It is important to keep in mind that anorexia is not actually a disease itself in leopard geckos but it is a symptom of a potentially serious problem or it may be just be part of a natural seasonal slowdown that many leopard geckos go through yearly.
Please read our Disclaimer before reading any further into these common problems. As with any medical problem, we strongly recommend that you immediately contact your veterinarian for assistance.
As with many other problems encountered with leopard geckos, there could be a wide range of possible contributing factors that you and your vet will work through and start to eliminate. Most of the time, a lack of appetite is related to improper husbandry practices and not actually any disease.
The more common causes could include:
- Seasonal anorexia (many species will go off their food seasonally during the winter months.
- Improper environmental temperatures
- Improper lighting schedule – lack of a regular photoperiod.
- Lack of a secure hiding place.
- Habitat recently moved, changed or too small.
- Food is being offered in the wrong place.
- Offering the wrong kind of food.
- Offering food at the wrong time of day.
- Improper feeding schedule.
- Gecko is uncomfortable eating for an audience.
- Gecko is shedding.
- New owners or people feeding the reptile.
- Failure of a wild-caught specimen to adjust to captivity
- Breeding season – sexually active males and gravid females may go off food.
- Dominate individual preventing others from eating or may eat most of the food.
- Dystocia (egg binding)
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Internal parasites
- External parasites
- Bacterial, viral or fungal infections
- Foreign body obstruction or impaction
- Respiratory disease
- Other medical problems
There are many different diagnostic techniques available to determine the potential cause of the diarrhea. The most appropriate technique will depend on various circumstances and the results of other testing that may have been carried out.
- Evaluation of husbandry practices and detailed case history.
- Physical exam
- Fecal exams
- Blood work
- Ultrasound, endoscopy …
Ultimately the most appropriate therapeutic plan will depend on the cause of the problem. If the anorexia is deemed not to be a form of seasonal slowdown, the therapeutic plan could include:
- Fixing contributing environmental/husbandry problems.
- Treating any disease that may be present.
- Assist or force feeding (only recommended by a veterinarian and how to do this properly by your veterinarian).
When dealing with medical problems, proper personal hygiene, quarantine and disinfection techniques are absolutely necessary.