Leopard gecko - vomiting

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
Hi guys,

I'm super scared now. Little Lovey the leopard has thrown up her mealworms three times in two weeks. The first time, she had eaten 10 and was just woofing them down so we thought maybe she had eaten too fast. She's otherwise acting normal. Her next feeds were fine and then about 8 days later, on Dec 23rd, I fed her 6 dusted. She barfed them up. At this point, I realized the only thing that changed was that the place I usually get the worms had closed, and this batch I had purchased at another place. So I thought...OK it must be a batch that doesn't agree with her. I got rid of those and went back to where I usually go and got new worms. I warm them and gut loaded them with carrot (they are stored in a oat base in the fridge) and waited until this morning to try and feed her. She was hungry and came right out for them. I fed her only three, I waited 5 mins in between each so she would not gorge on them, and then she went into her warm hide right away so to me, she's doing all the right things. But now...6 hours later....the 3 worms are barfed up!

She's three, we have an UTH at 90, her warm side top of tank is 82, cool side is 78-79. Her substrate is paper towel and repticarpet.

She sheds perfectly, did so about a month ago. She poops normal. She was out to her water dish drinking last night. She has been hiding alot more lately though.

She gets bottled water fresh every second day and topped up when needed. Water is treated with Reptisafe. ( I put 2 drops per 500ml bottle)

We get standard meal worms, feed her three times a week, usually 6-8 at a time. I dust every other feeding with Retivite with D3 and she gets a small dish of repti calcium without D3 2-3 nights a week.

She is likely losing weight, but she's a chunker and likely isn't just showing.signs yet.

What have we done wrong? What could be happening here? Should I just take her to the vet immediately? It's winter here and I'm worried about moving her around!
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
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14,470
Location
Somerville, MA
I don't think you've done anything wrong, but I do think that throwing up regularly could be a problem. I would recommend a vet visit. When you take her, find a small enclosure. I use a deli cup with holes punched in the sides, but if you get a shoebox sized tub from a place like Target (it costs around a dollar) you can put her in there and when you put the lid on she'll have enough ventilation to breathe. Wrap it in a blanket to go from the house to the car. She'll be fine. If she's pooping, see if you can bring a fresh poop sample.

Aliza
 

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
Thank you. Our only local exotic vet isn't taking new patients. So the next closest one is over an hour away but we'll go tomorrow. She hasn't pooped in a couple of days, but I'm really hoping overnight she will and I will keep it and store it in the fridge to take with me!
 

Herpin Man

Member
Messages
47
Mealworms are more difficult to digest than other feeders. That it is regurgitating them may be a sign that you aren’t keeping them warm enough. The temperature inside the hide box on the warm end should measure 90f or more. I’m not sure if that’s the case here, or if you merely mean that the thermostat on your UTH is set to 90. Sometimes there is a big difference between the thermostat setting and the actual temperature.
In any event, I would try increasing the temperature and see if the situation improves.
 

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
Yes, sorry, the UTH is set at 90 and that's where her warm hide is. The thermometer near the top of the tank on that end reads 82 and the dark/cool side at the back (her poop area) thermometer reads 78 at the moment. We have a light on top but it doesn't shine right on the warm hide. We cover the light at night so she gets day/night change.
 

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CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
UPDATE:

Took her to the vet today. Was an hour drive but she was a champ. The vet was very nice. She said basically she looks in great health and all visually seems fine. Did xrays and no egg bound or blockages. She's a good weight (76g), not dehydrated. We have done everything well with her. The only thing is she hasn't pooped in a few days, so we had no sample to test for parasites. So it could be a parasite or underlying infection which we can treat, but I need poo to confirm. If she doesn't have one within a couple of days, they would like to do an enema.

And it could be we aren't keeping her quite warm enough, so we'll get a better heater.

The vet wants us to try one worm tonight and see how she does. We did and so far it's been down an hour. What sucks though is as soon as we put her back in her terrarium when we got back, she started doing a gagging/yawning thing and shaking her head. It freaked me out but she hasn't done it since. Anyway, that's where we're at! Fingers and toes crossed things are on the up and up!
 

Climbers mom

New Member
Messages
11
Good news so far. Hate she gagged again. I'm thinking parasites too. Hopefully can get that poop sample soon. Keep up the good work. Hope she's feeling better soon.
 

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
Over the course of 10 hours, she kept 3 worms down and when I woke up this morning she was standing in her water dish drinking. So I'm guardedly optimistic and hoping that gets a poop going!
 

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
UPDATE:

She pooed! Yay! So I got it fresh within an hour and stored it and am bringing it in for testing just to be sure. She has not gagged and has kept down seven individual worms over the course of 24 hours with no vomiting. I'm nervous to give her any more than one at a time every few hours but she wants to eat more lol But just wanted to give an update.

Happy New Year everyone!
 

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
Hey all,

It's been a while. As it says above, back in December our gecko was vomiting and we had her to the vet, all was fine, we increased the heat in her tank and she stopped vomiting. She ate some mealworms afterwards a couple of times. However, for the past few weeks she absolutely refuses to look at mealworms or crickets. (She's never ever eaten a cricket for me, but I thought I would try something!)

She has been sleeping alot more, won't go anywhere near the new heat lamp and stays always in the back cool area. I thought well maybe it's because we changed the temps and she is a diva and will come around. Nope...she went 12 days straight and won't look at a food. She is still sweet and likes to get out. She's drinking and pooping fine, ive seen her licking calcium here and there. So on the 13th day I decided to try 2 wax worms. Well guess what...she came right out and chowed right into them. I know they aren't a great food for them, but I was glad she ate something. Now it's been 10 days again, and she has not eaten since the 2 waxies. She will not look at a mealworm.

Could it be the vomiting turned her against mealworms?? Could it be brumation? Could it be the new heat?

If she won't eat mealworms or crickets, she shouldn't have wax worms, I can't get dubias in Canada...what should I do???!!!

Suggestions?
THANKS!
 

Climbers mom

New Member
Messages
11
GLad she ate the wax worms. You're doing the right thing trying different things for her to eat. My gecko only ate crickets at first but now won't touch them or the roaches. Only eats meal and super worms now. But remember, he went several weeks without eating. (if her tail is still fat, that's good). It wasn't until we got the heat right that he resumed. The heat mat on bottom of tank and moist hide made the difference. Temp plays a major roll in their eating and activity. Since yours is favoring the cool side & sleeping more, u may be looking at brumation, really read up on it, a lot to learn. Is she cool when u hold her? Do u mist/spray the tank any, humidity is important too. She's pooping, coming out some and licking calcium, all good signs.

You gotta get her surroundings right. It takes time. Read up and good luck. Keep us posted.
 

Climbers mom

New Member
Messages
11
Forgot to mention, lighting is important too. Winter = shorter daytime and with cooler Temps they eat less and sleep more/thus brumation/hibernation. To reverse that, temps must be right and must provide longer periods of light. We set ours up on a timer. Comes on at 8 am then off at 9 pm. Lots of sites to learn about brumation.
 

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
Yeah, I had never heard of brumation until I starting looking into why she could be acting like this. I'm a bit confused about it to be honest.

But I have been giving her around 10 hours of light, shut it off from 10pm-8am-ish. Her warm side is about 93 with an under heater. Her cool side is about 85 with the moist hide. She doesn't even go in that though...been in her log in the cool side 90% of the time.

I do mist everything at least twice a day. She is cool to the touch when we have her out and she is happy and active when out.
She refuses to go in the warm hide, particularly since we got the new over tank heater recommended by the vet to increase her to the 92-95 range. Don't think she's been in it since, so I was really thinking she didn't like the extra heat since she's never had it that for 3 years.

Ugh...I feel like I just can't get it right! But for the first two years, with the previous owners she got only dead feeders, her temp was always barely 80 and she was pretty much neglected alot of the tike... and was fine!

So frustrating!
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
14,470
Location
Somerville, MA
Some leopard geckos do gravitate toward the cool side and sleep a lot in winter (and don't eat much). Also, females are starting to ovulate which reduces their intake in many cases.
Here's an article that may provide some insight:

Aliza
 

CaperJenJen

New Member
Messages
22
Thank you. I've read a lot of articles which is probably why I'm finding it a bit confusing. But I guess what I should be taking from all of the reading is that it is likely the time of year causing her changes in behavior, and I will try not to worry as long as she stays in good chunky health and receptive to my loving now and then. ❤
 

Climbers mom

New Member
Messages
11
It really sounds like you're doing everything right. You know her best. She's active when you bring her out, that's a great sign. Agree, temp is a personal thing and if she's happy on the cool side of the tank then that may just be her thing. She's female so I don't have experience with that but I do know ovulating will play into her behavior. Climber is male and when he became sexually mature around a year old, he did stop eating for a while. The vet said he would resume and he did.

As long as her tail is fat (she will lose some since eating has slowed) don't worry. It's scary to go thru but you really do sound like you've got a good handle on everything. Hang in there!
 

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