It doesn’t happen too often, but there are some diseases which your pet leopard gecko may be stricken with at some point. However, you can prevent most of these diseases simply by taking good care of your pet. This article will cover some of the more common diseases which can affect your leopard gecko and how to treat these diseases or better yet, prevent them.
Minor injuries and infections: Your gecko may get the occasional scrape or cricket bite. You can treat these minor injuries and skin infections by using a solution of Betadine or Chlorhexidene. If your pet has a severe wound or skin infection which seems to be spreading or getting worse, then you’ll need to give your gecko oral antibiotics and possibly see your vet to have them remove dead skin or tissue surgically.
Osteodystrophy: This is a calcium deficiency which causes a loss of bone density. This can cause a young gecko’s growth to be crooked or stunted as well as making them more disposed to fractures. While fractures can be treated relatively easily, it’s best to make sure that your leopard gecko has plenty of calcium in his or her diet to prevent this condition in the first place. You can identify this disease by tremors, weakness and crooked or swollen limbs.
Digestive tract blockages: A gecko can sometimes swallow sand and gravel while eating, which can cause bowel obstructions or other blockages. Make sure that your gecko’s feeding area is free of gravel or sand – you should also use a shallow bowl to feed your gecko to prevent this.
Intestinal parasites: If your gecko appears to have constipation, diarrhea or suddenly loses weight, parasites may be the cause. This can be treated by changing and thoroughly cleaning their habitat and using medication – you’ll likely need to get this from your vet.
Mouth and respiratory infections: These infections are generally due to cool temperatures or a poor diet which weakens the animal’s immune system. In most cases, these infections can be treated by feeding your gecko a healthier diet and changing their habitat.
Obesity: Leopard geckos are healthy eaters, so this can be a problem in these pets. A diet which is too high in fat (usually from too many wax worms and meal worms) can cause serious health problems and even kill geckos! It’s best to keep the fat content of your pet’s diet low – but if you need to remedy this problem, a diet which is high in protein and vitamins can usually correct the issue.
Symptoms include weight gain followed by sudden loss of appetite and weight loss.
Egg binding: This happens when a pregnant female leopard gecko refuses to lay her eggs. You can encourage her to do this by providing her with a laying box which is lined with moist sand and is dark and warm. Sometimes, the eggs will be reabsorbed by the gecko’s body if not laid, but it may be necessary to have them surgically removed in some cases. You can tell that egg binding is happening because a female gecko will suddenly gain weight while simultaneously having less appetite.
Molting problems: If your gecko’s habitat is too dry, they may fail to molt completely and this can lead to circulation problems, possibly resulting in loss of toes and damage to their eyes. If you see bits of old skin stuck to your gecko following molting, you’ll need to help the process along – you can do this by misting your gecko and gently rubbing off the old skin to help them finish molting.
It’s pretty easy to prevent this problem, however. You can keep a bowl of water in your leopard gecko’s habitat to increase the humidity level or mist your pet daily to help them molt properly.
Tail Loss: Even though leopard geckos can grow a new tail if they lose theirs, it can become infected while it regrows. Make sure to use antibiotic ointment on your pet’s stump during the regrowth process to keep infection from setting in. You can prevent this problem by always handling your leopard gecko with care and remembering NEVER to pick it up by the tail.