Crested Gecko Respiratory Infection – Cause, Symptoms, Treatment

Crested gecko respiratory infection

Crested geckos are overall healthy reptiles. However, a common disease to look out for is Crested gecko respiratory infection. Crested gecko respiratory infection is easily prevented through good husbandry. Symptoms to look out for include laboured breathing and discharge from nose.

This article will help you learn more about:

  • What is Crested gecko respiratory infection
  • What causes it
  • Symptoms to look out for
  • Treatments
  • How to prevent it

What Is Crested Gecko Respiratory Infection – Causes

Crested gecko respiratory infection is similar to what pneumonia is in humans. The same as humans, if left untreated Crested gecko respiratory infection can be fatal.

The most common causes for Crested gecko respiratory infection are:

  • Incorrect temperature and humidity levels
  • Fungal infections
  • Parasites
  • Dirty habitat
  • Poor diet
  • Draft from windows near the tank

The most common cause for Crested gecko respiratory infection is high humidity and low temperatures levels. If the temperature in the tank is lower than 75ºF or the humidity levels are constantly high, it can result in bacteria forming in their lungs which can then cause the disease.

Another common cause for gecko respiratory infection is dirty enclosure and/or incorrect substrate. Dirty enclosure can promote bacteria growth which can infect your gecko’s lungs. Whereas, loose substrate can get ingested by your gecko and can also result in lung infection.

Crested Gecko Respiratory Infection – Symptoms

It’s essential to know the gecko respiratory infection symptoms, so you can catch the disease early and get your gecko back to full health quickly.

With that said, keep an eye for any of the following symptoms for Crested gecko respiratory infection:

  • Breathing with mouth wide open
  • Lethargy
  • Not eating
  • Loss of weight
  • Discharge from the mouth, nose
  • Bubbly saliva
  • Bloated / Swollen body
  • Wheezing/ clicking noises/ laboured breathing
  • Head held in a raised position to aid in breathing

If ignored or left untreated, gecko respiratory infection can be fatal. Therefore, if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should start by removing anything that might be causing the illness and take your gecko to the vet.

Crested Gecko Respiratory Infection – Treatments

Crested Gecko Respiratory Infection

The treatment for Crested gecko respiratory infections depends if the disease is caused by a bacteria, virus or parasite. Whatever the cause, you should always take your gecko to the vet to determine the best course of treatment.

The three treatment options are:

  • Changes to your gecko’s care and your gecko recovering on its own
  • Antibiotics
  • Treating parasites as the cause for Crested gecko respiratory infection

Changes To Your Crested Gecko’s Care

If you suspect Crested gecko respiratory infection, the first thing you should do is to ensure that your gecko’s day to day care is up to standard by checking the following:

  • The temperature and humidity levels are correct – Humidity should be 60% during the day and at 80% during the night. It shouldn’t be constantly high. Whereas, temperature levels need to be 72°F to 75°F
  • Habitat set up is correct – ensure their enclosure is well ventilated inside and is not located near open windows that can create a draft. In addition to that, any loose substrate that can be ingested by your gecko should be removed from the enclosure

Antibiotics

If there is no change in your gecko’s condition or if the case is severe, your vet will describe antibiotics such as amikacin, enrofloxacin, ceftazidime, or piperacillin to treat the Crested gecko respiratory infection.

The course of the antibiotics is usually up to 2 weeks and it can be given to your gecko by mouth with a syringe or through inhalation. The Crested gecko may also need additional hydration and assisted feeding during recovery. This can be done through the use of a pipette or syringe without the needle.

It’s important to note that antibiotics do not treat fungal, viral or parasitic infections. By establishing the cause for the Crested gecko respiratory infection, your vet can prescribe the right treatment.

Parasites

Lastly, if the Crested gecko respiratory infection is caused by parasites, your vet will need to prescribe medication to treat the parasites first. In the case of parasites, the enclosure should also be treated. Otherwise it turns into a constant source for re-infection.

Crested Gecko Respiratory Infection – Prevention

Prevention is always what we should aim for when it comes to your pet’s health. However, in the case of Crested gecko respiratory infection – prevention is also the cure in most cases. By making the necessary changes in your Crested gecko care and removing anything that can be harmful, you can help them recover and prevent reinfection.

To prevent Crested gecko respiratory infection, ensure the following is present in your gecko’s care:

  • Temperature and humidity levels are correct in the tank and monitored daily
  • Correct habitat setup
  • Cleanliness
  • Nutritious and well balanced diet

Temperature And Humidity Levels

Keeping your Crested gecko enclosure at the right temperature and humidity levels is essential part of your gecko’s care and it can prevent development of illnesses such as Crested gecko respiratory infection.

Temperature

The Crested gecko’s tank should have a temperature gradient of 72°F to 75°F with a drop at night to 65°F to 70°F. In addition, they should also have a hot spot in the tank.

If you are struggling to increase the temperature, you can use an under-tank heater on one end of the enclosure on the bottom.

To track the temperature use a thermostat.

Tip: Use a timer to manage day and night temperatures

Humidity

On the other hand, humidity levels should be kept at 60% during the day and at 80% during the night. It shouldn’t be constantly high. To achieve this, use a spray bottle with purified water (never use tap water) to mist the tank twice per day. It’s recommended to do a light mist in the morning and a stronger one at night.

To track the humidity levels use a digital hygrometer.

Correct Habitat Setup

To prevent diseases such as Crested gecko respiratory infection, enclosure setup is key. For a healthy and happy Crested gecko, you should ensure all of the following advice is applied:

  • The gecko’s tank should be placed in a draft free area, away from windows
  • The tank should be well-ventilated inside
  • Safe substrate. Avoid using loose substrate as it can be ingested by your gecko and result in infection. The recommended substrate is tough to tear paper towels, no substrate, reptile carpet or hard substrate

To learn more about Crested gecko habitat setup, click here Crested Gecko Habitat Setup: How To Build A Perfect Tank

Cleanliness

If your gecko’s enclosure is dirty, it can result in mould growth which subsequently can cause Crested gecko respiratory infection. Therefore, cleaning your gecko’s enclosure is essential part of their care and keeping them healthy.

Follow these steps to maintain a clean enclosure:

  • Daily spot cleaning. We recommended to do a spot clean every day
  • Deep clean is required once a month. This includes removal of the gecko, all decorations and bedding. Then, you need to spray the enclosure and its walls with a reptile friendly disinfectant. Once the spray has been left on the surfaces for 30 seconds, wipe it off with a paper towel. Repeat the process at least twice to ensure all waste has been removed
  • The decorations can be cleaned using the same method
  • Bioactive enclosure. If you have a bio-active enclosure, you will only need to do a spot clean and monitor the your gecko’s health

Nutritious And Well Balanced Diet

Having your Crested gecko on the right diet is essential for their development and health. A well balanced diet can prevent many illnesses such as Crested gecko respiratory infection and Metabolic bone disease.

To learn more about Crested gecko metabolic bone disease, click here Crested Gecko Metabolic Bone Disease – Cause, Symptoms And Treatment

We recommended to feed your Crested gecko a staple diet of Repashy or Pangea commercial food. In addition, you can offer a treat, 1 to 2 times a month such as dusted insects/bugs and healthy fruit purees.

To learn more about Crested gecko diet options, click here  What Crested Geckos Eat? Crested Gecko Diet – Do’s And Don’ts

Final Thoughts

In this article we discussed the possible causes for Crested gecko respiratory infection such as:

  • Incorrect temperature and humidity levels
  • Fungal infections
  • Parasites
  • Dirty habitat
  • Poor diet
  • Draft from windows

The most important thing to remember is that Crested gecko respiratory infection is not only treatable but also preventable. By knowing the following symptoms, you can catch the disease early and act quickly:

  • Breathing with mouth wide open
  • Lethargy
  • Not eating
  • Loss of weight
  • Discharge from the mouth, nose
  • Bubbly saliva
  • Bloated / Swollen body
  • Wheezing/ clicking noises/ laboured breathing
  • Head held in a raised position to aid in breathing

If you suspect Crested gecko respiratory infection, you should take your gecko to the vet. The vet will then establish if the cause is bacterial, fungal or viral and will come up with a plan for quick recovery.

Related Topics Q&A

What Parasites Can Crested Geckos Get?

Reptiles are susceptible to parasites. Crested geckos are no exception.

The only way to be sure what parasite your gecko has is by having a sample of their stool tested by a vet.

There are three main parasites that can result in a sick Crested gecko:

  • Entamoeba
  • Pinworm
  • Cryptosporidium

Entamoeba

The parasite that should be the biggest concern in Crested gecko is Entamoeba.

Symptoms

The symptoms of this parasite include:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • In extreme cases it can lead to death
Treatment

The Entamoeba parasites, can be treated through the use of Flagyl (metronidazole). This needs to be prescribed by a vet.

How To Care For A Sick Crested Gecko?

To nurse your gecko back to health, apply the following advice:

  • To help with bringing back their appetite, try giving them puree of fruits such as papaya, figs, bananas. You can sprinkle some CGD powder to add vitamins and minerals. Click here to find out more about fruits that you can feed your gecko that can help with bringing their appetite back Can Crested Geckos Eat Fruit: Safe Fruits For Crested Geckos
  • Another way to feed them is by using a small wooden stick and dipping it in a repashy mixture. This can make it easier for them to eat by licking the food off the stick
  • Feed them by using a syringe straight to their mouth
  • Avoid handling them for some time
  • Place a blanket over the enclosure. That will help them relax
  • Deep clean the enclosure and strip it down to the bare minimum. Use paper towel substrates until you see improvement in health
  • Ensure temperature and humidity levels are right
  • Provide fresh water in multiple locations in the tank

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