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  1. #1
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    Default HELP!! Repeated Self harm


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    Three weeks ago I took my 5 year old gecko to the doctor because both sides of his tail looked damaged and scabed. Doctor treated with antibiotics, Antiseptic wipes, and sulfadiazine cream. It took a week and things got better until he had a shed and went at both sides of the base of his tail and bit away until it was raw again. I contacted the vet that week because he left a bit of skin attached and it dried into a hardened dead piece that I was scared to remove, but unfortunately the doctor never got back to me. I decided to treat at home with betadine solution, regular Neosporin and a bit of the sulfur cream. He still seem to bite a bit at the tail to cause a bit of redness daily but it was looking like it was getting better until he shed AGAIN last night and now the tail is raw and bloody on both sides again (worse than ever)!!! To make matters worse he has stuck shed on his toes and I need to soak him in order to get it off because it doesn’t come off easily with the tweezers.I tried to get it off but he barely let me touch him and cleaning the tail tonight was a horror story, I’m guessing because of the pain/rawness was of the tail.

    I plan on calling the vet in the morning but I also wanted to ask the forms in case anyone has a better idea of what I can do. He doesn’t seem like he’s leaving the tail alone Enough for it to heal. Also what should I do about the stuck shed on his toes while his tail is raw, is it OK to put him in water with open wounds? Should I just continue to clean with the betadine and Neosporin?

    I am so afraid that he’s going to end up dropping his tail from all the abuse he’s giving it and the nightly cleaning we have to do! But honestly I just want him to feel better.
    But honestly I just want him to feel better.
    I have only seen these wounds one other time on him a year ago and I treated it the same way and it got better in a week but there was no repeat self mutilation at the time.

    His setup;
    He lives in a 20 gallon long tank 90 to 91 on the hot side 79 to 80 on the cool side with a humid hide in between. Air temperature is 79 and humidity is 50 to 60%. He has a small calcium dish with no D and water at all times. He is on slate tile for 3/4 of his tank and the 1/3 on the cool side has reptile carpet. He has one Hammock where he normally does all his poop.

    I feed him every 3 to 4 days with either crickets or hornworms. I got low the crickets almost all of the time.I alternate with dusting his food with calcium with D, calcium without d, and also a multivitamin once or twice a month.

    He has never self mutilated in the past and a part of me believes that the Neosporin or the cleaning solution I’m using is causing him to also know at his injuries because maybe it’s stinging?

    I’ve been trying to be super careful with his cleanings to make sure that he doesn’t end up dropping his tail, but it’s been going on for three weeks now and I’m starting to feel that maybe it would be even better if he did..at least he can get a chance to heal?
    Last edited by Odinsmom; 07-31-2020 at 11:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    I recommend only using the silver sulfadiazine creme. That should keep your leo "covered". Neosporin can contain pain relief that's not particularly good for geckos. I've never needed to use a betadine solution.

    Has your vet done a fecal?

    What brand supplements are you using? If you're using Zoo Med supplements, here's what I suggest for a 5 year old leo.

    Weekly Schedule 126 for Leopard Geckos 18 months old +
    (withOUT UVB)
    Early stage metabolic bone disease (MBD) symptoms include uneven (lopsided) gait, walking on one or both "elbows", bowed limbs, belly dragging, and an underbite.
    The Reptile Supply Company based in Lodi, California stocks Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins withOUT D3.
    • Monday > > crickets or dubia lightly dusted with Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3
    • Thursday > > crickets or dubia lightly dusted with Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins withOUT D3
    • Saturday > > Optional: mealworms, superworms, or black soldier fly larvae (Phoenix worms) > > no dusting
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 08-01-2020 at 06:31 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
    I recommend only using the silver sulfadiazine creme. That should keep your leo "covered". Neosporin can contain pain relief that's not particularly good for geckos. I've never needed to use a betadine solution.

    Has your vet done a fecal?

    What brand supplements are you using? If you're using Zoo Med supplements, here's what I suggest for a 5 year old leo.

    She did not do a fecal test.

    I am using Zoo meds and alternate between calcium with d, without and the multivitamin. But I was only doing the multivitamin once or twice a month, not ever week. I will increase it.

    I called the vet but they could not get him in due to the impending hurricane

    I will start using the sulfur again.

    What should I do about the raw tail... do you have any suggestions on keeping him from biting it?
    AND he has stuck shed on his toes..do you think it will it be okay to give him a soak with open wounds?
    (I’m worried he will be in pain with the water and drop the tail).
    Last edited by Odinsmom; 08-01-2020 at 09:16 AM.

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    When I have a gecko with stuck shed on the toes, I use a spray bottle to wet the toes and then use my fingernails to get it off (I put the gecko's head under my shirt tail so the gecko thinks it's hiding and also is less likely to bite me). This way you don't have to get the tail wet. Watch the gecko carefully. When it seems to be going into shed, see if you can "peel" it yourself and not let it rub the shed off. Tear gently around the scabs on the tail and see if you can leave the scabs and get the rest of the shed off. Hopefully the gecko won't keep trying to tear off shed if you do this.

    Aliza

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odinsmom View Post
    She did not do a fecal test.

    I am using Zoo meds and alternate between calcium with d, without and the multivitamin. But I was only doing the multivitamin once or twice a month, not ever week. I will increase it.

    I called the vet but they could not get him in due to the impending hurricane

    I will start using the sulfur again.

    What should I do about the raw tail... do you have any suggestions on keeping him from biting it?
    AND he has stuck shed on his toes..do you think it will it be okay to give him a soak with open wounds?
    (I’m worried he will be in pain with the water and drop the tail).
    Recently there was a day gecko on GU who would not eat. Once the keepers discovered that gecko had coccidia and was treated, that gecko resumed eating. I don't know whether your leo has parasites.

    What if you only worked on 1 toe each day?

    Please read Method #5 and click the link that follows for additional ideas. Maybe the large terra cotta humid hide with a basin on top (Method #6) would work better for your leo too?

    Method #5 -- Soft-bristled Toothbrush Assist -- This even works on geckos with much smaller toes than leopard geckos.
    Always give your gecko a head start with a humidity box/sauna. First place your gecko in a humidity box for an hour or so. Then place that gecko on a solid surface like a countertop. Apply gentle pressure on the gecko's toes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and dry & wet q-tips. Gently sweep the toothbrush and the q-tips away from the toes.

    Hold smaller geckos between your fingers and thumb in a gently closed fist with either their head or their tail sticking out. Gently work on toes against your fingers or your thumb. Follow above suggestions.

    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 08-02-2020 at 01:40 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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    I gave him a bath and was able to get the stuck shed off.

    He wasnít happy but I got it done.

    I covered his wounds in sulfur yesterday, the day before and will do so again tonight.
    I also manually reshaped one of his humid hides because I wasnít sure if he may be too chunky for itís size because he tends to squeeze to turn around in it.

    He is eating just fine and pooping just fine, he never went off food through this whole three week issue.

    I still have no idea if he will heal on his own this way or if I will have to restart antibiotics again.
    My car broke down so I want be able to take him to the vet until Thursday.
    Likes Elizabeth Freer liked this post

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odinsmom View Post
    I gave him a bath and was able to get the stuck shed off.

    He wasn’t happy but I got it done.

    I covered his wounds in sulfur yesterday, the day before and will do so again tonight.
    I also manually reshaped one of his humid hides because I wasn’t sure if he may be too chunky for it’s size because he tends to squeeze to turn around in it.

    He is eating just fine and pooping just fine, he never went off food through this whole three week issue.

    I still have no idea if he will heal on his own this way or if I will have to restart antibiotics again.
    My car broke down so I want be able to take him to the vet until Thursday.
    Thanks for Odin's progress report.

    I'm sorry to hear about your car.
    "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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    Usually animals self mutilate like this for a few reasons:
    (1) they are feeling either pain / numbness / or tingling - like from when your hand falls asleep. This could be neurologic in nature from a disease or an injury. Make sure all the shed is off the tail, if he's got any that is stuck in the grooves or around the base it could be causing weird sensations. Also the beginning stages of MBD can cause bone pain, so that is something to watch out for.
    (2) he is missing something from his diet (this is more common in rodents)
    (3) stress - going for the tail is an odd place, but if something is stressing him it could cause very weird behavior. It could be anything - an area that is too busy, to loud, too hot or cold, drafty, hides that aren't what he wants, parasites, etc

    Try and find a really good reptile vet (if yours didn't recommend a fecal and is only treating the wounds but not the cause then someone else may offer better care)- fecal and radiograph to check for parasites and to check bone density would be the best place to start. Also, unfortunately some diseases like cancer can cause nerve and muscle pain, but an x-ray would be helpful in diagnosing that too.
    Nature is the best teacher, learn by observing
    Likes Elizabeth Freer liked this post

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpottedDragon View Post
    Usually animals self mutilate like this for a few reasons:
    (1) they are feeling either pain / numbness / or tingling - like from when your hand falls asleep. This could be neurologic in nature from a disease or an injury. Make sure all the shed is off the tail, if he's got any that is stuck in the grooves or around the base it could be causing weird sensations. Also the beginning stages of MBD can cause bone pain, so that is something to watch out for.
    (2) he is missing something from his diet (this is more common in rodents)
    (3) stress - going for the tail is an odd place, but if something is stressing him it could cause very weird behavior. It could be anything - an area that is too busy, to loud, too hot or cold, drafty, hides that aren't what he wants, parasites, etc

    Try and find a really good reptile vet (if yours didn't recommend a fecal and is only treating the wounds but not the cause then someone else may offer better care)- fecal and radiograph to check for parasites and to check bone density would be the best place to start. Also, unfortunately some diseases like cancer can cause nerve and muscle pain, but an x-ray would be helpful in diagnosing that too.
    Seen the vet today...

    I am starting to believe I may have to find another vet to look into this issue further.

    This vet wants me to continue with the sulfur solution cream.

    She wants me to use mineral oil on his tail for the next time I see that he is ready to shed. She is hoping that this will make it easier for the skin to come off.

    She is also giving me to use a bit of a sedative when he is about to shed to hopefully discourage excessive biting at the area.

    She wants me to get as much of the sulfur cream off before apply anew layer.

    Odin does not do well any time I go to touch his tail. I don’t know how to get the cream off without rubbing.

    Any tips you guys can suggest to get the sulfur cream off from the night before without over irritating him?
    Thanks Elizabeth Freer thanked for this post

  10. #10
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    A snippet from your last reply:

    She wants me to get as much of the sulfur cream off before apply anew layer.

    Odin does not do well any time I go to touch his tail. I donít know how to get the cream off without rubbing.

    Any tips you guys can suggest to get the sulfur cream off from the night before without over irritating him?
    I use SSD 1% for a couple of my geckos. It seems to me that the former SSD layer would have already been absorbed. No?

    Please ask your vet whether Fruit of the Earth's 100% Pure Aloe Vera gel would provide relief. It contains no alcohol. It is marketed for humans. It says "Quickly Absorbed * Will Not Stain".
    "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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