Leopard Gecko Skin infections can be linked to lethargy and of course strange spots on their skin. If you notice either of those symptoms you should definitely look into it further.
Leopard geckos are, luckily, rarely susceptible to fungus but that does not mean they do not come with other epidermis issues.
Most of these dilemmas will come with their routine shedding since that is a huge part of their life. Any problems concerning this can lead to many complications, such as skin infections.
You must know the signs or symptoms in order to care for your leopard gecko properly if they were to come down with a skin infection.
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Leopard Gecko Skin Infections or Defects
As a leopard gecko owner, you hopefully already know the basics like making sure their humid hide is humid enough and that their diet is well-balanced. Proper husbandry is a very important part of keeping your leopard gecko healthy, so we hope you already have the basics down.
When it comes to considering what issues can come with improper husbandry or treatment, you could face the consequences of expensive treatments and an unhappy, suffering leopard gecko.
This is why it is important to educate yourself about your pet before even bringing them into your home.
We hope that this article can help you figure out what you can do to prevent skin infections in your leopard gecko as well as what signs to look for if you find a suspicious spot on their skin, abnormal shed buildup, or maybe even something weird happening to their tongue.
Here are some common and important skin infections that you might come across in leopard geckos:
Let’s get right into the biggest issue you might run into which is shedding problems. Dysecdysis is basically when your leopard gecko has issues getting all its old skin off, causing buildup that can damage your pet’s limbs, eyes, nose, and anywhere else it is left.
In most cases, this will happen to a leopard gecko that is in an environment that is too dry. As the owner, you need to make sure that they have a cool, hot, and a moist hide that they can use to shed in.
If not due to humidity, sometimes Dysecdysis can be caused by poor nutrition as well. Make sure you are giving your leopard gecko a wholesome, well-rounded diet with their needed supplements.
Eyelid Dysecdysis is a common condition in leopard geckos that might be having trouble shedding. This is when gunk and dead skin buildup is basically glued to their eyelids, making them unable to see.
Failing to provide the right amount of humidity levels, which is between 70 and 80 percent, can lead to difficulties in shedding.
When leopard geckos are healthy and happy, you will see them shed at a regular rate for their age without any retained shed. They will eat their shed to obtain the nutrients needed to grow their new skin.
If your leopard gecko is having difficulty shedding, you may need to give them a little hand. You can do this by soaking or spraying them with warm water.
Carefully spritz them where the problem is occurring to soften the skin before gently peeling it off if you really need to give them a hand. If you think you will need to give them full-on soaks, use lukewarm water and allow them to soak a couple of times before you try to help them shed with a clean Q-tip.
If you’re not sure what to do, you may need the help of a reptile veterinarian.
If your leopard gecko has not shed at all in a while, the built-up retained skin may be constricting them. This issue can cause them to lose a whole limb due to infection if it is left untreated.
As soon as you see signs of retained shed or your leopard just is not shedding as it usually does, take them to a reptile vet as soon as possible. The constricted skin will need to be carefully removed by a professional.
They will also need to be prescribed antibiotics. Rest assured that your vet will be able to give your leopard gecko the treatment they need going forward.
If left untreated it will lead to infection, which can lead to lethargy, stress, limb loss, serious issues, and even death. So do your best to try to get your humidity and diet right for your beloved leopard gecko.
2. Bacterial Dermatitis
Bacterial dermatitis is a more extensive infection of the skin due to bacterial organisms. This usually happens after a traumatic abrasion happens to the skin, allowing bacteria to enter.
You may hear this disease referred to as rotting of the skin, septicemic cutaneous ulcerative disease, or blistering disease.
Your gecko’s condition must be diagnosed correctly since it is a bacterial infection and needs to be treated as one. This may be difficult since symptoms include lesions that look similar to burns or fungal conditions.
Taking your leopard gecko to your veterinarian will give you the best, most accurate diagnosis.
Bacterial dermatitis is usually due to poor husbandry and improper care. Their environmental conditions aren’t fit for their needs. This could be due to excessive humidity, an unclean tank, inadequate substrate, temperatures, or a combination of the listed problems.
If a leopard gecko has this condition, you will see symptoms like small red lesions or blister-like ulcers on their skin. In later stages, these small blusters could rupture into open wounds.
In extreme cases, these multiple lesions can sometimes come together and create larger wounds. They can also be deep enough to show your pet’s muscle or sometimes their bone.
The longer you wait to treat your leopard gecko, the worse and more difficult the condition will take to treat.
When you do treat the issue, you must find the root of the cause. In this case, most of the time it’s poor husbandry. That means the owner will want to get things together and come up with a proper cleaning schedule for their pet’s tank.
You should also make sure there is nothing sharp that could have punctured or hurt them in their enclosure.
When your vet treats your leopard gecko, don’t be afraid to ask for pointers and help. They will most likely ask about your husbandry when they examine your leopard gecko.
3. Tail Necrosis
Although this is not a skin infection, per se, it is a condition that can be caused by difficulty shedding and should still be watched out for.
Also known as “tail rot”, this is more commonly linked to bearded dragons, although it is not completely impossible for your leopard gecko to go through this as well. It can affect anything with a tail!
Tail necrosis is essentially bacterial dermatitis in your leopard gecko’s tail. It happens, in most cases, when the skin around their tail cannot shed properly, causing an infection, leading to the skin darkening.
Here is a well-explained, in-depth video by YouTuber, Leopard Gecko, that will explain more in case you’re interested:
4. Ulcerative Stomatitis
Again, this is not specifically a skin condition or infection but could be something you may run into or have questions about.
Also known as mouth rot, this is an infection of the gums and mouth that can be caused by small incisions or food stuck between your leopard gecko’s tongue.
If these issues are left untreated, an infection can occur in their mouth which can be fatal. You should always be looking at your leopard gecko’s mouth, checking their teeth, gums, and tongue for any reddening or debris.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Stomatitis include reduced thirst, loss of appetite, thickening saliva, yellow plaque, pus, and swelling in the mouth or of the head.
Take your leopard gecko to your reptile vet as soon as you can and get treatment for your pet. Do not leave this condition untreated, as it can be very dangerous, even deadly.
5. Spotting Symptoms
As you should be taking the time to care for your leopard gecko, you should keep an eye on their skin, mouth, eyes, and tail for any of these conditions.
Look for symptoms and pay attention to your pet. Even though they aren’t showing physical signs, keep a note of any lethargy or strange acts.
Spotting symptoms means spending time with your pet and taking them in for regular annual checkups in order to make sure you are not missing anything.
Checking yourself and making sure you are well-educated on their issues as well as how to provide them with optimal husbandry is the best way to raise a happy, healthy leopard gecko.
When it comes to mild shedding issues, you may be able to help your leopard gecko out with a gentle splash of warm water and a Q-Tip, but more serious shedding issues will definitely need an expert’s help.
With any infection, your reptile vet will most likely prescribe an antibiotic. They may or may not send you home with topics, ointments, or other medication. Be sure to learn how to administer them properly.
The best thing to do if you’re not sure about how to treat an issue is to go to your vet so you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment for your pet lizard.
Check out a good example of administering oral medication to your leopard gecko here:
As we mentioned many times and can never stress enough; proper husbandry and a healthy diet is the best way to prevent problems and to keep your leopard gecko happy and healthy.
Keep check of your leopard gecko’s tank temperature and well as their three needed hides. Make sure the cool side is cool enough, the hot hide is hot enough, and that the moist hide is moist enough!
If humidity is an issue, line their hide with damp moss to their humidity hide. Make sure you also provide them with a shallow bowl for drinking water, which can double as an extra humidity boost.
Keep digital thermometers and hygrometers as they will give you the best readings more instantly.
Avoid loose substrate or bedding, since it is bad for them in general and can make cleaning their tank a hassle.
Do not furnish your leopard gecko’s tank with sharp or abrasive rocks that could cause trauma or incisions in your pet’s skin. Sometimes they like to rub their bodies on things in their tank when they shed and sharp objects could hurt them.
Of course, always keep your leopard gecko’s tank clean. You should be cleaning out their waste, dead insects, any shed skin, and other debris on a daily basis to ensure and maintain a healthy habitat for your pet. If possible, get into the habit of cleaning their feces right after they release it.
You should also clean and disinfect their food and water bowls daily as well. Try to clean their hides and furnishings, keeping an eye on them whenever you go to feed your leopard gecko.
Proper hygiene is very important and failing to keep their tank clean can lead to the skin infections and defects we listed above.
In conclusion, prevention methods are super important. A clean tank, a well-rounded diet, and proper husbandry overall will allow your leopard gecko to live a fulfilling life with you.
Keeping check of their mental health as well as physical health is just as crucial since stress will show up in physical ways later.
Keeping your leopard gecko healthy and stress-free is the best way to prevent them from being at-risk of any of these skin defects listed as well as many others that could come along!
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