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Do you think your leopard gecko has a broken leg? Don’t worry – we’re going to discuss the five most common signs and treatment options!
Leopard geckos are among the most popular reptile pets in the world. They’re docile, fun to care for, and undeniably cute!
However, every leopard gecko owner will face particular challenges at some point. One common challenge is determining if your pet is suffering from a broken leg. Unfortunately, leopard geckos have very fragile legs that can break easily. Although a broken leg isn’t fatal – it could be a sign of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Thus, today we’re going to go over the signs of a broken leg and how to treat it. We’ll also dive deeper into the symptoms of MBD and how you can cure your leopard gecko of this potentially fatal disease.
5 Signs and Treatments of Leopard Gecko Broken Leg
A broken leg can seem minor, but it can be dangerous if left untreated. Unfortunately, leopard geckos often do not show signs of pain.
In addition, leopard geckos are prone to breaking their legs over other reptile species. This is because they have short toes that don’t give them much traction on surfaces. To help you determine if your leopard gecko has a broken leg, here are five signs to look out for:
#1. Does Your Leopard Gecko Act Differently?
The first thing you should watch out for is changes in how your gecko acts or interacts with you. Some signs for concern include:
These may be signs that your leopard gecko is suffering from a health condition. It may be a broken leg, or it could be a sign of another health condition. Regardless, make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian ASAP.
#2. Is Their Tail Bent in Weird Ways?
A leopard gecko with a broken leg will hold one part of its body in an unusual position. If you notice their tail is not pointing straight down but more to one side or held high without weight on it, these are signs that something may be wrong.
Make sure to see your vet as soon as possible if your leopard gecko displays any oddities like these. An X-ray can reveal exactly what’s going on inside your leopard gecko’s body.
#3. Does Your Leopard Gecko Have Trouble Walking?
Walking issues could also mean that your gecko has suffered a broken leg. However, there are also other reasons for their limpness. Make sure to check if they are holding their front right limb up while walking. If so, your leopard gecko may have developed an arthritic condition or muscle disease.
As with most health problems in leopard geckos, consult with your vet before you get too worried.
#4. Is There Skin Damage Around Legs?
Similar to how a broken bone can cause severe damage to a human’s skin, a gecko with a broken leg may damage the skin around that limb. Look closely at your leopard gecko for any signs of bruising or discoloration. If you see redness, blood, or generally odd-looking patches of skin on your gecko’s leg(s), it could be a broken leg.
#5. Does Your Leopard Gecko Appear in Pain When Touched?
If there is no visible swelling around their legs, but they seem uncomfortable when handled, then chances are they are currently in pain. For instance, if you try to pick them up, but they try to pull away or cringe when handled, they may be suffering. In either case, a vet will get your leopard gecko on a treatment plan to resolve the issue at hand.
There’s a chance that your leopard gecko will have a broken leg at some point in its life. But, don’t worry too much! Although broken legs often require surgery, they aren’t any more common than other conditions seen in leopard geckos. Many exotic vets are well-versed when dealing with broken legs in leopard geckos.
Primary Cause of Broken Legs in Leopard Geckos
Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is a condition that occurs when a reptile’s body metabolizes calcium insufficiently. This can lead to the loss of bone minerals in the reptile’s bones, which can cause them to become brittle and break. This, in turn, can affect your pet’s appetite, water intake, and overall health. It can also lead to the loss of mobility in the affected limbs.
MBD can occur in various species but is most often seen in younger reptiles due to rapid bone development.
The worst part is that an animal suffering from MBD will feel no pain from its weakened bones until something breaks or tears. At that point, swelling along with bruising will occur where there was once normal-looking skin. If left untreated for too long, your pet could develop severe problems like osteoporosis. Unfortunately, this can prove fatal over time.
Treatment for leopard geckos with a broken leg usually involves anti-inflammatory medication. Physical therapy may also be needed to help get that limb working correctly again.
Treatments for Leopard Gecko Broken Leg
If your leopard gecko shows any signs of a broken leg, be sure to visit your veterinarian to ensure they aren’t suffering from MBD. Otherwise, they could continue to break bones or die from starvation or dehydration. During the exam, your veterinarian will take blood samples for testing.
One of these tests will measure how much calcitriol – the active form of vitamin D – is in the pet’s blood. In addition, your veterinarian may take x-rays or ask questions about recent environmental changes at home before making a diagnosis.
After a blood test, they may also prescribe a special diet for your pet. This will ensure your leopard gecko is receiving the proper calcium intake and other vital nutrients.
As long as no fracture is involved, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve the pain associated with weak bones through a pain-relieving mechanism. They can also aid in healing if your leopard gecko’s injury has been treated with medications such as calcium supplements.
If you own a leopard gecko, it is imperative to learn what could cause a broken leg to prevent it. Aside from losing its ability to walk normally, long-term complications can include systemic infection and high mortality rates. The best course of action is prevention through early detection and prompt veterinary care.
We hope your little guy feels better in no time! If you’re interested in learning more about Metabolic Bone Disease and the signs, symptoms, and treatment, check out our full guide!