Leopard gecko is very lethargic. Usually she is in one of her hides. But she was just laying down on her stairs. Just

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Customer: Leopard gecko is very lethargic. Usually she is in one of her hides. But she was just laying down on her stairs.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. How long has the leopard gecko been lethargic? Any changes in her appetite?
Customer: Just noticed it this morning, no changes to appetite.
JA: Could she have eaten something unusual?
Customer: I don't think so. Very unlikely.
JA: And what's the leopard gecko's name and age?
Customer: Name is ***** ***** sure of her age. Got her from a friend she was full grown already though.
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Nope.
Answered by Dr. Amy Leigh in 3 days 1 year ago
Dr. Amy Leigh
Pet Specialist

1,686 satisfied customers

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

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer with your questions. I'm sorry Valetine is not feeling well.

My name is***** have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and am happy to help with your question.

Veterinary Experts are able to provide general medical advice. We are NOT able to provide a diagnosis or prescribe medications. I can help you to determine if a veterinary visit is needed or if it seems reasonable to monitor and treat at home.

You may be automatically prompted to consider a phone consultation for an additional fee. Unfortunately, I am not able to provide phone consultations. If you would like to continue the chat, just hit decline. If you would like a phone consultation, let me know and I will disconnect so you can speak with another Expert.

I'd like to ask you some questions so that I can provide the best advice possible.

Is Valentine still eating?

Is she passing stool/urine (urates)?

It appears you are offline. I am sorry we were not able to connect to discuss Valentine's health problems.

Based on the information you provided, I can offer some general advice.

Most health problems in reptiles are due to an incomplete understanding of the unique needs of their species. It doesn't sound like the previous owner was providing adequate care. I have included some information on the care of Leopard geckos so you can check to make sure you are doing everything you can to give her the best chances going forward.

Leopard geckos are originally from the middle east where the climate is warm and dry. Their natural habitat is rocky with clay-gravel solid below a layer of sand. Their husbandry needs should be based on their natural environment.

Leopard geckos are nocturnal or active at dusk and dawn. In the daytime, they hide under rocks or in burrows that have higher humidity than the ambient environment. Their natural diet consists of insects and other invertebrates as well as newborn rodents. They have been known to ingest sand as a source of calcium. They also eat the skin that they shed.

A variety of floor covering can be used in the cage. Sand is commonly recommended.  Sand can create a problem because if geckos eat excessive amounts they can develop an impaction. Newspaper, paper towels, pea-gravel, flat stones, or reptile carpet are better options. These are easily cleaned and do not tend to be eaten. Cage furnishings such as rocks, branches, and plants provide behavioral enrichment and basking sites.

Hide boxes are necessary for their health. They will spend the whole day inside these boxes. At least two hide boxes should be provided. One box should contain moist sphagnum moss or moist mulch to increase the humidity. This area of higher humidity helps improve the ability for shedding.

Leopard geckos get most of their vitamin D through their diet. Ultraviolet light is not necessary since they are a nocturnal species. Regular lighting is needed to establish the day-night cycle and provide heat to the enclosure. A 12-hour day/12-hour night cycle is recommended unless they are breeding.

Leopard geckos do not require high temperatures. An appropriate preferred optimal temperature zone is 75°F to 89°F (24°C to 32°C). Nighttime temperatures should be 65°F to 74°F (18°C to 23°C). Heat lights work well for daytime heating while under-the-tank heaters can be used to maintain the temperature at night. Ceramic heat emitters can also be used outside of the cage, in a similar manner to a heat lamp. The emitters do not produce light. Heat rocks can cause serious burn injuries and should never be used in reptile enclosures.

Feces should be spot cleaned daily. The entire enclosure, including the substrate, should be cleaned and disinfected a least once a month.

Leopard geckos generally eat insects. A variety of insects should be offered several times a week. This helps provide essential nutrients and enrich their lives. The insects should be gut-loaded, which means they are fed a vitamin-rich diet prior to being used as a food source. Insects should also be lightly dusted with a calcium/vitamin supplement labeled for Leopard geckos every other feeding. Feeding at dusk or night time best mimics their natural environment. If they are housed on sand, they should be feed in a separate area to prevent excessive sand ingestion. A bowl with an edible calcium supplement can also be offered. Make sure to remove any insects which are not eaten as they can cause trauma to the geckos if left in the enclosure. Freshwater should be available at all times.

Some medical problems that can cause lethargy in leopard geckos include:

Mouth rot is a condition where a bacterial infection occurs in the mouth of reptiles. It can be due to trauma, vitamin deficiency, or inappropriate lighting, humidity, or temperature. This will often cause open wounds in the mouth, swelling, difficulty eating, and drooling. If you are able to see areas in the mouth that appear to have wounds, you can use a dilute (0.05%) betadine or chlorhexidine applied with a q-tip twice daily. Make sure you correct any areas of care that need improvement. Antibiotics are typically needed to resolve the infection.

Metabolic bone disease is a condition where the bones soften due to a lack of calcium in the diet. This can make reptiles prone to bone fractures. They may also have excessive development of tissue around the bones in an attempt to stabilize the weakened areas. Fracture of the jaw may occur with this condition.

Intestinal parasites can cause geckos to have poor weight gain. The parasites are not always visible in the stool. A fecal examination by a veterinarian should be able to determine if parasites are the problem. Sometimes, they will recommend treating parasites even if none are detected.

Kidney disease is sometimes a problem for older geckos. If you take Valentine to an experienced reptile veterinarian, they will be able to perform blood work to evaluate his kidneys.

Sand impaction can also be a big problem with Leopard geckos who are fed on a sand-covered floor. They can ingested sand which stays in the stomach and intestines. In some cases, they will become completely obstructed. In other cases, the sand takes up room in the stomach so they do not eat enough to gain weight. An X-ray should be able to detect a sand impaction.

I would recommend that you have Valentine evaluated by a veterinarian if she is still lethargic. In the meantime, continue to feed a variety of insects every other day. You can offer as much as she is willing to eat in a 15 minute period.

Make sure you are correcting any areas of her care that need improvement as well.

She may also be dehydrated. You can soak her in a shallow dish of lukewarm water twice daily for 5-10 minutes. Make sure you are monitoring her the entire time she is soaking. Leopard geckos are not great at swimming. If she is lethargic, she is prone to drowning.

I hope the information was helpful and Valentine is feeling fat and sassy soon. Thank you for trusting JustAnswer with your questions. It was my pleasure to help you today. If you need further information regarding this question or need clarification on the recommendations, please let me know. I am happy to help.

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Dr. Amy Leigh
1,686 satisfied customers
Pet Specialist
Dr. Amy Leigh
+ years of experience

1686 satisfied customers



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31,131 satisfied customers

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