13 Ways to Tell if Your Leopard Gecko is Healthy
A healthy Leopard Gecko is a happy Leo, right? But how can you tell if he is healthy (Click here to see my best leopard Gecko guide & the price, on Amazon)? In this article I will explain how you can monitor this and common issues to look out for, so you can stay on top of things.
How to Tell if Your Leopard Gecko is Healthy? You need to look at their day to behaviour. In particular their food intake, energy levels, frequency of bowel movements, water consumption, etc. This requires consistent monitoring. If you notice any degradation in these areas then you need to get your lizard checked out.
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To truly understand how healthy your Leo is, you need to identify what problems you need to look out for. For this reason I am going to explain a number of symptoms/known problems that you should be looking out for on a daily basis, to monitor.
01. Regurgitating food
You can expect baby geckos to regurgitate food but this shouldn’t happen on a regular basis. Once or maybe twice. If this is happening on a regular basis, then it is definitely cause for concern. And should be the point that you consider getting your vet involved.
If you find any unprocessed matter in the tank there is a good chance that this could have been regurgitated by your Leo, however, it may not definitely be because of this. It could also be faeces which has been passed.
This could be linked to impaction, but one of the main culprit for this is an issue with parasites.
02. Not eating properly
As you may or may not know Leo’s are insectivores, meaning their primary food intake is insects. If you discover that there is leftover food in their tank then this may be a cause for concern.
However, if you notice that they completely skip a meal, this is definitely something that cannot be overlooked. This is an issue that needs to be investigated immediately.
If you noticed that your lizard has skipped a meal, or has left insects behind, it is very important that you remove the surplus insects away from your Leo as soon as possible. The problem here is, these insects could then start biting your Leo.
This can cause injury and potentially infection down the line. So to avoid this happening remove these insects immediately.
The best idea is to consistently monitor your Leo’s eating habits. If you notice any of these changes in food intake immediately raise the issue with your vet.
03. Diarrhoea issues or loose faeces
In this section, I am going to explain why it is important to understand the consistency of your Leo’s faeces. This may sound disgusting, but it is a necessity to avoid issues with diarrhoea.
The consistency your Leo’s faeces depend on a number of factors, such as the food that he as consumed how much water has been taken in etc
If you notice that your pet Leo’s stool is watery, loose, has signs of undigested food or, in real extreme cases, has blood in it, then this is a cause for concern and should be flagged up as an issue immediately.
If you notice any of these abnormalities the best practice is to take your a Leo to the vet and get them inspected. They should be looking out for any signs of bacterial infection or parasite problems, but there could be other issues that they may find. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.
04. Any infections on the skin
I will now discuss potential issues that you may encounter with your Leos skin. Your Leo’s stomach area is susceptible to skin infections. For the simple reason that their stomach makes contact with the substrate and can cause irritations and infections as they rub against it.
To be honest skin infections can be caused anywhere on their body. Basically, wherever the skin has been damaged or broken leaves it susceptible to infections.
Another common area is around the toes. This is because they make contact with the ground, in particular the substrate.
If the substrate has been poorly maintained, such as damp or soiled with faeces, it can get mixed in with your lizards toes. If there is any concern or doubt , you should contact your vet to clarify.
05. Reduction in faeces or no faeces at all
Regular deification is very important for a healthy Leo. As they consume their food, if they cannot get rid of the waste they can get backed up, which could lead to constipation.
If you notice that your Leo has a reduction in the amount of faeces that it is creating, it’s usually an indication that there’s a problem with his appetite.
Another reason for this reduction in faeces, is because your leopard gecko is feeling constipated. If this is the case you can attempt to bath him in water to stimulate a bowel movement. If this doesn’t work, then you can consider taking him to the vet to check this out.
06. Lack of energy
On a day-to-day basis, you should find that your leopard gecko is quite energetic. He should be moving around in the tank and responding to its surroundings in a happy and vivid manner. However if you are not seeing this, it could be due to an underlying problem.
For a sick leopard gecko you made notice that they are hiding away a lot or not moving for extended periods of time. It should be quite obvious in comparison to his usual active behaviour.
You may even notice that your Leo is finding it hard to even push their body up using their own legs. If this is the case you need to take immediate action and get them checked out by your vet.
07. Eyes appear Sunken
Generally speaking your lizard should have bright vibrant, wide open eyes. Also should have healthy moist gums from the water that they have consumed through their skin.
If this is not the case, and they have sunken eyes, i’m going to give you some information that may help you. Sunken eyes is usually linked to dehydration. If you discover that your Leo has sunken eyes it is a good idea to think about how you can hydrate him as soon as possible.
One thing that you can consider, to improve the hydration, is to soak him in some warm water or mist him, by spraying him with water so that his body absorbs it and gently hydrates itself.
08. Issues with eye infections
Eye infections are something that are quite easy to see, which is fortunate. Let me share some common things to look out for when it comes to diagnosing an eye infection. Cloudiness in the eye, discharge or even swelling around the eye area are all common signs of this problem.
You may even notice that your Leo may have difficulties opening his eye, which is similar to conjunctivitis which some babies have when they’re really young.
Now let’s focus on what can cause these eye infections. It can be something as simple as getting dust in the Lizards Eye. It could also be damage to the eye during hunting or any other kind of physical activity.
Eye infections requires a vet’s assistant. This is not something that you should try and diagnose or cure yourself. It is likely that your vet will need to take a swab from the eye to ascertain exactly what the issue is.
09. Mouth rot issues
Mouth rot is fairly rare when it comes to leopard geckos. Typically this happens when your Leo damages their mouth or snout. For example, this could happen while fighting or any kind of physical exchange with another lizard. These wounds then lead to infection down the line.
The common symptoms of this problem is a loss of appetite, you may also notice that your lizards mouth starts to swell. You may even notice some puss secreting from their mouth. Any of this is an obvious red flag for this issue.
To cure this issue you need to take your lizard to the vet immediately typically. They are likely to clean the affected area and then either swab or inject and antibiotic to clear up the problem. But obviously you will seek direction from your vet, this is not something that you do on your own.
10. Respiratory related issues
This issue is usually caused by extreme exposure to really cold conditions and can affect their immune system.
The symptoms of this issue include gasping for air or finding it hard to breathe. In some cases this can be cured by just increasing the temperature in the terrarium, but it is advisable to contact your vet to deal with the issue.
11. Egg Binding issues
Egg Binding is effectively where the eggs that are about to be laid by a pregnant (or Gravid) Leo, get stuck or obstructed.
At this stage females are usually referred to as “egg bound”. This condition can also get confused with impaction which has similar symptoms.
The term “gravid”, is used for a female lizard who is pregnant and full of eggs. During this time it is important to have the correct living conditions for a female lizard for this to be successful and to happen as planned.
The causes of this issue is basically any obstruction of the oviduct or cloaca. this problem can happen from any deformities in this area. It can even be down to the size of the eggs that are formed. Other problems can be if the eggs are too large and become stuck.
In some cases, the actual shape of the eggs, being miss-shaped or in a cluster of eggs that are stuck together making it almost impossible for them to pass can cause this.
It is believed that this issue can be caused by calcium deficiency because calcium is a very important part of egg development and also is believed to induce the egg laying process.
Symptoms for this condition could be a bloated stomach, failure to lay the eggs, or your Leo straining to lay the eggs. There is a number of different symptoms, which can be confusing sometimes.
It is best practise to consult a vet. the problem with this issue is that some of these symptoms can be just part of the natural process of egg laying and may not be a real problem. If the vet diagnoses that this is the issue, in extreme situations the eggs can be surgically removed but this is more of an extreme measure.
12. Metabolic bone disease also known as MBD
This condition is similar to Ricketts that you may see in humans. Symptoms for this issue could be deformed limbs, soft bone Jaws and in some cases your lizard my find it hard to eat normally, due to abnormalities in his jaw line.
This issue is usually caused by a lack of nutrition. Also can be caused from lack of vitamin D or even calcium deficiencies.
To prevent this happening you need to make sure that your Leo is being correctly supplemented. This can usually be achieved by brushing calcium supplementation on their food and then giving it to them.
For example you can gut load insects with brushed calcium supplementation and then feed these insects to your lizard.
To cure this problem you need to seek the advice of your vet. You first need the vet to establish if there is a true problem with MBD. If this is the case, they will need to verify if supplementation will help.
They may decide to take further precautions, such as injecting calcium supplementation to improve matters.
Just bare in mind that these measures will not necessarily reverse the damage that has already been done, this will just stop the situation getting any worse.
Leos within their first year of life are a lot more susceptible to this MBD issue. Therefore it is important to make sure that they have got their sufficient nutrition and supplementation to prevent this happening.
13. Incomplete shedding issues
A healthy leopard gecko skin shedding will result in the entire skin being removed in one piece. If however you discover that the skin has not removed completely and they are partial portions of skin still on your lizard, then there is definitely some skin shedding issues.
This is typically caused by not having enough humidity in the terrarium and your leopard gecko getting dried out. But this can also be due to a lack of nutrition or minerals.
You are advised to seek advice from your vet, but essentially the skin needs to be removed. Your vet will advise how you can safely remove this skin, without causing any damage to your lizard.
Q: What are Mites, and can they cause issues with my Leo?
Mites are a very common issue with leopard geckos (Click here to see if Leos can eat Human Food). They tend to live in the terrarium and effectively feed off your Leo, causing major discomfort and problems
They will bite your Leo’s skin and then feed off its blood to keep them surviving. And breed and live in the terrarium causing havoc.
The best way to diagnose this is through inspection of the stall but it is best to get professional advice to confirm if this is the case.