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Old 04-12-2006, 02:08 PM   #1
Question Quality of life question for blind gecko

I'm new here, just registered today, and I am really impressed by the forum. I recently rescued a pair of leos that were brought into a PETCO (actually a very nice caring facility) by an individual that claimed they were too aggressive. Well, they are as sweet as kittens, but one appeared to be having a terrible time shedding and did not want to open it's eyes. (there was no heat or moist hide in the tank they were dropped off with) I soaked it in warm water and after the shed was off, I saw that the eyes were, lets say, funky looking. I took it to the vet immediately, and she used some drops that indicated damaged corneas either from injury or an infection. I gave the little thing antibiotic eye drops four times a day, and there was no real improvement, but no worsening either. It was obvious that the gecko had no vision at all, but after getting it's health back through hand feeding, I was eventually able to train it to eat by tapping the ground next to a mealworm until it grabbed it. I think it now has some ability to see a little light out of one eye, but the other eye looks sort of warped and beyond hope.
Some people have indicated that it is cruel to keep this girl alive with little chance of improvement, but since it is fattening up and seems to eat ok with help, and is very easy to handle, I don't think I could ever have it put down just because of it's blindness. Of course at this point, there is still some hope that one eye will continue to improve. I am just curious as to the opinions of members here. How would you deal with a gecko that might be permanently blind? Do you consider it's quality of life so limited that it would be unkind to let it live out it's life this way?
The other gecko that came with it is doing great, and I also have a baby in another tank - which was the one I was buying supplies for when the other pair became available.
Here are links with photos. The first link shows Kismet, the blind gecko in a silly photo series I took of her last night. The side you see has her "bad" eye
The second link has photos of all three in a little gallery
Old 04-12-2006, 02:19 PM   #2
There is still hope for her to live a good life. She looks healthy other than the eyes, so I wouldn't agree to putting her down at this point.
Old 04-12-2006, 02:29 PM   #3
bro paul
Welcome to the forum Susan! I agree with Felicia. And I commend you for giving Kismet some TLC. That seems to be the main issue when it comes to quality of life...whether or not the owner can provide the necessary attention for a gecko with special needs. If you have the time and commitment to hand feed her and give her individual attention then I think her quality of life would be fine...if not spoiled! Now, in someone elses hands it may be a different story....
Old 04-12-2006, 02:29 PM   #4
No, I don't plan to have her put down anytime soon... she's doing pretty well, in fact. I was just curous as to how people view that dilemma, and what are the deciding factors when that decision has to be made. It certainly won't be easy for me to find someone to care for her if I go away for a vacation or something. Feeding her is very time consuming! When she isn't missing the mealies entirely, she's snagging my fingers that are holding the meal worms, LOL. I tried tweezers, but she grabs them to easily by mistake, and I'm afraid she'll hurt her mouth. (her little teeth don't hurt me at all, though I still jump sometimes when she does that)
Old 04-12-2006, 03:01 PM   #5
I think it would be pretty easy to tell if she was suffering from poor quality of life. I mean my understanding is that if she were in severe pain or just miserable she would refuse to eat even with you helping her. It does sound kind of time consuming. Would it be easier to hold her and press the worm/cricket/whatever against her mouth?

Those pictures are great. I think gecko yawns are about the cutest thing in the world.
Old 04-12-2006, 03:08 PM   #6
She's funny that way. She won't open her mouth for a meal, so when I was hand feeding her, I had to put a drop of water on her nose, and when she'd finally lick at it, i had to try to shove the end of a mealie in... ONLY THEN would she proceed to chomp away... after that I could get the next one started while she was licking her chops from the last one. If I missed the chance a second time, nothing would make her open up. But she must have an independent streak, since she likes to snap up her own meals once I convince her that there is something there to eat. Once, she accidentally grabbed her tank mate's arm while trying for a mealie. She let go so fast! The other one just gave her a dirty look and walked away, no harm done.
Old 04-12-2006, 03:31 PM   #7
Rebel Dragons
As long as she has someone like you to offer her a helping hand, I think she'll live a long and happy life

Welcome to Fauna!!!
Old 04-12-2006, 03:45 PM   #8
Hey, thanks, Mike, and everyone else who replied. As long as I know there is such a great resource as this forum available to ask for help, it will certainly make it easier to give these little guys the best life I can.

Would you like to hear something amusing? I was just reading the news and I caught this quote:

"If you were not protected by God, you would be afraid of a gecko."- Saddam Hussein, answering prosecutor's questions for the first time in his war-crimes trial
Old 04-12-2006, 04:13 PM   #9
I'm afraid of one of mine anyway. She'd definitely kill and eat me if she could just figure out a plan.
Old 04-12-2006, 05:38 PM   #10
Golden Gate Geckos
Kudos to you for caring for these little creatures! Naturally, in the wild, a blind gecko would starve to death. If you are willing to make the commitment to hand feed her for the rest of her life, then I say "Go for it"!

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