One of the body functions of living organisms is pooping, and this includes the leopard geckos. There is a need for your leopard geckos to poop regularly, but leopard geckos can experience infrequent pooping. This is why responsible gecko owners need to monitor how their leo poops regularly.
Leopard gecko impaction is a health condition where a fecal mass or indigestible material blocks your gecko’s stomach. Impaction can lead to organ failure if it is not treated immediately. This is why gecko owners need to know how to recognize it and treat it effectively and safely.
In this article, we will discuss what can cause leopard geckos impaction, how you can detect if your leopard gecko is impacted, and how to treat leopard gecko impaction.
What Is Leopard Gecko Impaction?
Leopard gecko impaction is a health condition that occurs when a fecal mass or indigestible material blocks your leopard gecko’s stomach. Impaction is a common health condition of leopard geckos.
It simply means that something is blocking your leopard gecko’s intestine. It can be some materials that are very difficult to digest or are not even digestible at all. Leopard gecko impaction can be very serious, and you need to prevent it from happening at all costs.
This is because if you leave it untreated, it can cause the death of your leopard geckos as it will die from starvation or other complications.
Fully understanding your leopard gecko will help you better take care of them. As a suggestion, we would recommend you to get a good leopard gecko book. Not to become an expert on leopard gecko care but will help you avoid the common mistake in new pet lizard owners.
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Leopard Gecko Impaction Symptoms
There are lots of common symptoms to indicate that your leopard gecko is impacted. Some of the signs are listed below.
- Appetite loss
- Your gecko is licking its cloaca.
- Presence of an unusual dark spot on the underside of its belly
- Weight loss
The first sign that you will notice if your gecko is impacted is constipation and if you are cleaning your leopard geckos poops daily, you will easily notice it. Another early sign is a lack of appetite as your leopard geckos will not eat if it is not pooping.
You will notice other signs listed above if the impaction continues.
What Causes Leopard Gecko Impaction?
Some of the causes of impaction in leopard geckos are stated below.
Your leopard geckos can get impacted if you are using loose substrate in your Leo’s cage. This is because leopard geckos love exploring and can ingest loose substrates like sand, gravel, coconut husks, etc. in their enclosure.
Furthermore, your gecko can swallow a few pieces of these loose materials when eating, and they can’t digest them. This can then lead to an impaction. The best way to prevent this is by avoiding the use of loose substrate in your gecko’s tank.
Leopard geckos are small-sized animals, which means their mouth is not big. This is why responsible gecko owners need to consider the size of the food that they want to give their pets. You need to ensure the feeder insect you feed your gecko is not larger than ½ the length of their body.
However, if you feed them with something bigger than that, it can cause impaction. You should also note the amount of food that you give your gecko. If you feed them with too many insects, it might block the stomach because of high numbers.
This can then cause an impaction if the food is not digested efficiently.
Similar to humans, leopard geckos need hydration for a successful and healthy excretion. If there is improper hydration of your gecko, your Leo will then draw necessary fluids from other parts of the body like the digestive system.
This can then make your gecko’s poop become hard and very hard to pass. However, you can easily avoid this by keeping your leos hydrated all the time.
Temperature plays an important role in leopard geckos’ health. This is because they are cold-blooded animals and need constant heat to stay alive. Furthermore, the body temperature of leopard geckos has a direct effect on their metabolism.
Under cold temperatures, leopard geckos experience a slower metabolic rate. This can then make leopard gecko to digest their food improperly. The best temperature for leopard gecko digestion is between 92-95 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is why it is best to provide your gecko with an under tank heater to aid the absorption of heat through their belly and increase their metabolism to digest food easily.
How To Avoid Gut Impaction
Some of the ways that you can use to avoid gut impaction are stated below.
- Only use fine-grained sand as substrates.
- Hand feed your gecko or place their food in a shallow dish to avoid the accidental ingestion of substrates.
- Put a small bowl of calcium powder for your gecko to consume.
How To Treat Leopard Gecko Impaction? When Do You Need A VET?
Once you notice that your leopard gecko is impacted, there are several home treatments. However, if they fail, you can then decide to head to a vet as fast as possible. Some of the ways that you can treat leopard gecko impaction are stated below.
The first treatment that you can try to give your leopard gecko if you think it is impacted is giving a warm bath. Baths are always comfortable, stress-free, and can easily treat leopard gecko impaction. Here are the steps that you can follow:
- Take a plastic tub with a well-fitting lid.
- Create ventilation holes
- Fill the plastic tub with water with a temperature that should match your leopard gecko’s terrarium warm area.
- Ensure the water level is high enough to cover your gecko’s belly but cannot pass your Leo’s shoulders height.
- Place your gecko gently into the tub for about 30 minutes. During the warm bath, warm its belly gently by moving your finger from the throat to the tail base.
- Give your gecko a warm bath two times a day for three to four days in a row.
- Always monitor your leo during the bath to avoid water asphyxiation.
- Once your gecko starts to poop, inspect it to find a trace of the hard particles or the substrates to determine how your gecko gets impacted.
Another home remedy for treating impaction is by giving your leopard gecko a drop of olive oil or mineral oil. Always be careful when administering oil, and do not let it get into your gecko nostrils. Here are the steps to give your leopard gecko olive oil.
- Gently put a drop of olive oil in the front of your leopard geckos mouth.
- Your leopard gecko will lick off the droplet.
Note: you can give your leopard gecko olive oil coupled with warm baths for your gecko.
Veterinary Intervention And Surgery
Once you notice that your leopard gecko is still impacted after trying out the methods stated above, then you will need to take your leopard gecko to an experienced reptile vet.
Once you get to the vet, he/she will take an X-ray to determine what is happening to your gecko. After that, the vet will now use the best method available to treat your gecko.
Other Common Health Issues In Leopard Geckos.
Here are some other common health issues that are associated with leopard geckos
Prolapse hemipenis: this is a severe problem associated with male leopard geckos after mating. This simply means that your leopard gecko’s male organ is trapped outside of their body after mating. This condition can be fatal if not treated immediately, and it is best to visit the vet ASAP.
Parasites infections: this is a health issue where parasites live inside your leopard gecko to breed, feed, and grow. Parasites infections can make your gecko sick, and you can only tell by taking the feces sample to the vet for an examination.
Parasite infections are usually treated by medicine, and you will need to administer them to your gecko orally.
Shedding problems: it is also known as dysecdysis, and it is the situation where your gecko is unable to shed their whole skin completely. This usually occurs if the humidity in your leopard gecko’s enclosure is too low.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD): this is a health problem where your leopard geckos will have limbs that look rubbery and have difficulty walking. This can happen if you are not giving your leopard gecko the required calcium in their diet.
Note: the metabolic bone disease does not have a cure once your gecko has it, but you can only stop it from progressing once your leos have it.
Some of the other common health diseases of leopard geckos are stated below.
- Egg Binding.
- Stick Tail Disease
- Respiratory infection
It is very common for leopard geckos to get impacted. However, it is important that you know how to prevent, detect, and treat your impacted leopard geckos. This is because if it is left untreated, it can lead to your beloved pet’s fatal death.