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Extremely Sick Gecko in My Care- PLEASE Read. (pics Included)

Discussion in 'Leopard Geckos' started by mihomi98, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    So my brother came home from my neighbors house last night and told me that my neighbor had a very, very unhealthy gecko that their son keeps as a pet, so I went over there to take a look at it. What I saw shocked me, and I'm now in temporary care of the gecko for the next 2-6 weeks.






    His stats:
    Sparky is 3 (almost 4) and they got him for free because he dropped his tail soon after hatching. My neighbors have had him since he was a baby, and he used to be as fat and happy as my Lightning. He's a hypo-carrot tail like Lightning as well.

    They used to keep him in a good enclosure, but when I got him he was in a ten gallon with sand, feces and mealworms EVERYWHERE, one water dish, a mealie dish, no heating pad, and a hide that looks way to small for him. His tail is the thickness of a pencil eraser at most, and his mouth is uneven (lower jaw sticks out). His spine is curved in a "s" shape (his back is high but his chest is nearly flat), he's super pale, and his feet are basically blobs of un-shed skin.

    I moved him into a seperate cage and then took the sand out, washed the cage, put in larger hides and moist spaglum (I don't think that's the right name, but it's that New Zealand moss that is used in shed boxes and hides), put a heating pad in, and force-fed him chicken baby food and calcium powder. I also put a towel over his cage so that he will be as stress-free as possible for a few days.

    He's super friendly and came right up to me when I put my hand in the cage, but I could feel his bones/ribs and see his shoulder blades when I picked him up.

    Besides force-feeding and waiting to see what happens, what else can I do to help this little guy? Even though he's not mine I feel a strong need to try and save him, or at least make his passing as painless as possible.

    (Sorry for blurriness of the pictures, my camera wasn't working right.
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    It sounds like you have a good start - that gecko is emaciated!!!

    Try to keep the force-feeding to a minimum - it isn't good for them, but in some cases it is necessary - with any luck, just being warm, moist, and clean will improve his appetite. Try just putting a dot of the liquid food on his nose, and letting him lick it off himself. Watch the vitamin intake too (too much D3 is a bad thing) Start him off with small food items - maybe small crickets and mealworms, but refrigerate them for a few moments so they don't move so much he can't catch them. Some members on here can direct you to good recipes for slurries - which would be nutritionally better for the gecko in the meantime.

    Thanks for taking this poor thing in and doing your best to help him out. Best of luck, and keep us posted.

    (the moss is Sphagnum)
  3. ChrisS

    ChrisS Elite Member

    Just a thought on feeding, you could use some tongs to hold the cricket or other feeding still so he can get it. The kicking of the legs should be enough movement to entice him. Good Luck!
  4. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    I used a spoon to get him to lick the baby food off, but when I held a super worm (and then a cricket. and then a mealworm. and then my hand) in from of him, he ignored it and started licking his eyes. I'm wondering if he has a vision problem as well.
  5. lovesreptiles

    lovesreptiles Elite Member

    feed him waxworms maybe, good for putting on weight
  6. nessy

    nessy Well-Known Member

  7. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    Thanks for the recipe!

    I'm really hoping that if I get Sparky healthy again that the previous owners will let me keep him. It breaks my heart for him to have to go back there just to get sick again.
  8. teach920

    teach920 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Oh my goodness...that poor animal.:(
    I'm glad he is no longer in the household you removed him from. And I don't want to sound like a "downer", but this has occurred to me.... considering his old cage was "full of sand, mealworms, and feces" there is a good chance he has parasites and/or some other nasty things going on inside his body (and that might explain why he is looks so awfully thin/sick.) It would be in his best interest to at least have a fecal done on him so that if he has parasites or such the vet can prescribe medicine to rid him of them..
    I'm glad that he is now in the care of someone who will at least take care of his basic needs and I am hoping that with proper husbandry and diet that he will improve in the near future..(but again, considering what he looks like now, I do think there is more going on with him than you might be aware, and I do think at the very least a fecal needs to taken to a vet so a least you will know what you are working with.)
    Good luck, and again, hoping for the best.
  9. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    I'm hoping that he's just very malnourished and doesn't have parisites or anything else. Tomorrow I'm going out and buying waxworms to try and fatten him up because he won't eat Lightning or Eri's food (Superworms for my little Light-bright and crickets for Eri). I did get him to eat babyfood and take a bite of worm, plus since I changed his cage and heat he's woken up and walked around some.
  10. teach920

    teach920 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Wishing and hoping is a good thing to do, but you really do need to be extra careful with that Gecko...and to be honest, you might want to do a search and read up on "cryptosporidiosis" (I had to look up the spelling, because I wasn't going to even make an attempt at that one.) The pictures you are showing look identical to those I have seen that show examples of Leopard Geckos that have "cryptosporidiosis". (That is a type of parasite that Leopard Geckos can carry and is also one that can be transmitted to humans. The prognosis for that type of parasite is not very good at all, and considering it can be transmitted to humans, it is suggested to wear disposable gloves when dealing with Leos that have it.)
    Basically, just want to make sure you are indeed taking the precautions needed when dealing with an animal that is in the condition of the pictures you have shown.
    Again, I am also hoping that he is only just extremely malnourished, but I would also be taking the extra precautions, and would want to know for sure by having him tested.
  11. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    I'm definately going to purchase gloves tomorrow when I go out. (thanks for the info on the gecko-human transmission!)

    As for if it's cryptosporidiosis- I think he's unfortuately too far gone if this is the case. The previous owner said that he's been skinny for months (I don't see why they didn't take him to the vet....) I'm going to try to find a reptile vet in my area, but I can't afford the closest one (I believe it's 60 or so for a fecal, over 100 for the animal to be examined) and it's 45 minutes away. Are there any at-home remedies for cryptosporidiosis or is it a fatal parasite that onlly vet-prescribed meds will help?
  12. teach920

    teach920 Subscribed User Premium Member

    To my knowledge, there is still no known "cure" for Crypto,..HOWEVER there are currently treatments available that have allowed Leos to live "symptom free" for several years....(One of the key components to all of the various treatments is to ensure that the Gecko be kept in a "clean" environment.....They do however recommend that an animal diagnosised with Crypto always be kept in an individual cage, away from other geckos, because of the risk of transmitting it.)
    One of the symptoms of Crypto (aside from thinness and appearance such as yours) is "regurgitation" of food...Has this happened with this gecko to your knowledge?
    Keep in mind there are several other types of VERY Treatable parasites, so please don't give up hope, or think that it is for sure Crypto.....there is no way to know until they have been tested...I just want to make sure you are indeed aware of the possibilities and that you take the precautions needed for not only your other Gecko, but also your own family.
    As for the vet, I would call around and see if you can't find an affordable vet that can do a fecal..While a reptile specialist is best, I would think that any vet could do a fecal...and generally those can be obtained for a reasonable cost..
    Have you used the vet finder located on this forum?? there is a link at the top of the forum that can hopefully be of assistance to you.
  13. Medium

    Medium Elite Member

    He might not be strong enough for a parasite treatment yet. If you can get him to gain weight first, I would wait. His lack of care is no doubt the real problem. He also might be suffering from MBD, I do think a vet is still a good call, he can get a full dose of calcium from the vet.

    Poor guy, good luck with him. I sure hope he does not go back to where he came from.
  14. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    Another thing I noticed when I looked around his old cage (I don't know how fresh any of this was, so it could just be hardened feces) but there were big round balls of gray matter (not sand) all over his cage, and his feces looked gigantic. I should have taken a picture of the gray matter.
  15. Medium

    Medium Elite Member

    That to could be parasite, not sure. If you do have the fecal checked, just ask the vet about the fact that he might not be strong enough to handle treatment. I lost my Leo for this exact reason, he was not strong enough for the treatment and died the next day. So do use caution and talk to the vet first.
  16. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thank God there are people like you, who will take in a gecko who is in such an awful situation. Hopefully you can keep Sparky and not give him back to your neighbour. Poor little guy, he looks terrible. A vet trip would be the best thing, try to get that fecal done. Would these people you got him from help pay for the vet visit?
    Keep us posted on Sparkys' progress and good luck with the little one.
  17. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    I'm not sure if they'd help me or not because they barely have enough money to pay there own bills, let alone the gecko's.

    Today I bought a bunch of stuff to help him: I bought waxworms to fatten him up, calcium spray, shed-aid (his feet look like they sheds have just built up so it's pure white. Looks like gloves.), a larger hide, a UVB full spectrum light, and liquid calcium to give him.
  18. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, good for you for trying to help, I think the problem may just be because there was no heat in his enclosure, that being the case, the animal wouldn`t have been able to digest food, or even be able to catch anything, they really only see moving prey. You don`t need a UVB emmiting bulb, they are nocturnal lizards, but keep the temps up at the high end of the recommended range, that will ensure his metabolism will function efficiently. The shed aid is not very good either, if he`s having problems shedding, just make sure he has a humid hide, and you can use either baby oil or vegetable oil to gently rub into his skin with the stuck shed. Good luck, I hope he pulls through, but he looks in VERY bad shape.
  19. mihomi98

    mihomi98 Elite Member

    Surprisingly enough, I just got him to eat a waxworm- I decided to try it and was shocked when he stumbled forward and ate it.
  20. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Great, if he`s eating something, that`s a start, if he were ill as such, I doubt he would want to eat anything, if you try another, dip it in the calcium powder first, do you have a reptile multi vitamin, that will help, as he`s surely deficient just now (give as directed, too much is as bad as too little)?

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