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Anorexic AFT

Discussion in 'African Fat-tailed Geckos' started by debbie rasberry, Jan 13, 2009.

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  1. Hi! This is my first entry into the forum. I have an almost full-grown AFT belonging to my 12-yr old son. We purchased him from a local pet store in November last year. He has yet to eat ANYTHING!!! that hasn't been forced by moi. I have taken him numerous times to a reptile vet, and after testing his poop, blood, X-rays, etc. extensively, and establishing that I have his habitat set up correctly, we have determined that he is perfectly healthy. I have offered him gourmet green and orange cube fed crickets, mealworms and even waxworms, but he is totally ignoring them. I have had to hydrate him by wrapping him in a warm, wet cloth daily, and forcing food into his mouth in order to keep him alive. Over the holidays, I decided to leave him along for a week to see if he would eat. Nope. I added some dried flies to his bowl, which he must be licking as he has pooped a small amount, but he has lost weight. When I feed him, he gains weight and even sheds successfully. So....what other things can I offer him to eat? Cat food? cockroaches?
    He is so beautiful, and I would just love to see him eat and thrive.
  2. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Please list out everything about his enclosure. ACTUAL temps, humidity, substrate, hides, furniture, decor, size, lighting type and anything else you think of. The more you tell us, the better we can help.
  3. He (his name is Kitoto) is in a 10 gallon tank. It has a heatlamp on one side which I have on a timer. I have carpet as a base, bought from the pet store. He has a stone "hide" under the heat lamp. On the other side of the tank is a log hide with moss, which I mist heavily, as well as the sides of the container on that side daily. The temp under the stone hide can get a bit warm - up to 103 degrees, so I check it often to try to keep it around 95. I have a better probe thermometer on that side which seems to be more accurate than the flukers thermometers I initially purchased. His mossy log side is cooler, maybe around 75 - 80 degrees. He seems to like hanging out in there. At night he's back under the stone hide side as there's a heat pad underneath.
    The room is dark at night - no lights at all. I also don't use a UV lamp for him.
    We give him fresh water in his bowl every morning.
  4. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    What substrate do you have him on, and what was he on before he came to you?

    How much did you handle him when you first got him?

    Are three sides of his tank covered with some sort of back ground to help him feel more secure?

    It sounds like its too hot for him. The basking area should only be 85 - 88 degrees. I would try cooling that down first. The cool side should be a maximum of 78.

    Do you mist? They like it a bit on the humid side. Instead of wrapping him up in wet bandages, which is useless because they don't absorb water through their skin, try a bath where he can drink. Just luke warm, about 80 degrees is good. Give him about an inch or two of water.

    A low level UVB light could be beneficial, especially if an animal is ill. I would recommend picking up a 2.0 tube light.
  5. Thanks! I don't have a sand or gravel substrate as I was concerned about impaction, so he has a carpet fabric from the pet store. Do you recommend a substrate and which one? Also, how deep?
    I love the idea of covering the 3 sides of his tank, and have that on my to-do list.
    I will also purchase additional digital thermometers as the other type seem to malfunction, especially with the misting.
    I do mist plenty, so his humidity is high.
    I can also try a lower wattage heat lamp to try to prevent the temp from rising so high. I have been concerned about it.
    I am hesitant to use a UV lamp as he is not ill. I do have one. How often a day do you use it? Should it be on all day?
    I will also try him in a water bath today.
    I really appreciate your advice, and will try it and let you know.
  6. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    You have the reptile carpet right on. So that's good.

    He is sick, he hasn't eaten ANYTHING. That's a big sign.
  7. I am wondering if it's the temps. I have now installed digital thermometers on BOTH sides. I have the warm side on 86 during the day, and the cool side on 72. At night the temps on both sides are 68 and 67. Is this too low? I moved the heat pad over to the cool side to warm it up a little at night, but it puts the cool side temp up to 76 during the day. Is this too warm?
    I spoke to a breeder, and he thinks this is a wild-caught gecko and this would certainly cause him high stress. He may never have eaten in captivity.
    We have treated him for pin worms, and gave him a course of echinachea to reduce inflammation. There is an antibiotic we could give him, but it is astronomically expensive.
    I did put a three-sided tank picture on his tank to help him feel more secure,per your suggestion.
    I am going out of town for the weekend. Since he's still not eating, should I force-feed him some crickets before I leave, or just leave him alone and see if he eats?
  8. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

  9. You are such a help! Thank you so much! I think I've got the temp thing manageable. I will let you know how he does. I have a shipment of silkworms, roaches coming next week to tempt him with.
    Have a great weekend!! Stay warm!
  10. This is an update on Kitoto, our anorexic AFT, since my last thread. I have given him a daily soak on a warm water bath, per your suggestion, and his skin looks good. Unfortunately, he shows no interest in the newly arrived silkworms or butterworms I ordered. I have left him alone and not forced any food on him in about 2 weeks. He will not eat anything live in his container, like crickets, worms, etc. but he's been doing very small white poops every other day. Still, he is underweight, and I couldn't stand it any longer. Yesterday I mashed up some butterworms. It took about an hour of patience, but he did lick (reluctantly) the food. I place a small drop on his snout, and he eventually licks it off. Today he shed - a bit of a surprise. He wasn't happy with the bath and didn't drink at all. I really struggled to get much in him today. So....back where I started. It is SO frustrating. I would love some suggestions.
  11. briana1399

    briana1399 Elite Member

    I honestly dont know if they should eat it but just a thought...have you tried pinkies?

    Have you tried chicken or turkey baby food? It is an odd suggestion but maybe put some on the tip of his nose and see if he licks it off.

    Also they are nocturnal have you tried feeding him really really late...or waking up at like one or two in the morning? Maybe move him to a 20 gallon long? Him might not liked being in a small aquarium.
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Are you doing this on your own or under the supervision of a good herp certified vet? I have never heard of anyone giving echinacea to a reptile.
  13. wgnelson

    wgnelson Elite Member

    Welcome aboard, and have a great stay! I see you've teamed up with Liz. None better to be found!:)
  14. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    As for the antibiotics, try another herp vet. They shouldn't cost you THAT much. Really, like $35 for the Rx. Has he seen a herp vet? It sounds like a trip to the vet is in order at this time. And be sure to take a poop sample.
  15. Cahal

    Cahal Member

    I went through the same ordeal last year with my fattie. He eventually succumbed, and at that point I took him back to the vet for a necropsy. He had fibers all through his intestines. His previous owner had kept him on bark mulch and coco fibers.

    I got to where I fed him babyfood (turkey) with calcium supplement twice a day. I still don't understand how he could poop when he was so impacted with the fibers...
  16. Drache Dame

    Drache Dame Elite Member

    If he's eating non-moving things, and licking smashed butterworms, you may want to try canned crickets and mealworms. They're readily available at most chain pet stores. I would also make sure it's a certified herp vet and not just a regular vet. Herp Vet Connection is a good place to start.
  17. reddz

    reddz Member

    The only thing I can think of is to continue to force feed. And I agree with baby food, only until he gets up and running. Ive heard about giving electrolytes (although I've never tried them), but might want to look into that. Still no progress?
  18. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Have you tried supplementing with Carnivore Care?
    Also, I am not sure how this works, but I have heard that Probiotics help to stimulate appetite.
  19. babaloo

    babaloo Member

    Did you say you took him to the vet already?? Because if not, that should have been priority number one and maybe he or she could have give you more specific/quick advice.
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