Cko is a thick-tailed Gecko and is by far the smallest patient to visit Essendon Veterinary Clinic in recent months, weighing in at a whopping 46 grams! Cko was brought to us after his owner noticed that he had a piece of old skin firmly attached to his right eye after shedding the rest of his outer skin layer.
Like snakes, lizards shed their skin throughout life. The process of shedding the outer layer of skin in reptiles is called ecdysis. There are many things that can cause reptiles to have a difficult shed, including improper husbandry, illness and parasites. Geckos, in particular, often have issues shedding the old piece of skin overlying the eyes, a syndrome that is called ocular dysecdysis. This problem is most often seen when geckos are not provided with enough humidity in their environment, as the old layer of skin tends to stick to the new layer of skin underneath it.
As innocent as it sounds, ocular dysecdysis can often carry a poor prognosis for small lizards like Cko, as they can lose their vision and stop eating. Luckily, after a good soak in warm water, and with gentle traction, Dr Chloe was able to remove the retained eye piece. There were concerns that the eye underneath looked small and scarred, and that Cko would take a turn for the worse if infection set in or if the eye continued to scar. Cko went home on anti-inflammatory pain relief and his owners were instructed to bath the eye daily with warm water.
Despite our concerns, Cko is going really well at home. His eye is still a little bit smaller than the other and looks a little bit clouded with scarring but his owners tell us that he is chasing after his meal crickets with more vigour than ever.
Cko’s owners have made some changes to Cko’s terrarium in the hope to prevent problems in the future. This included adding in a ‘hide’, or a place where Cko can go that will trap some of the humidity provided by heat lamps, water sources and regular spraying of the substrate on the floor of the tank.