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HELP! Garg- no weight gain in a year!

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  • HELP! Garg- no weight gain in a year!

    Hey everyone.

    So I feel like I'm losing my mind, but I need advice about my "baby" gargoyle. I've been struggling for months over trying to get her to eat. I can count on one hand how many times I've seen licks out of her food. I now put two different types of powdered food in there (Pangea and Repashy), on the ground and in a magnetic wall ledge. They're both accessible and she should know where they're at. I'm in school full-time and it's hard to keep a hold of time, but I realized recently that I've been doing this dance for 8 months now. I try not to get her out very often because she hates me, but every time I get her out I feel like she's skinnier and skinnier.

    I pulled out her paperwork and was flabbergasted to see that she's now 14 months old. When I got her she was 8 grams. She's now 9 grams. At 14 months. She's been 9 grams now for at least 7 months.

    I'm worried that this is a train wreck that I've lost control over and there isn't anything I can do. I've got her in a 12x12x18 cage, but I've got a smaller one coming in the mail tomorrow in case that helps. I'm a jerk and didn't have any heat on her (my 10 year old Crestie has never needed heat/light, and my cats would've knocked it over and burned my house down 100 times over by now), but I've got heat ready to go when her new cage comes. I only occasionally see poo in her cage. It's blowing my mind, she must be eating something to still be alive after 8 months of "not eating", I just don't understand why she's letting herself waste away like this.

    I searched these (and many other) forums for advice, but didn't find much. So far I've got: try another cage, try heat, "they won't starve themselves", "they're slow growers" (I feel like zero growth in 8 months, and 9 grams at 14 months old isn't "slow" growing).

    UPDATE:
    She's parasite negative. -_- Back to square one I guess.


    Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllpppppppppppppp!!!
    Pics from yesterday:
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    Update: Found pics of the first day I got her, 8 months ago, for comparison. I hadn't looked at the two images side-by-side until now and it's breaking my heart.
    Pics from 8 months ago:
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    Last edited by bardlock24; 06-20-2017, 11:49 PM. Reason: Added pictures

  • #2
    Have you taken in a fresh stool sample to the vet to check for parasites? They can very easily stunt the growth of a gecko. I would make that your top priority atm.
    Check out my website for helpful info about Crested Geckos, Gargoyle Geckos, Abronia Alligator Lizards, and Brazilian Rainbow Boas
    Sovereign Reptiles

    0.1.0 Gargoyle Gecko || Honey Bear
    1.1.1 Crested Gecko || Malakai, Snapshot, Tiny

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    • #3
      I'm taking her to the vet on Monday, but I've never been able to get a fresh stool sample. I'm actually a former veterinary nurse that used to work at the exotics vet, so I know they should be able to get a slide from her vent. It just bugs me so much because I can't imagine where she could've gotten parasites, other than with the breeder before I got her. But she looked so good when she arrived. I've only ever fed her Repashy and Pangea, never a single cricket. I've been considering trying crickets, but I've always been terrified to use them because of the parasites (go figure). We saw them in the clinic all the time for parasites from crickets. I'd love to try dubias, but I don't know of anywhere I can pick them up in person. I don't want to buy from online because I'd only need like, 2 of them, and not a bushel. UGH.

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      • #4
        Outside of genetics or parasites I'd have no clue how a gecko can go almost a year and not gain any weight @_@ you got me stumped at that one. Hopefully others will chime in, but yeah i think a vet will hopefully be able to point you in the right direction.

        Crickets are nasty, I hate em. As for dubia, I'd like to think some pet stores may have them? But i'd be so uncomfortable buying from chain stores, from what i've seen their usually way overpriced for what they are (bugs, omg) and half the container is usually dead. Wish I could help ya in that aspect. I breed my roaches, got loads of em @_@

        at least in her 'then and now' pics, she looks like she plumped up somewhat between the two, so that's good. Unless she's just an extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemely slow grower, but that would baffle me if she were.
        Check out my website for helpful info about Crested Geckos, Gargoyle Geckos, Abronia Alligator Lizards, and Brazilian Rainbow Boas
        Sovereign Reptiles

        0.1.0 Gargoyle Gecko || Honey Bear
        1.1.1 Crested Gecko || Malakai, Snapshot, Tiny

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        • #5
          Our PetSmart and Petco stores carry dubias, they have small containers of them for around $7 - still probably more than you need, but maybe over-buying is better than none if you're trying to help her grow? A container would at least last you a couple of weeks, I would think. I hope the vet visit helps you out. She looks healthy, just small.
          Eileen
          TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
          Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mechanical8Dragon View Post
            Outside of genetics or parasites I'd have no clue how a gecko can go almost a year and not gain any weight @_@ you got me stumped at that one. Hopefully others will chime in, but yeah i think a vet will hopefully be able to point you in the right direction.

            Crickets are nasty, I hate em. As for dubia, I'd like to think some pet stores may have them? But i'd be so uncomfortable buying from chain stores, from what i've seen their usually way overpriced for what they are (bugs, omg) and half the container is usually dead. Wish I could help ya in that aspect. I breed my roaches, got loads of em @_@

            at least in her 'then and now' pics, she looks like she plumped up somewhat between the two, so that's good. Unless she's just an extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemely slow grower, but that would baffle me if she were.
            The last picture under the update is the before, the two above are the yesterday pics. The ones where she looks skeletal. T~T

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            • #7
              oooh i see @_@ nvm then. yes I'm almost certain it's parasites.. or some underlying disease going on.over a year and only 1 gram in weight gain is just not right... and your husbandry seems perfectly fine...
              Check out my website for helpful info about Crested Geckos, Gargoyle Geckos, Abronia Alligator Lizards, and Brazilian Rainbow Boas
              Sovereign Reptiles

              0.1.0 Gargoyle Gecko || Honey Bear
              1.1.1 Crested Gecko || Malakai, Snapshot, Tiny

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              • #8
                Bump for the parasite negative update. Ugh.

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                • #9
                  Parasite tests can be false negative, but the way your gecko looks I would expect a large enough parasite load that it should be relatively easy to see - at least if you are looking at common parasites like pinworms. Entamoeba invadens (which leads to rapid weight loss) should also be seen in a direct fecal smear. I think coccidia are a little harder to detect, and they can be a serious problem for the gecko. My crestie had coccidia, and the infection was missed in the first fecal exam.

                  Apart from a false negative test of a common parasite infection, there is also the possibility of a bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract, which could only be detected in a blood test. With my crestie, my vet decided to put him on antibiotics without a blood test, because she was afraid he would lose too much blood, but she still suspected a bacterial infection after the coccidia were treated. I am normally not a fan of blind treatment for an unknown disease, but it was the right decision with my crestie, and I think it may be an option for your gargoyle as well. I would not subject her to a blood test, as she is already underweight.

                  My crestie was on Albon, but I would not necessarily recommend it in your case. It completely killed his appetite, and you have to be super careful to keep the gecko well hydrated, or else it can damage the kidneys.

                  But maybe the vet can recommend another broadband-antibiotic with not too many side effects. Flagyl (metronidazole) is used to treat entamoeba. I do not know what else can be treated with it, but I read some people use it for bacterial infections.

                  There is also the dreaded possibility of cryptosporidium, which is generally considered incurable, and it is hard to detect unless you do an acid stain test or test for the parasite's DNA.
                  I just hope your gecko does not have it.

                  There are a few more things you can try at home that are unlikely to make your gecko worse, and they may help with some yet undiagnosed issues:

                  - Mix a drop of coconut oil in the gecko's food. It should give your gecko some extra energy and the medium chain triglycerides in it are known to kill coccidia by destroying the parasite's membranes (it does not kill the oocytes, though). It can therefore help with coccidia infections and is used to prevent outbreaks in livestock for that reason.

                  - Active Manuka honey. The really antibacterial one is quite expensive, but it is a good thing to have in your first aid kit. It can help the gecko fight an infection and give it a little extra energy.

                  - high-energy food like Carnivore Care. It is great for sick animals that need to put on weight, and I highly recommend you order a package (it costs only a few dollars). You can mix it into the gecko diet.

                  - a tasty new food to stimulate the gecko's appetite. I recommend Gecko Pro sweet fig. It is not a complete diet like Pangea, but all my geckos love it and it can tempt a picky gecko to eat anything at all.
                  Last edited by Lucia; 06-22-2017, 12:36 AM.
                  1.2.1 Crested Geckos "Jackson Pollock", "Pumpkin Spice", "Nibbler", "Keikishoku" 1.0.0 Chahoua "Urmel" 1.1 Red eared sliders "Freddy Krueger" (25 years) and "Mucki" (45 years) RIP Peppermint (Green Anole)

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                  • #10
                    This is an older thread, but what temperatures are you keeping the gecko at? Day and night temperatures.

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                    • #11
                      Update!

                      Originally posted by gecko.friend View Post
                      This is an older thread, but what temperatures are you keeping the gecko at? Day and night temperatures.
                      Hi there! I hadn't updated this post after I ended up taking her to the vet and making some decisions.

                      To answer your question: I have her at the temp of my room, which is between 60-high 70's. I had switched her to a tiny cage (which she seems to enjoy) and bought a heat lamp, only to find it won't fit on the top of her tiny cage safely.

                      As an update, after the vet, I decided to give in and start hand feeding her 3x a week, recording her weight weekly, and misting at least daily. I even had a care sheet for her for the first two months (I'm a former vet tech, ha). I've been doing this for ~3 months now, and her last recorded weight was 16.7 grams! She's gotten a lot bigger from when I started, and since I've gotten her out to handle 3-6 times a week, she's become my best little buddy. She's really turned into a sweet and wonderful little girl, much different from her flying-biting-fleeing self at the beginning of summer.

                      So yeah. Her weight and size are up, and now begins the "how the heck do I get you to eat on your own" dilemma, haha.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ah, this makes a lot of sense then! 60s are very cold for a gargoyle gecko--many breeders cool their animals into the mid 60s during a 4-6 week period in the winter to prepare them for breeding in the spring--most animals eat little to nothing during this time, it slows their metabolism.

                        I would keep him at 78-80 ambient...and the area near the heat source should be warmer. I keep mine 78-80 during the day and it drops to ~74/75 at night because we turn the AC on. The area near the heating pads are warmer, 85 degrees. Many days I see them sitting directly next to the heating pad for the entire day, and at night. Mist to maintain humidity 50-80%. I have screen top zoo meds, and I have covered the tops (mostly, but not fully) with glass to retain humidity.

                        I like heating pads/ceramic heat emitters over light bulbs because they can be used for 24 hrs a day (and last longer).

                        I'm glad to hear that she is gaining weight and calming down! As for the dilemma, maybe transition to feeding her while she is in her cage in a particular spot? I like to use the small pangea ledges because they recognize to come to them for food, and it's always in the same spot. That's awesome that you keep a log

                        I also offer dubia in a bowl daily to growing juveniles and 3x a week to adults.

                        Just to give you an idea...I bought a 6g animal at the end of March...and she is now 39g. Heat and insects work wonders.

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                        • #13
                          I was going to mention that the heat probably has something to do with it. If you do use a ceramic heater though, put it in a wire holder as opposed to a dome lamp, for fire safety reasons. Glad you are seeing progress! I have to weigh my garg tonight. He hasn't been gaining very quickly either, but our tank is always in the 70's for temps. Still, he's bigger than he was when I got him 6 months ago, so I think part of it is just my impatience!
                          Eileen
                          TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
                          Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

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                          • #14
                            I know that this is still an old post but hopefully I can get a reply, but how exactly did you go about getting your garg to accept hand feeding? Mine currently is going through almost the same exact issue and even when I attempt hand feeding he does not like to eat much.

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                            • #15
                              How old is your garg? It's best to really not get them dependent on hand-feeding, as then they tend not to eat on their own. If there is good, fresh food available, they won't starve themselves, but they do slow down in cooler temps. If you can feed him insects, that will help with growth. If he's holding his own or gaining in weight, he will probably be fine. If there is a steady decline in weight though, then a check for parasites would be in order (take a fecal sample to your vet).
                              Eileen
                              TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
                              Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

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