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General Chit-Chat Forum Discussion about general topics that are really off topic concerning corn snakes, or just about any old chit at all.

Posting everywhere: swollen head in leopard geckos???
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Old 01-21-2007, 11:53 PM   #1
Unhappy Posting everywhere: swollen head in leopard geckos???

I know that this has nothing to do with corn snakes, and I have posted in 2 other leopard gecko forums, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, someone might be able to help me here...

I checked in on my girl Flaca tonight and while she was eating, I noticed her head -- it appears to be swollen. I thought that I was imagining things, so I took out my other girl, Rosa, and I touched her head...and compared it with Flaca's...Flaca's is definitely swollen-looking on the upper-sides (above the "ear" area). I did a Google search on swollen heads in leos, and one site stated that it could be a symptom of mouth rot. Does anyone have experience with this??? With either head swelling in leos or mouth rot? I will definitely be calling a reptile vet tomorrow.

You can see that on the left side of the photos, her head looks more swollen than the right side, and even that appears swollen, too. No, I don't see any drooling/excess saliva/cheese-like substances coming out of her mouth, none of the other symptoms that I read about, aside from a swollen mouth. She just shed, and she ate just about every bit of that, and she's been eating pretty regularly this week, too.

I will admit: I did touch her head, gently, and it feels very soft, like a bruise would feel: raised, and it seemed to be sore, because she didn't like it.

I thought at first that maybe she wacked her head somehow by tumbling when coming down off of her humid hide (which she likes to climb onto) or her cool hide (a large rock cave, bought at Petco, I believe). I just don't know...

Anyway, here are the photos...

Sorry for so many...I'm just really worried...and I know that it's hard to tell in the photos because it really is so subtle. If I didn't have Rosa with whom to compare Flaca, I'd think that I was imagining things...

Thanks in advance.
Old 01-22-2007, 06:00 PM   #2
Could be some kind of abcess going on. Also, sometimes kidey issues cause fluid to build up in the head or neck region, but I would think that would be more symmetrical?
Vet visit is a good idea.
Old 01-22-2007, 10:39 PM   #3
Ditto on the vet poor guy!

Which Gecko forums did you post on? I'm a member of a few and could forward this if you like?
Old 01-23-2007, 10:40 PM   #4
Thumbs up $170 later...but I highly recommend this vet!!! :)

I posted on Reptile Rooms and Leo Land (which I will never post on again...I hadn't posted in a long time, and most of my experiences there were exasperating...)...

Ok, so here's the scoop...I went to see Dr Byron de la Navarre on Lawrence & California, and while the visit was pricey, I felt that I got my money's worth as far as the vet's attention, ear and expertise are concerned.

Problem 1: Flaca's parotid glands are storing extra calcium and not allowing it to flush out like it should be...those are the glands that are stored in that area of her head (retro-something the vet called that part...basically, the back of her head...) and most likely due to her seasonal desire for reproducing, she's probably ingesting more calcium to prepare for egg laying. Or, as the vet said, just because she's a gecko and she'll lick anything she can, no matter what because it just so happens to be there...

Problem 2: Flaca's got a bit of pharyngitis going on, most likely due to the increased amount of calcium stored in her head, which seems to have irritated her sinus cavities... Her white blood cell count also seemed to be a bit high, too, but the vet thinks that that's related to her body trying to fight off the irritation...

I discussed my husbandry habits & set-up with the vet & tech and both said that I'm doing wonderfully -- in fact, because of my initial concerns over MBD and the status of health with which Flaca came to me this past July, I'm doing too good of a job now. I'm to remove Flaca's calcium and just give her one dusting a week...I'm also giving her extra UV light at night to hopefully help the calcium absorption/movement along. Flaca was prescribed two medications. One is an oral antibiotic and the other is some eye/nasal drops. I watched how the vet administered both and I will admit: I'll be nervous as hell giving them to her for the first few times, at least!!! She's just a wee lil'squishy thang! (But, one of the techs said that Flaca's got the fattest tail that she's ever seen on a leo! )

But, her prognosis seems to be good and I'm to give her the meds for the next 10 days and we'll see how it all goes then...however, the vet wants me to call in within 2-4 days to report on her, and in 10-12 days, return for a follow-up.

So, with that...hopefully my next photo of the lovely will be with a normal head.
Old 01-25-2007, 12:00 AM   #5
I'm so happy to hear that! Good Vets are worth their weight in gold! Hope she's better soon, she's cute even with the lumpy head!

Old 02-02-2007, 09:46 PM   #6
updated photos...

Flaca has almost been on her meds for 2 weeks, and I'm due to see the vet again this coming coming week...

Here Flaca is when I first noticed her swollen head...

And, here she is from 2 nights ago...

(Here she is not cooperating with the camera, and I didn't even have the flash on!)

(She really refused to open her eyes back up after the first photo!) This was taken a bit from above, just to give a different perspective...

It appears as though the swelling is decreasing, or am I imagining this? I didn't think that it actually was until I saw the first photo...she still isn't eating, but she has pooped twice, which I'm assuming is partly the medicine and partly from stored fat. She certainly doesn't look as if she's lost any weight, and she's been alert and active. And, being the good girl that she is, she's only pee-peed on me twice in all of the many times I've given her her medicine... She still looks a bit swollen yet, but she also does look a lot better...

What do you think?
Old 02-02-2007, 10:23 PM   #7
I definitely think the swelling looks decreased. You are so lucky your vet knew what it was...

Old 07-27-2009, 12:41 PM   #8

my lizards head is swollen too cept mine is like ten times more bigger im sooo afraid of losing my lizard im only 14 and i dont know what to do and neither does my mom plzzzzz plz help me !!

<3, bethanie
Old 07-27-2009, 12:59 PM   #9
Originally Posted by blbglow45 View Post
my lizards head is swollen too cept mine is like ten times more bigger im sooo afraid of losing my lizard im only 14 and i dont know what to do and neither does my mom plzzzzz plz help me !!

<3, bethanie
Take it to a vet?

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