Hello and thanks for posting your question on JustAnswer.com. My name is***** and I have been a veterinarian in the US 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 Raya has not been eating and is losing weight. I'm glad she still has good energy.
With any sick gecko, it is always a good idea to start by checking that their environment and husbandry are proper for their species. Taking a physical measurement of the temperature gradient within the enclosure and measuring humidity with a hygrometer are a good idea. Making sure the UVB bulb is appropriate for the size of the space and has been changed regularly. Even if they are still producing visible light, UVB bulbs have a limited lifespan and need to be changed every 6-12 months, depending upon bulb type. Making sure diet is varied and the insects have been gut loaded with a nutritious gut-loading diet as well as dusted regularly with calcium and multivitamin powder. Therefore, I am attaching a leopard gecko care (husbandry) reference sheet that I put together. Please review it at your convenience and let me know if you have any questions.
There are a number of reasons why your leopard gecko may not be eating a normal amount of food. Some of them are transient and may be normal while others are more concerning and warrant a veterinary evaluation. Leopard geckos may not eat normally due to emotional or physiological stress.
Changes in environment such a new tank or changes in décor, or changes in lighting, temperature or diet might trigger temporary disinterest in food.
Brumation, a normal, seasonal depression of appetite and energy that leopard geckos can (but may never) experience especially if not exposed to lower temperatures or shorted light cycles. But they should not be loosing weight from brumation and her energy level sounds like it is still good.
Geckos kept with other geckos may be bullied by a more dominant individual. The stress or physical intimidation may prevent a more submissive gecko from eating. Close observation of interaction between geckos is important and this may require separate feeding bowls, tank partitions or even separate housing.
Improper lighting (too little visible light or UVB light) or temperature can negatively impact appetite. As cold-blooded animals, leopard geckos require sufficient temperatures for proper digestion.
Before and after shedding, appetite may be down. Shedding is energy intensive and potentially itchy and uncomfortable so while they will commonly not eat during the shedding process, their appetites may be depressed just before and after shedding as well. However this also shouldn't result in weight loss.
Some abnormal causes for appetite depression include mouth rot (infectious stomatitis), trauma, sickness (bacterial, parasitic, nutritional (metabolic bone disease, hypovitaminosis A)), indigestion or maldigestion, and gastrointestinal impaction. The bot***** *****ne is that if your adult leopard gecko is otherwise acting and looking normally and the appetite depression is temporary then it may be normal. However, if the leopard gecko is young, or is displaying any other signs of illness such as weakness, lethargy, sunken eyes, skin discoloration, abnormal defecation or urination or the depressed appetite persists more than a few days, a visit to a local veterinarian with experience in reptile medicine is warranted.
To find a local veterinarian with reptile experience, here is a useful website you can use to search for a 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.
It’s especially important if your leopard gecko is sick or injured to make sure that their 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. Here are some additional recommendations of how you can support your ill leopard gecko while they are under the weather or awaiting a veterinary evaluation:
-Keep them warm. If they’re not moving around much on their own, place them in an area of the tank that is around 85F (30C), but not on top of a hot rock or under the hottest basking area as they can overheat or get burned.
-To prevent or treat dehydration, you can give your leopard gecko a soak in a shallow dish of warm water (85-90F, 30-32C) for 15-30 minutes once or twice a day. Dry them off after the bath so they don't cool off too much.
-Make sure you wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling your gecko or her cage furniture.
-If your gecko has diarrhea, increasing the frequency of cleaning inside the cage with a reptile safe disinfectant will help avoid cross contamination and repeat infection (if it is infectious). You can consider lining the tank with disposable unbleached paper towels or newspaper while they have diarrhea to make clean up easier.
-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 (if inappetence is prolonged), you can assist feed whole, calcium or multivitamin dusted insects (I recommend removing their heads first) or 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 these:
Assist feeding an insect by hobbyist Garrett Rose (I do recommend pinching the insects head off first so it is dead before assist feeding if your gecko is sick or lethargic so they are not injured by the insect):
Syringe feeding by exotic pet veterinarian Dr. Kristin Britton:
-Limit and be gentle with handling. If they have MBD they are more susceptible to injury as their bones are likely weakened so limit handling and limit time out of her enclosure to avoid injury. If you must lift or remove them from their tank, go slowly and support their weight from underneath with your palm.
-Calcium supplementation. It is important to still offer calcium and vitamin supplements if they are eating.
It is also a good idea to re-evaluate your current husbandry practices as some common disorders, such as metabolic bone disease, are caused by deficiencies or imbalances in diet, UVB lighting and calcium/vitamin supplementation. Therefore, I have already attached a general leopard gecko care sheet for you to review. Thanks.
I should be notified if/when you respond with additional information so we can connect about your leopard gecko Raya but, in the meantime, I hope this information is helpful and I wish you both the best. Thanks again for posting your question to JustAnswer.com. Sincerely, ***** *****
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