Leopard Geckos

Mouth Rot In Leopard Geckos – Preventions & Treatments

Leopard geckos have a large number of health related problems which you may not know about. Some of these problems may even be oral, which can sometimes be very hard to spot if you are not looking closely. On further inspection you may actually see mouth rot in leopard geckos.

(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).

Did you know that leopard geckos are polyphyodont?

No? You’re not even sure what this means do you. Well, this means that leopard geckos continuously replace their teeth. In their tiny little mouths leopard geckos can have up to 100 teeth, and these are replaced every 4 months or so, roughly.

Because if this, mouth rot is quite common for leopard geckos.

Mouth Rot, also known as Infectious Stomatitis is a disease which affects a leopard geckos gums, and their mouths become infected. Common causes of mouth rot is due so small cuts inside the mouth which become infected or food which is stuck in-between their teeth which is now decaying.

So how do you spot mouth rot in leopard geckos?

Although they may not show it, mouth rot is actually quite painful for a leopard gecko. Humans have some oral problems which cause them a lot of pain, and this is no different for a gecko. You can start by looking around the outside of your geckos mouth for any sign of cuts, bruising or swelling, or stuck food. These same four signs may well be internal (inside the mouth), so can sometimes be harder to spot. 

Either way, be sure to take a close look inside and out for a full check up. 

Stubborn leopard geckos may not always be so willing to open their mouths, specially if they are in pain. However if you gently stroke along their mouths, usually they will soon open up out of irritation, so you may get the chance for a quick look inside.

We would recommend making this a common routine when handling your leopard gecko. Mouth rot can spur at any moment and needs constant checks so that you can deal with it quickly when it appears.

Making this common routine will hopefully become natural for your leopard gecko too, so in future it won’t be so stubborn to open its mouth for you.

Symptoms Recap
  • Loss of appetite
  • Redness around mouth
  • Thick pus or dead skin tissue around the mouth 
  • Discharge from nose and mouth 
  • Swelling 
  • Stuck food 

Are there any other non visible signs of mouth rot in leopard geckos?

There are no non visible signs of Mouth Rot which I know of, however it is very common for leopard geckos to lose interest in their food and drink. This is due to the main it causes to them for attempting a meal. 

Along with loss of appetite, leopard geckos also become very lethargic due to the lack of nutrients they are consuming. Commonly leopard geckos are very active reptiles so this should be quite easy to spot. For owners, if you are spending enough time with your leopard geckos then you should be able to see any of these changes pretty early on, which will give your pet the best chance of a speedy recovery.

What to do if you suspect your leopard gecko has mouth rot?

It’s very important that you do not leave it to chance, or leave it to worsen before taking your gecko to a veterinarian. The earlier you catch any disease, the better chance of a speedy recovery your pet will have. Specialist exotic veterinarians are best recommended, however if this isn’t possible then your standard veterinarian will be fine. At best they will know exactly where to find the information needed or have a specialist reptile veterinarian they can call for further advise.

You should never try to treat this yourself. Any home treatments may actually cause further damage and could possibly contain chemicals which could have an even worse affect or even fatal consequences on your gecko.

Your veterinarian will most likely prescribe your gecko some antibiotics or medication to help clear up the infection and fight off the disease. Listen to them carefully and read the instructions before trying to give them to your gecko.

Other causes of mouth rot in leopard geckos?

Temperature and Humidity levels

Incorrect habitat temperatures and humidity levels within a leopard geckos enclosure can be the cause of an ill functioning immune system and mouth rot. It is important that you have all the tools you need to be able to determine the correct levels needed to keep your gecko safe. Be sure to have a dependable (and fully working) thermostat and hydrometer to keep track of this. 

Our recommendation for a suitable Thermometer and Digital Hydrometer.

Digging

Digging in substrate can also lead to mouth rot. It can sometimes be natural for leopard geckos to dig every once in a while. They are very curious reptiles so this isn’t uncommon. However, if you can an unsuitable substrate inside the enclosure then this can sometimes cause some damage.

Geckos do sometimes graze or cut their mouths when digging. And although this may not actually cause them any real harm, an open cut or wound can become infected very easily. These small cuts can easily become infected and turn into mouth rot, which many gecko owners may not necessarily know.

Chewing on furniture

Finally, chewing on any enclosure furniture is another main cause of mouth rot. As we know, the furniture we put into our leopard geckos enclosures are purposely made for that reason. Many of them may not be completely natural materials, like Exo-Terra branches and plants. They are made from plastics, which are made specifically to be durable enough to not break when being chewed or pulled by your pet reptiles.

For this reason they are pretty tough and your gecko will most likely be doing itself more harm then good. If this is the case, keep an eye on your gecko to make sure they aren’t continuously trying to chew on their furniture. If so, then it may be wise to take it out and replace it with something that looks less edible.

So what can you do to prevent mouth rot in leopard geckos?

Checking your leopard gecko frequently is probably the best form of defence. Unfortunately they can not check these things themselves so they rely on a caring owner to do it for them. 

Making sure they are housed in an appropriate enclosure will ensure their safety further. Make sure to look for any sharp or pointy bits within the enclosure. Any rocks with sharp edges to it, or climbing wood which has broken off and become pointed. These potentially dangerous aspect to an enclosure can easily penetrate a leopard geckos skin, specially around the mouth where there is less protection anyway.

Giving your gecko a health balanced diet will increase its chance of fighting off any potential disease before it has the chance to develop into something more serious. Make sure to pack its diet full of vitamins and proteins which will help in the repair of abrasions in the skin. 

Conclusion 

Mouth rot in leopard geckos. It’s fair to say that mouth rot in leopard gecko is never a good sign. However it is quite easily curable with a veterinarians advise and provided antibiotics. Checking on your leopard geckos health regularly is the best form of defence in any infection, illness or disease. Keep their enclosure as clean as possible to reduce any chance of infections also.

I’m sure if they could, they would happily climb up onto our shoulders and whisper in our ears their problems. But unfortunately they can’t. Catching these early signs can be the difference between life and death for reptiles. 

Remember to look for a change in behaviour as well, as this will most likely be the first difference you see in your pet gecko. Either way if you are concerned at all about the health and well being of your leopard gecko, get down to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

After searching and testing many different products, we have come up with our list of “Must Have” items for recommendations for both price, and durability for the best enclosure accessories.

Bathing Water Bowl – Click Here

Heat Mat – Click Here

Heat Lamp and Guard – Click Here

Reliable Thermometer – Click Here

Vivarium/Enclosure – Click Here

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