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 Bandit is under the weather.
Yes, thanks very much for the photos....ouch!
Do you know for sure that she is female? I'm asking because the swelling she has under her tail looks like impacted hemipenes.
Okay, then she is definitely a female!! :-)
In that case, it is likely that she has cloacitis, or inflammation/infection in her cloaca. It does look like there is some yellow discharge as well.
Although studies have shown that even female leopard geckos do have the ability to form hemipenes if exposed to testosterone, so there is a possibility that she might be intersex and this is a hemipenes impaction.
So she likely will need veterinary care but I can give you some tips for home treatment while you are waiting for your veterinary appointment. It's also very important to make sure her husbandry conditions, especially temp, humidity, UVB, diet and supplements are all in the proper range, so I'm sharing a leopard gecko care sheet I put together as a reference. Please review at your convenience and feel free to ask any questions.
I would recommend shallow soaks twice daily for 15-30 minute in warm water (85F) mixed with Betadine solution (povidone iodine solution). Only enough Betadine to make the color of weak tea. Only deep enough so the ventral tail/affected area is submerged.
After the soak, you can try to gently pull out any of the visible yellow material with a tweezers or cotton swab but if using a swab, try not to push the material farther back into the vent.
You can also massage the affected area with a qtip, gently, before trying to, gently, remove the waxy material. Don't yank, but you can gently rock back and forth if you have a decent hold on one of the plugs. But if it doesn't come out or isn't budging don't force it.
I would do the Betadine soaks at least twice a day.
If she's not eating, then you might need to assist feed her, especially if she's lost weight, which I agree it looks like she has.
-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 find a local veterinarian with reptile experience, here is a useful website you can use to search for other local reptile veterinarian:
(please note this site may not work on older browsers like Safari)
These veterinarians are active members of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, which means they have interest and experience in treating reptile patients.
You are most welcome!
And if she's lethargic, make sure to keep her warm. If they’re not moving around much on their own, place them in an area of the tank that is around 85F, but not on top of a hot rock or under the hottest basking area as they can overheat or get burned.
If she's not eating, you don't want her to get dehydrated, so you might want to add a third soak per day that is just warm water, no Betadine. That way she can drink if needed. Same conditions, 15-30 minutes, 85F, but perhaps slightly deeper, shoulder depth.
After 3 days, I would drop the Betadine soaks to once daily but increase the water soaks to twice daily if she is still not eating.
You are most welcome. Yes, we do hurt when our animals hurt.
You could do a gentle flush of the cloaca itself with the diluted betadine solution if you feel comfortable doing so. You can introduce the syringe tip (not a needle) into the opening of the vent and flush gently. Do so after a bath so the crusted material has been softened. If she really squirms, don't push it. Just go slow and use warmed solution. You can do this twice daily for 3 days so see if this also helps.
I don't recommend any triple antibiotic ointment use on the inside of the cloaca but you can dab some on the outside that is red. Do so after she's dried after a bath. And if I think of anything else that's over the counter that might help, I'll add an additional message.
You are welcome, I sincerely ***** ***** and Bandit the best. I do hope you'll be able to get her to a veterinarian sooner, but it may be tough during a holiday week. One other thing you can try, which sounds a bit odd, is topical honey. Honey is a potent antimicrobial agent and promotes healing of wounds. You could put some honey on the affected area (not inside the cloaca, but on the opening of the vent and the swollen part of the outer skin) for 15-30 minutes before doing the soaks, as the soaks will rinse off the honey. I recommend putting her in a paper towel lined box in the enclosure so the honey doesn't get all over the place and so she stays warm while it is on. Then do the soak and you can clean out the box and remove it from the enclosure to use again later. Just a thought.
Good luck, I hope you find somewhere. Thanks so much and you, too, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Your welcome. :-)
Thank you so much, kind words!
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