Care, Health and Growth, Crested Geckos, Geckos

8 Signs and Symptoms of a Sick Crested Gecko and How To Nurse it Back to Health 2022

Updated On

by The Pet Engineers

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A crested gecko is one of the easiest and the most beginner-friendly pets to have, especially for those who are handling reptiles as pets for the very first time. They are very hardy and can live for more than a decade in a healthy and happy way.

With proper care at all times – including accurate enclosure settings such as humidity and temperature, as well as a properly balanced diet, adequate hygiene, and regular monitoring.

Your pet crested gecko will have much fewer health problems as compared to most other domesticated or pet animals.

However, as a pet owner, it is very important for you to know and recognize the early signs and symptoms of sickness in your crested gecko so as to be able to provide timely treatment.

How To Tell Your Crested Gecko Is Sick?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of sickness in crested geckos are listed below.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Swelling or redness in the eyes
  • Retained shed
  • Kinks in the spine or tail
  • Floppy tail
  • Prolapse of the hemipenis
  • Sudden, unhealthy loss of weight
  • Obesity
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced mobility
  • Tremors
  • Dehydration

Common Crested Gecko Diseases And Conditions

Some of the most common diseases and health conditions that a crested gecko may be affected by are listed below.

Metabolic Bone Disorder (MBD)

This is a health condition that happens due to calcium or Vitamin D3 deficiency in crested geckos. It leads to the reduction and weakening of bone density and bone deformities.

The major cause behind the onset of the metabolic bone disorder is the imbalance of the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio in a crested gecko’s diet – the ideal ratio of Ca:P should be at least 2:1 or more.

Floppy Tail Syndrome

Floppy tail syndrome is more of a cosmetic condition than a severe health condition or problem. The word syndrome can sometimes be misleading.

However, this is one of the most common conditions experienced by almost all pet crested geckos.

A Floppy tail is basically when your crested gecko is hanging from a vertical surface, its tail flops over perpendicular to the body.

Having a floppy tail may very rarely be one of the symptoms of early-onset MBD; however, you should not use a floppy tail as a definitive indication of metabolic bone disorder.

Retained Shed

Crested geckos, like most reptiles, shed their skin regularly. It is a very natural process and a consistent regularity in shedding is indicative of a healthy crested gecko.

Sometimes, however, the shedding may not happen properly or completely. There might be some of the retained shed skin on the body of your crested gecko.

This happens when the level of humidity of the enclosure drops below the ambient range of 60% to 80%.

When the humidity is too low, it becomes difficult for the crested gecko to smoothly shed its skin. This can lead to retained shed in between the toes, near the tail, and around the eyes.

These pieces of retained skin constrict the flow of blood to the organs. That’s why your crested gecko needs to shed its skin completely.

Unhealthy Weight Loss

Being underweight is another sign of bad health in your crested gecko.

This may happen due to multiple reasons: loss of appetite due to some underlying medical condition, the behavioral tendency of a fussy eater, or lack of a proper balance of nutrients in the diet that is being fed to the pet crested gecko.

Usually, a fully grown crested gecko can go for up to 2 weeks without eating. But such gaps in eating do not cause a drastic loss of weight.

So, it is pertinent for pet owners to regularly weigh their crested geckos to have a record of the weight changes of their pet.

Moreover, if your pet crested gecko is not eating for over 10 days, you should consult a vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Impaction

Impaction is a serious health condition in which your crested gecko may ingest something it shouldn’t have – such as loose substrate, bigger insects, etc.

These items may get stuck in the intestines and be difficult for your crested gecko to defecate out of its body.

Having a regular record of weight can help diagnose early signs of impaction – one of the earliest symptoms of impaction is a sudden gain in weight.

Additional symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, and irregular bowel moments.

feeding your crestie
Some foods cause impaction

Crested Gecko First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit put together specifically to cater to the urgent needs of your crested gecko is a great idea to provide them with the required care in case of an accident.

A few of the basic items that can help you put together your own first aid kit for your pet crested gecko have been listed below.

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Reptile Safe Disinfectant
  • Sterile Saline Solution
  • Cotton Buds (Q-Tips)
  • Blunt Tweezers
  • Antibiotic Ointment Safe For Reptiles (Neosporin)
  • Reptile Safe Hand Warmers
  • Paper Towels

How Do You Nurse A Crested Gecko Back To Health?

The proper course of treatment for your crested gecko will obviously depend on the illness and the specific diagnosis of your crested gecko’s health.

However, there are a few general steps that help to ensure a speedy recovery for your pet.

Timely Medicines

If your vet has prescribed any medicines or ointments for your pet crested gecko, then you must ensure that the prescription is being followed accurately according to the schedules mapped out by the vet.

Proper Nutrition

During most kinds of illnesses, your crested gecko may experience a drastic loss of appetite.

That is exactly why it becomes all the more important for you to ensure that the diet is properly balanced with all the required nutrients.

This will make sure that from whatever quantity of food your pet can eat, it will get the maximum possible nutrition.

Monitor, But Don’t Handle Unless Necessary

Crested geckos love being solitary – in fact, they get stressed out when they are handled too often. So, a good thing to ensure, especially during sickness, is to give your pet crested gecko all the alone time it needs. Let it rest and enjoy its own company.

Monitor the health of your pet crested gecko every day until it recovers completely – but only physically handle it if and when necessary.

A crested gecko is not like a cat or a dog – those kinds of pets find great relief in being cuddled by their humans in times of distress.

A crested gecko, on the contrary, gets all the more distressed when it is handled again and again during times such as illnesses.

How To Ensure Your Crested Gecko Stays Healthy

Whether it’s about the health of your pet crested gecko, or the health of you and everyone in general – prevention is always much better than cure.

Add to that the fact that crested geckos are actually very hardy – so much so that they are considered great starting pets for beginner pet owners who don’t have any experience in dealing with crested or any other kinds of geckos – or even reptiles in general!

This means that if you take good care of your crested gecko and ensure that all the fundamental parameters of your pet’s health, hygiene, and comfort are being taken care of, then your pet can actually live easily up to 20 years!

The fundamental parameters that you need to be proactive about have been listed below.

Enclosure Settings

The enclosure or tank of your crested gecko must have accurate levels of humidity and temperature.

The tank should have a heat gradient with some spots within at lower temperatures to allow the crested gecko to cool off.

Enclosure settings are important
Enclosure settings are important

Also, take care of the lighting of the enclosure as well as the room in which the enclosure is being placed.

Carry out regular misting to prevent dehydration in your crested gecko.

Be very mindful of the kind of substrate you choose for the tank as very loose substrate can cause impaction due to accidental ingestion.

Properly Balanced Diet

This is again very important to ensure that your crested gecko does not develop any health conditions such as metabolic bone disorder or impaction due to the deficiency of any vitamin or mineral in the body.

Minimize External Stressors

Crested geckos are peace-loving creatures to an extent where even louder noises in the room where the enclosure is kept can cause immense stress in the crested gecko.

Other factors such as cohabitation, handling, interacting with humans, etc. can also contribute to the stress of a crested gecko.

You need to minimize the stressors in the surroundings of your crested gecko to ensure that no health conditions develop due to stress.

Weigh Your Crested Gecko Regularly

Have a record of the weight of your crested gecko updated regularly.

This will help you observe any early signs of medical conditions such as unhealthy loss of weight, obesity, or gain of weight preceding impaction.

Have A Lot Of Suitable Foliage

Crested geckos love to move around climbing up and down the trees in the rainforests. In the enclosure too, you must try and ensure an imitation of the natural world that is there outside.

Foliage inside the tank will keep your crested gecko healthy and active – moreover, it will make your enclosure look really great!

Conclusion

As the owner of a pet crested gecko, it is natural for you to be both concerned and curious about the signs and symptoms of sickness in a crested gecko.

It is a mark of diligent caretaking to be aware of all the symptoms – it will help you recognize any early signs or symptoms of illnesses and allow you to quickly get your pet crested gecko on the path to recovery by accessing proper treatment.

Prevention, however, is always better than cure.

So, by simply ensuring that the basics or fundamentals of having a pet are being fulfilled, you can provide a comfortable and healthy life to your crested gecko.

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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