Respiratory infections in leopard geckos can be serious, if not treated quickly and effectively. Owning a reptile, is a long-term commitment, seeing a leopard gecko can live up to twenty years in captivity. Knowing what a respiratory infection is in your gecko, how to treat it, and how to prevent it is essential to providing your reptile with the quality care it deserves.
What is a Leopard Gecko Respiratory Infection?
Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI) is caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs of your leopard gecko. It is usually related to incorrect living conditions, maybe the enclosure is too cool or the humidity is too high. Prolonged stress with incorrect habitat conditions, including a dirty enclosure, incorrect feeding, and more can result in respiratory infection.
Signs of a Respiratory Infection in Leopard Geckos
There are numerous signs that your leopard gecko may have a respiratory infection. If your reptilian pet has one or more of these symptoms, you will want to ensure you act quickly, helping your pet return to good health as quickly as possible.
- Open mouth breathing / gaping mouth
- Clogged nostrils
- Weight loss due to decreased appetite
- Bubbly saliva
- Bloated / Swollen body
- Clicking noises when breathing
- Head held in a raised position to aid in breathing
In order to understand what to fix if your leopard gecko is showing signs of a respiratory infection, you will want to understand what can cause this to happen. The most common causes include high humidity levels and low temperatures. Your gecko can experience stress when kept in the wrong temperature for extended periods. A bad enclosure setup can result in your pet suffering from a respiratory infection.
If your temperatures are lower than 75ºF or humidity levels are higher than forty percent your gecko may suffer. In addition to this, a dirty enclosure and incorrect substrate can aid in the infection. Dusty substrate can be aspirated, resulting in infection.
If you are concerned your leopard gecko may have a respiratory infection, then you are going to want to act quickly.
- Check your temperatures – 75ºF to 80ºF on the cool side, 80ºF to 85ºF on the warm side with a basking area of 90ºF to 95ºF
- Monitor humidity levels, which should be between thirty and forty percent
- Look for broken or malfunctioning equipment which could result in incorrect temperatures and humidity
- Place gecko in a draft-free and well-ventilated enclosure
- Use a timer to manage day and night temperatures – night temperatures should be between 67ºF and 74ºF
- If your gecko is very underweight, you may have to hand feed to encourage eating
- Take your pet to the vet for further evaluation, it may require antibiotics
Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to your reptilian pet. You want to provide your pet with the best care. Knowing how to prevent respiratory infections can ensure your pet remains happy and healthy for years to come.
- Monitor your temperatures regularly using a digital thermometer to reduce the risk of incorrect temperatures
- Monitor humidity levels regularly using a digital hygrometer to reduce incorrect humidity levels
- Use good quality substrate, such as reptile carpet, which cannot be inhaled
Respiratory infections in leopard geckos are treatable, as long as you know what signs to look for and how to prevent it. If you suspect your pet has a respiratory infection, visit your vet to ensure it gets the proper treatment quickly to speed up recovery.