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Leopard Gecko Shedding Problems

 
Leopard gecko shedding 

Leopard Gecko Shedding

Normal Leopard gecko shedding (synonyms Leopard gecko molting and Leopard gecko ecdysis), is a physiological process where the old skin is removed to give way for newer, usually larger one. The process of normal Leopard gecko ecdysis is dependant on a combination of environmental factors including the Leopard gecko temperature, Leopard gecko humidity, hydration and Leopard gecko photoperiod.

It is normal to see Leopard gecko eating problems during the shedding process. Some leopard geckos will also show skin eating behavior, which is also completely normal.

Leopard Gecko Shedding Problems

Leopard gecko shedding problems, or so-called dysecdysis, is defined by abnormal shedding. A healthy, well looked after Leopard geckos are supposed to shed in one large piece. Normal shedding is age dependant and should take place periodically. Abnormal shedding is seen where the skin comes off in pieces or not at all, or when the Leopard gecko shows soaking behavior.

Leopard gecko dysecdysis can be due to various factors. Most shedding problems occur when there is a deviation in the main environmental factors. Other contributing factors include age, skin infections, Leopard gecko parasites, stress, some Leopard gecko injuries and excessive Leopard gecko handling during the shedding period.

Leopard Gecko Dysecdysis Contributing Factors

Suboptimum Leopard gecko temperatures can lead to chronic stress, retarded growth and possible Leopard gecko disease. All this prevent a Leopard gecko from getting bigger in size which will cause shedding problems.

The humidity is probably the single factor leading to most Leopard gecko shedding problems. A low humidity, or a too dry environment prevents old skin from loosening properly. A Leopard gecko hide box with a suitable moist substrate should be part of the cage furniture.

Leopard Gecko Shedding Problem Complications

The main abnormal shedding complication is certainly the formation of constricting bands around the toes, legs and tail. This serves as a tourniquet which prevent the blood flow to the distal areas leading to necrosis and possible permanent loss of the extremity.

Other Leopard gecko shedding problem complications include secondary skin infections and mouth infections where the retained skin serves as growing sites for various bacteria.

Leopard Gecko Shedding Problem Treatment

Dysecdysis is not a primary disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying cause.  Leopard gecko shedding problems must preferable be treated under the instructions of an experienced Leopard gecko veterinarian. It is important to keep thorough records of your Leopard gecko sheddings to serve as history for the vet. The treatment of Leopard gecko shedding problems is threefold namely to treat the clinical signs of dysecdysis, to treat the underlying cause and to treat the complications.

The physical nature of the condition, i.e. the pieces of skin that are not sloughed naturally are treated with short, lukewarm water baths. A soapy disinfectant can also be used to aid in the process. The pieces of constricted skin around the extremities must be GENTLY removed by hand.

The most common underlying causes are incorrect Leopard gecko humidity and Leopard gecko temperatures. These two environmental factors must be corrected promptly. A less common problem is Leopard gecko mites.

Leopard gecko shedding problem complications are treated with any or a combination of the following: Parenteral fluids (drip), antibiotics, antiparasitics. Sometimes amputation of toes, legs or the tail is advised where necrotic constrictions took place.

 

Normal Leopard gecko skin shedding
This video is a fast-forward representation of a Leopard gecko shedding its skin.
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