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Odd gecko advice from vet

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  • Odd gecko advice from vet

    One of my 2 crested geckos died recently after I took him to the vet. I had noticed he had been lethargic, hanging out only on the bottom of the terrarium, and he was developing small kinks in his tail. I assumed that he was developing MBD and was possibly experiencing nutritional deficiencies. I added a calcium supplement to his food (pangea gecko diet) and blotted small amounts on his snout. He licked up the food on his snout, and I continued this process until he stopped licking it up. I took him to the vet and the vet gave me some very odd advice that goes against a lot of the research I did before purchasing the gecko. She told me that I should have a wide terrarium, not a tall terrarium, and the temperature gradient needed to be horizontal in the terrarium rather than vertical. She said, "I don't think of geckos as climbers," which really made me doubt her credibility. She soaked my gecko in warm water (research I have done has said that any soaking should be in room temperature water) and force fed him calcium gluconate and directed me to mix it with his food and force feed him twice per day. She told me I needed to keep his terrarium warmer - a minimum of 80 during the day and minimum of 75 at night. She told me I needed to get a night time heating lamp. She also told me I could feed him baby food, which I have never heard about in a positive light in my research. I asked her if I could feed him flukers repta boost (I couldn't find anywhere online that said crested geckos should have repta boost) and she told me I should alternate force feeding the gecko repta boost and his gecko powder. I brought the gecko home, bought a warmer heat bulb, and force fed the repta boost with a calcium supplement. Sadly, he didn't move unless prompted the rest of the day and was dead by that evening. Now I don't blame the vet for my gecko dying. He was already not moving much, but after my first night of gentle snout feeding, he seemed to improve some in his activity. After bringing the gecko to the vet (paying over $140 for the visit and a small bottle of calcium and sugar) he died immediately. Am I crazy? Have I been taking care of my geckos improperly? Also, she told me that feeding pangea gecko diet does not provide enough calcium, but I have never read that I need to supplement a gecko's diet other then dusting the crickets that I provide weekly. I still have on gecko, and he is very healthy and active. He is mobile, climbs up and down the 20 gallon tall terrarium I keep him in, and just had a shed. Did this vet know what she was talking about? Do I need to add calcium to my gecko's powder? Should I be soaking him in warm water (or at all) twice per week? The only thing I do close to that is when I notice he is about to shed, I make him a little sauna with room temp water and damp paper towels for 15 minutes. I just really doubt the advice this vet gave me, especially after she recommended baby food as a diet. I'm more than a little upset that I paid that much for somebody to give me that advice if it was bad. I'd appreciate any feedback on this situation and would like to know any way that I can better care for my remaining gecko. Thanks!

  • #2
    From own experience with vets and also others online, you can't always trust a vet. Just as you can't always trust a general physician to know everything. Vets are educated but more so on the more common pets, mammals. They usually know very little about reptiles unless they have a personal interest and learn more on their own or choose to study them specifically. One of the vets at my local vet station is extremely quick with suggesting having animals put down, my experience with that being cats and cows. For example my sisters cat has liver issues. There are medications but she had a hard time to get him to take the pills. He wouldn't listen to this and just suggested having the cat put down. But another more experienced vet that has worked here for longer listened and told my sister that there is a new liquid medication. After trying that her cat is just fine. So never trust a vet blindly. In this case about how to care for crested geckos I don't think you should listen to her at all. Her advice on how to keep it sound like the advice one would give about leopard geckos.

    I haven't had cresties myself yet but from all the reading I've done (together with good general knowledge and experience with animals), I feel like even I know more than your vet does. That she says that she doesn't think of geckos as climbers shows that she has no idea what she is talking about. Sound like she think every gecko is like a leopard gecko. Geckos are climbing all over the walls in houses in Australia for frick sake. :S That said, I have no idea if the treatment of your geckos condition was wrong. Heat lamp might not have been a good advice unless you have a cold house.

    It's hard to know what goes on on the inside. Something might have happened inside your gecko that lead to it getting so bad. If you were feeding both geckos the same food and regularily, and the other one is in good condition, then that should not be the issue. As i understand it, tons of people use only CGD for their geckos and they are fine. It's supposed to be a complete food replacement powder. Although I think there are some types/flavours of both repashy and pangea that are like treats and those don't contain everything they need.
    I don't know how his enclosure looked like, if they differ a lot and this could have had an effect in some way. I have also read people saying that keeping the animal outside it's terrarium in the wrong conditions, as in too low humidity and maybe inappropriate temperature, too often and too long can cause lung, liver and kidney issues in the long run. (apparently been proven scientifically, and also make sense)


    • #3
      A lot of vets are not true reptile vets, they may see a reptile, but they are not well versed in their care, and even then some may not know the species well. Like my reptile vet knows cresteds but when it comes to the other NC gecko species, she is a bit clueless. Even then she trusts my judgement and when I ask her to do something, she knows I know what I am doing/talking about. With that said, your vets advice isn't on par. 75 is a great temp for them, 80 is pushing danger zone. They can tolerate 80 however it leaves no room for temperature increase, which much above 80 is when they really start to stress. I normally recommend 68-78 being the range with 75-76 being ideal. 68 is a bit on the cool side however they still tolerate it ok, they just don't eat as much, normally I recommend a small heat lamp when its around that temp. But if your house temps are in the 70's you are fine.

      Baby food is not a formulated complete food. It is fruit and citric acid, sure there is a bit of vitamins and minerals in there, but not enough to be considered complete. This is why commercial foods came out, to help people properly balance a diet as simply sprinkling a little calcium and vitamins to baby food doesn't make it a complete diet. So stick with the Pangea. As far as adding calcium to the diet goes, the food is complete so adding it to the food isnt necessary. You do however want to dust the insects when you offer them, and it is recommended even by the food manufacturers to still offer live food in conjunction with the powder food. In instances where your gecko doesnt take live, generally you don't need to add in addational calcium to diet, as I said it is formulated to be complete, but adding a small dash every now and again wont hurt the animal.

      Cresteds dont need weekly soaks, if you are misting properly and have a small dish for water, no reason for it except in instances where you have stuck shed.

      And pitch the reptiboost, in rare cases where force feeding is required, order critical care, superior product.
      lets just say I have a lot of stuff