Hello and thanks for posting your question on JustAnswer.com. My name is***** and I have been a veterinarian for over 21 years, specializing in aquatics, reptiles, amphibians, avian and other exotic species. You may already be aware, but on this platform veterinarians can provide insight and advice, but as this is not considered a legal client-patient relationship, we are unable to prescribe medications, provide medical records or sign documents for your specific pet. For that you would need to make an in person visit with a local veterinarian. I am happy to chat with you via text but if you are interested in a phone call instead that is an option you can choose for an additional charge. In the meantime, I am putting together some questions and/or suggestions to help with your pet’s concern.
I am sorry to hear that your leopard gecko Chongo may be under the weather.
Thank you for the photo, that does indeed look like mouth rot.
“Mouth Rot” or infectious stomatitis is a bacterial infection inside the mouth which can affect the jawbone, teeth and gums. It can present as redness in the mouth, swelling of the gums or jaw, increased oral mucus or discharge from the mouth or nares (nostrils), and pocket of infection or abscesses in the mouth that may be filled with off-white caseous material (the drier, reptile equivalent of pus).
Geckos with mouth rot may show signs other signs such as poor appetite or weight loss because it is painful or difficult for them to eat. Mouth rot can be related to poor diet or periodontal disease that leads to build up of calculus, gingivitis (gum inflammation), gum loss and infection of soft tissue and bone.
I recommend that you make an appointment for an evaluation by a veterinarian experienced with reptile medicine. They will perform an examination and may recommend imaging, such as x-rays. The oral lesion will be evaluated and cleaned of debris and samples may be collected for testing.
Treatment depends upon cause but may involve flushing and topical care of the mouth wound, systemic antibiotics (oral or injectable) and oral care, which might include a dental cleaning and oral antiseptic for you to use at home to keep the mouth clean.
Proper husbandry such as appropriate diet, housing, temperature, cage cleaning/cleanliness and lighting are all important to prevent underlying conditions that can lead to mouth rot. For that reason, I am attaching a leopard gecko care sheet with recommendations on diet, housing, temperature, lighting, etc. for you to review at your convenience.
It's important that you provide leopard gecko with optimal environment:
Leopard geckos evolved in the arid, mountainous deserts of Asia and the Middle East. With good care leopard geckos can live 8-10 years or more and make excellent pets. It is typically recommended to house them singly, though sometimes it is possible to keep breeding pairs together but only if they are the same type of gecko.
-Temperature: Temperature is very important for keeping your gecko healthy with a gradient of temperature from cool to warm. Daytime temperature range with a cool side at 78-80F (25.6-26.7C), a warm side at 85-90 (29.4-32.2C) and a very warm, focal basking area of 90-94F (32.2-34.5C). A nighttime temperature range of 68-90F (21-32C) is recommended. Heat lamps or ceramic heat emitters are safe options for providing tank heating. Under tank heaters or hot rocks are not recommended as they can lead to thermal burns and do not heat the air as effectively. 30-40% humidity is recommended. Although they are from an arid region, having sufficient humidity is important to respiratory and skin issues and not too much humidity is important to prevent secondary infections from moisture loving microbes.
-Lighting: In addition to tank lighting that supplies UVA and visible light exposure, leopard geckos require UVB exposure to maintain proper health, even though they are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk). UVB lighting of 2-5% UVB for 10-12 hours a day is recommended. The cage should not be lit at night. Just as with temperature, their enclosure should have a gradient of UVB exposure with no UVB at the coolest end and highest at the basking spot. To avoid over supplementing, at least ¼ of the tank should not be directly illuminated with UVB light. You can prevent oversupplementation of UVB by placing the UVB bulb at one end of the enclosure (typically the warm end) and fixed at the high end of the recommended distance to the surface for that type of bulb. Distance from the UVB bulb is vital as it dictates how much UVB exposure an animal will receive in the basking site. Distance depends upon the type and UVB output of the bulb. The most common types of UVB bulbs used with leopard geckos are the compact fluorescent (CFL), linear fluorescent or mercury vapor bulbs. For example, a CFL or linear fluorescent 10.0 bulb should be placed no more than 16-18" from the basking site while a 5.0 bulb should be placed 12” or less. A mercury vapor bulb can be used in a larger enclosure due to its greater depth of UVB penetration, up to 3 feet. The mercury vapor bulb’s wattage dictates the heat output of these dual use bulbs it does not change the UV penetration. There should be no glass or acrylic between the bulb and the surface as these will block UV light. Note that metal screening between the bulb and the enclosure will cut UVB output of the bulb significantly, sometimes as much as in half. Conversely, UVB light reflectors can improve UVB penetration by bouncing and focusing the UV light produced by the bulb. All UVB bulbs loose effectiveness over time, even if the light still appears to be working, it may no longer be producing UVB. It's recommended that you change the bulbs regularly, compact fluorescent bulbs at least every 6 months, linear fluorescent bulbs and mercury vapor bulbs every 12 months. Some bulbs may last longer but the only way to know for sure if they are still effective is to measure their UV output with a meter that measures UV Index or total UVB.
-Diet: Leopard geckos are insectivorous and should be fed a variety of prey insects, though can also be fed an occasional pinkie mouse. Insects should be gut loaded for at least 12 hours before being fed using a nutritious diet that contains calcium and vitamins A and D3 and should be dusted with calcium powder before feeding. Nutritional insects include black soldier fly larvae (soldier worm larvae), superworms, earthworms, Dubia and cockroaches and the occasional wax worm, mealworm or silkworms (limit them due to their high fat content). They should also be provided a shallow dish of water for drinking and soaking. The water should be changed and the dish cleaned at least once daily or, more frequently, if soiled.
Crickets are so-so in terms of nutrition so it’s important to vary the type of insects you feed to your bearded dragon. To boost the nutritional value of the feeder insects it is recommend to "gut load" them for at least 24-48 hours prior to feeding them out. That means to feed the insects a nutritious food so that the bearded dragon gets the benefit of that nutrition. Some options for gut loading are:
Mazuri Better Bug Gut Loading Diet
Mazuri Hi Calcium Gut Loading Diet
Repashy SuperLoad Insect Gutload Formula
-Calcium and vitamin supplementation: Calcium and vitamin supplementation is best done in concert with appropriate UVB lighting, as reptiles needs UVB in order to make the active form of Vitamin D needed for proper calcium metabolism.
Insects should be dusted with calcium (only) powder just before feeding at every meal and should be both gut-loaded and calcium dusted always. But to ensure proper health, for about ¼ (25%) of the daily feeds, substitute a reptile multivitamin powder that contains calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin A instead of the calcium only powder. (So, if you feed 5-7 days a week, use multivitamin 2x per week and calcium only at all other feeds. If you feed 2-4 times per week use multivitamins once weekly and calcium only at all other feeds). Do not use calcium with vitamin D3 for daily dusting as over supplementation of vitamin D3 can lead to toxicity. Use a calcium only powder. It is better if the reptiles make most of their own vitamin D3 from proper UVB exposure, so make sure to provide proper UVB lighting with bulbs that are in date and at appropriate distance from the basking site.
-Environment. It is recommended that the enclosure be at least 10-20 gallons in size. Care should be taken as to the enclosure substrate as they may potentially ingest loose substrates like sand or crushed walnut shells. Paper towels, newspaper, slate, tile or reptile carpeting are safe alternatives. Make sure to clean the substrate at least every other day or more frequently as it becomes soiled. You should include cage furniture in the enclosure, such as rocks for them to climb, but especially a moist hide box (lined with moistened vermiculite, peat moss or paper towels) since leopard geckos are a shy, crepuscular species, most active at dawn and dusk.
If you have any specific questions about housing or nutrition, please let me know I would be happy to advise.
If you need assistance finding a reptile veterinarian in your area, I am happy to help. If so, please provide your zip code so I can search for the closest veterinary practices or veterinarians that accept reptile patients.
In the meantime, while you are waiting to have your gecko evaluated by a local veterinarian here are some suggestions for home care:
It’s important to make sure that your leopard gecko’s tank is clean, food is fresh and prepared hygienically and that the temperature is appropriate and that your UV-B bulb is in proper working condition:
-Keep them warm. If they’re not moving around much on their own, place them in an area of the tank that is 85-90F, but not on top of a hot rock or under the hottest basking area as they can overheat or get burned.
-Offer food, even if not eating. If your leopard gecko is having difficulty reaching or getting to their food, put the food dish next to them or you can also hand or tong feed them. Place an insect gently against their lips and if they are hungry, they will bite at it. If not, don’t force it.
If needed, you can syringe feed them a replacement formula like ReptaBoost by Fluker's but go slowly and don't feed too quickly to prevent choking. If you’ve never done this before there are some good online videos that you can watch first such as this one by exotic pet veterinarian Dr. Laurie Hess:
-To prevent or treat dehydration, you can give your leopard gecko a soak in a shallow dish of warm water (90F) for 15-30 minutes once or twice a day. Dry them off after the bath so they don't cool off too much.
-Mouth rot typically involves the teeth and jaw bone, so it is not easily treated at home without first having veterinary evaluation and treatment to clean out the infection. Once treated by the veterinarian, your animal may be placed on antibiotics and the vet may ask you to flush the infected area with a disinfectant solution, such as diluted povidone iodine (Betadine solution) or chlorhexidine. Flushing without first cleaning out the diseased tissue will likely not be effective at clearing the infection. However if there is a delay in your ability to take your lizard to the vet, you can try gently cleaning or irrigating the affected area 1-2 times per day with a dilute solution of povidone iodine. You can purchase this over the counter as Betadine Solution (make sure it is the solution and not the scrub, which contains detergent). Dilute with tap water until it is a light tea color. Gently flush the area or wipe the are with a soaked cotton tipped applicator. Try to avoid getting much of the solution inside the mouth and you might tip the lizard gently to it's side to encourage the solution to run off rather than in the mouth.
If you need assistance finding a reptile veterinarian in your area, I am happy to help. If so, please provide your town name and state so I can search for the closest veterinary practices or veterinarians that accept reptile patients.
I will be notified if/when you respond with additional information so we can connect about your leopard gecko Chongo but in the meantime, I hope this information is helpful and I wish you the best. Thanks again for posting your question to JustAnswer.com. Sincerely, ***** *****
You are most welcome. I'm afraid my reptile search is more geared towards the US than Canada but I did find this veterinarian in New Brunswick who is an active member of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, which means they have interest and experience in treating reptile patients.
Dr. Rhonda Stone
VALLEY VETERINARY HOSPITAL
This practice's website doesn't specifically mention exotics, but Dr. Stone's bio on their website does. So I would recommend calling to ensure they accept reptile patients.
But if you have any other questions or concerns about Chongo, please feel free to ask. My sincerest best to you both. Sincerely, ***** *****
That's great, glad to hear you found one closer.
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