at least in winter. Should we try a different food and what do you recommend?

Customer

By the way, we feed him Fluker's Crested Gecko Food, spherical granules. Apparently, he is not a fan, so we got him some tiny crickets a few times and he perks up whenever he eats them. He seemed lethargic today to my daughter so we went and got more crickets. We became very concerned when he wouldn't move and appeared shriveled when we went to put them into the cage. Assuming he comes through this, I would say we should start using a heat lamp despite what the store said at least in winter. Should we try a different food and what do you recommend?

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. I am not a fast typist).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 waiting. Your gecko is critically ill, and may not survive.I know that isn't what you want to hear, but I believe you deserve honesty. however, we're going to do our best to help him pull through.

Crested geckos will die if they are subjected to temperatures of 85*F or higher. However, the temperatures in your house are a bit too chilly, so you do need to add a heat source. You want to maintain the temperature between 72*F and 80*F. Be sure to use a good thermometer and make sure you do not overheat him. You could use an under-the-cage heat mat, or a light. when using a light, you can adjust the temperature by moving the fixture up or down, or by using a different size light bulb.

From what you have described, the gecko is dehydrated. I'll give you a first aid measure for that. Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water (at about 75*F) 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.

The food you're giving him is not a very good one. Repashy makes a better one, and he may be more inclined to eat it. If you can't find it locally, here is an online source: http://www.pangeareptile.com/store/crested-gecko-diet.html

Also, try feeding him some baby food fruits. crickets should only be rare treats. After being warm enough and having a couple of soaks, his appetite may improve. It would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a reptile vet tomorrow. This link will take you to a directory of them: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

Customer

Thank you for your good advice which makes plenty of sense. I'm afraid Aristotle passed away while we were waiting for the reply. I really wish Petsmart told us we needed a light. We specifically asked and they said that they do not need lights.

I feel awful because now my small girls are devastated and I feel like I should have done more research but the guy at Petsmart seemed like he really knew his stuff so I trusted that he did. We told him we kept our house at 68 to 70 and he said that was fine. He did tell me that the Repashy was good, I should have gotten my daughter that and now I feel awful. :( Thanks for your help. RIP Ari

I'm so sorry to hear that you lost him. The better food alone probably wouldn't have made a difference. You were doing the best you could with the information you were given. While we should be able to rely on pet store clerks, unfortunately,the information they give is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After months or years of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. This wasn't your fault.

I don't know how old your daughter is, but I was a teacher for a number of years, and I was in situations to help kids who lost pets. Depending on what your daughter is interested in, she could make a scrapbook about Ari with photos, perhaps poems she's written, pictures she's drawn, etc. I've found doing something like that helps many kids. She could also do any of those things individually if she doesn't want to do a whole scrapbook. If hands-on activities are more her style, a clay sculpture of Ari might be good. If she likes to do things online, here's a site where she could leave a memorial:

http://www.chancesspot.org/

I don't know what your religious beliefs are, but if they fit with it, you may want to share this poem with your daughter or put it in a scrapbook:

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...


A small celebration of life or funeral service is comforting to some kids.If Ari is to be buried, she could design a stone. You can use one of the decorative concrete patio blocks sold in home improvement stores.

Finally, if your daughter seems to need some counseling from a non-family member, this site offers free pet grief counseling by trained volunteers:

http://www.aplb.org/

I also think it would be appropriate for your daughter to take the next school day off if Ari's death is affecting her deeply. Not only does that give her a little more time to process her grief, it's an acknowledgment of the importance of an animal's life and of the your daughter's love for Ari. Over the years, I've dealt with many kids whose parents sent them to school while they were still grief-stricken, and they simply weren't able to function normally yet. They would have been better off at home.

I hope one or two of these ideas will be useful to you. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

Anna
Customer

Thank you so much. I am letting her take the day off tomorrow and she and I will go buy a beautiful wooden box for Ari with his name engraved. We'll keep him in our china closet alongside our cats and dog's ashes. It seemed to comfort us all to keep them with us. We'll place his photo in there alongside the box. Thank you so much.

You're welcome, Danielle. That's a great idea to have Ari cremated. I'm sure your daughter will be comforted by the same ritual as was helpful with your other pets.

Customer

She's very happy, we ordered the little engraved box with the plaque on it with his name and it should be here by Saturday, they ship today. I am getting a tiny picture frame for his photo to go next to it this afternoon. We bought her a stuffed animal Gecko at Xmas too in case the pet store was out of them, so we could have something to give her with his terrarium, she's carrying him around today and she did stay home from school.

She said she wants to wait to see what happens to her friend's Gecko as her friend also got one. They have a class pet bearded dragon and that's why the kids all got into reptiles. If Ally's Gecko makes it a few more months, Ava said she will get another. She is worried that Ari in heaven will feel replaced. I told her I don't think so, any advice on that? Other than get a heat lamp and buy repashi and feed it baby food fruit.

I'm glad your daughter is adjusting well. You've done a wonderful job of handling the situation. Because I'm concerned that your daughter's friend and the teacher may have also gotten bad information from pets tore staff, I'm going to give you more on care of crested geckos and bearded dragons. Here is a link to the gecko care sheet, which you can print out:

http://www.pangeareptile.com/store/crested-gecko-care-sheet-en.html

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. Joan has many years experience keeping and rescuing beardies. You may want to pass it on to the school.

Anna

Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

* Bearded dragons should be housed alone.

* Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:

1. 0-3 months- baby
2. 3-12 months-juvenile
3. 12-18 months- sub adult
4. 18 months + -adult

* Bearded dragons live as much as 10-12 years if well cared for properly.
* Bearded dragons have a very good temperament as long as they are cared for and handled.
* When you bring your baby home, it may be quite stressful to him/her to get use to new home. May not eat well the first 2-3 days. They may not need to be handled the first 2-3 days if skittish and nervous.
* Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate: Loose substrates can cause impaction (not being able to go Poop) in all ages of bearded dragons- they lick their environment to explore .It is difficult to keep germ free and clean. Ceramic tile, newspaper, non adhesive shelf liner and reptile carpet is what is most recommended. Use paper towels for the little one and as they get bigger you can change to something else.
* Be sure you keep your beardies home as clean as you can. Clean up by spot cleaning when needed. Clean & sanitize entire tank every 10-14 days. A good cleaning solution is a 20% bleach solution. If you choose to use wood climbing branches etc, these should be soaked in the bleach solution and rinsed well. Then bake in 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.
* Need a climbing accessory: to bask and to warm up under basking heat light and lower branches or platforms to come down and cool off.
* A hide of some sort like a cave.
* A food dish and water dish.
* Plastic spray bottle
* Can use artificial plants when they get older- 3 months or so.
* Digital thermostat and/or temp gun
* Tank size: Minimal size tank for this age is 20 gallon long
* Minimal size for older beardie: 4 months of age: 40 gallon breeder is the minimal tank size for older dragon. Can divide a 40 gallon breeder for a smaller dragon. Must have two lights for your beardie.

1. A UVB light source-best is 10.0 Reptisun that runs the length of your tank. Your dragon must have this light to metabolize calcium. If not he will get metabolic bone disease, a serious condition. You can also take your beardie outside to bask in the sun for 15 minutes each day if your temps are 80 degrees or above outside. You can purchase cages or reptariums from your pet store. Never leave a beardie outside unattended.
2. A basking type light that puts out heat and warmth above basking spot. Your beardie must have warmth to digest food & thrive.

* Lights should be on for 12-14 hours each day. Follow the seasons and light timers are a great luxury if you can get them. 6 dollars at Lowe's. No lights or warmth needed at night unless your temperatures get below 62 degrees. If they do, there are ceramic heat emitters that put out no light, only heat. Use these at night if temperatures fall below 62 degrees.

* Temperatures have to be kept at the following ranges during the day:

Babies: Warm basking log: 110-125 degrees F (43.5* to 51.5*C)
Cool side: 85-90 (29.5* to 32*C)
Adults: Warm basking spot: 105-115F (40.5*C to 46*C)

Cool side: 80-85F (27*C to 29*C)

Measure temperatures with a digital probe type thermometer or a temp gun-these are most accurate. Stick on thermometers unreliable.

* Feeding a Beardie: Beardies eat live prey consisting of crickets, roaches and/or silkworms. Never feed any size of mice to your beardie. Never feed mealworms. They also must be given greens/veggies everyday. The younger they are the more live prey they should have. As they grow older the live prey decreases and the veggies/greens should be the major part of diet. Never feed anything bigger, than the space between your beardie's eyes. This includes both live prey and pieces of veggies/greens,
* A chopper or food processor is a huge help when your beardie is small. Always offer greens and veggies: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, red cabbage, fresh green beans, yellow summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, cactus pad. Apricots, strawberries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe- fruits are treats only.
* What is live prey? The easiest and less expensive live prey is crickets when you have a young or first beardie. The other live preys you can feed are silkworms, and special types of roaches. You can learn to raise your own live prey. Treats can be waxworms, super worms, and tomato/goliath worms. You may find that ordering live prey from the internet is the way to go..... Never leave live prey or greens/veggies in tank overnight. . Crickets can bite your beardie when sleeping.
* Babies should get 80% live prey, and 20 % greens/veggies. But since the greens/veggies are a must when they are older, get them eating their greens/veggies very early. Give greens/veggies in small pieces everyday. You should eventually start decreasing your older dragon's protein intake when they are about a year to 15 months old. Their protein intake decreases to 20 % live prey and 80% veggies/greens.
* A baby can eat 50-75 crix a day. Never feed crix or veggies bigger than the space between your beardie's eyes. Use this guide when buying crix or chopping your greens/veggies.
* You must provide calcium dust without D3 and multivitamin dust for your beardie. You should dust the live prey with calcium one time a day, and vitamins 3 times a week. Just collect your live prey into baggie and add enough calcium and vitamin to dust them. Then pour a few at a time into your tank. Some people feed their beardie in a separate tank so that no crickets can hide. Or some take out "furniture" from tank and feed this way. As they get older, 4-5 months or so dust live prey with calcium 3 times a week.
* Feed the veggies/ greens 1st thing in morning after lights on for one hour at least. Then after 2-3 hours offer crix. Then freshen green/veggies. Then give more crix. Make sure after last crix feeding there is at least 1-2 hours of lights so that they can digest their food before night time.

*Beardies over the age of one year old during the winter months will go into a Brumation like most Reptiles and Herps. It is a form of hibernation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights should be on a shorter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available during this period. Do not feed live prey during Brumation.

Water: Mist your little one with the spray bottle 3-4 times a day. You can also offer a small dish of water in your enclosure but be sure your dragon is not too small to drown in it. It is recommended that when your beardie is 2 months old you can bathe your baby in a small plastic container with warm water- not hot. It will help them to stay hydrated. As they get older you can move up to the bathroom sink and then to the bathtub. Very important for bath enclosure to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to bath time. Clean between dragons too if bathing more than one.
Hi Danielle,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Eyelash Crested Gecko. How is everything going?
MsAM
Customer

Ava's doing better with each passing day. His box came today and that made her look sad again for a bit but I know she's happy that his will look just like and be treated with the same care as our other pets.

She was very specific about how she wanted the gold plaque affixed exactly like the other animals: on the top of the box not the front. She has not asked for a new one now, I think she needs time and I would never push her. Thanks so much for caring about Ava. xo

I'm glad that's how you responded. I'm happy to hear she is doing better each day. I want to commend you again for the way you're handling this. So many parents just say, "It's only a gecko (or turtle, parakeet, etc.), so get over it." Ava is fortunate to have you, and she will grow up to have a respect for all living things.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

Customer

Oh thanks, ***** ***** it as your were asking about the situation not Ari. You're the best thank you!

D

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