Gravid(?) Gecko Looking Sick

Crocodidlian

New member
My 10 year old female, Benjamin, is apparently gravid with infertile eggs, but instead of laying them, she just continues to get skinnier. She has never laid eggs before, and I'm not sure whether or not this is normal. She hasn't eaten in at least three and a half weeks. I took her to her regular exotic veterinarian a few weeks ago, and he said to just give it time. Then she went off food and started pooping a lot of runny uric acid. I have had the stool examined three times so far, but nothing out of the ordinary showed up.

Is this normal for gravid leopard geckos?

I have attached pictures for reference. She is very skinny everywhere except for her belly. I can even see her backbone protruding a little bit. She has a nesting box with vermiculite in it (she hates moss).

Preggo1.jpgPreggo2.jpgPreggoHouse.jpg

Thanks for any advice!
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
How long has her condition been going on? She may be egg-bound and need to see a vet.

Is she able to climb into the vermiculite hide? What are the temps right there? What are the warm end temps?

Is that hide sitting directly on top of the heat mat just like the warm dry hide?
 
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Crocodidlian

New member
She is able to climb into the vermiculite hide. The temperatures are 78 on the cool end, 83 in the lay box, and around 100 over the heat mat on the warm side. The heat mat does not go under the lay box. She has been ROUND for many weeks now. The veterinarian didn’t seem to think That she was egg-bound at the time.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
She is able to climb into the vermiculite hide. The temperatures are 78 on the cool end, 83 in the lay box, and around 100 over the heat mat on the warm side. The heat mat does not go under the lay box. She has been ROUND for many weeks now. The veterinarian didn’t seem to think That she was egg-bound at the time.
Thank you.

I don't believe your leo's condition is normal for gravid geckos. Her tail is getting exceptionally thin. :(

  • Can you see eggs in her belly?
  • Do you have a thermostat?
  • Is your heat mat big enough so that both the warm dry hide and the moist hide can sit on top of it?
Her warm hide is much too warm. Can you adjust temps to match this chart?

Temperatures - A temperature gradient from warm to cool maintains your leo's health. Here's a temperature guide for all leopard geckos as measured with the probe of a digital thermometer or a temp gun (and controlled by a thermostat set at 91*F/32.8*C).

Place the thermostat's probe and a digital thermometer's probe together right on top of the substrate underneath the warm dry hide. If you use a UTH + a CHE you'll need 2 separate thermostats, because ground and air temperatures are substantially different.

  • Warm dry hide ground temperature: 88-92 F (31.1-33.3 C) inside a leo's warm dry hide.
  • Warm humid/moist hide: Also place the humid hide 100% on top of the heat mat. Keep temperatures similar to the warm dry hide.
  • Cool dry hide ground temperature: 70ish-75 F (21.1-23.9 C) Usually the cool end ground temperature matches the room temperature where the enclosure sits.
  • no greater than 82ish F (27.8ish C) air temperature - 4 inches (10 cm) above ground on the warm end
  • no greater than 75 F (23.9 C) air temperature - 4 inches (10 cm) above ground on the cool end
Leave the heat mat/UTH on 24/7. If you wish, during the night turn off overhead lighting/heating (~12 hours on and ~12 hours off) unless ambient room temperatures drop lower than 67ish*F (19.4*C).
 
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Elizabeth Freer

Active member
I have adjusted the heat lamp to try to get to that recommended temperature.
Please turn off the heat lamp. What temps do you get then?
  1. Can you see eggs in her belly?
  2. How often do you use powdered supplements?
  3. Which exact brand and name? I see Rep Cal's calcium with D3 in the background.
  4. IF this continues, you could lose her.
Please ask your vet about an oxytoxin injection. Sometimes that helps females lay eggs when they're egg-bound.

Most heat should come from belly heat. Overhead heat usually just tweaks the heat. Both the heat mat and overhead heat require separate thermostats.

For a 20 long I recommend an Ultratherm 11 x 17 inch heat mat with a thermostat. Reptile Basics sells 11 x 17s for $22. When the heat is all askew, health conditions follow. A proper heat source + a thermostat are considerably cheaper than vet visits.
 
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Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Egg-Bound Leopard Geckos

EGG-BOUND LEOPARD GECKOS​
All female geckos can develop infertile eggs without mating.
  1. If you see eggs, add a nest box filled with damp Eco Earth's coco fiber to the warm end of the enclosure to prompt her to lay those eggs.
  2. A 1x daily warm 86*F (30*C) soak for about 15 minutes may help. Gently massage her belly towards the vent during that soak.
  3. An oxytoxin injection may help too. If she is unable to lay her eggs, surgery is required.
  4. If a female gecko becomes egg-bound, eventually the eggs begin to rot inside. This infection leads to septicemia (blood poisoning), then death.

Click: Egg Binding (Dystocia) in Reptiles: Causes, Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
 

Crocodidlian

New member
Update on Benjamin:
Her multiple X-rays came back normal. Not even any visible eggs. The doctor thinks that she is either still forming the eggs or has swallowed a foreign body that hasn’t shown on the images. He fed her barium (yuck), and we are taking her back to get more images this weekend. The only thing that she could possibly have swallowed would be a bit of paper towel. I have a crumpled piece in her moist hide while she molts. Hopefully this is not the case, since the doctor says that it would require surgery. If it comes to that, however, I am getting her spayed while he’s at it. She’s my only gecko, and I do not intend to breed her. Her doctor also prescribed her an antibiotic just in case she has an infection, which might account for her abnormally thin tail.
Anyway, we’re hoping that she’s just taking her time with her eggs. In the meantime, I have dispensed with the overhead heat lamp and have her just on her under tank heating pad.
 

Crocodidlian

New member
Please turn off the heat lamp. What temps do you get then?
  1. Can you see eggs in her belly?
  2. How often do you use powdered supplements?
  3. Which exact brand and name? I see Rep Cal's calcium with D3 in the background.
  4. IF this continues, you could lose her.
Please ask your vet about an oxytoxin injection. Sometimes that helps females lay eggs when they're egg-bound.

Most heat should come from belly heat. Overhead heat usually just tweaks the heat. Both the heat mat and overhead heat require separate thermostats.

For a 20 long I recommend an Ultratherm 11 x 17 inch heat mat with a thermostat. Reptile Basics sells 11 x 17s for $22. When the heat is all askew, health conditions follow. A proper heat source + a thermostat are considerably cheaper than vet visits.


Sorry for just now responding.

I can’t make out anything discernible in her belly.

She has constant access to Rep-Cal calcium with vitamin D3, and she eats crickets dusted every other feeding with a combination of the calcium and Rep-Cal Herptivite.

The veterinarian could not see any eggs in her X-rays, so he did not give her an injection.

I have turned off her overhead heat lamp for the time being.

I need to get her a permanent thermostat; I’ve been using an infrared thermometer. She has a good under tank heat pad.


Thanks for the suggestions!
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Sorry for just now responding.

I can’t make out anything discernible in her belly.

She has constant access to Rep-Cal calcium with vitamin D3, and she eats crickets dusted every other feeding with a combination of the calcium and Rep-Cal Herptivite.

The veterinarian could not see any eggs in her X-rays, so he did not give her an injection.

I have turned off her overhead heat lamp for the time being.

I need to get her a permanent thermostat; I’ve been using an infrared thermometer. She has a good under tank heat pad.


Thanks for the suggestions!
You're welcome. Please remove the calcium with D3 dish from her enclosure.

Hopefully you can get a thermostat soon. :) For a heat mat + overhead heat you'll need 2 separate thermostats.

Rep-Cal's Calcium with D3 has the highest D3 concentration of those products on the market! Then, in addition, Herptivite was mixed with calcium with D3.

Since vitamin D3 is fat soluble, a single dose of D3 helps metabolize plain calcium all week long.
  1. How many times per week would she get this mixture of Herptivite + Calcium with D3?
  2. How often did she lick the calcium with D3 from the dish?
 

Crocodidlian

New member
She gets fed three crickets usually twice or three times a week, depending on how hungry she is. I dust the crickets every other feeding. She hasn’t eaten for the last several weeks, though. I even bought wax worms to tempt her to eat something, but she is not interested. She is so skinny. I am worried about that.
 

Crocodidlian

New member
Also, she licks her calcium dish sporadically, so I don’t know exactly how much she gets from that. I have only seen her lick it a few times.
 

Crocodidlian

New member
Update:
The doctor is worried that she might become egg-bound. He took more X-rays, and he can see an egg calcifying. Since she has never laid before, we just don’t know how she will do with laying. Praying for the best.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
She gets fed three crickets usually twice or three times a week, depending on how hungry she is. I dust the crickets every other feeding. She hasn’t eaten for the last several weeks, though. I even bought wax worms to tempt her to eat something, but she is not interested. She is so skinny. I am worried about that.

Have you tried hornworms? Most leos can't refuse. :drool: PetCo sells hornworms in 4 packs. Check PetSmart too. Get the smallest hornworms. Let them grow to 1.5 inches before tempting your leo.

For link 33 click: Hornworm Care Guidelines
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Also, she licks her calcium dish sporadically, so I don’t know exactly how much she gets from that. I have only seen her lick it a few times.

What about switching to Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3 instead of Rep-Cal's Calcium with D3? Rep-Cal's Calcium with D3 is waaaaay overbalanced with D3.

ZM's Repti Calcium with D3 contains enough D3 when used weekly.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Update:
The doctor is worried that she might become egg-bound. He took more X-rays, and he can see an egg calcifying. Since she has never laid before, we just don’t know how she will do with laying. Praying for the best.
Does she have a 20 long: 30 x 12 x 12 inches high? It's vital to get her heat source squared away!

The best thing you can do for female Benjamin is to upgrade her belly heat. Then be sure that both her warm dry hide and her warm humid hide (lay box) sit right on top of the Ultratherm.

Please purchase an 11 x 17 inch Ultratherm heat mat + a thermostat from Reptile Basics. As far as I know Reptile Basics charges $22 for that Ultratherm. Don't settle for Zoo Med heat mats at all!

***** Ultratherms ***** (high quality) are reusable. Snugly attach the heat mat underneath a glass enclosure with double-sided heat safe tape (or tape rolls) down the center and with electrically safe Nashua tape around the edges. When you purchase supplies directly from Amazon, you'll be able to return even electrical products if they do not meet your gecko's needs. Amazon Prime also provides free return shipping. Reptile Basics (336-308-5767) ----> 11 x 11 Ultratherms = $20, 11 x 17 Ultratherms = $22. The Bean Farm (877-708-5882) sells Ultratherm UTHs in 11 different sizes.

Using Styrofoam Insulation Underneath an Ultratherm Heat Mat . . . . . . Keith -- April 2018
"I suggest that an Ultratherm UTH is a must. The Ultratherm needs (styro)foam insulation under it, directing the heat upward and into the enclosure. From what I understand, other brands call for air under the UTH, which just allows heat to be lost! The fact that the Ultratherms should have foam insulation under them rather than air also says volumes about their safety. I only know this because I’m still setting up my Vivarium as well."
 

Crocodidlian

New member
Thanks for the advice, Elizabeth. My account is all but drained at the moment, but I will check out that undertank heat mat and calcium that you recommended. Benjamin is going back to the doctor on Tuesday, so we will see how things are progressing.
 
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