It’s especially important if your leopard gecko is sick or injured to make sure that their tank is clean, food is fresh and prepared hygienically and that the temperature is appropriate and that your UV-B bulb is in proper working condition. Here are some additional recommendations of how you can support your ill leopard gecko while they are under the weather or awaiting a veterinary evaluation:
-Keep them warm. Temperature is very important for keeping your gecko healthy with a gradient of temperature from cool to warm. Daytime temperature range with a cool side at 78-80F (25.6-26.7C), a warm side at 85-90F (29.4-32.2C) and a very warm, focal basking area of 90-94F (32.2-34.5C).
But if they’re not moving around much on their own, place them in an area of the tank that is around 85F (30C), but not on top of a hot rock or under the hottest basking area as they can overheat or get burned.
-To prevent or treat dehydration, you can give your gecko a soak in a shallow dish of warm water (85-90F, 30-32C) for 15-30 minutes twice a day. Or if they are too weak to be in water, you can help with hydration by placing them in a small, plastic or glass container lined with moistened paper towels for 15 minutes two to four times per day. Cover the container with the snap on lid or with clean cling film and poke holes in the lid or cling film to allow for air flow. Place the container into the enclosure where the temperature is around 85-90F for the 15 minutes so they stays warm. Then remove them from the container and put them back into the enclosure where the air temp near the surface is 85-90F.
Dry them off after the soak so they don't cool off too much.
If they might be having GI issues such as severe constipation or GI impaction, you can help promote GI motility and defecation with gentle tummy massage during the warm water soak. Be gentle and stroke the tummy from front to back a few times every 5-10 minutes during the warm water soak.
-Make sure you wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling your gecko or their cage furniture.
-Make sure the enclosure is clean as built up waste, dust and other irritants can predispose your animal to infection. Spot cleaning daily but cleaning the enclosure more thoroughly at least once monthly with a reptile safe disinfectant is recommended. F10 Veterinary Disinfectant is a good option, safe with reptiles and comes pre-diluted and ready for use in a spray bottle. You can also consider lining the tank with disposable unbleached paper towels or newspaper while they are ill to make cleaning easier. The papers should be changed out daily or more frequently if they become soiled. Also, since they defecate into their water bowls often, cleaning the water bowl daily with soap and warm water before refilling it and weekly disinfection of the bowl is a good idea while they are ill (normally, it's okay just to do a daily rinse and refill of the water dish with 1-2x per week washing/disinfection).
-Offer food, even if not eating. If your leopard gecko is having difficulty reaching or getting to their food, put the food dish next to them or you can also hand or tong feed them. Place an insect gently against their lips and if they are hungry, they will bite at it. If not, don’t force it.
If needed (if inappetence is prolonged), you can assist feed whole, calcium or multivitamin dusted insects (I recommend removing their heads first) or you can syringe feed them a replacement formula like Fluker’s ReptaBoost, EmerAid Intensive Care Carnivore, Oxbow Animal Health Critical Care Carnivore.
Outside the US if these options are not available you can try Vetark Critical Care Formula (not ideal as a long term replacer as it is grain based).
Another option is to assist or syringe feed Repashy Grub Pie for reptiles. It's a diet that is normally mixed with boiling water and then allowed to set up into a solid to make a gel food to feed to insectivorous reptiles. But if you mix it with room temperature (not boiling) water, more water than the package recommends, to make a slurry that is thin enough to go through a syringe, it can be used for syringe feeding. Or you can make it according to the package directions, using boiling water to make a gel that sets up, then cut the gel into pieces that you can then assist feed (like you would assist feed an insect). This formula is nice because it's based on insect and fish based protein and has a good variety of vitamins. Treat any gel you make like you would fresh fish, store leftovers in the refrigerator and discard after a day or two.
With any assist or syringe feeding, go slowly and don't feed too quickly to prevent choking. If you’ve never done this before there are some good online videos that you can watch first such as these:
Assist feeding an insect by hobbyist Garrett Rose (I do recommend pinching the insects head off first so it is dead before assist feeding if your gecko is sick or lethargic so they are not injured by the insect):
Syringe feeding by exotic pet veterinarian Dr. Kristin Britton:
-Limit and be gentle with handling. If they are ill or injured, limit handling and limit time out of the enclosure. If you must lift or remove them from their tank, go slowly and support their weight from underneath with your palm.
-Calcium and vitamin supplementation. It is important to still offer calcium and vitamin supplements if they are eating. More information about supplements is in the care sheet I shared with you. An excellent brand of multivitamins I highly recommend is ZooMed Reptivite with D3. There are a number of good reptile calcium brands on the market, if you need a recommendation on those, please let me know.
If they are not eating or pooping because they are experiencing a severe calcium deficiency related to Metabolic Bone Disease or dietary insufficiency or if they are not eating for another reason, you can buy a liquid calcium supplement at the pet store and give them a drop into their mouth once a day and this should help, but isn't a replacement for proper nutrition and a veterinary evaluation and treatment.
Fluker's Liquid Calcium Reptile Supplement
If they are experiencing signs of hypovitaminosis (A or D) or if they are not eating for another reason, then you can buy a liquid multivitamin supplement at the pet store and give them 2 drops for every 50 grams of body weight, twice a week. If they are not eating, then you can give this supplement every other day for a week before decreasing to twice weekly, while they are not eating. The supplement can be placed onto a food item before feeding or dropped directly into their mouth if they are not eating. Once they are back to eating or no longer have signs of a vitamin deficiency, this liquid supplement should be stopped in favor of multivitamin powder dusting of food and gut loading of insects, as described in the care sheet I shared with you.
Fluker’s Liquid Vitamin (Reptile Supplement)
It is also a good idea to re-evaluate your current husbandry practices as some common disorders, such as metabolic bone disease, are caused by deficiencies or imbalances in diet, UVB lighting, calcium/vitamin supplementation or improper environmental temperature or humidity. Therefore, I have already attached a general leopard gecko care sheet for you to review. Thanks.
I should be notified if/when you respond with additional information so we can connect about your leopard gecko Randell but, in the meantime, I hope this information is helpful and I wish you both the best. Thanks again for posting your question to JustAnswer.com. Sincerely, ***** *****