Is it possible for a normal leopard gecko to have Enigma Syndrome?
I’m asking because I rescued a 1 year old female leopard gecko 5 weeks ago. She was super thin and unable to see due to her eyes being fully packed with stuck shed. It has taken intensive care to get her eyes clear and syringe feeding to get some weight on her. She’s improved a great deal, but still struggling to eat on her own. I tilt the food bowl full of worms in front of her and she misses or does this side to side swing with her head. I thought maybe she was blind, but her eyes are clear and pupils react to light. She walks in circles a lot too. I thought enigma only occured in that color morph. So what is going on here? I believe she was bought at a big box pet store.
She has made MAJOR progress in my care.
Enigma syndrome is found in Engimas, but there is no reason a non-Enigma couldn’t have neurological problems. She could have been born with them, or gained them later in life from an injury, toxin or from overheating.
That is does not appear to be Enigma Syndrome. My Enigma has a sort of a wobble/shake, but does not walk in circles or have vision issues.
That looks and sounds a lot like when some of my geckos developed cerebral xanthomatosis as a result of being fed a diet way too high in fat. All of them that developed those symptoms passed away despite intensive intervention once I realized what was happening. However, she is really young to be developing cancer.
My guess is that she was fed a totally inadequate diet and is suffering from nutrient deficiency. Make sure you gutload and supplement/dust appropriately, it’s of extreme importance in her case. (I would use Repashy’s Calcium Plus every day for a couple weeks, but not permanently). I would get her off of mealworms, waxworms, etc. immediately and start feeding her something less fatty. I just responded to a thread about leo diet here:
There’s also the possibility that she has something that is not obvious to us, but that a qualified reptile vet might be able to recognize. Since she is showing such advanced neuro issues, I really do recommend a vet visit. HERE are some tips on finding a vet with reptile experience.
I’ve been giving her supplements since I got her. The previous owner was just feeding mealworms with no supplements. I wonder if she’ll improve in time with adequate diet. Time will tell.
I tried to tong feed her last night and she did excellent with it. For some reason biting downward is harder for her
She’s my special child lol. I’ll tong feed her from now on and get her some better food. Ive been experimenting with different feeders with her since she didn’t have an appetite at first.
Thank you for all the info! I hope she is able to live a normal life. For now she doesnt seem severe enough to not thrive. I read some neurological issues can get better or worse with age. We’ll see how she does
I’ll try to get her into the vet soon too. Maybe they will know something I don’t.
Is it possible this was caused by me feeding her chicken baby food when I was syringe feeding her? That’s what I read to use for severely emaciated/ not eating leopard geckos. I’m new at this
That’s awesome that she is doing well with tong feeding! I feed my leos Grub Pie chunks (cooked) via tongs and they have all learned to love it. It’s also easier for my elderly/disabled geckos to handle than live/squirming prey.
I have one gecko with neuro/vestibular issues that developed suddenly when she was 14 years old, but have not progressed in the ~2 years since. She requires hand feeding but continues to do well and move about her enclosure. I just made sure to smooth the sharper edges of all her cage furniture and decorations, and positioned everything to be easy to navigate for her. So it’s not impossible to have a neuro case stabilize.
I’m not sure if baby food has any immediate negative effects, but it’s imbalanced, so it could cause a problem in terms of nutrient deficiency over time. I wouldn’t use chicken baby food again, and I probably would take any further advice from the source that recommended baby food with a grain of salt . Instead, buy some Grub Pie from Repashy, mix it with water (without cooking), and feed the slurry via oral syringe. This is how I feed my females that have poor appetites during breeding season. Alternatives would be Carnivore Care (from Oxbow) or Emeraid’s Intensive Care for Carnivores.
You are doing a wonderful thing by caring for this little one! Even should she not be able to recover, you can be confident that she has been comfortable and happy under your care.
It was a veterinarian advice website that mentioned baby food. Those products seem like better choices since they are actually made for reptiles lol. I believe we’re out of the woods and she won’t require syringe feeding any longer. She’s gaining weight and eating on her own finally.
I really thought she was going to die when I first got her. She looked horrible. It took 2 weeks of microsurgery with tweezers and delicate hands to clean out her eyes. She would just sit with them shut all the time. I felt so bad for her. I wish the owners had posted them before her tank mate passed. I could have saved them both.
Her tank has paper towel, a couple hides, including a moist hide, food and water bowls, and thats it. I’ll make it more natural like all my other gecko enclosures soon.
Thank you for all the advice!
“Skittles” right eye has this wonky shape too lol. Whatever no one is perfect lol. I’m just thankful she can open them now.
She also seems small for her age. My unsexed diablo blanco is only 6mo old and is bigger than she is.
That right eye looks like it has some swelling associated with that “wonky” shape, so I’d say the vet visit you plan on is a good idea. Possible there is still some kind of secondary issue or foreign body.
She looks a lot better than she did, she’s a lot healthier now than she was. Baby food isn’t a balanced diet so it shouldn’t be used for leopard geckos. If you’re looking for an alternative for live bugs grub pie is the best option.
I think the eye is worth a vet visit and that might be the cause of some of the eye issues.
Why don’t you think they should be used permanently. I’ve been calcium plus with good results, is there a reason why it shouldn’t be used.
I just mean not to use it daily for most feeders. When I was using it daily, my males and some elderly females started building up major excess (seen in armpit bubbles), though my juvies and breeding age females generally didn’t visibly have much of a problem.
I don’t generally feed mealworms, superworms, crickets, or waxworms, and they might do well with higher supplementation, especially if they aren’t gutloaded first (waxies can’t really be gutloaded, they’re permanently ‘fast food,’ hehe )
Over the years of keeping leos, and having gotten extremely variable advice from a variety of qualified reptile veterinarians, I’ve finally realized that recommending a supplementation level is totally dependent on what feeders are being used and the age/sex/reproductive status of the leopard gecko concerned. An example: I’m going to make a separate thread to discuss it when I have time, but right now I’m feeding 95% Grub Pie via tongs, and for most of my guys, I rotate using Calcium Plus, Ca w/D3, Ca w/out D3, and Reptivite about once a month, and I’m still having oversupplementation issues with some males and an older female.