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Leopard Gecko Illness

Updated on June 11, 2011

Leopard Gecko Sickness


Just as with any other type of animal, leopard geckos can become injured or sick.  There are several common conditions that you may encounter when adopting a lizard of this kind.  The good news is that they're relatively hardy and will generally recover with the correct treatment, and good care will prevent the majority of problems from ever being an issue. 

However, you need to catch illnesses and injuries early on, which may be difficult. After all, like many other small animals, leopard geckos have evolved not to show when they've been weakened.  This prevents them from being easy prey for larger animals, but it also makes our jobs as their caretakers a lot more difficult.  It's necessary to learn how to look for the signs of illnesses and other problems before they become severe.

Sluggishness, loss of appetite, unusual elimination behavior and failure to track are all signs that your leopard gecko may not be feeling its best.  The causes for these problems may range from dehydration to parasitic infection, with all kinds of other possibilities in between.  This is why it's vital for any gecko owner to get in contact with a good quality exotic vet who has experience with this type of reptile. 

Don't wait for a problem to crop up.  Find out who the best veterinary choice in your area is before you have problems, and get to know them.  You'll need a vet that accepts reptiles and knows how to provide the correct care for them before you're willing to take your pet into them. 

Even common pets like hamsters and guinea pigs have a hard time finding good care, so it can be tricky for a reptile.  Call veterinarians listed as reptile vets, or as veterinarians for "exotics". 

When talking to your prospective vet, ask questions that will tell you whether or not he or she is familiar and experienced with leopard geckos.  You can also ask animal shelters, pet stores, or other lizard owners whether or not they have a vet they're willing to recommend. 

Expect a certain amount of guesswork when dealing with lizards.  Fecal tests should be performed routinely to avoid diseases that won't show right away, and to help your lizard stay in the best health possible.

Even if you keep track of your pet and take the best care of it that you can, the occasional accident or problem will happen.  That's why it's so important to know emergency care for your leopard gecko. 

If you can move quickly and get your gecko into a safe, comfortable place, you have a better chance of making sure it will survive.  Move an injured gecko as little as you can, and isolate it in a small cage (such as a plastic small animal carrier) where it cannot move around much. 

Make sure you have a way to keep the gecko warm and comfortable, and get it to the vet as quickly as you can.  In cases where a gecko has fallen and injured itself, or has been accidentally caught by another household pet, this could help you keep your lizard alive.  While it's not a guarantee, good care can be very helpful.

Leopard Gecko Impaction

Is your leopard gecko impacted? If your gecko seems to be lethargic, isn't eating, or there's no sign of waste in the cage, it might be. This is a dangerous situation, and could kill your gecko. It happens when the gecko ingests substrate, so the first thing to do is to remove the substrate and replace it with something your lizard won't eat. You can also feed your gecko a little mineral or vegetable oil, and soak the animal in warm water for up to a half hour. If the impaction continues, take your geck to the vet right away!

**I suggest that in advance of any problems you find a reptile vet in your area and have the phone number and directions at the ready.

How to Identify Illnesses

More information about Gecko Illnesses

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