Leopard Gecko Mouth Rot: Causes, Prevention & Symptoms

Leopard Gecko mouth rot is an illness caused by weakened immune systems leading to infection, and potentially spreading to the esophagus and lungs if left untreated.

This article will explore;

  • What mouth rot is 
  • The causes and prevention
  • The symptoms

Please note: Even though we’ve extensively researched credible sources to provide you with the best information, what you’ve read should only be used as a guide. We’re not professionals with lab coats and clipboards. Always consult a professional if you have concerns about your reptile’s health.

What Is Mouth Rot?

Mouth rot, also known as stomatitis is a contagious affliction caused by the immune system becoming weakened. 

When this happens, the bacteria in your Leopard Geckos’ mouth will be out of control resulting in infection and mouth rot.

If mouth rot goes untreated it can spread to the esophagus and inevitably the lungs. Because of this, it’s best to seek expert medical advice from a vet if you suspect mouth rot in your Leopard Gecko.

Causes And Prevention Of Mouth Rot In Leopard Geckos

Here is a breakdown of the 5 most common causes of mouth rot in Leopard Geckos;

Stress

The most common cause of mouth rot in Leopard Geckos is stress, this is because if your Leo becomes stressed its immune system plummets, leaving it vulnerable to all sorts of illnesses.

Unfortunately, Leos can be stressed out quite easily, so here are four things to check within their habitat to keep them happy and comfortable;

  • Have you added new decorations to their enclosure? Leopard Geckos, like most humans, don’t like sudden change. It’s best to alter their habitat at a slow pace if you 

need to make changes.

  • Is their enclosure surrounded by a noisy environment? Having your Leopard Geckos’ tank in a busy location like a living room will be too noisy for them to handle. The external volumes of televisions, constant movement, other pets, and children will stress out your Leo.
  • Are you trying something new in their diet? Leopard Geckos are insectivores, meaning they only eat insects and can be quite fussy when it comes to eating. If you’ve changed what you’re feeding them, I recommend reverting back to see if the cause for the stress is the diet.
  • Are They Sharing Their Enclosure? Leopard Geckos don’t share well, so I strongly recommend against cohabitation. Leos are territorial and solitary animals, being housed together will lead to fights, injury, and stress.

Poor Hygiene

Bacteria will build up quickly if your Leopard Geckos’ enclosure is not regularly cleaned. If your Leo is having to fester in a dirty environment then it’ll inevitably lead to illnesses. 

Caring for your Leopard Gecko is part of the owner’s responsibility, you’ll need to do daily spot checks to remove feces and leftover food. Followed by a weekly deep clean, ensuring any dirty substrates are replaced and decorations cleaned.

Wrong Enclosure Setup

Leopard Geckos are from the middle east, you’ll want your terrarium set up to replicate their natural habitat as best as possible. If the habitat setup is incorrect, your Leo will become ill because they need specific requirements to thrive.

Enclosure Size Requirements

The size options commonly used for housing Leopard Geckos are;

20 Gallons (30”x12”x12”)

40 Gallons (36”x18”x18”)

I recommend using the 40-gallon to save time and money instead of upgrading the smaller tanks as your Leopard Gecko grows.

Temperature Requirements

Due to Leopard Geckos being from the middle east, they’ll require their terrarium to have a temperature gradient throughout the habitat. This should be;

  • Basking Area: 94°F-97°F (34-36°C)
  • Warm Area: 90°F-92°F (32-33°C)
  • Cool Area: 70°F-77°F (21-25°C)
  • Humidity Levels: 30%-40%

Lighting Requirements

Leopard Geckos will use the lighting schedule within their enclosure to determine when it is time to eat and sleep. 

During the summer, your Leopard Gecko requires light to be provided for 14 hours a day, throughout the winter you’ll need to reduce the lighting exposure to only 12 hours a day.

Most reptiles require UVA and UVB lighting, this is to help their body function, UVA exposure benefits their eyesight and UVB is for a healthy metabolism, calcium metabolism, and vitamin D synthesis.

Malnourished

Providing a nutritious and balanced diet is crucial to your Leopard Gecko remaining healthy, if your Leo is malnourished their immune system will drop.

When preparing your Leopard Geckos’ food, you’ll need to provide a variety of insects and use supplements such as vitamin and calcium powders.

Parasites

Unfortunately, you can care for your Leopard Gecko the best you can, however, parasites are able to find their own way to latch onto your Leo. Typically this happens because of an infected insect or someone handling your Leo without cleaning their hands thoroughly.

If you suspect your Leo is infested by parasites, seek expert medical advice from a veterinarian immediately.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mouth Rot In Leopard Geckos?

The symptoms of mouth rot in Leopard Geckos are as follows;

  • Bleeding gums
  • Yellow pus
  • Swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black shading on teeth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Favoring one side of their mouth
Snake Discovery Youtube Channel: This video thoroughly provides information on how to identify mouth rot, its causes, and how to treat it.

Mouth Rot Treatments

The first thing you’ll need to do is consult your veterinarian expert for advice on what to do. Usually, a prescribed treatment of antibiotics and local antiseptics will do the trick.

During this time, you’ll need to clean and sterilize their enclosure to remove bacteria to prevent the infection from spreading and causing other illnesses.

Never apply unauthorized products to your Leopard Gecko, this could cause more harm than good. Only apply treatments prescribed by your veterinarian expert.

Summary

Leopard Gecko mouth rot is a health issue impacting the well-being of our beloved pets. However, by practicing good husbandry and monitoring your Leopard Gecko’s health regularly, you can help prevent and treat mouth rot. 

If you suspect your Leopard Gecko has mouth rot, it is crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as possible to ensure a full recovery.