Cats become withdrawn when sick, and dogs become lethargic. But what do geckos do when they have a health condition? You may be seeing a couple of symptoms that have you questioning, “Is my gecko sick?”
It’s always wise to look for the cause of these symptoms because realizing a health issue early on can help you save your gecko from severe illness.
This article provides a list of tell-tale signs that your gecko needs medical attention. It also outlines the most common health problems that geckos face and how you can treat them.
No matter how much you care for your gecko, it can still get sick for various reasons. Sometimes, you sense something is wrong with your pet, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Here are some common signs that your pet needs some medical attention:
A gecko’s eyes are usually bright and lively, so it’s easy to notice when they’re ill or sunken.
A gecko’s sunken eyes can be a sign of dehydration. This condition happens when your gecko doesn’t get enough access to fresh water or live in dry conditions. You can overcome dehydration by following these tips:
- Mist your gecko with warm water daily to allow its skin to absorb enough moisture.
- Increase the humidity of their surroundings if they live indoors in cold and dry weather. You may use a humidifier if you live in a dry area.
- Feed your gecko a liquid formula if they don’t eat enough food due to appetite problems.
In addition, this abnormal eye shape can be an early sign of illness or an eye problem. Therefore, once you notice your gecko’s sunken eyes, visit a vet to diagnose and solve the problem.
Geckos are normally very active. They’re driven by their curiosity, so they’re always moving around to explore their surroundings. Therefore, you should be alarmed if you find your gecko sluggish.
There are several other symptoms associated with lethargy, including:
- Lying close to the water bowl
- Moving slower than usual
- Standing still for hours
- Remaining in their hides
Fortunately, that’s not a sign of a fatal illness. Rather, this lethargy can be due to a mass inside the gecko’s stomach, among several other things. That mass can be surgically removed to eliminate the problem.
Once you spot a sign of general weakness or laziness, you should hurry to a vet. If the problem is diagnosed early on, there can be a fast and safe remedy.
Your gecko’s droppings can be a tell-tale sign that something is wrong. Normally, your gecko has three types of droppings:
- Dark waste
- Yellow or transparent urine
- White or yellow uric acid
You may notice several abnormalities in your pet’s droppings, including:
|The waste is generally more watery than normal or has little traces of insects in the stool.||Poor digestion due to low tank temperature. Parasites Impaction|
|The waste color is grey or chalk-like.||Ingesting inedible substances such as a bright substrate or shed skin.|
|The droppings are a little watery with traces of little red or pink spots.||A sign of parasitic or bacterial infection. These red or pink spots can be worms that aren’t visible to the naked eye.|
|Yellow, white, or brown soap-like dropping||A sudden change of diet Weak immunity Parasitic infection|
|Mint-green soft or hard waste. It can also be a mix of brown and green.||Diet change Ingesting substrate Diarrhea Internal parasites|
|A foreign object in the stool.||This is a clear indication that your gecko has eaten an indigestible object.|
|No droppings at all||This is a sign of serious illness. It means that the gecko has lost the energy to eat.|
Geckos have a fast metabolism, which is why they’re frequent eaters. Typically, they store food and water in their tails.
This behavior accounts for their plump tails. So, when you notice that your gecko’s tail is getting slimmer, take it to the vet. It might have a condition called stick tail.
This condition can be very dangerous. It means that the gecko’s fat deposit isn’t enough for its well-being. Fortunately, this problem is fixable if it’s a result of poor nutrition or parasites.
Geckos are typically hearty eaters, so if your gecko shows signs of appetite loss, seek help immediately. Appetite loss can be a result of internal or external factors.
The internal factors include parasites and illnesses. Meanwhile, several external factors may cause appetite loss by increasing your gecko’s stress level.
For instance, fluctuating temperature, improper diet, or bullying can cause stress, leading to the gecko’s appetite loss.
Note that poor appetite can sometimes be normal. If your gecko shows a fat tail, it won’t eat more as it has enough stored in that tail.
Here are some of the most common health problems that your gecko may face:
Impaction is a serious illness that can cause the sudden death of a gecko. It occurs when the gecko eats an inedible object, such as a pebble, substrate, or moss.
The symptoms of this illness include appetite loss, dropping abnormality, and lethargy. Unfortunately, sometimes geckos don’t show any symptoms, which leads to their sudden death.
Cryptosporidiosis is the name of the most common parasitic infection in geckos. It’s a protozoal parasite that affects the gecko’s gastrointestinal system.
A stick tail is among the tell-tale symptoms of this infection. In addition, Crypto may cause lethargy, rapid weight loss, and diarrhea.
Your gecko may develop a respiratory problem due to a change in temperature or infection. We recommend that you visit a vet immediately if you notice any signs of breathing difficulties.
The symptoms may include appetite loss, lethargy, and breathing difficulty. Perhaps, the first obvious sign is a gasping mouth, through which a gecko breathes.
Normally, healthy geckos shed skin regularly. What’s abnormal is when your gecko fails to shed some skin, which accumulates around the toes or head.
Such stuck skin can be painful and may cause the loss of toes. Therefore, you need to interfere and shed that skin carefully to avoid hurting your pet.
Some gecko species shed their tales when they get scared or stressed. This defense mechanism can pose a problem because shedding the tail means losing the fat deposit.
To avoid tail shedding, don’t expose your gecko to sudden stressors, such as sudden noise or temperature change.
The metabolic bone disorder is a bone disease that occurs due to the gecko’s lack of vitamin D3 and calcium inside their living space.
A gecko with this disorder won’t be able to raise its body off the ground. In addition, it may cause droopy or strange-looking limbs.
Is my gecko sick?
Every pet owner asks this question from time to time. Geckos are usually healthy active pets. However, they may manifest some alarming symptoms, such as poor appetite, rapid weight loss, lethargy, or sunken eyes.
Once you notice any strange symptom, immediately seek professional help. An early diagnosis may save your gecko’s life.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.