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    Default Older leopard gecko not eating


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    Hi all. Been a long time since I've posted here but I'm kinda out of options and worried about my boy Ricky. As far as I can track, Ricky could be about 12 yrs old. I got him and his mate whom has passed 2 yrs ago from a rescue whom the owner claimed they had for 10 yrs. I adopted them only for sanctuary reasons to get them out of the noisy rescue environment. Ricky is very outgoing and has been very healthy, see's an excellent reptile vet 2 times a year and has a fat tail as a result of his rather exuberant diet of dubia roaches which he loves. However, the last time he ate one was January 24. He has not eaten since. I took him to the vet last monday. He did a fecal and determined he had excess protozoa which he was treated with antibiotics for. I was told some parasites are fine and normal but an excess of them is not. I don't think this is the problem but instead a result of an underlying problem. He had a full physical of even internal organs via light and seems to be in very good condition and a healthy weight. But the concern is that organ failure will start to occur if he doesn't start eating again if it hasn't started already. I was sent home with Carnivore care and forced some down his throat 2 days ago and a few drops last night. The vet said, after a few days the antibiotics take effect, we'll hope his appetite comes back. So far it hasn't. I am supposed to go back by next Monday if it hasn't by then for more evaluation. Ricky meanwhile is very active at night and acts completely normal otherwise, sheds and even eats it as he should. I am so worried about him. I was told a few days ago by the rescue who I adopted him from that he was dying and that she thought the two would only live 6 more months due to their age and here it is 2 years later. She seems to think he is at the end of his life span where my vet thinks he has a bit left. Can anyone tell me what their experience has been with older geckos, maybe offer some advice? Should I start preparing myself? I certainly don't want him to suffer.

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    My oldest geckos are 10-13 years old. Based on my experience with my geckos, I think this whole "organ failure" without eating (also referred to sometimes as "fatty liver disease") is over-hyped and there's a bit too much hysteria about it. I do think there is fatty liver disease that must occur sometimes, but in my experience, some of my geckos have stopped eating for months with no serious problems. My primary "culprit" in the past is Oskar, my 11 year old Super snow. There were years where he didn't eat for 6 months, usually November to May. He would drop at least 20 grams each winter. One year I really thought I was going to lose him. He got very skinny and even his head started to look as if it was losing fat. I started taking the guts out of super worms and rubbing them on his lips. He would get a respiratory infection every winter as well and I'd have to give him antibiotics. Fortunately Oskar is eating this year. I just weighed him; he's 89 grams. I have a 5 year old Mack Aptor named Asia who didn't eat this winter for 6-8 weeks. She didn't lose any weight. Now that ovulation is proceeding and she's gravid, I find her pacing back and forth every morning and she scarfs down super worms. I recommend you keep offering and try not to worry. I have had some success with getting reluctant geckos started eating by holding them gently and pushing a feeder at their mouths (I'm hand feeding one of my geckos this way now, who has been refusing to eat and also losing weight. I'm getting 3-4 mealworms into her each time and she hasn't lost any more weight). I find that this is easiest to do with mealworms. I also feel that the liquid slurry should be a last resort and that it's pretty important to encourage them to eat solid food if at all possible.

    Aliza

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    Quote Originally Posted by acpart View Post
    My oldest geckos are 10-13 years old. Based on my experience with my geckos, I think this whole "organ failure" without eating (also referred to sometimes as "fatty liver disease") is over-hyped and there's a bit too much hysteria about it. I do think there is fatty liver disease that must occur sometimes, but in my experience, some of my geckos have stopped eating for months with no serious problems. My primary "culprit" in the past is Oskar, my 11 year old Super snow. There were years where he didn't eat for 6 months, usually November to May. He would drop at least 20 grams each winter. One year I really thought I was going to lose him. He got very skinny and even his head started to look as if it was losing fat. I started taking the guts out of super worms and rubbing them on his lips. He would get a respiratory infection every winter as well and I'd have to give him antibiotics. Fortunately Oskar is eating this year. I just weighed him; he's 89 grams. I have a 5 year old Mack Aptor named Asia who didn't eat this winter for 6-8 weeks. She didn't lose any weight. Now that ovulation is proceeding and she's gravid, I find her pacing back and forth every morning and she scarfs down super worms. I recommend you keep offering and try not to worry. I have had some success with getting reluctant geckos started eating by holding them gently and pushing a feeder at their mouths (I'm hand feeding one of my geckos this way now, who has been refusing to eat and also losing weight. I'm getting 3-4 mealworms into her each time and she hasn't lost any more weight). I find that this is easiest to do with mealworms. I also feel that the liquid slurry should be a last resort and that it's pretty important to encourage them to eat solid food if at all possible.

    Aliza

    Aliza, thank you so much for the info. I do feel much better. I just have visions of Lucy, the female Ricky lived with for 11 yrs. She passed away in September last year after a long time not eating. The vet determined it was something he's seen in females that have never bred. She started having neurological signs that worsened and her liver started failing. I don't see any issues physically with Ricky. I got them for sanctuary purposes so don't handle him really at all, so he doesn't take kindly to me picking him up and attempting to force food down him. Ever since I offered him dubias over a year ago, he's refused anything else. How do I get mealworms down him? I don't know what his weight was last week but I do know 6 months ago he was pushing 95grams. He's a bit on the chunky side and at that time the vet wanted me to scale back on the food, so he does have reserves for sure.

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    Soooo, its been about 2.5 months and Ricky still has not eaten. He still acts completely normal and seems healthy (I've attached a recent pic of him). He doesn't look like he's lost much weight. He is eating his calcium and drinking water. It's been a warm spring in AZ. The house has been between 73-80 the last few weeks. His feces has gone from all urites to urite and green color. I'm sure it's due to no food in his system. Is this normal for geckos who have not eaten and should I be concerned? I had a phone discussion with my vet a few weeks back and we agreed to let him ride through unless he starts losing lots of weight. This has just freaked me out. I'd like to know he's ok.Ricky.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kidd View Post
    Soooo, its been about 2.5 months and Ricky still has not eaten. He still acts completely normal and seems healthy (I've attached a recent pic of him). He doesn't look like he's lost much weight. He is eating his calcium and drinking water. It's been a warm spring in AZ. The house has been between 73-80 the last few weeks. His feces has gone from all urites to urite and green color. I'm sure it's due to no food in his system. Is this normal for geckos who have not eaten and should I be concerned? I had a phone discussion with my vet a few weeks back and we agreed to let him ride through unless he starts losing lots of weight. This has just freaked me out. I'd like to know he's ok.Ricky.jpg
    Have Ricky's urates changed from white to green? Is that what you mean?

    What kind of calcium is he eating? "Free-range" calcium? In order to be absorbed calcium with D3 should be taken with food 1x per week.

    Can you get some hornworms to jump start Ricky's appetite or at least to get a fecal sample?

    Click: Hornworm Guidelines
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 03-28-2017 at 02:44 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    Have Ricky's urates changed from white to green? Is that what you mean?

    What kind of calcium is he eating? "Free-range" calcium? In order to be absorbed calcium with D3 should be taken with food 1x per week.

    Can you get some hornworms to jump start Ricky's appetite or at least to get a fecal sample?

    Click: Hornworm Guidelines
    Thank you for responding Elizabeth. I'll explain his urates. In a gecko that is eating, the feces has white on one end and black/brown on the other depending on his diet. Because Ricky has not eaten in so long, his has been only white because he does take calcium I have readily supplied to him in a dish. Over a year ago at a regular vet checkup my vet told me I should always have straight calcium in a dish, not D3. So I crushed up cuttlebone which is straight calcium and he has been healthy as a horse. I will say, I have switched in the last month to adding Reptical calcium with D3 to his dish. I don't know if there is a correlation but now his feces are white on one end and dark green on the other. Maybe I should take the D3 out? In my earlier posts I explained he had an extensive vet checkup a month or so after concerns of not eating and a fecal test was done and it did show more of a buildup of parasites than the the vet liked. He said some was good and even beneficial but his build up was slightly high so medication was given orally to kill most of the bugs. He said most likely they were not to blame for his not eating but rather a secondary issue happening as a result of not eating. We even added a little excitement to his life and put my female in with him for a bit and they got a long extremely well. She is no longer in with him but I thought this may perk up his appetite. But nothing. I have offered mealworms, crickets, waxworms, moths, and his favorite dubia roaches. My vet gave me some carnivore care but he hates that. So based on what others have said above, I'm trying not get too concerned but it's hard when he's always been such a big eater. As you can see, he still has a good lookin tail so if my experts here think I should just chill and let him be, I will.

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    In general I think it's best when the gecko eats, at least sometimes. I also feel that if the gecko remains alert and is not losing a significant amount of weight, it can go for quite awhile without eating. Currently I have about 3 leopard geckos who aren't eating much. One is my super snow that has been known to refuse to eat for 4-6 months in the winter. He's been pretty good this winter (he's 11) and has just slipped recently, but he weighs 85 grams, so I'm not worried. Another is a female that's been retired from breeding this year because it seems to take too much out of her. She often needs to be hand fed, has been refusing food for the past week or so, but is not visibly losing weight so I just keep offering. The third is my gecko that was missing in my house for 2 years. She was actually a decent weight when she was found and laid (unfertilized eggs) last season. Since then, she's been reluctant to eat. She is losing weight and I am pushing several mealworms a day into her (if I feed her too many she just throws them up). It's been slow, but she is maintaining her weight.

    Aliza

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