The Kid is a leopard gecko with severe deformities from Metabolic Bone Disorder. He went over a year without any supplemental calcium, which caused his body to leach minerals from his bones instead. When we rescued him he was like a rubber toy! Both of his front limbs have badly healed brakes, along with various bones along his spine and tail. He has recovered with prescription strength calcium and mineral supplements, and was on pain medication for several months at the beginning. Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained are permanent and he will never be able to use his front legs properly and will always need assistance with eating. Even with all he’s been through, he has an amazing disposition and is fearless! His disabilities do not slow him down, and his pain has subsided to where he no longer needs to be medicated anymore. It has been an honor to help him recover, and he has a permanent home with us forever!
He was found – quite by accident – on a Facebook BST listing with his enclosure. I had been looking around the BST pages on Christmas Day to see if there were any tanks available, as we like to have extras for emergencies. He had been mistakenly listed in a non-pet group and had been available for sale for months. As soon as I saw the photos of him and his two tank mates, my heart sank. They looked melted, they had such severe metabolic bone disorder. After talking with their owners and explaining what was wrong, they agreed to let us come and get just the three geckos at no cost the next day so we could get them medical help. Unfortunately it was too late for his two tank mates, and we lost both during the first week. Their MBD was so severe that all their limbs and jaws were broken, and they felt like rubber. One died from organ failure, and the other from massive seizures on New Years Eve while our vet’s office was closed.
Their case is sadly not unusual – the owners had no reptile experience and the geckos were dumped on them by a family member who was no longer interested in caring for them. Not knowing what to do, they went to the pet store for advice. The pet store had never told them the crickets needed to be dusted with calcium at every feeding. The pet store didn’t tell them to seek medical help or expert guidance when the owner became concerned and the geckos showed signs of becoming deformed. They were told what they were doing was right and everything was fine and the geckos were healthy! In our area, veterinarians aren’t always the first thing someone thinks of, and unfortunately this family was not in a place where they could have done much even if they had known a veterinarian would treat a reptile. In the end it was the store’s fault, not the family’s – they had done everything they could think of and then put them up for sale when they felt like something was going wrong.