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Care, Health and Growth, Crested Geckos, Geckos

10 Common Diseases in Crested Geckos: Causes, Signs, Treatments, and Prevention 2023

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by The Pet Engineers

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Crested geckos are pretty hardy and low in maintenance.

They are perfect for even beginner reptile owners with little or no experience with crested geckos or geckos in general.

However, especially if you’re starting out with a pet crested gecko, it is better to be aware of the possible diseases that can affect your pet.

This will help you identify the signs of an illness early on and give your pet the treatment it needs in a timely manner.

Key Takeaway:
Scale rot, sunken eyes, respiratory infection, fungal infection, parasites, impaction, cryptosporidiosis, metabolic bone disease and floppy tail syndrome are common diseases of crested geckos.

What Diseases Affect Crested Geckos?

11 common diseases that affect crested geckos have been listed below.

Scale Rot

Scale rot is a type of skin-related problem that is common in reptiles. Crested geckos live in a high-humidity environment.

This means that if hygiene isn’t maintained, crested geckos will be at greater risk of developing skin-related problems such as a build-up of molds and scale rot.

What does scale rot look like?

Scale rot looks like blisters on the skin of your crested gecko.

What are the causes of scale rot?

Scale rot can happen due to very high humidity and poor hygiene.

It can also happen if blisters or open wounds are not treated quickly.

How to identify scale rot in reptiles?

You need to look out for three things:

  • Discoloration: unusually dark color, especially near the tail and toes.
  • Swollen or raised scales
  • Blisters on the body

How to treat scale rot?

In case of scale rot due to open wounds or blisters, consulting a vet will help.

However, whatever the cause of scale rot may be, a central part of treating and preventing it from happening again is to deep clean the tank and maintain the hygiene of the enclosure.

A vet may suggest some anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial ointment. In case of severe scale rot, oral medicines may be prescribed.

Never give your crested gecko any drugs without consulting with a vet first.

Sunken Eyes

Sunken eyes are a confusing condition in crested geckos.

They may either naturally happen due to eating or sleeping, or they may indicate health problems like dehydration and metabolic bone disease.

crested gecko sunken eyes
Sunken eyes

How to identify the cause of sunken eyes in crested geckos?

With such confusing causes of sunken eyes, it may get difficult to understand if it has naturally happened or if the crested gecko is really sick.

The best way here is to identify the accompanying signs. Do you also observe any of the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Behavioral problems
  • Visible deformed and bony appearance
  • Lack of bowel movements
  • Loose motions

If you observe such signs along with sunken eyes, your crested gecko is definitely sick.

How to treat sunken eyes in crested geckos?

Sunken eyes may not require any treatment if they’re happening naturally due to eating or sleeping.

However, if it has happened due to any underlying disease, then treating the disease will automatically resolve the problem of sunken eyes.

Respiratory Infection

Respiratory diseases in crested geckos are generally caused by bacteria, parasites, certain viruses, or fungal development in the creatures’ cages owing to insufficient humidity or temperature conditions.

Antibiotic drugs given by a reptile veterinarian are often used to treat the condition.

Can respiratory infections kill crested geckos?

Yes, if left untreated, respiratory infections are progressive and painful.

Eventually, they may even cause the death of the affected crested gecko.

What are some identifying signs of respiratory infection in crested geckos?

Loss of appetite and lethargy are common in most diseases. In order to identify respiratory infections in crested geckos, you should also look out for:

  • Noisy breathing
  • Open mouth panting
  • Bloated or hard abdomen
  • Excess mucus or discharge from the mouth or nose
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Frequent coughing, wheezing, sniffing, and gasping

Fungal Infection

fungus infection crested gecko
Fungal infections

Fungal infections in crested geckos may be avoided by practicing appropriate husbandry.

Untreated fungal infections can be lethal, causing organ failure and septicemia.

What causes fungal infections in crested geckos?

Fungal infection in crested geckos happens mostly due to a lack of proper husbandry.

This could mean inappropriate humidity and temperature levels, lack of hygiene, too much moisture, etc.

How to identify the signs of fungal infections in crested geckos?

You need to look out for the following symptoms:

  • Pus-filled abscesses under the skin
  • Blisters forming on the body
  • Sores or abrasions on the skin

How are fungal infections treated in crested geckos?

Taking your affected crested gecko to the vet will help.

The vet will drain out the ulcers, cut off any severely infected areas, and thus help prevent septicemia.

As for care at home, you need to ensure proper humidity and temperature levels as well as proper maintenance of hygiene in the tank of your crested gecko.

Parasites

parasites in crested gecko
Parasites in crested gecko poop

Parasitic infections in crested geckos are caused due to parasites such as protozoa, roundworms, nematodes (pinworms), etc.

What causes parasitic infection in crested geckos?

Some of the major causes of parasitic infections in crested geckos include:

  • Feeding random insects caught in the wild
  • Using random pieces of wood found outdoors to decorate the tank
  • Poor quality of vegetables and fruits
  • Contact with another infected crested gecko or animal

How are parasitic infections treated?

Never try home remedies for treating parasitic infections in your crested gecko. Always consult a vet.

They will be able to prescribe proper medication.

Impaction

Impaction is when constipation becomes very severe because some piece of food did not get digested and is now stuck in the digestive tract.

What causes impaction?

Impaction in crested geckos can happen due to:

  • Ingesting substrate
  • Eating a piece of solid food that is bigger in size than the width between the eyes of the crested gecko
  • Eating very dry food very quickly

What are the effects of impaction?

Impaction has the following adverse effects on crested geckos:

  • It causes painful abdominal cramps.
  • It leads to loss of appetite and weakness.
  • Undigested food may develop rot inside the digestive tract causing infections and secondary illnesses.

How is impaction treated?

In order to treat impaction, you need to ensure that your crested gecko hydrates itself well.

It isn’t much you can do other than wait for the food to slowly pass through the digestive tract.

You may also start offering a makeshift sauna, soaking your crested gecko in lukewarm water, and vegetables and foods that are considered high in fiber.

Cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis is one of the worst reptile infections.

It impacts the health of a crested gecko so severely that if left untreated, the resulting malnourishment, weight loss, and digestive issues can lead to the death of the affected crested gecko.

What causes cryptosporidiosis?

It is an intestinal tract infection caused due to the parasite Cryptosporidium varanii.

How can cryptosporidiosis be treated?

You need to take your crested gecko to the vet immediately. Anti-parasitic drugs help cure the infection.

You will also need to quarantine your crested gecko and keep it in a simple tank with paper towels as substrate.

Metabolic Bone Disease

metabolic bone disease in crested gecko
Metabolic bone disease

This is another fatal disease that can have adverse impacts on crested geckos.

The metabolic bone disorder happens due to the deficiency of calcium in crested geckos. It is gradual but progressive and can get fatal if left untreated.

What causes Metabolic Bone Disease in crested geckos?

It is caused due to the deficiency of calcium in crested geckos. Crested geckos require a minimum 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus in their diet.

When that doesn’t happen, it leads to a deficiency which can cause the metabolic bone disorder.

Can metabolic bone disease be treated?

Mild cases of metabolic bone disease are completely curable.

However, if it is left untreated for a long time, it can cause irreversible damage in the form of deformed and weakened bones.

Floppy Tail Syndrome

floppy-tail-crested-gecko
Floppy tail syndrome

This is more of a symptom than a disease in itself.

Floppy tail syndrome is the name given to the condition in which the tail of a crested gecko hangs perpendicular to its body instead of being in line with it.

It is often an early symptom of the metabolic bone disorder.

How to treat floppy tail syndrome in crested geckos?

Maintain a regular diet rich in calcium and vitamin D3 and ensure that oxalates and potassium-rich foods are avoided.

Get your crested gecko checked by a vet to rule out any injury.

Problematic Shedding or Stuck Shed

stuck shed in crested gecko
Stuck shed on crested gecko’s feet

Problematic or incomplete shedding happens when the crested gecko is dehydrated.

It can lead to infections and eye problems.

It is very important to quickly remove the remaining shed skin from your crested gecko to prevent necrosis.

What causes problematic shedding?

Problematic shedding can happen when:

  • The humidity and temperature of the tank are not ideal
  • The crested gecko is severely dehydrated
  • The tank is not misted regularly

How to prevent problematic shedding in crested geckos?

In order to prevent problematic shedding in crested geckos, you need to ensure that the tank and the crested gecko are both kept at appropriate levels of moisture and hydration.

How Do I Know If My Crested Gecko Is Ill?

Some of the signs that indicate illness or bad health in crested geckos include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Refusal to drink water
  • Irregular bowel movements – diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Blisters
  • Black spots
  • Signs of necrosis and rot
  • Lethargy
  • Visible injuries
  • Vomiting, etc.

Can You Get Diseases From Geckos?

Yes, you can get sick from handling geckos if you don’t take proper precautions.

All geckos, including your crested gecko, carry several microbes that can make you sick.

Some of the infections that you can get from your crested gecko include salmonella, botulism, and leptospirosis.

You can, however, avoid all such infections and health risks as long as you maintain proper hygiene.

Simply wash your hands with anti-microbial soaps before and after handling your crested gecko. A precaution as simple as that can prevent painful infections.

What Diseases Do Crested Geckos Carry?

Crested geckos carry the following diseases that can infect humans:

1 – Salmonella

Salmonella is prevalent in all sorts of reptiles and can be transmitted to humans when something contaminated with reptile feces is placed in the mouth.

Infants, for example, can become infected with Salmonella by consuming formula contaminated by contact with reptile/reptile excrement.

Salmonella infection results in diarrhea, headache, fever, and stomach pains, and can lead to septicemia (blood poisoning).

2 – Botulism

Botulism is a potentially fatal sickness produced by a toxin generated by the Clostridium bacteria, which causes paralysis and death.

Clostridium may be found in a variety of environments, including dirt and mud as spores, and animals that dwell near the ground are frequently infected with clostridium.

Clostridium is widely found in reptiles, particularly aquatic reptiles such as turtles.

Adults and older children have a variety of bacteria that overgrow the spores responsible for the infection, but little newborns under the age of one year do not.

3 – Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial illness that can affect both wild and domestic animals, including dogs, cats, and reptiles.

Contact with the urine of animals containing the bacteria spreads the illness.

This contact can happen directly through cuts and scrapes on your body or indirectly through the lining of your mouth, throat, and eyes.

Bacteria can also enter water or soil and live there for weeks or months.

The majority of Leptospirosis patients experience a flu-like sickness with a persistent and severe headache.

How Do You Get Rid Of Parasites In Crested Geckos?

parasites
Get anti-parasitic medicines from a vet

Anti-parasitic medicines are prescribed by the vet depending on the condition of the infected crested gecko.

Some anti-bacterial and anti-viral medicines may also be prescribed from time to time.

But you should never give over-the-counter drugs to your crested gecko in case of parasitic infections. Follow the prescription accurately.

Summary

Crested geckos are pretty hardy and low in maintenance. But it helps to be aware of the common diseases that a crested gecko may face.

This will help you be prepared in case your crested gecko falls sick.

After all, the faster you identify the early signs of an illness, the quicker the treatment will start.

About
The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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