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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10863
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Leopard gecko : has eating problem doesnt seem to be eating

Customer Question

Leopard gecko : has eating problem doesn't seem to be eating crickets even tried wax worms coated in verm-x which is a formulation for the daily protection of intestinal. It's been going on for about a month his tail is extremely thin.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Hello Marcus, I'm Dr. Deb. I recently came online and see that your question hasn't been answered.
I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response but I have a few additional questions to ask about Gordon first, if you don't mind:

1. What type of substrate is Gordon on?
2. Any other supplements such as calcium?
3. What are the temperatures in the tank and how do you measure them?
4. What is the heat source?
5. Have you had a fecal run?
6. Is Gordon passing stool?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1. His food has always previously been black crickets until he has appeared to not be taking them. We have tried him with meal worms and more recently wax worms.

2. We have always from the start of having which was back in February coated his food in Nutrobal which is a calcium balance & multivitamin

3. Tank is @ between 75 - 83 degrees depending on time of day and is controlled using a thermostat

4.Heat source is a Reflector lamp

5. ??

6. Appears to be

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the answers to my questions.
Your tank temperatures are good as is the diet. I usually recommend a dish of calcium in the tank for geckos to ingest since the Nutrobal will not contain sufficient amounts for them. More on this below.
I also prefer an under the tank heater since they tend to respond to this better than the reflector lamp.
So, just a few husbandry issues which you might address.

When faced with a situation like this in a gecko, there are usually going to be a few possible reasons for his decreased interest in eating:
1. Possibly an internal parasite problem which is why I asked if you'd had a fecal (or a stool sample) checked.
2. A virus
3 A bacterial infection.
4. or possibly a partial blockage even though he's passing stool. You didn't indicate what substrate you use but if it's sand or bark, then a partial obstruction should be included on the list. I prefer reptile carpeting or paper towels which prevent a blockage from occurring..either partial or complete.

It's not always easy to determine which condition might be responsible for this problem without a physical exam, though.
But there are several at-home, first aid things that you can do for him which might get him eating again.

1. Soak him in a 50/50 solution of warm water and pedialyte (or diaralyte) up to his mid leg for about 15 minutes. This will help with hydration.
You can repeat this procedure once a day if necessary.

2. Place a dish of plain calcium in his tank; a calcium deficiency might contribute to shutting down his system.

3. Supplemental feeding with human chicken baby food mixed with a pinch of the calcium. Drop this mixture on his snout several times a day; he should lick it off.

Hopefully, this will be enough to stimulate him to eat but if it doesn't, then he may need to be seen by a reptile vet. If you don't know how to locate one in your area, this LINK may help. I would also suggest that you take a stool sample with you so that it can be checked for parasites...this actually isn't a bad thing to do anyway.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best in getting Gordon back on track. Deb