Leopard Gecko Diseases: Causes, Symptoms, & Their Treatments

Leopard Gecko Disease

In this article, common leopard gecko diseases, and ailments, as well as their causes and recommended therapies, are covered. You might make a home diagnosis for your leopard gecko diseases by reading certain indications and descriptions. Although some first aid or early treatment suggestions are given here, always seek the advice of your reptile’s veterinarian. Every leopard gecko is unique and requires special care.

Even though leopard geckos are tough reptiles that could adjust to many settings, they are still susceptible to sickness. Novice owners may make mistakes with husbandry and care, but everyone is still learning, so it’s okay! Adopted leopard geckos may exhibit issues or unusual behavior as well. 

Signs and Symptoms of a Healthy Leopard Gecko

To avoid catching the leopard geckos diseases, they need to have a daily health checks performed by a responsible gecko keeper. This aids in the early detection of any disease and prevents it from progressing. The following are some indicators of a healthy leopard gecko that you must look out for.

Leopard Gecko Healthy Symptoms
SkinUnless it’s shedding, a healthy gecko must have vibrant, multicolored skin. Additionally, the skin shouldn’t be dirty or have any cuts, as these conditions increase the risk of infections and illnesses in your lizard.
UnderbellyThere shouldn’t be any belly burns on a healthy gecko. Additionally, there won’t be any signs of stools in the area of the abdomen. A clean leopard gecko with no indications of injuries on its underbelly is therefore in good health.
BodyThey have a body with a smooth outline and rounded sides. Your leopard gecko shouldn’t be obese, but neither should your gecko’s ribs be protruding out.
EyesA leopard gecko’s eyes must be equal in size and should neither protrude from the eye socket nor shrink into the skull. The eyes of a healthy gecko must be bright and clear, and they should be highly alert.
FaceA healthy leopard gecko has a symmetrical jaw that fits into the body without protruding or appearing rubbery.
Feet and ToesThe legs of a healthy leopard gecko must be robust and emerge from underneath. Additionally, the feet and toes of the lizard should be free of dirt and stuck-on sheds.
TailWhen a leopard gecko is not a hatchling or a juvenile, it must have a fat tail. Your lizard’s tail may readily tell you if it’s in good health or not because it’ll get thinner if it’s unwell.
StrengthGeckos are small in size yet surprisingly powerful for their size. When holding them, leopard geckos should feel robust in your hand and have a good grip on your skin.
SheddingThey regularly shed their skin, the same as other reptiles do. Dead skin on a healthy gecko sheds in little pieces as contrary to one large section. Additionally, a healthy leopard gecko’s body is free of any old skin.Because juvenile leopard geckos grow considerably more quickly than adults, they shed their skin more frequently than adults do.
Eating HabitsA leopard gecko in good health has a strong appetite and will consume insects that wriggle in its way. This makes it among the simplest methods for figuring out whether your leopard gecko is well or not. A healthy leopard gecko will eat often, therefore if your leo suddenly stops eating, it could be unwell.
PoopIt should have three components and be soft but not watery. Poop must be black, contain little liquid urine, and a white-yellowish excretion. Leopard geckos excrete solid urates, which help them conserve water.

Signs and Symptoms of a Leopard Gecko Diseases

SignsSymptoms of a Leopard Gecko Diseases
LethargyA lizard has to be bright-eyed, alert, and curious to stay healthy. But, if your gecko is becoming sluggish and remains still for long periods, it could be sick. A sick leopard gecko could not have the strength to get up on its stomach, which is why it remains in the same place.
Sunken EyesYour leopard gecko could be dehydrated if you observe that its eyes are sunken into its face. Leopard geckos who are dehydrated may experience several underlying health problems, including decreased appetite and further illness.
Other dehydration symptoms to check out for include retained non-shedding skin and sticky mucus in the mouth.
Abnormal/No DroppingsExamining their droppings or absence of droppings is one approach to telling whether your gecko is unwell or dying. They  can suffer if it makes few or abnormal droppings.

Additionally, impaction might cause your leopard gecko to die suddenly if it is not treated. When your reptile consumes anything that blocks its stomach, it produces impaction. This leads to digestive problems as well as other internal disorders.
Weight LossIf your pet gecko drops a significant amount of weight quickly, it may have underlying health issues that might be fatal. Poor diet, parasite infections, poor husbandry, impaction, and other factors can all lead to weight loss.

Adult male leopard geckos often weigh between 60gm to 90gm, whereas females weigh just around 45gm. If your gecko starts to lose weight, go to the vet right immediately for an evaluation.

Additionally, you have to make sure your leopard gecko begins gaining weight again because if they’re losing weight, they won’t be able to defend themselves against disease.
Lack of AppetiteWhen determining whether your leopard gecko is unwell, it’s important to consider both weight loss and lack of appetite. Lack of appetite might be due to the environment or more severe leopard gecko problems.

Because of this, you must make sure leopard gecko’s habitat has the ideal temperatures and humidity levels to reduce stress. If your gecko is still not eating, though, after examining these conditions, you should call your veterinarian.

Common Leopard Gecko Diseases

Since they were born in captivity and were raised in a dry habitat, captive-breed leopard geckos don’t have any illnesses that may be passed on to humans. Although, your leopard gecko may develop a few illnesses or medical disorders. The common leopard gecko diseases and abnormalities are briefly described below:

Parasitic Infections

InfectionsDescriptionSigns and SymptomsTreatment
Internal Parasites
HelminthsWhen leopard geckos’ stools are examined, pinworms (oxyurids) are regularly seen in small numbers but are infrequently pathogenic. They must only be cured if clinical symptoms or a high number of them are found.High pinworm loads are linked with weight loss, diarrhea, anorexia, and stunted growth. It should be highlighted that a rise in the number of pinworms may be a sign of other health issues.The recommended dosage of fenbendazole is 25 mg/kg per day for 3 days. Because most leopard geckos will gape in protection when restrained firmly, oral treatment is frequently simple.
Cryptosporidia“Cryptosporidium saurophilum” has been related to small intestinal epithelial hypertrophy in geckos.Failure to grow, rapid weight loss, and diarrhea.The parasite must be seen on an acid-fast stain of a stool sample or a gastric flush, or through intestinal histology, a diagnosis is made.Even though it’s not widely available and doesn’t always cure the infection, paromomycin has shown effectiveness in experimental treatments. Due to their high risk of transmission and prolonged progression, clinically sick leopard geckos should be euthanized.
CoccidiaIt is one of the protozoa that most frequently cause on coccidiosis. Because the parasites spread through stool and make reinfection quite simple, coccidiosis is regarded as a superinfection. Isolate your sick leopard geckos from other reptiles.Lethargy, poor appetite, and digestion, and weakness are signs of coccidiosis infection. Leopard geckos lose considerable weight and get dehydrated if the illness is untreated. If your gecko doesn’t eat, it might become very weak.Coccidiosis therapy may take one or two months, depending how much work did you put into it? A stool test will enable a veterinarian to identify coccidiosis, and they will then prescribe a medicine that has to be taken every day or two.
Flagellates__They cause watery feces and poor feeding, which are typical signs of a parasitic illness.Antibiotics containing metronidazole are quite effective in treating the infection. 
NematodesThese are worms that survive and reproduce in the intestines of leopard geckos.Stunted growth and weight loss.A fecal analysis is used to diagnose it, and wormers are used for therapy.
Trichomonads__Antibiotics are also effective against trichomonads.
External Parasites
MitesThe most prevalent external parasites in leopard gecko parasite infections are mites. Your lizard will be pierced by these small, tick-like insects, which will then suck his blood. They will also reside in the leopard gecko’s enclosure and breed there.Excessive soaking behavior, dysecdysis (skin shedding problems), loss of appetite, and damaged skin, poor body condition or weight loss, and the accumulation of white dust near the enclosure’s bottom.The best way to avoid the spread of parasites and other leopard gecko diseases, in addition to providing, high-quality care, is to quarantine all recently acquired geckos for a period of observation and evaluation. Breeders sometimes advise keeping reptiles in quarantine for 3 or even 6 months.

Respiratory Infections

List Of Common Leoapard Gecko Diseases
Image credit: oddlycutepets

It is highly uncommon in well-designed enclosures for leopard geckos to get a respiratory illness. Leopard geckos are resilient, but if their cage is too cold (below 75 ℉) or too humid, they could perhaps get a respiratory infection. 


This could also occur if the substrate you’re using crumbles excessively, producing a lot of dust particles for the leopard gecko to breathe in (including alfalfa). A compromised immune system brought on by the cold might also be a factor.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Lethargy
  • Mucus bubbles on the nose
  • Difficulty breathing with an open mouth
  • Wheezing
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Nose discharge (in severe cases)


Elevate the enclosure’s temperature by 10 ℉ to cure the respiratory illness in your leopard gecko (to 85℉ to 88℉). Additionally, you may use a warm chamomile tea solution to clean the leopard gecko’s nose. If the indications do not go away after five days, take your gecko to the vet clinic.

Shedding Problems

Geckos are frequently brought to a veterinarian for abnormal skin shedding.  They frequently have dysecdysis, which involves bands of skin that enclose and hinder the toes. This may necessitate amputation or perhaps result in digit loss. Regularly inspecting the toes, particularly during a shed, helps your veterinarian to provide assistance as soon as possible, minimizing the chance of digit loss.

With the right guide to shedding problems, dysecdysis could be prevented. Take special care to make sure that the relative humidity of the cage is optimum for the breed. The humidity level for a leopard gecko is 40% to 60%. A hygrometer is used to keep an eye on this. A small dish of water that will evaporate in the warmth can be placed within the cage to change the humidity. To help with shedding, a humid hide spot should be available, like a small cave surrounded by damp moss substrate.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Dull or pale skin
  • Loss of tail or toes 
  • Skin buildup
  • Closed or squinting eyes
  • Loss of appetite


By soaking or misting the affected location with warm water to soften the shed, you could remove the stuck shed. After that, you may carefully take it off.

Treating vitamin A deficiency could promote appropriate shed growth. The immune response and mucus membranes, including those in the mouth, eyes, respiratory system, and genitalia, need vitamin A to work effectively. Vitamin A supplementation can treat a vitamin A deficiency that makes leopard geckos more susceptible to infection in these areas and affects the quality of the skin shed.


The small size of the species indicates that it might be considerably more severe in leopard geckos. Gout is a serious form of arthritis and aggregation of uric acid that forms crystals. It is a painful condition that can cause organ damage and calcification (visceral or systemic gout) along with swelling in the joints and legs (articular or joint gout). 


This leopard gecko disease is frequently linked to chronic dehydration from poor humidity or water intake, a cold environment, an abundance of protein in the diet, or renal disease.

Signs and Symptoms

In situations with articular gout, elevated cream-colored masses might be seen on the joints of the ankles, toes, or wrists. Leopard geckos usually have difficulty moving due to joint discomfort and swelling. There might be elevated, white, spherical swellings on the mucous membranes of the oral cavity (gout tophi). 


To cure this disease, particular therapies or alterations in husbandry are needed, and in extreme situations, euthanasia may be recommended.


Reptiles are ectothermic, which means they cannot control their own body temperature and must rely on sources of heat from their surroundings. The risk is especially high when heat sources like heated rocks or mats come into direct contact with leopard geckos.

Burns from heating systems can affect the skin, and the muscles, and in extreme situations, full-thickness thermal burns can affect the internal organs. If untreated it can cause other leopard gecko skin infections also.

Signs and Symptoms

Reddened skin is present, and blisters may appear in serious first-degree burns (same as in serious sunburns). Blisters are uncommon in reptiles, however, they can happen, and based on the kind of exposure, you can rarely notice singing of the scales.


Burnt skin in geckos is a significant issue that, if left untreated, can be lethal and can result in infection. So take your Leopard gecko to a veterinarian if you see the burns. The veterinarian will treat burns with an ointment and, if necessary, prescribe antibiotics.


Care must be taken when meeting the leopard gecko’s temperature needs because it has been stated that prevention is better than cure. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Leopard geckos shouldn’t be exposed to hot rocks. 
  • Never put a leopard gecko container near a window where direct sunlight could hit the enclosure.
  • Never left the basking light switched on during the night. 
  • Set a basking light on one end of the terrarium to provide a proper temperature gradient of 75° F-85°F.

Eye Problems

Sometimes, small dust particles can enter the eyes of leopard geckos. Your gecko may be unable to completely open an eye or squint if anything is in there. Wash the eye of your leopard gecko with a moist cotton pad to assist in removing any foreign particles. To clean the eye and eliminate any debris, you could use a reptile eye rinse. 

If some shed skin has been retained, lubricate it and rub that off carefully. You may also use tweezers to gently remove the skin. Injuries or scratches from habitat furniture or other enclosure mates are other causes of eye issues. Deficiencies of vitamins A and E in the eye and skin will also result in issues with the eyes.


Sand or other loose substrates may be among these tiny particles. This is one of the causes why loose substrates like sand should be avoided. 

Signs and Symptoms

They may experience a difficult shedding period, and skin may accumulate on top and around the eye. The eyelid may swell and turn red.


If the eye or both eyes of your leopard gecko do not even open, there may be pus under the eyelid. If you need assistance, see your veterinarian right away. Avoid attempting to take it out yourself because you risk damaging the eye.

Mouth Rot

Mouth rot, also known as stomatitis (a rare disease), is an infection of the gums that causes pain in leopard geckos. It is a bacterial condition that, if untreated, could be lethal. Your lizard could refuse to consume food or drink if he has mouth rot because it’s painful.

When bacteria enter the reptile’s oral tissue, an infection develops. It is crucial to understand that mouth rot isn’t brought on by a specific infection, but rather by an excessive number of the bacteria that normally inhabit the mouth. Accordingly, mouth rot happens when there is a problem with your gecko’s immune mechanism, the environment, or both.


Poor enclosure hygiene, a lack of lighting, an inappropriate tank temperature, and overcrowding causing fights among leopard geckos in the same terrarium can all lead to mouth rot. Leopard geckos who are under stress could develop mouth rot. When these lizards are under stress, their immune systems weaken. Immune system weakness may be a factor in inflammation.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs of stomatitis in geckos are similar to those in other reptiles. They may include the following:

  • Loss of appetite (because eating is uncomfortable and the mouth is infected and inflamed).
  • Redness of the mouth’s inner lining.
  • Swollen gums and lips.
  • Dead tissue or visible pus in the mouth.
  • Lethargy.
  • Open abscess.
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Oozing liquids from the nose and mouth.
  • Having trouble breathing.
  • Mucus or mucus bubbles around the nostrils.

If mouth rot isn’t treated, it may affect the lungs, producing pneumonia, and the rest of the digestive system, (therefore giving the medical term stomatitis). The following are typical signs of pneumonia in leopard geckos:


Start regularly cleaning and sanitizing the terrarium and its equipment to combat stomatitis (weekly for tank stuff and daily for dishes and removing poop). If possible, remove the loose substrate so that cleaning will be quicker and easier. When you see poop or unconsumed food, remove them right away. Additionally, raise the vivarium’s temperature by 5 to 10 degrees to aid your gecko in battling the infection.

Along with cleaning the enclosure, apply Betadine antiseptic to the leopard gecko’s gums and mouth. If you notice any pus, it should be removed. In small amounts, apply Neomycin (an antibiotic ointment) on the skin; do not use it on the gums. As soon as the gecko feels better, continue cleaning its mouth and enclosure. Take your leopard gecko to the veterinarian, who will likely give it antibiotics to get rid of the infection.

Tail Rot

Leopard geckos exhibit this condition when the tip of their tails begins to look different from the remainder of the tail in that it is starting to dry up, get skinnier, and turn black.


A skin that has been adhered to the tail of the Leopard gecko may be the cause of tail tip rot. The area of glued skin inhibits blood flow, which dies off nearby skin. The tail may get bitten by its tank mates, opening sores that might lead to the tail tip rotting.

Signs and Symptoms

  • A change in the rotting area’s coloration
  • Breaking the tail 
  • The rotting areas have a leathery appearance.
  • Absence of sensation in the rotten area


Try giving your lizard a good bath and raising the humidity in the terrarium if adhered skin is the source of the tail rot. To prevent necrosis from spreading, you must remove the rotten tail tip if it has already begun to die off.

However, if you observe that the tail tip is dry and is set to fall, you don’t have to do anything. Consult a veterinarian with your leopard gecko if you’re unsure whether to cut the tail tip or leave it alone. They can assist you in making the right decision. However, if you’re attempting this at home, have antibiotic ointment close at hand to manage any bleeding that may occur as you cut off the dried tail.

Metabolic Bone Disease and Calcium Deficiency

The disorder known as a metabolic bone disease (MBD) in leopard geckos, causes bone abnormalities and weakening as a result of calcium and vitamin D3 deficits. Because leopard geckos are most active at dawn and dusk, they only get a little amount of UVB radiation in their native environment. You’ll see that your gecko is having trouble moving around. Their limbs would seem like rubber. It could look like their limbs are broken. Leopard gecko metabolic bone disease is the most difficult illness of all.


If leopard geckos do not receive enough calcium through diet, they may have a calcium deficiency. This involves feeding gut-loaded or dusted insects. Most keepers neglect to use full-spectrum illumination, which emits UVA and UVB light spectrum and helps the skin manufacture vitamin D3. 

Since vitamin D3 is necessary for calcium absorption, appropriate insect dusting, and gut loading are crucial. You must compensate for the tank’s absence of UVB bulbs. Over supplementation with phosphorus is another cause of hypocalcemia or a lack of calcium. The calcium and phosphorus ratio should be 2:1. Calcium is absorbed and released from the body by an excessive amount of phosphorus in the diet.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are typical indications of metabolic bone disease:

  • Hard lumps on the spine, the jaw, or the legs
  • Reduced appetite
  • Bowed legs
  • Lower jaw softening and abnormal flexibility
  • Limping
  • Having trouble getting the body up off the ground

Low blood calcium levels can cause:

  • Depression
  • Twitches
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Sluggishness
  • Hind end weakness
  • Even death


A reptile with minor metabolic bone disease may frequently recover completely with dietary alterations, calcium and vitamin D supplements, and greater exposure to full-spectrum UV light. Dietary support, oral supplements, hydration therapy, and calcium and vitamin D injections are required for more severe disorders. Shots of the hormone calcitonin can also be helpful after beginning calcium supplementation. If a reptile breaks a bone as a result of leopard gecko metabolic bone disease, wood plates or other forms of stabilization may be necessary.


A tissue or organ that slides out of a leo’s vent and isn’t being retracted is known as prolapse, which is a major health issue. Your leopard geckos have a vent behind their tails that may appear to be protruding. It is recommended that you take your lizard to the veterinarian because prolapse is a significant health issue that, if left untreated, can be lethal.


Incorrect sexing, trauma or extreme strain from impaction can all lead to prolapse hemipenes in leopard geckos. They are more likely to prolapse when the humidity is low.

Signs and Symptoms

If you find one or two pink bumps under your male lizard’s cloaca, it most likely has a prolapsed hemipenis. For assistance, you must immediately contact your vet or an emergency exotic vet.


You may need to step in if your pet gecko can’t retract the hemipenes on its own. Even though it’s usually advisable to leave things and send your leopard gecko to a reptile veterinarian, if you can not obtain an urgent appointment, you could try to gently press the hemipenes using a cotton bud. Apply lubricating jelly or vaseline on the hemipenes to avoid it from drying out if it still won’t go back inside.

Egg Binding

When a female leopard gecko struggles to deliver her eggs, it is called dystocia, sometimes known as “egg binding.” This disease can happen if the individual is kept alone or with others since females can deposit eggs without a male present. The absence of a humid hide, the ideal nesting location for this species, poses a  danger for egg binding. During these situations, leopard geckos may exhibit restless, depressed, and poor feeding habits. Dystocia might result in the Leopard gecko’s death if it is not treated right away.


Egg binding issues in geckos might be brought on by a calcium deficiency in the body. For leopard geckos, calcium is an important vitamin because it helps with egg development and the smooth muscle contractions that push the eggs into oviducts.

Internal problems with your lizard include tumors, a damaged pelvis, etc.

Either you neglected to give your gecko a place to lay eggs, or your gecko is unhappy with the egg-laying location.

Signs and Symptoms

Lizards with egg-binding quickly become depressed, sluggish, and lethargic. Without laying any eggs, they might also elevate their strain and hindquarters. 


Leopard geckos with egg binding issues can be resolved by gut-loading and supplementing their diet with appropriate calcium and other necessary minerals. Additionally, ensure your gecko has access to a place where it can lay eggs. Putting a bright light next to your gecko will allow you to determine whether or not it is pregnant. Take your leopard gecko in for an X-ray to the veterinarian to find out whether it is pregnant.

Broken Bones or Wounds

In groups, leopard geckos are at risk of injuring one another. Tank  mates can scratch and bite one another. When leopard geckos use hot rocks or rough tank equipment, they can suffer injuries. Bones that are fragile or weak may be broken by a gecko. If your pet has fractured any bones, bring it to the veterinarian.


Bone fractures in leopard geckos are more common when calcium levels are low. If you observe your leopard gecko struggling to balance on taller structures, lower them.

Signs and Symptoms

Spinal injuries to the tail are frequently not life-threatening, although injuries to the area between the tail and the skull can impair the working of the  muscles and nervous system, especially the muscles that line the intestines. The inability of the reptile to pass uric acid salts from its body will arise from constipation brought on by the loss of intestinal motility.

Long-bone fractures, or fractures in the limbs, are frequently visible because the damaged reptile will move with a preference for the fractured leg.

Injuries to the pelvis and spine can cause paralysis in the lower body in reptiles.


Home remedies for minor injuries and cuts include applying antibiotic ointment to the wound and cleaning it off any loose substrate that could attach to it. To get the real picture, the veterinarian will do an X-ray. Healing from broken bones can take months, and certain effects may be permanent. You have to be calm and patient with the recovering gecko as the veterinarian will often apply a splint to the broken digit.


While leopard geckos are hardy reptiles, they are susceptible to several health issues. Although improper husbandry is a significant contributor to leopard gecko problems. To readily spot any health issues very early, you must always keep a check on your lizard. A thorough discussion of leopard gecko diseases, including their causes, symptoms, and treatments, may be found here. With this knowledge, we hope you can better understand some frequent leopard gecko diseases.


Do leopard geckos die as they age?

Yes, aging is a cause of death for leopard geckos. They, on the other hand, have a long lifetime and can survive for 10 to 20 years. If you take excellent care of them, they might survive for above 20 years.

Can leopard geckos spread disease to people?

Many leopard gecko diseases could be passed on to a reptile keeper’s family. The most important of these are as follows: Salmonella: All species of reptiles frequently carry salmonella, which can pass from reptiles to people when they come into contact with infected objects in their mouths.

How can you identify that your leopard gecko is dying?

Lethargy, lack of hunger, abnormal droppings, significant weight loss, and sunken eyes are all symptoms of a dying leopard gecko. Lack of appetite is frequently the most fatal symptom because it indicates that your pet gecko is suffering from a disease, has been injured, or is just dying.

Do leopard geckos become sick easily?

One of the most resilient reptile pets is the “leopard gecko”. They do not become sick frequently and don’t pass away at the first sign of a problem. Even two weeks without food won’t be enough to kill them. They outlive many other pets and are significantly more hardy to human handling and changes in temperature than other reptiles.

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