Leo Gecko Not Eating, Hard Belly

RobsterSF

New Member
Messages
12
Hi all,


As you will find int he introductory forum my name is Rob. I'm here to ask some advice from the experts….you! My little guy has an interesting back story. I found him behind my car which I rarely drove, in the freezing cold of December a few years back abandoned by his owners. I have no idea how long he was there. He was in a 10 gal tank, in green calci-sand liquefied due to water from rain (or something), a ton of crickets eating away at him, and super cold temperatures for gosh knows how long. Due to my love of animals and past reptile keeping (Iguanas, Snakes, Lizards, etc.) we quickly took him in as our one and only "Rescue Gecko". I'm calling him Bob as we named him prior to sexing. Bob might be a she. We brought bob in, removed all the sand, cleaned the tank, added there necessary under tank heat and crossed our fingers for the best. It took a very long time however Bob finally ate. We were overjoyed when it happened. Bob is super sweet so whoever had him before must have handled him frequently as Bob is very comfortable with Humans. His little toes are mostly missing likely to previous mishandling. That said Bob has been doing wonderful for the last three or so years until recently. A quick note about his setup. He was moved to a 20 Gal long shortly after coming into our home and loves his space. He has under tank heat on the left side where he spends most of his time. We found that he was having trouble finding a place to poop so we placed a small raised container of white calci sand in the far right corner which he quickly adopted as the bathroom likely due to his prior use of calci sand by prior owners. Yes I am very aware of impaction and sand however hear me out here before judging. The remainder of his tank floor is a slab of tile which provides a nice even heat that tapers off from left to right. Bob has several hides including a moist hide.

Recently Bob's eating slowed, and I chocked this up to the next shed. That occurred however now eating has been very slow. Not just after the initial shed however for some time now. I've had Bob three year’s so I am used to slow patterns in eating prior to or after shed however Bob always bounces back. Fast forward to today. He has eaten very little (like 1 or 2 meal worms in weeks then another 1 or two each week after. He requires handfeeding and will not eat from a bowl), his tails is scary tiny compared to normal hence low fat reserves, and Bob's belly is a bit harder than I would like.

Let’s go back to his poop box. Bob is fed on the flat tile so no ingestion of substrate happening there. The only substrate is the small 4" x 4" box in the corner that is his bathroom. It is raised so no chance his food is reaching that space for two reasons. A) he is fed worms directly in front of him on the tile and B) worms remain in his dish for any unattended feeding and they cannot escape the dish. If they did they cannot climb up into the poop box given the lip surrounding the box.

My worry here is it's time for a vet to have a look however want to be sure this is the correct course of action. I'm really not sure if Bob is impacted however if he is it would be either from food (meal worms and sometime smart worms) or if there is some reason he were to ingest the Calci Sand for some reason. We keep the litter clean so no chance he is eating his business and getting mouth full of sand. We ae going to remove in favor of paper towel given he know his place now.

Would welcome any suggestions. I want to be sure this little guy who has had a hard life and we want him to have many more happy years. We have the East Bay Vivarium in Berkeley California available who I can call for a vet recommendation and a friend who swears by her reptile Vet specializing in Geckos.

Cheers
 

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acpart

Geck-cessories
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Great story, and I'm glad Bob "found" you! The easiest thing to do before the vet visit (which I recommend) is to give Bob a warm soak in about 1/2" inch of water to see if that promotes pooping. It may or may not be impaction. A lot of geckos slow down at this time of year. I think a vet visit is a good idea.

Aliza
 

RobsterSF

New Member
Messages
12
Thank Aliza. I've been given him a warm water bath for a few weeks along with a very light belly massage while in the water. I think we are off to the vet this week just to put my mind at ease. Via a friend I found a newly updated listing of her vets near me that are highly rated. Will be sure to post a follow up once I know more.
 

Lil Biscuit

Member
Messages
37
A vet visit would be best overall. He's always lived in calci sand if assume so there's a large chance he has impaction. Let's hope he doesn't need anything like surgery. Plus though he could have other problems. Hope he can recover soon. Do you have pictures of him when you first found him. I'm curious of his recent not so great conditions.
 

RobsterSF

New Member
Messages
12
I do have photos of him. When we fist took bob in we did put him on Calci-sand however just to stress he never ate any of his insects from the sand base. He was moved off of the sand long ago. I've posted a few picts of him from back when we first took him in. You can se how skinny the little guy was. Good point that he could have eaten Cali-sand all that time with his past owners/abandoners as he had no feed dish however I would think that all would have surfaced long ago if related? We took him in back in December 2015.
 

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Lil Biscuit

Member
Messages
37
That looks very similar to the first Leo I ever got. She had impaction from the petstore though I didn't know enough to know batter. However I understand your lizard isn't on sand but that is not really a good enough thing to say she couldn't possibly have it. They lick everything. It's just kinda how they leard about their world.
 

Lil Biscuit

Member
Messages
37
Anything with a tough she'll. Mealworms are kinda trash all around. Butterworms, calci worms, small dubia roaches would be good
 

Lil Biscuit

Member
Messages
37
Ummm good for extra nutrition. Close to a fain feed? But most use as great. Plus out of all of those they're the least cheap. They can't be bread because they're irritated so not to give birth and have a pest outbreak in the US. They come from Chili
 

Heloguy

New Member
Messages
7
Ummm good for extra nutrition. Close to a fain feed? But most use as great. Plus out of all of those they're the least cheap. They can't be bread because they're irritated so not to give birth and have a pest outbreak in the US. They come from Chili
Good points. I Alsop have read they can become impacted by diet as well.
Hi all,


As you will find int he introductory forum my name is Rob. I'm here to ask some advice from the experts….you! My little guy has an interesting back story. I found him behind my car which I rarely drove, in the freezing cold of December a few years back abandoned by his owners. I have no idea how long he was there. He was in a 10 gal tank, in green calci-sand liquefied due to water from rain (or something), a ton of crickets eating away at him, and super cold temperatures for gosh knows how long. Due to my love of animals and past reptile keeping (Iguanas, Snakes, Lizards, etc.) we quickly took him in as our one and only "Rescue Gecko". I'm calling him Bob as we named him prior to sexing. Bob might be a she. We brought bob in, removed all the sand, cleaned the tank, added there necessary under tank heat and crossed our fingers for the best. It took a very long time however Bob finally ate. We were overjoyed when it happened. Bob is super sweet so whoever had him before must have handled him frequently as Bob is very comfortable with Humans. His little toes are mostly missing likely to previous mishandling. That said Bob has been doing wonderful for the last three or so years until recently. A quick note about his setup. He was moved to a 20 Gal long shortly after coming into our home and loves his space. He has under tank heat on the left side where he spends most of his time. We found that he was having trouble finding a place to poop so we placed a small raised container of white calci sand in the far right corner which he quickly adopted as the bathroom likely due to his prior use of calci sand by prior owners. Yes I am very aware of impaction and sand however hear me out here before judging. The remainder of his tank floor is a slab of tile which provides a nice even heat that tapers off from left to right. Bob has several hides including a moist hide.

Recently Bob's eating slowed, and I chocked this up to the next shed. That occurred however now eating has been very slow. Not just after the initial shed however for some time now. I've had Bob three year’s so I am used to slow patterns in eating prior to or after shed however Bob always bounces back. Fast forward to today. He has eaten very little (like 1 or 2 meal worms in weeks then another 1 or two each week after. He requires handfeeding and will not eat from a bowl), his tails is scary tiny compared to normal hence low fat reserves, and Bob's belly is a bit harder than I would like.

Let’s go back to his poop box. Bob is fed on the flat tile so no ingestion of substrate happening there. The only substrate is the small 4" x 4" box in the corner that is his bathroom. It is raised so no chance his food is reaching that space for two reasons. A) he is fed worms directly in front of him on the tile and B) worms remain in his dish for any unattended feeding and they cannot escape the dish. If they did they cannot climb up into the poop box given the lip surrounding the box.

My worry here is it's time for a vet to have a look however want to be sure this is the correct course of action. I'm really not sure if Bob is impacted however if he is it would be either from food (meal worms and sometime smart worms) or if there is some reason he were to ingest the Calci Sand for some reason. We keep the litter clean so no chance he is eating his business and getting mouth full of sand. We ae going to remove in favor of paper towel given he know his place now.

Would welcome any suggestions. I want to be sure this little guy who has had a hard life and we want him to have many more happy years. We have the East Bay Vivarium in Berkeley California available who I can call for a vet recommendation and a friend who swears by her reptile Vet specializing in Geckos.

Cheers
Bob,
If he is drinking water put a few drops of Pedialite in it. It has electrolytes that may help with is digestion. Some times they get dehydrated. I had a similar problem with mine a year or so ago and the warm bath helped move things along. They can absorb the Pedialite through their skin so if he's bathed, a quarter cup of pedilite will help with hydration. By all means for your peace of mind and the welfare of your Leo, take him to the vet regardless.
 

RobsterSF

New Member
Messages
12
Hi all,

An update on todays vet visit ($85.00 for the record which was a 10 minute session). I'm looking for some opinions here. Vet told me what I already know. Some kind of obstruction. Could be an egg, could be something else like impaction, could be a growth. Only way to tell is via X-Ray, which requires sedation. The estimate for this is $500 low side, $550 high side and could go higher and does not include meds nor follow up visits. The breakdown is as follows

Hospitalization $42.70
10 hours of hospital monitoring $231
Upper GI Scan $200
Radiology Interpretation $97.80
Sedation for Radiology $86.20
Medications Estimated $50

My reservation here is reptile specialist may have a different opinion. What concerns me here is this is just and X-ray. The vet was super friendly however when I asked her to verify the sex she said that can be difficult. Then stating it could be an egg or not. Does not make me feel warm and fuzzy. Again super nice and professional Doctor. Every ounce of my being here says get a second opinion from a reptile expert. Also I hate to start down this path then feel I need to see an expert and then have to start all over from square one. The one expert I know of here in the Bay Area is on extended medical leave.

I've called the local reptile shop which is very well regarding here in the San Francisco Bay Area (The East Bay Vivarium) and requested a referral. They supplied the name of an exotic working at the same location as the person I mentioned above on medical leave. At first glance they have a very detailed questionnaire for new reptile patients. All types of questions. Lighting, temps, foods, last shed, etc. This makes me feel much more comfortable and that they are geared towards reptiles.

Side note Bob is eating and pooping just fine now. I'm inclined to wait a few days to a week (or more) and see if his belly starts to get smaller. If not then seek help from the reptile expert vs continuing with the current Vet. Bob does not seem to be in any pain, same happy go lucky guy as always. I also feel the blockage or whatever is in there is getting smaller. Could just be wishful thinking.

Look forward to your comments
 
Last edited:

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
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Location
Somerville, MA
I definitely think you need to see the reptile vet if Bob's abdomen continues to be hard for the following reasons:
--any experienced gecko keeper can sex and adult leopard gecko and it's not a good sign that this vet can't
--any experienced gecko keeper can tell if a leopard gecko has large eggs in the abdomen just by looking at it, and, once again, if this vet doesn't know that, it's not a good sign.

Aliza
 

RobsterSF

New Member
Messages
12
Hi Aliza. Thank you for the response. I fully agree. I suspect that many of these vets now say they handle exotics as well just to keep business good.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
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Location
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That's kind of a shame. My brother is a vet, not a reptile vet. Though he will try to help people with husbandry (sometimes he calls me!) he feels strongly that it is unethical for him to try to treat something he knows nothing about.

Aliza
 

RobsterSF

New Member
Messages
12
Good news. Bob the Leo Gecko is making a slow however welcome recovery. That was a really tough decision for me to make. Let a Vet take charge with what I felt was not the proper course of action or nurse my little guy the way I felt I should. I am happy to report Bob is making a come back. He's eating as mentioned before however I'm limiting how much I am feeding him. Last thing we want to do is make things worse. I found in a forum a drop or two of non hardening oil (olive oil in my case) might help things start flowing if you know what I mean. This coupled with warm water baths twice daily. I could not get him to lick the olive oil form his lips. It simply came off one the bottom of his housing. As luck would have it I dropped the Meal worm in olive oil for a second and then offered to Bob. He gulped it up. Took a few days however (and sorry to be gross) had his most normal poop in a while now. I chalk it up to the olive oil and possibly the baths. More so the olive oil as I had been doing the baths for a while with no significant change.

Now a question for anyone out there who has used this trick with the oil. How often can you offer this up? I've only done this once. I'm thinking until a full recovery one per week? Obviously I don't want to go over board however one worm in oil once per week seems ok to me. Couple that with normal (or less than normal feeding even though he wants more food) should be ok. So far I call this a very positive result. Welcome your thoughts.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
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Location
Somerville, MA
I don't think that 1 worm a week in oil is a problem. You could consider doing that for a couple of weeks and then seeing if nature can take its course . . . naturally.

Aliza
 
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