Common Questions About Vet Visits for your African Fat Tailed Gecko

Taking proper care of your African fat-tailed gecko and ensuring timely vet visits are important in maintaining your pet lizard’s wellbeing. While routine care helps your gecko to stay a step ahead of illness and enjoy a longer, healthier life, it’s important to be informed and to have knowledge about when to take your pet to the vet.

Here are some common questions about vet visits for the African Gecko

  • How often should geckos go to the vet?
  • What signs indicate that my gecko may be sick?
  • What are common gecko health problems?
  • Can all vets treat a gecko?
  • How much does a vet visit cost for a gecko?
  • How do I keep a check on my gecko’s health?

In this guide we will answer these most common questions about vet visits for your Aftg gecko. 

How often should geckos go to the vet?

It is recommended that all pets attend an annual veterinary exam and an annual checkup but if your gecko is showing signs of illness, it is recommended to take them to the vet immediately.

What signs and symptoms should I look for before taking my leopard gecko to the vet?

Signs and symptoms that lizard owners should look for to alert them that their pet needs to be taken to the vet are:

  • Actively bleeding
  • Lethargy
  • Unresponsive, unconscious, or limp

What Are Common Gecko Health Problems?

It’s recommended to contact your vet immediately if you notice any of the following signs from your pet:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Prolapses from the cloaca
  • Drooping head or limbs
  • Gaping mouth
  • Thinning tail
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Vomiting/regurgitation
  • Loss of weight or condition
  • Detectable lumps or swelling
  • Discharge from the eyes or nostrils

On a larger scale, the Aftg Gecko can also suffer from other more extreme diseases in addition to the health problems outlined above:

  • Chronic malnutrition
  • Hypovitaminosis A
  • Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism
  • Phalangeal dysecdysis (retained shed on toes and tail)
  • Intestinal impactions
  • Abscesses
  • Diarrhea
  • Ocular problems
  • Stomatitis
  • Egg retention

These health problems and diseases usually arise from unsanitary conditions in the tank or improper care of the gecko (i.e.: feeding, cleaning, handling, etc.) and so there are measures that can be taken to prevent these problems.

For example, humidity levels that are imbalanced in the tank can lead to respiratory infections. Pinpointing the problem and finding solutions for it are important preventive measures that you the pet owner can take.

A more common health issue with this type of gecko is a disease termed Cryptosporidiosis. This arises from parasites that inhabit the soil and water, it can have detrimental effects on the gecko. It can also manifest itself in another way, by making the normally fat tail look unusually thin.

There is a simple way of preventing this parasite from attacking the soil and water of the tank, just by keeping the enclosure spotless, this parasite can be destroyed. The enclosure of your gecko should be cleaned daily and a deep clean performed about once a month.

At the time that you are performing a deep cleanse of the tank, it is important to take out everything from the enclosure. Next step is to use a reptile-appropriate cleaning product. The purpose of this is to remove any and all bacteria and to make sure that parasites don’t infest the tank.

Are all Vets trained to treat Geckos?

Not all vets are trained to treat reptiles so making sure that you’re taking them to the right clinic that has well-trained staff and a veterinarian on-site for treating reptiles. Researching this information beforehand is time well spent and it can truly make a difference in the type and quality of care your pet receives.

As explained above, getting an idea of a vet’s experience with reptiles is good practice when deciding which vet clinic to frequent for your pet’s annual checkups and other incidents that may require sudden visits to the vet.

The best way to do this is to get in touch with multiple practices and to have questions prepared to ask and to examine their responses. Posing questions related to generic reptile veterinary care are a good start or, more direct ones about lizard care are all appropriate questions to ask.

How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost?

In addition to costs associated with obtaining a habitat (tank), there’s also the cost of vet visits to consider when thinking about having a gecko as a pet. Vet exam fees will probably cost at least $50, and the vet may suggest a fecal exam which will cost an additional $30 to $50. Generally, pet gecko owners can expect to pay up to $150 for their initial visit.

How Do You Get Them to The Vet?

Transporting the gecko in a car requires you to place the lizard inside a container. The containers that are typically used to carry the reptile are ones that have small holes so the lizard can receive oxygen while remaining within the container.

The recommended method for transporting your gecko to the vet is to place them in plastic tubs that have enough space. The case should have material that is intact with sufficient ventilation.

Supposing that you decide to drive your pet to the vet, your gecko should have room to move within their container or case of transport, but you should also ensure that the gecko does not create any problems while you are conducting your vehicle.

Keeping your gecko comfortable in the vehicle during the transportation process is an important step to consider. If the temperature outside is cold and you are transporting your gecko to the clinic, turn on the car heater before taking off so the inside of the vehicle warms up before putting the case or bag carrying the gecko in the vehicle.

Using other modes of transportation to take your gecko to the vet is also acceptable. If using public transportation, take the gecko in a rucksack and use a towel to keep the case warm for the lizard. It is very important to create a stress-free environment for the gecko during the commute process.

What Are Some General Gecko Health Care Tips?

  • Your pet lizard may not show symptoms of illness, so it is suggested that annual checkups and fecal testing be completed to assist with finding signs of illness.
  • In addition to examining your pet, regular checkups make for a suitable occasion to talk about nutrition and nurturing of your lizard with your veterinarian given that the usual problems in reptiles are due to nutritional deficiencies.
  • Regularly weighing your pet on a weekly schedule can be effective in finding what’s wrong with your pet. Buying a scale and putting your pet in a plastic bin on the scale. It’s best to do this at the same intervals daily.
  • If you note that the pet’s weight has decreased by 10% of its normal body weight, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.
  • If you note a slight drop in weight call the vet to discuss causes.
  • Lastly, if you note a drop in appetite, fewer droppings, issues with shedding or your pet lizard feeling more tired, consult a vet.

These geckos can live up to 20 years, so proper care of your pet and maintenance of its habitat can go a long way in ensuring its survival and prosperity.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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