(Text and photographs © Lynn Raw 2003)
This female leopard gecko lost condition while housed with two others that continued to thrive. The only physical problem seen was a tiny piece of shed skin stuck to one eyelid. The animal was actively hunting and spent much time basking. It was eventually separated and given a shallow water disk to allow it to soak. A day later it was found dead.
Female cage mate acquired with dead animal in 2000
(both as juveniles)
Male cage mate – acquired earlier in 2003
Dorsal view of the dead gecko
Ventral view (note dark spot caused by burst gallbladder)
Ventral view with skin removed
Ventral view, abdomen and thorax opened
Liver, lung and intestine, note distended lower intestine
Heart, trachea and lungs, liver to left
Intestine and stomach extended
Heart: A = normal dark red area; B = light area.
Posterior abdomen: A = unknown object; B = possibly reabsorbing eggs;
C = kidney (?); D = ? (adrenals?); E = ? ovary.
Liver: A = remains of burst gallbladder; B = pale areas of liver; C = pale spots (lesions?).
Diagnosis: Who knows! It has been suggested that a chronic Cryptosporidium infection may have been responsible (see http://www.ksu.edu/parasitology/625tutorials/Apicomplexa08.html).
Further information (found by our associate search engine supreme Lynda Horgan of Canada) is at:
“Bovine colostral antibodies, with activity directed against Cryptosporidium
parvum, significantly decreased the parasite burden in geckos maintained at
the Baltimore Zoo.
Typically, cryptosporidial infection causes wasting and high death rates in
geckos, but 7 treatments at one-week intervals decreased oocyst output in
stools, eliminated gastric infection, and markedly decreased mortality in
geckos that had already lost more than 50% of their body weight.”
“A group of adult leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) which had been
losing weight for several months were found to be infected with
Histological and electron microscopical investigations on the intestines of
five of the lizards revealed the presence of large numbers of the
developmental stages of Cryptosporidium species attached to the mucosal
surface of the lower intestine, and large numbers of flagellate protozoa,
suspected to be predominantly Trichomonas species, in the gut lumen. The
clinical signs were attributed to the presence of one or both types of
She adds that more can also be found at the following sites (close page to return to this site):