Leopard Gecko Illness/Diseases

Signs Of Leopard Gecko Illness or Disease

Leopard Geckos will rarely show any signs to their health issues as they rarely have many health issues due to their tolerance to health issues, it’s usually difficult to identify unless with regular lengthy handling daily however there can be signs such as not eating or drastic weight loss. The key stages when your leopard gecko husbandry care is essential when your leopard gecko less than 2 years old.

Leopard Gecko Is Not Eating?

Leopard Geckos can usually stop eating for very simple reasons, before panicking that there is a drastic issue just check the following reasons and allow 24-48hours before taking action. Reasons to why your leopard gecko mightn’t be eating:

  • Firstly check the temperatures in the hot and cool end. Really the cool end isn’t to worry as much as the hot end as long there a significant difference in temperatures. The hot end should be between 85-90 Fahrenheit.


  • Next I would check whether the substrate could of been eaten, I recommend that the safest solution to impaction is to use some sort of tiles, large substrate that isn’t edible size or reptile carpet.


  • Sometimes changing the enclosure arrangement can confuse your leopard gecko, most leopard geckos will usually investigate the new arrangement/decoration or not fussed by the change however some can be so may need guiding towards the food or water.


  • Next can be if a new leopard gecko that you have just brought from the shops they mightn’t want to eat due to the stress of moving until they have settled into their new environment I was recommended to use the same live food from where it was brought and wean it off to your preferred live food if you want to.


  • Has there been any changes to the members within the vivarium, if holding multiple numbers of geckos in the same vivarium there may be a culprit not allowing the other to eat or too competitive for the other gecko. Bringing in new member into the vivarium could upset them as he/she may change the ranking within the members and causing them not to eat or unable to eat.


  • Furthermore, leopard geckos have been known to suddenly go off their usual live food which you may need to change the live food.


  • Finally there could be a possibility of the supplier or reptile shop has got parasites/worms running through their supply. You can buy reptile wormer/parasite remover like what you get given for your cat or dog but is specifically design for reptile use.


  • If you’ve still got concerns about your leopard gecko not eating may be worth taking to the vet once you confirmed the basic common issues haven’t caused your leopard gecko to eat.

When Should I Start To Worry?
The time when you need to really need to be worried; is if your Leopard Gecko refuses to eat for a week, from this his/her tail where the fat is stored will start to decrease in fatness and becomes extremely lethargic.  A skinny Leopard Gecko where the skeleton structure starts to shows is in need of seeking urgent veterinary treatment with a reptile specialist.

Causes Of Illness Or Disease

There are many causes that can cause illness or disease in your Leopard Gecko, these can result from; temperatures less than 73 degrees that reduces the activity of his/her immune system making them more sceptical, humidity levels that are too high and stress like all animals even humans can become ill from stress.

Leopard Gecko Illness Or Disease
Every Leopard Gecko now is mostly captive bred, these have fewer diseases than wild specimen and if wild they very unlikely if any slight disease or parasites.

The issue now is down to captive species unable to supplement their diet with calcium and phosphorus.

Calcium/Phosphorus Deficiency

As said previously, an imbalance of calcium/phosphorus can be an issue but with certain care and attention it can be recovered back to the correct ratio of calcium 1.25 to 1 phosphorus.
This is mostly seen in females as they are more prone due to her needing to produce eggs needing calcium, if insignificant amounts she will simply deposit calcium from her own bones to produce the eggs leaving her with familiar sights of jaws that are soft or flexible and legs that weaken before becoming deformed then fracture.

Commonly seen in breeding females (Low imbalance) with common situations of many hatchlings dead in shell or soon after hatching in which then need aid to be hatched as they simply too weak to do so by themselves. If hatchlings do survive they will be lucky to survive if not affected by metabolic bone disease.

However it can also be affected to females with a high imbalance with insignificantly calcified or infertile eggs.

Shedding Skin Matter

Shedding Skin can be prevented or solved using a wet box that give a location of higher humidity allowing him/her to shed their skin. Without so they can commonly have missing toes due to dry gangrene or eye infections also shedding skin can be concurringly retained around legs, feet or eyes.

Juveniles seemingly need higher humidity levels to shed but all leopard geckos of all ages with self remove the dead skin when possibly before eating it to replenish lost nutrition and energy values.

Sand Impaction

Sand impaction is seen in specimen who has ingested sand to gather needed minerals in the body which includes sources of calcium carbonate.  It is recommended you provide shallow dishes that have low amounts of calcium carbonate.  You can buy calcium carbonate from most reptile shops or pet stores.

Reasons not to use calcium carbonate sand:


  • Most pet stores or reptile stores will try to sell you the idea that it is safe to use which in fact is partly true which if small amounts on rare occasions is eaten it can be broken down.
  • Hypercalcaemia is an overdose in calcium carbonate with too much calcium in the blood stream this can lead onto Alkalosis that results into renal failure (failure in kidneys preventing excretion of toxic waste) and metastatic calcification where extra calcium salts are deposited in normal cells but with nerve or muscle it will cause central never system damage leading to paralysation of the animal.
  • However this can be drastic issues for some reptile owners as what many don’t know is that calcium carbonate neutralises the stomach acid, when the stomach acids become neutralised it’s unable to digest causing impaction. As its unable then to excrete and un-digested matter/ by-products which then become toxic before poisoning the blood stream with have lethal consequences.

Scale Rot/ Necrotic Dermatitis

When having too damp substrate that your leopard gecko is plodding through without an area to bask to dry off their skins becomes weakened allowing secondary infections either bacterial or fungal. This is commonly seen on the tail or feet which later develop onto under belly. The infected areas will becomes off colour mostly brown and swells up.  From seeing a reptile specialist or reptile vet at your nearest veterinary reptile clinic they be able to prescribe antibiotic ointments to help kill or cure areas infected by bacteria or fungal.

The best cure is to learn from others or yourself mistakes to prevent it from happening in the future by doing so keep the ambient temperatures correct and using small specific areas where dampened substrate can be found such as moist hides.


Moth-Rot/Necrotic Stomatitis

Necrotic Stomatitis is commonly known as Mouth-Rot, this is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas or Aeromonas, it usually arises when your reptile has damaged its mouth during fighting or off objects which this sets in as a secondary infection.

Signs of it can be swelling of the jaw or mouth area that excretes cheesy looking pus in the infected area. This would also reduce the eating manner or regularity.

Looking it can easily be cured from seeing a veterinary surgeon who will prescribe antibiotics, slight raise in the environment temperature which creates a false fever response that will help combat most bacterial infections and increase response from the immune system.

Respiratory Infections

Respiration infections occur when the temperatures are too low or too high humidity which allows bacteria to take up a opportunistic event. You can identify respiration infections by behaviour signs of partial opened mouth and sight breathing difficulty.
First treatment would be to raise the environment temperatures to again help create a false fever environment response to help combat bacteria and increase the immune system functionality.

If still no improvement you will need to get a expert opinion from a reptile specialist veterinary surgeon.

Digestive Infection

Commonly cause by temperatures being too low with reptile regurgitating previous meals of undigested crickets or mealies.  Worthwhile increasing the temperature as that has proven to cure digestive infections unless a opportunist infection has infected  which veterinary expertise treatment will be necessary.

Most common known digestive tract infection is known as flagellated protozoa commonly seen captive reptile.  This will have signs of regurgitation of previous meals, loose faeces and rapid weight lost.  A vet will usually prescribe a drug called metronidazole which has a trade name of ‘Flagyl’ which given of 125mg per kg of bodyweight every 72-96 intervals but a slightly higher dose is known to act as an appetite stimulant.  Flagyl can be associated with causing tumours over long term use along with much regular received medication in reptiles.


Tumours are commonly seen in older reptile species, Leopard Geckos are known to having both benign and invasive tumours. Treatment can be possible with surgical removal however is not all ways the right solution of long term cases. Some believe that Flagyl can be associated with causing tumours over long term use along with much regular received medication in reptiles.