View Full Version : Help me help Gekko

03-01-2011, 09:31 AM
I was asked to rescue an adult Gekko / Golden Gecko and its tank mate a Tokay.
The 1st thing I done after geting them home was to get them in separate cages... CLEAN cages.
The Tokay seems to be fine, little skinny but ok.
The golden (Gekko) is in bad shape.

Crickets were allowed to roam the cage, chewed the tip of the tail to a nasty raw stub and the toes are horrible. There is dead skin, old shed, cricket poo, coco fiber and raw flesh on each toe. I gently used Q-tips and rubbed some triple antibiotic ointment into each foot and the tail. The poor thing struggled a little but seemed to know help was being administered.

So far, this is all I have been able to do. I did get it to take a few licks of some Repashy MRP.
I have "it" in a 12x12x12 zoomed, paper towels moistened on the bottom, some fake plants and a twisty vine and UTH and a red heat bulb.
The feet have me really worried. There is no ability to stick, very tough for it to even walk-climbing is out of the question.
So... mineral oil everyday on the feet, peroxide, triple antibiotic cream in addition to time and some love....
Anything else I can do?
Will it ever be able to climb glass walls again?
(I can get some pictures and post in a few).

03-01-2011, 12:04 PM
You've done a great thing! My only comment is that I would advise not applying the peroxide to the wound - peroxide has a drying nature on skin - when my african fat tail gecko had a small wound on the tip of the tail, I asked my mom, who is the Chief Medical Director at a Wound Care Center (for people, of course!), if peroxide would aid in healing. She said that since reptile skin is so different from human skin, she said that drying the wound wouldn't help. It needs to be kept moist, she said. So, I used a tripleantibiotic first and then a Reptile Wound Healing Aid (it has tea tree oil, jojoba oil, etc.), and it cleared right up after a few weeks.

I would advise using a reptile friendly disinfectant on the toes (I don't know what this is, hopefully someone else can speak to this and advise) once or twice, as needed, but then after that, only apply the antibiotic ointment. (When I needed to disinfect Marv's tail initially, as a safety measure, I used a cotton swab and filtered water).

Riverside Reptiles
03-01-2011, 01:15 PM
I would not use triple antibiotic cream on your animal's feet as it may lick at it and it is not intended for oral consumption (read the warnings on the package). Make sure that you're not keeping the paper towels too wet as these will breed bacteria. I would minimize treatments. The stress that you are creating when treating may outweigh the good that they do. I would make sure that your temps and other husbandry requirements are being met 100% and mostly leave the animal alone. Perhaps treat once a week with warm water on the feet. Most importantly is to get the animal eating and drinking. Lite misting once a day and a couple of crickets. If you can get it gaining some weight, it will shed the skin on its feet naturally. Also make sure it has plenty of places to hide to reduce stress. Paper towel and toilet paper tubes make for great temporary hides.

03-04-2011, 02:07 AM
Well its been 3 days since I brought these two geckos home.

"Goldie" (as it has became) had some fecal matter showing today. I got the tweezers and was going to get it from under the rear end / tail area and discovered it was not completely expelled.
Sorta what I expected, impaction.

After further inspection of the droppings I confirmed there were lots of strands of coco fiber and other substraight particles.
I have been getting it to lick MRP a couple times a day and a few licks of water from misting. Her tongue is getting more pink and her eyes dont seem to be as sunk.
Day 3 seems to have brought on some energy as Goldie is moving around, trying to climb and hide. More than 'she' was doing the 1st 2 days.
The toes look better. I am going to try for a warm soak tomorrow.
I really didnt think Goldie was going to make it through the 1st night. Her belly skin is just horrible to look at but she is alert and checks me out when I poke my face around her cage.

The Tokay wierded me out last night. It looked dead, laying on its side with one leg in the air. I was convinced it was over.
I pulled the cage and noticed a twitch and thought I would see if I could get a response from food or water.
A dusted cricket invoked a snap and down the hatch it went followed by a light misting which triggered a couple laps of the tongue.
I noticed the Tokay let out some fecal lump today that any lizard would be proud of ...but to my disgust it was full of the same coco fiber and substraight matter.
I couldnt get a cricket into the Tokay today but I am guessing tomorrow might be a better day.

I know about the risks of impaction but I am not experienced with how to treat.
Maybe its just a matter of waiting to see if it can all be passed?
Should I refrain from feeding solid foods like crickets and keep trying to get the MRP in em for a few days?
I am going to assume both of these guys have been eating crickets with no calcium dusting. How long, I dont know.

03-04-2011, 02:33 AM
Ok... some pictures...

As of 3-4-2011:
the toes look 500% better in this picture...

from the crickets...

I sure hope both of these geckos can get this out of thier bodies...

Elizabeth Freer
03-04-2011, 03:04 AM
Hello ~

Keep your warm water soaks no warmer than 95 F. A drop or two of mineral oil per day should help with any remaining impaction.

When one of my geckos suffered a prolapse as a response to the ingestion of a wee bit of sand the vet recommended ~10 minute soaks 1-2x per day, catlax on the lips 1x daily (available over-the-counter for cat furballs), and chicken baby food until the impaction was passed. Seems to me soft foods would be a good idea till you are certain any substrate problems have passed. Good to see that they are both on paper towels right now!

Is there stuck skin on Goldie's belly too?

Phosphorous-free calcium with D3 is what you need to dust the prey about 3x per week. I like the Rep-Cal brand. Rep-Cal also makes a vitamin supplement called Herptivite with Beta Carotene.

03-04-2011, 10:33 AM
no stuck skin on the body at all. Its more the sagging skin from the neglect of ignorance.
There is a small piece of shed on one eye that it keeps licking at. I will try to get that moistened up with the soak today.
The toes were really bad. Debris was encrusted, fibers draging and almost all were raw / open wound looking.The tail was worse.
It is really quite sad.
I had to refrain from comments when I picked them up. Just wanted to get em and get right back out.
I wasnt sure how bad the condition was (all info was email exchange). When I seen these guys in a nasty 20 gallon with pinhead crickets and "coco earth" bottom I had a good idea they would have intestinal debris issues. I knew something had to be attempted but had to accept it may not be possible to save em both.
We arent out of the woods yet but I am feeling more hopeful each day.

Elizabeth Freer
03-04-2011, 04:07 PM
Any chance the toes may have gotten too warm? How were they heated?

Keep up your good work!

03-04-2011, 08:59 PM
i guess its possible.
When 1st contacted the person they told me "Its supposed to have sticky feet, but it doesnt."
When I 1st seen the set-up, there was just a dome lamp with a basking lamp setting on top of the screen cover. One small piece of real tree and eco earth bottom.
Then there were about 3 dozen tiny fresh born crickets and a dozen or so adults.
I think it was healthy untill that person got it. They really didnt know a gecko from a bearded dragon, as thats what they kept refering to it as.

Elizabeth Freer
03-04-2011, 10:58 PM
i guess its possible.
When 1st contacted the person they told me "Its supposed to have sticky feet, but it doesnt."
When I 1st seen the set-up, there was just a dome lamp with a basking lamp setting on top of the screen cover. One small piece of real tree and eco earth bottom.
Then there were about 3 dozen tiny fresh born crickets and a dozen or so adults.
I think it was healthy untill that person got it. They really didnt know a gecko from a bearded dragon, as thats what they kept refering to it as.

Glove ~

That is a pretty incredible story...thinking that Goldie was a beardie :yikes:.

03-05-2011, 05:00 AM
Omg what a sad story. All of that would have been totally prevented with a bit of research. So sad. It looks more to me with goldie that she is was having an issue shedding. Totally because of her last owners disgusting lack of research and proper species husbandry. When sheds are retained, they eventually build up restrict the blood flow to the new skin and eventually cut it off completly making the body part become necrotic and die. They definatly look to have ingested alot of the cocofober and I suggest the soaks as well. Leave Any oil treatments on the skin to minimal, every other day, the soaks every other day as well to minimize stress. Keep your humidity up up up but change the paper towel if it should become soiled. Too much oil on the skin could create
Issues. Oil products soften the scales, which is a good thing for the retained sheds, but too much can soften to the point of possible
Injury or infection. Betadyne is a great topical cleaner. When you do a soak I suggest having some of this on hand and putting some in the water doing a diluted betadyne, warm soak will clean any bacteria, this
Will help you kill to birds with one stone. Hydration, and cleaning away possible infection. Soft foods would be good, but I still think crickets would be good to help get some good weight on these guys. If they are passing the cocofiber now, given the soaks and proper husbandry I'm sure they will pass the rest. I hope this helps.

03-08-2011, 11:27 AM
If you have plenty of the CGD on hand, thats a good start to feeding the G. ulikovskii. Mine will eat that on a regular basis.

I think the previous owner made some pretty serious husbandry errors, heat on the wire cage top says two things to me; first the humidity was likely way to low (wire cage lids dont hold humidity), second lamp heat is not the best option for nocturnal arboreal geckos at all (its not even kind of okay).

Long strand coco fiber as a bedding/substrate is not optimal either, but in this case I'm going to assume it was allowed to dry out so much so that when hunting for insects (that were too small for the gecko in the fist place), it was picked up in the feeding process.

I use a fine grind coco fiber top layer in my G. ulikovskii enclosures, the particle size is very small and causes no impaction issues if ingested, though the substrate is mostly covered by plants so this is not a real issue anyway.

Your G. ulikovskii is not in the best shape, but it is not looking like it is on deaths door either.

Maintain proper temperatures and humidity, provide some way for it to hide, and feed it as much as it will consume until the tail wound and toes heal.

I'm with Ethan, less stress now is going to be key in the whole healing process. Stress is known to depress the reptile immune system, and while your constant attention is well intended, it is a stressor to the gecko.

With proper hydration the ingested coco fiber should pass without additional treatment. Using CGD as a primary food while it is trying to recover some will help here if it is unable to consume/hunt down crickets on its own. Do try to tong feed a few though, crickets are mostly water and the very minor quantity of exoskeleton they contain is not going to cause impaction in a gecko of that size (it could pass a fully undigested cricket).

Maurice Pudlo

03-08-2011, 11:44 AM
Temps and humidity are being kept pretty constant, it does dry out through the day and I mist morning and night- lightly, so the paper towel has enough to hold over for 10-12 hours.
Concerning food, I can get it to lick the CGD/MRP but not very much. Trying for a couple times a day.
I have refrained from soaking and have not added any more ointment... basically as was advised- leave it alone.
The toes are still crispy looking and still has saging skin from not eating but seems to have more energy each day.
We have went from very little no no movement with head down and sunken eyes to trying to jump on the walls, head up and looking around at movement with a sign of hope in the not so sunken eyes. I am seeing better coloration with each day too.

It wants soo much to jump onto the glass and stick, so do I.

03-08-2011, 12:10 PM
Once it is well hydrated and has an excess of clories in its diet it will fill out and shed. At the moment your efforts are obviously giving it more energy, which is a good thing.

CGD, even in small portions is enough to begin the process of getting these calories into the gecko.

Long tongs or very oversized tweezers are a helpful addition to anyone who finds themselves rehabbing reptiles, they aid in feeding without the additional stress of capture and release. A long spoon might just do the trick in a pinch with the CGD.

Maurice Pudlo