Crested Gecko Mouth Rot: Signs, Causes, Care & Prevention

Crested gecko mouth rot is commonly known as Ulcerative Stomatitis or Infectious Stomatitis that is common among reptiles. It can be prevented and treated if caught on time. But if your gecko does not get proper treatment on time, then this disease can spread to the lungs, digestive tract and even fatal in some cases.

By observing crested geckos mouth rot symptoms that include excessive salvation and cuts in the mouth, you may catch this infection early and speed up the recovery and the good news is that this infection can be treated and monitored with ease if caught early. 

If your crested gecko has mouth rot and you are worried about its health, then get ready for taking action. In this article, we are discussing the signs and causes of mouth rot among crested geckos that may guide you very well about this infectious disease.

Signs and symptoms of mouth rot in crested geckos:

The following are the signs of mouth rot in crested geckos. It is essential that if you recognize any of the symptoms of mouth rot, so act quickly to help your gecko get a quick recovery.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of water intake
  • Cuts in the mouth
  • Food stuck in teeth
  • Pus or dead tissue around the mouth
  • Excessive salvation
  • Swollen oral tissues or gums
  • Face and head swelling ( in advanced cases)
  • Inability to close mouth
  • Swollen oral tissues and gums
  • Increase amount of mucus in the oral cavity
  • Reduced or absent tongue flicking
  • Red oral tissues
  • Pneumonia might develop (in advanced cases)

Cause of mouth rot in crested geckos:

Several reasons may cause mouth rot in crested geckos. Wrong humidity, weak immune system, and any bacteria in the mouth can lead to mouth rot. Other possible causes are:

Stress:

The main cause of mouth rot in crested geckos is stress. If your gecko is stressed, then its immune system will not function properly and it will be at higher risk to catch different bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

Incorrect temperature:

If the temperature inside the crested gecko terrarium is not optimum, then it might affect your gecko’s health and he may suffer from mouth rot.

Parasites:

If your crested gecko is showing signs of the abnormal appearing of stools and vomiting then it shows that he has parasites in the stomach. These parasites lead to different infectious diseases including mouth rot.

Trauma/injury:

If your crested gecko becomes aggressive and he constantly rubs his head or nose on the walls of the tank, then it can result to allow bacteria and viruses to enter the body and cause infection such as Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Aeromonas and Klebsiella.

Incorrect diet:

Poor nutrition such as vitamin C deficiency and incorrect calcium/ phosphorus levels may result in mouth rot.

Substrate:

Chewing on the poor substrate such as coconut fiber may also lead to infection and cause mouth rot.

Incorrect habitat:

If your gecko is not satisfied with its habitat, then it may cause stress to your gecko and weaken its immune system that can result in infection such as mouth rot.

How to diagnose crested gecko mouth rot?

It is important to properly diagnose diseases such as mouth rot in your reptiles. If not diagnosed on time then it may be left untreated and damaged oral tissue can spread to deeper tissues including the bones.

If your gecko is suffering from mouth rot, you should take them to the vet to diagnose them. Your vet may check the history of your gecko’s living conditions such as temperature, diet, etc, and may conduct a physical test to confirm the cause of mouth rot.

In severe cases, further tests might be conducted:

  • X-ray of the head and body to determine if other organs or bones are affected
  • Blood and plasma tests can be conducted to establish any anomalies
  • Bacterial culture and sensitivity tests can be conducted to help identify if there is any bacteria present.
  • A biopsy can be done to find out if any tumors have developed around the mouth or not. In that case, the vet needs may conduct a biopsy of the affected tissue.
  • A fungal isolation test can be conducted to find out if any fungus is present in the tissue.
  • Cytology can be done if any of the cells are inflamed.

Crested gecko mouth rot treatment:

If mouth rot is caught early, then the first thing you want to do is to visit the vet. The vet will perform a thorough examination of your crested gecko to confirm the reason for mouth rot.

  • The vet will treat them with antibiotics or antifungal agents along with cleaning the mouth. 
  • If the mouth rot is more severe, then surgery may be required to remove any damaged tissues or oral antiseptic may be done. Proper medication should be done to treat infectious mouth disease. 
  • If the vet establishes that mouth rot is done due to poor diet then he may prescribe additional vitamins and minerals. The additional calcium may help to avoid teeth decay and help your gecko’s jawbones to become stronger.

Prevention of mouth rot in crested geckos:

After treating mouth rot in crested geckos, it may still reappear. Therefore it is necessary to take the following steps to ensure the prevention of this disease:

Habitat setup:

Try to build an environment that has a proper setup for your gecko. The tank should be large enough and it should have a proper water bowl, food sources, and hiding places. Read more on crested gecko habitat.

Humidity and Temperature levels:

The temperature in the tank should be around 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels at 60% during the day and 80% at night. The unsuitable temperature and humidity in the tank may cause infectious diseases such as mouth rot. Read more on how to lower humdity in crested gecko tank.

Diet:

The gecko’s diet should be enriched with minerals, vitamins, and calcium to get stronger bones and a healthy body.

Cleanliness:

Your gecko’s tank should be clean daily and deep cleaned once a month to save your gecko from mouth rot.

Substrate:

Choose a proper substrate such as paper towels and newspapers because chewing on bedding/ material substrate or coconut fibers can get stuck in the mouth and result in mouth rot. Read more on crested gecko substrate.

Final thoughts:

The best way to avoid mouth rot among crested geckos is to providing the gecko with a nutritious diet, appropriate humidity/temperature levels, and cleanliness in the tank.

Try to take your crested gecko to the vet immediately after discovering the cause of mouth rot. Provide the optimum habitat conditions to your gecko and monitor the signs of mouth rot carefully. 

It is important to note that crested gecko mouth rot is a serious condition and should be treated on time. Otherwise, it can result in death.

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