My leopard gecko isnt eating or opening his eyes. Today and lower than normal. Indominus, unknown age. recued from abuse

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Customer: my leopard gecko isnt eating or opening his eyes
JA: I'll do all I can to help. When did you first notice this decrease in the leopard gecko's appetite? How is his energy level?
Customer: today and lower than normal
JA: Does the leopard gecko seem to be in any pain?
Customer: no
JA: And what's the leopard gecko's name and age?
Customer: indominus, unknown age. recued from abuse
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Answered by Dr. Caryn – Vet in 1 hour 7 months ago
Dr. Caryn – Vet
Pet Specialist

2,210 satisfied customers

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

I am sincerely ***** ***** there was a delay in someone responding to your question. (Experts are independent contractors and as such are online based on their own schedules.) However, I am available and can assist you if you still need veterinary advice.

Hello and thanks for posting your question on My name is***** and I have been a licensed and accredited veterinarian in the US for over 22 years, specializing in aquatics, reptiles, amphibians, avian and other exotic species. JustAnswer is a question and answer service, not a veterinary telemedicine or emergency service. On this platform veterinarians can provide insight and advice based on the information you provide, but as this is not considered a legal client-patient relationship and we cannot examine your pet, we are unable to provide definitive diagnoses, prescribe medications, provide medical records or sign documents for your specific pet. For any of those you would need to make an in person visit with a local veterinarian. If your pet has a serious illness or life-threatening emergency, I strongly recommend you obtain hands-on veterinary care with a local veterinarian or veterinary emergency service as soon as possible. I am happy to chat with you via the JustAnswer app via text. For US based clients, 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.

Thanks again for posting your question, I’m sorry that your leopard gecko Indominus is under the weather, isn't eating or opening his eyes and lethargic. I have some questions that will help me get a better idea of your pet’s environment and what may be going on with them:

-How old is your leopard gecko? OK if you don't have an exact age, but is he a baby, juvenile or adult?

-What is the current tank set-up, e.g.,

Temperature (cool side, warm/main area, hottest basking temp) and humidity?

-Do they receive any access to UV light?

-What do you usually feed them? Do they receive any calcium or vitamin supplements?

-Have they been pooping regularly and has it looked normal?

-Any other signs such as respiratory distress (coughing, heavy or open mouthed breathing), yawning/neck stretching, discharge from eyes/nose/mouth, weight loss, bloating, sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, lumps/bumps, etc.?

Thanks very much for providing additional information, it is very helpful for me to try and figure out what is going on with your gecko and the history information will help me to do that.

I got his eyes flushed and hes doing much better now

That's great. Do you think he had something in his eye or perhaps is he having trouble shedding?

Checking to make sure humidity in the enclosure (30-40%) and in the moist hide (70-80%) is proper might help.

There are a number of reasons that a gecko might develop an eye problem, such as swelling, crusting, discoloration or keeping one or both eyes closed. Causes might include retained shed, trauma (bite or scratch from a tankmate, scratched cornea), foreign body (like dirt or sand) on the eye or under the lid, infection with parasites, bacteria, viruses, or mites, nutritional deficiency (Vitamins A or D), neoplasia (cancer), environmental problems (humidity too high or low, irritants in environment from waste or toxins, dehydration or difficulty shedding skin around eyes.

Although the ear, mouth and eye are different anatomical structures, the proximity of the eye to either means that a problem inside the ear or mouth, such as an abscess, can sometimes cause the eye to protrude outwards and appear swollen.

-If it is caused by incomplete shed or dehydration, then misting your leopard gecko several times a day or soaking him in a warm (85-90F, 30-32C) bath for 15-30 minutes might help. With soaks, make sure the water is shallow, shoulder depth and that they are monitored while in the soak to ensure their head doesn't submerge. Note that leopard geckos, unlike other reptiles, have true eyelids so they can't retain skin ("retained spectacles") on the surface of their eyes as may happen in crested geckos or other reptile species. However retained skin along the lining of the eyes or eyelids can lead to irritation of the eye.

If you suspect there are shedding issues, then you can add a shedding-aid product to the bath (Zilla Shed-Ease Reptile Bath) or use a shed-aid spray (Zoo Med Repti Shedding Aid). When adding anything products to a warm bath, I do recommend giving the gecko some time in a water only bath without the added product for 5 minutes or so first to allow them time to drink plain water if they are thirsty. Then add the product to the warm bath for the recommended soaking time.

-Scratches to the corneal can be painful and they will keep the eye closed due to discomfort. Infections can also cause the eye to close. If the eye is closed or crusted you can try to gently irrigate the eye with saline eyewash sold at a pharmacy (over-the-counter). Make sure it is just saline and not a medicated eye drop.

-Nutritional deficits such as hypovitaminosis A (too little vitamin A in the diet) can lead to changes in the tissue lining the eye causing swelling and eye closure. Feeding a balanced diet is important and supplementing once a week with a multivitamin powder (usually mixed with calcium) that has vitamins A and D3 is recommended. If they are not eating, you can administer liquid vitamins directly into their mouths, such as the Fluker's Liquid Vitamin Supplement, 2 drops two to four times per week.

-Double check the tank humidity to ensure it is in the ideal 30-40% range for the main enclosure and that their moist hide humidity is 70-80%.

-Make sure the UVB bulb you have is appropriate for reptiles and for the enclosure size and depth. If the bulb is too strong, it may cause discomfort or even burning leading to closed eyes.

-Lastly make sure the leopard gecko’s enclosure is clean and well-maintained. A dusty or dirty enclosure can be irritating to their eyes.

Things to try at home:

You can gently rinse the affected eye(s) with a saline eye wash. Good options include Fluker’s Repta Rinse Reptile Eye Wash found online or in well stocked pet stores or, in the US, the human equivalent Bausch and Lomb Advanced Eye Relief available over the counter at stores such as Walgreens, Walmart, Rite-Aid, etc. These are saline solutions plus some antiseptics (boric acid and/or benzalkonium chloride) and lubricants. If you can’t get these, then an alternative is RenaSan Antiseptic Eye Drops, Vetericyn Plus Eye Wash or Leucillin Antiseptic Skincare drops which are hypochlorous and saline solutions. Flush the eye copiously but gently at least 2 to 4 times daily. You can gently tip the affected side downward a few degrees while you flush to discourage any wash from getting into his mouth or nose.

If you suspect this might be from a vitamin A deficiency, you can do the saline eye wash first and then add some Zoo Med Repti Turtle Eye Drops. These drops contain saline and vitamin A. Apply 1 drops once daily for a week. I know the name says Turtle but it's fine to use this product in leopard geckos.

Do NOT use a human medicated eye drop, like Visine, as these can be toxic to reptiles.

If you notice some chunks of discharge on the eye or eyelid surface, you can take a cotton tipped applicator (cotton swab or cotton bud) and gently roll it along the eye's surface to help remove the discharge. Don't wipe or poke the eye. Use a gentle rolling motion to help collect up debris.

Because similar signs can be caused by many different causes, for eye problems that persist, recur or cause discomfort to your pet, an ocular evaluation by a veterinarian experienced with reptiles is recommended. The veterinarian will examine your lizard to find the source of the issue by looking in the mouth, nares (nostrils) and at the eye and ear. They will do a thorough eye exam with a special hand-held magnifying tool, an ophthalmoscope, and may also place a special stain into the animal’s eye to look for signs of damage to the cornea. They may need to do additional diagnostics like imaging or bloodwork. Treatment will depend upon what is found from examination and diagnostics.

To help 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.

I think it was substrate as its been a while since his last known shed and it developed suddenly.

Okay, so glad you were able to rinse it out. Also important to make sure he's getting enough vitamin A in his diet. If not, they can develop skin/shedding and eye problems. For a healthy adult gecko dusting once every other week with a good brand of reptile multivitamin powder (I particularly like ZooMed Reptivite with D3) helps, for a juvenile or one with eye or shedding problems then dust once weekly.

Any with any gecko that might be sick or injured, 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.

Thank you so much!
You are most welcome. Hopefully it was just something in his eye that you were able to rinse out and I hope he continues to feel better.

Please let me know if I can be of any additional assistance. My sincere best to you and Indominus (and thank you for rescuing him!)

Thanks for using

Sincerely, ***** *****

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Dr. Caryn – Vet
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Pet Specialist
Dr. Caryn – Vet
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