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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18342
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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Three days ago he had trouble shedding so we had to assist m

Customer Question

three days ago he had trouble shedding so we had to assist him and gave him a warm bath for about three minutes and were able to get all the extra shed off his face and tail and feet. while in the bath he flipped himself onto his back and we assisted him in getting upright. we took him out and sat him with us so we could monitor him. he flipped about three more times last night and so we took him to the only vet office that was open at the time. we didnt get an answer and were told to monitor for worsening symptoms. today he is very lethargic and will not eat or move much besides his head. he seems to go in and out of responsiveness. he is also frequently opening and closing his mouth in what looks like gasps for breathe
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the head. What is the head's name?
Customer: he is a leopard gecko named Leo
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Leo?
Customer: he is kept on slate tile for a substrate and is fed primarily mealworms that are supplemented with calcium (with and without D3)and vitamins. We provide a humid hide when he appears to turn white like he is going to shed
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.


My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in Reptiles and a Reptile rescue.

It sounds like your Leo has aspirated the water into the lungs causing aspiration Pneumonia. This will need to be addressed by a Herp Vet asap. They will start an Antibiotic and give medication to assist with breathing. If you supply a State, I can locate some Herp Vets for you.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Liverpool, NY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How do you believe that he aspirated water? From flipping in the bath? the water was maybe 1mm deep.And would that cause the lethargy instantly?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thinking about it though... he never willingly let us touch his feet and he seemed not to care at all. And this was before he flipped. So the lethargy likely came before his trouble shedding
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

He may have been ill prior to the soak, but from what you have described he did aspirate water and that is why the gaping when breathing. Being over on the back compresses the lungs, and made it easier to inhale the water and aspirate it into the lungs. I did not see a Herp Vet right in Liverpool, but have a list of Herp Vets avalable to treat the Leo:

The constant gaping is a sign of Respiratory distress, and when we see that we have to recommend a Herp Vet.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I will schedule an appointment again tomorrow with a vet, as I was going to do anyway. In the meantime what do I do? And so far we have only found a solution to part of the problem. Why would he flip over in the first place?
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

If you are using D3 that can cause the problem. We have found D3 can have adverse Neurological effects on Reptiles. I see you are using both with and without D3, That is the one issue that can cause it. The other we see with Metabolic Bone Disease, can cause it, or a Vitamin Difiency. The Vet will be able to fully determine the cause.