Crested Gecko Mouth Rot – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot

Crested geckos are prone to certain diseases. One of those diseases is mouth rot. By knowing Crested gecko mouth rot symptoms such as excessive salvation and cuts in mouth, you can catch it early and speed up the recovery.

Crested gecko mouth rot is a common disease amongst reptiles. Knowing how to prevent this illness is important knowledge for every owner. The following topics in this article will help you do just that!

We are covering the following information:

  • What is mouth rot
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosing mouth rot
  • Treatment
  • Prevention

What Is Crested Gecko Mouth Rot?

Crested gecko mouth rot is also known as Ulcerative Stomatitis or Infectious Stomatitis. This is a common reptile disease that affects the gums and the mouth.

Mouth rot can be prevented and if caught on time – treated. However, if left untreated, mouth rot can spread to the lungs, digestive tract and can even be fatal in some cases.

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot – Cause

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot

The causes for mouth rot in geckos include:

  • Stress. The main cause for Crested gecko mouth rot is stress. If your gecko is stressed, their immune system won’t function properly and they will be more susceptible to different bacteria, viruses or fungi
  • Incorrect temperature and humidity levels
  • Parasites
  • Trauma/injury. If your Crested gecko constantly rubs its nose or head on the tank walls, it can result in sores that allow for bacteria, viruses, and fungi such as such as Pseudomonas, Aeromonas, Salmonella, Klebsiella, and Mycobacterium to enter and cause infection
  • Incorrect diet. Poor nutrition such as Vitamin C deficiency or incorrect Calcium/Phosphorous levels can result in mouth rot
  • Chewing on substrate/bedding such as coconut fiber

The causes mentioned above such as incorrect habitat setup, wrong temperature/humidity can cause stress to your gecko and weaken their immune system. If your gecko’s immune system is not fully working, it can result in an infection such as mouth rot.

To learn more about stress in Crested gecko, click here Crested Gecko Stress Signs: How To Prevent And Treat Stress

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot – Symptoms

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot
Mouth Rot In Geckos

As mentioned earlier stress can weaken your gecko’s immune system and result in an infection such as mouth rot.

It’s essential that you can recognize the symptoms of mouth rot, so you can catch the diseases early and act quickly to help your gecko recover.

Most often Crested gecko mouth rot begins with excessive salivation. Then, oral cavity tissues might develop little pinpoint haemorrhages that look like red dots. They are also known as “petechiae”.

Other symptoms of Crested gecko mouth rot include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Not drinking
  • Cuts in the mouth
  • Food stuck in teeth
  • Puss or dead tissue around mouth
  • Drainage from mouth and nose
  • Increased amounts of mucus in the oral cavity
  • Excessive salivation
  • Swelling or reddening around or in the mouth
  • Inability to close the mouth
  • Reduced or absent tongue flicking
  • The lining of the mouth can become eroded. This will result in developing “cottage cheese” appearance which is either yellow or white-gray in color

In severe cases, symptoms might include:

  • The head might be swollen
  • Infection can spread to the jaw and/or cranium (skull)
  • Teeth can become loose
  • Pneumonia might develop
  • Bleeding. If the tissue becomes cracked, it might bleed whenever the gecko opens their mouth

If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, you should take your Crested gecko to the vet to be properly diagnosed and treated.

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot – Diagnosing It

It’s really important to properly diagnose diseases such as Crested gecko mouth rot. If not diagnosed on time or left untreated, the surface tissue can die and spread to deeper tissues, including the bone.

If you suspect that your Crested gecko is suffering from mouth rot, you should take them to the vet who will diagnose them by doing the following:

  • History. The first thing your vet will ask you is about your Crested gecko’s living conditions such as temperature/humidity levels, diet and behaviors
  • Physical exam to confirm the mouth rot

Further tests might include (but not in all cases):

  • X-ray of the head and the body can determine if the bones and organs are affected
  • Blood and plasma tests can establish any anomalies
  • Bacterial culture and sensitivity tests help identify if there is any bacteria present
  • Fungal isolation test can establish if any fungi is present in the tissue
  • Cytology can establish if any of the cells are inflamed
  • Biopsy. In some cases, tumors can develop in the tissues around the mouth. In that case, the vet needs to do a biopsy of the affected tissue in order to come up with a diagnosis

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot – Treatment

If mouth rot is caught early on, your vet will prescribe treatments such as:

  • Cleaning the mouth. The vet will clean the gecko’s mouth with a gel and show you how to continue the treatment at home. It’s important to not overuse the gel to avoid further damage of the tissue
  • Antibiotics or antifungal agents. The vet will show you how to properly administer the meds
  • Oral antiseptic
  • Calcium. If the vet establishes that poor nutrition is the cause for the mouth rot, they will prescribe additional vitamins and minerals. The additional calcium should help your gecko’s jaw bones become stronger and avoid teeth decay
  • Surgery. In some severe cases, surgery might be required to remove dead or damaged tissue

It’s important to remember that Crested gecko mouth rot is a serious condition and if left untreated, it can result in death.

Without addressing the underlying condition, the infection will most likely return once treatment is terminated. Therefore, some of the following changes might also be necessary:

Crested Gecko Mouth Rot – Prevention

After treating Crested gecko mouth rot, it can still reappear. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure prevention of the disease by doing the following:

  • Habitat setup. That their environment has the proper set up such as the correct substrate. Click here for the full guide Crested Gecko Habitat Setup: How To Build A Perfect Tank
  • Humidity and temperature levels in the tank are correct – temperature should be kept at 72°F to 75°F and humidity levels at 60% during the day and 80% during the night
  • Diet – feed your gecko a healthy and well-balanced diet that include all the vitamins and minerals they need such as calcium and vitamin D. Read here to learn what Crested gecko should be fed What Crested Geckos Eat? Crested Gecko Diet – Do’s And Don’ts
  • Cleanliness – provide your gecko with a clean living space. Their tank should be spot cleaned daily and deep cleaned once a month
  • Substrate – Chewing on bedding material/substrate can result in Crested gecko mouth rot. Therefore, you should only use paper towels or no substrate at all. Any loose substrate such as coconut fiber can get stuck in their mouths and result in mouth rot

Final Thoughts

The best way to prevent Crested gecko mouth rot is by providing your gecko with good husbandry such as:

  • Appropriate temperatures and humidity levels in the tank
  • Nutritious diet
  • Cleanliness of their tank

However, if you suspect that your Crested gecko might have developed mouth rot, you should look out for the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Cuts in the mouth
  • Food stuck in teeth
  • Puss or dead tissue around mouth
  • Increased amounts of mucus in the oral cavity
  • Excessive salivation

If your vet diagnoses your gecko with mouth rot, usually they will prescribe one of the following treatments:

  • Antibiotics or antifungal agents
  • Cleaning gel
  • Oral antiseptic
  • Add calcium to your gecko’s diet
  • In severe cases surgery might be required

If you suspect mouth rot, you should take your Crested gecko to the vet to be properly  diagnosed and treated. If left untreated, Crested gecko mouth rot can be fatal. Therefore, symptoms should never be ignored.

Related Topics Q&A

What Are The Stress Symptoms In Crested Gecko?

As mentioned earlier, stress is the main cause for Crested gecko mouth rot. Therefore, it’s essential that you can recognize what are the stress symptoms in Crested gecko.

Crested geckos are fragile animals that can get easily stressed by many factors such as:

  • Incorrect temperature/humidity levels
  • Wrong habitat set up such as lack of hiding spots or wrong tank size
  • Incorrect handling
  • Tankmates
  • Poor diet

Some of the symptoms of a stressed Crested gecko include:

  • Jumpy and running away when you get close
  • Hiding or burying itself in the substrate
  • Biting when you try to handle it
  • Gape at you with their mouth open. Crested geckos use this tactic to scare you, when they are feeling stressed or scared themselves
  • Being aggressive by jumping at the glass
  • Fast and heavy breathing
  • Lethargic and sluggish
  • Tail drop

Click here for the full guide Crested Gecko Stress Signs: How To Prevent And Treat Stress


My name is Iliyana and I'm a passionate animal lover and pet owner. As there is significantly less information online about unusual and exotic pets, I decided to found this website and recruit expert writers to help pet owners.

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