No matter how well you care for your leopard gecko, it will get diarrhea at some point. And while this is disheartening, you must understand this condition to help your leopard gecko cope.
Symptoms of Diarrhea in Leopard Geckos
The main symptoms of diarrhea in leopard geckos are:
- Feces that are watery and foul
- Frequent defecation
- Loss of appetite
Causes of diarrhea in leopard geckos
Interestingly, leopard geckos can experience diarrhea because of stress. Some of the things that can stress them to this point include:
Tank change: Whether you just got a new gecko or placed an old one in a new tank, the change of environment can be hard on your pet.
This can make your gecko have diarrhea for weeks. However, it usually resolves on its own when your gecko adapts to its new environment.
Improper handling: If you hold your leopard gecko too tightly or the wrong way, it can get stressed.
This can also happen if you handle your reptile too often. This is particularly stressful if you keep on handling it when it’s asleep.
Roommates: Bullying can occur if you place more than one leopard gecko in the same tank, causing the victim immense stress.
Improper tank temperature and humidity: This is not only stressful for your reptile but it also puts them at risk for disease.
Dirty tank: This can make your gecko uncomfortable and transfer pathogens to them, further straining their bodies. That’s why it’s essential to put in place a clear cleaning schedule and stick to it.
Inadequate hides: Leopard geckos tend to feel unsafe when their tanks don’t have enough hides, making them stressed.
Offering too many insects: this can be overwhelming for a leopard gecko.
Whenever your leopard gecko sheds, it will have diarrhea; this is normal. This kind of diarrhea is usually white or gray because of the skin leopard geckos ingest during this phase.
Don’t worry though; it usually resolves on its own within three days of shedding completion.
If you use sand or any other loose substrate in your leopard gecko’s tank, it can start producing loose white feces. Worse still, this can lead to impaction, a condition that can be deadly.
Fungi, viruses, bacteria, parasites, or any other pathogens can give your leopard gecko diarrhea. Of all of these, parasites are the most common in leopard geckos, yet they can be the most difficult to diagnose.
Pinworms, Entamoeba, and Cryptosporidium, are common parasites that cause diarrhea in leopard geckos. These parasites can cause other symptoms like weight loss, appetite loss, and behavior changes.
Changing the type of insects you offer
If your leopard gecko is used to eating certain types of insects, making a change can give them diarrhea.
This can cause vomiting as well. However, this usually resolves on its own after two to three feedings.
To help your leopard gecko adjust to new insects with minimal diarrhea, introduce them slowly.
Whatever you do, though, don’t feed your leopard gecko dead or rotting insects. This will make the diarrhea worse. It can even make a healthy leopard gecko start experiencing diarrhea out of nowhere.
Offering feeder insects new gut load
When you change the food you are gut-loading feeder insects with, your leopard gecko can get diarrhea.
To deal with this, introduce the insects eating the new gut load slowly as you monitor your gecko’s poop. Also, never offer a rotting gut load to your feeder insects; this will cause further diarrhea.
Offering different supplements
Switching from one brand of supplements to another can make your leopard gecko diarrhea. However, this usually resolves on its own in two to three days.
If your leopard gecko has diarrhea for more than a few days, take them to the vet immediately, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it.
Once you’re there, your vet will run fecal tests to determine what is going on with your pet before getting it on medication. They may also administer some fluids to treat dehydration.
Your vet will also guide you on how to keep your leopard gecko hydrated while at home.
You may even need to soak your gecko in warm water regularly. Remember, dehydration is a serious side effect of diarrhea and can lead to death if left untreated.
So keep your gecko hydrated even when you’re sure what’s going on.
Ultimately, it’s better to avoid diarrhea in leopard geckos than to treat it. Fortunately, this is not difficult to do. All you have to do is ensure that you keep an eye on the gecko’s diet, health, and tank conditions.
Remember, you should avoid any deterioration to the quality of these parameters. If something works, don’t change it.