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Reptiles/Leopard Gecko Health


Hello, I've been travelling for the past year and had my dad watch over my leopard gecko while I was gone. I got home late last night and noticed that she has some sort of crust build up on the right side of her mouth that prevents her from closing the one side. The bottom corner of her mouth is swollen due to the crust. I considered that this may be mouth rot but rest of her mouth is unaffected, ie no black teeth, bleeding gums or yellowish pus between the teeth. She looks her healthy weight and her tail is still fairly fat so I assume she is still eating but I will have to monitor her now.There was a strand of skin from shedding that was hanging from the corner of her mouth so I wondered if it may have had something to do with her not being able to remove the skin around her mouth and then sand getting stuck leading to an infection. She 15 years old and she has never had any health problems so I'm pretty worried. Please let me know if you have any ideas with what is wrong with her and if there is anything I can do.

Hi Lauren,

It sounds like a bit of dried tissue fluid or lymph fluid which is usually the result of minor, local inflammation. A bit of sand caught in that side of her mouth could definitely cause it.

You can remove it and flush out the area a bit by swabbing the crust with a cotton tipped swab dipped in hydrogen peroxide. Keep her tipped slightly head down  to avoid any going down her throat. It will bubble and foam and helps to remove any dead tissue, pus or dried fluid. Don't use it more then a couple times though, it can irritate tissues with prolonged use.

You could follow that up by swabbing with a bit of diluted povidone iodine which is commonly  sold as Betadine or some chlorhexidine, another widely used skin antiseptic. It does not really sound like an infection though so flushing with warm water may be sufficient.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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