jolieg8

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Montreal, Canada
This seems like a lot, I know, but I'm in a really strange position and my vet isn't being very helpful.

I have a three year old crested gecko that I adopted from a breeder that was finished using him to spawn. I've had him since September, so 6 months.

His illness: (you can skip this, it's just backstory)
In late December, early January he got very ill: not eating, not pooping (since he was adopted he was pooping maybe once a month), and wouldn't even come out of the foliage where he would sleep when he used to spend the nights jumping about. He even lost 6g in about a week, which is when I decided to take him to the vet. It was a mystery illness that we threw random antibiotics and supplements at. It wasn't impaction (though I switched from coconut fiber to paper towels in case), wasn't calcium deficiency (I would mix calcium supplements with his CGD), it wasn't MBD (or at least it didn't show on an X-ray), and it wasn't parasites. Might've been a slight pneumonia because his tank was a little cold until I got a second heater (about the same time he started being very ill) and the doctor told me to also add a UVB light..

A month and a half after the initial vet visit (today), he is back to his normal energy levels and poops about once a week.

Here is where the problem starts:
I had been force feeding him a prescribed vet food so he could regain his strength. I did this through a syringe and BOY did he hate it. As he regained his strength he would use it against me during feeding time. It was extremely stressful for him, and I feel kinda bad even though it was a necessary evil. Now that he is back to normal, though, he should start eating on his own. I tried for a week and a half to no avail.
I would change his food daily (banana Repashy or insect Repashy), and present it to him on the end of a chopstick, place him next to the bowl, placed the bowl in a hiding spot he likes so he feels safe, nothing. He would not eat for 4 nights. On the 5th night I hand fed him because he had lost weight again and I was worried. then tried again for 4 nights and nothing again. I've also seen him approach his food bowl on his own, give it a lick, and just decide against eating. Now I'm here for advice

2 Hypotheses:
I believe he is either not fully healed from his mystery illness, so he still doesn't have his appetite
OR
he is too stressed to eat.

He gets extremely stressed anytime I come near his tank (which is often since I study from home and his tank is in my room) and probably associates me negatively to food. I spray his tank morning, noon, evening, and right before bedtime (heating in my house makes for a very dry air), so I have to open his tank at least twice during his awake hours, which stresses him out. He doesn't open his mouth at me or start sprinting around his cage, but his back does get round and he starts breathing heavily.

My solution:
What I plan to do with him is continue hand feeding him until he gets nice and heavy, then stop him cold turkey for at least a week and see if he'll finally eat on his own, no interventions, no handling, nothing. I want little to no contact with him. If that doesn't work, I don't know what I'd do.

My Questions:
-Do you think he is just sick still or too stressed?
-Is my solution any good? are there any improvements I can make?
-If my solution doesn't work, what should I do next?
-Any ideas on what his mystery illness is?
-What can I do to reduce his stress for the week I stop hand feeding? (I'm thinking a blanket over the glass)

ATM his tank is always 60-99% humidity (99% at the bottom of the tank only when I put a humidifier at night or when I'm out for the day, it gets really dry at the top though)
temperature is 69F at the coldest corner and 82F at the warmest and he has many many hiding spots and things to climb.

Once he starts eating on his own again I'll be able to regain my best friend's trust :(
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
14,660
Location
Somerville, MA
I'm sorry both of you are having to go through all this. I have no solutions, but a few recommendations:
--I don't think you need to mist the enclosure that often. The target is usually to have reasonably high humidity in the evenings and then let it fall. I live in New England and it gets pretty dry in the winter. I still mist my crested and gargoyle geckos only in the evening. The foliage should help hold the humidity and I don't think you have to worry if it gets lower during the day. That should cut down on how many times you have to open the enclosure.
--There may not be a discrete disease that is causing this. Some creatures either have a general "failure to thrive" makeup, or there's some nebulous problem that doesn't resolve into anything specific
--What does he do if you rub a bit of food on his nose? Will he lick it off?
--Are you feeding him this way every night? If so, I recommend going down to every other day to reduce stress
--Despite his history, try to restrain yourself from weighing him often and just go with how he looks. I think weighing is stressful for both of you, and if you think about it, a few grams isn't that much (I know it's more if you calculate it as percentage of body weight, but it's still not that much).

I hope this is helpful.

Aliza
 

jolieg8

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Montreal, Canada
I'm sorry both of you are having to go through all this. I have no solutions, but a few recommendations:
--I don't think you need to mist the enclosure that often. The target is usually to have reasonably high humidity in the evenings and then let it fall. I live in New England and it gets pretty dry in the winter. I still mist my crested and gargoyle geckos only in the evening. The foliage should help hold the humidity and I don't think you have to worry if it gets lower during the day. That should cut down on how many times you have to open the enclosure.
--There may not be a discrete disease that is causing this. Some creatures either have a general "failure to thrive" makeup, or there's some nebulous problem that doesn't resolve into anything specific
--What does he do if you rub a bit of food on his nose? Will he lick it off?
--Are you feeding him this way every night? If so, I recommend going down to every other day to reduce stress
--Despite his history, try to restrain yourself from weighing him often and just go with how he looks. I think weighing is stressful for both of you, and if you think about it, a few grams isn't that much (I know it's more if you calculate it as percentage of body weight, but it's still not that much).

I hope this is helpful.

Aliza

Any updates for us yet? Feeling hopeful
Yes!
I posted on a couple other forums and got a few replies that I mixed and matched for a winning formula:
-I stopped hand feeding him and mixed his food with banana as an incentive
-I covered his cage partially with a blanket (the only exposed side is the side with the doors) to reduce stress
-Stopped All contact with him/the tank when he is awake, change water and food and spray before turning on his light, only contact is spraying before bed

Result: HE'S EATING!!

not very much, but every day I see a few lick marks in his food which is better than the none we had before.
and he's more active than ever, literally bouncing off the walls!

I'm going to give him a couple weeks to readjust and it's back to square one for bonding! (which for us was just standing near the cage with the doors open having a conversation xD)
 

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