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Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of and risk factors for ophthalmic disease in leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) at a veterinary teaching hospital: 52 cases (1985–2013)

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  • 1 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 5 Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 6 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of and risk factors for ophthalmic disease in leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 112 of 144 (78%) leopard geckos that were evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital in January 1985 through October 2013 and for which sufficient medical record information was available.

PROCEDURES Information from medical records was used to identify leopard geckos with ophthalmic disease, characterize cases, and determine risk factors for the presence of ophthalmic disease.

RESULTS Of the 112 leopard geckos, 52 (46%) had ophthalmic disease (mainly corneal or conjunctival disease). Female geckos were less likely to have ophthalmic disease, and there was a positive association between increasing age and ophthalmic disease. Use of a paper towel substrate, absence of any heat source, and lack of vitamin A supplementation were positively associated with a diagnosis of ophthalmic disease. Head dysecdysis was the only concurrent disorder significantly associated with ophthalmic disease. At necropsy, 5 affected leopard geckos had squamous metaplasia of the conjunctivae.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that ophthalmic disease is a common finding in leopard geckos. The cause of ocular surface disease in leopard geckos may be multifactorial, and hypovitaminosis A may be an important risk factor. Although animals receiving supplemental vitamin A were less likely to have ophthalmic disease, further understanding is required regarding the metabolism of and nutritional requirements for vitamin A in leopard geckos.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of and risk factors for ophthalmic disease in leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 112 of 144 (78%) leopard geckos that were evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital in January 1985 through October 2013 and for which sufficient medical record information was available.

PROCEDURES Information from medical records was used to identify leopard geckos with ophthalmic disease, characterize cases, and determine risk factors for the presence of ophthalmic disease.

RESULTS Of the 112 leopard geckos, 52 (46%) had ophthalmic disease (mainly corneal or conjunctival disease). Female geckos were less likely to have ophthalmic disease, and there was a positive association between increasing age and ophthalmic disease. Use of a paper towel substrate, absence of any heat source, and lack of vitamin A supplementation were positively associated with a diagnosis of ophthalmic disease. Head dysecdysis was the only concurrent disorder significantly associated with ophthalmic disease. At necropsy, 5 affected leopard geckos had squamous metaplasia of the conjunctivae.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that ophthalmic disease is a common finding in leopard geckos. The cause of ocular surface disease in leopard geckos may be multifactorial, and hypovitaminosis A may be an important risk factor. Although animals receiving supplemental vitamin A were less likely to have ophthalmic disease, further understanding is required regarding the metabolism of and nutritional requirements for vitamin A in leopard geckos.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Wiggans' present address is Bay Area Animal Eye Care, 2100 Monument Blvd, Ste 7, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.

Dr. Reilly's present address is Insight Veterinary Specialty Pathology, 6902A Bennett Ave, Austin, TX 78752.

Dr. Vergneau-Grosset's present address is Université de Montréal, Companion Animal Hospital, 3200 rue Sicotte, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 2M2, Canada.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hollingsworth (srhollingsworth@ucdavis.edu).