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I have 8 leopard geckos, a rankin's dragon, and a bearded dragon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!

I have a leopard gecko called Florence, and she's been really unwell since January. The herp vet I go to identified follicular stasis in March and we took the necessary steps to resolve that (surgery to remove her ovaries and follicles) for about two weeks she was healing well, eating, pooping, shedding, maintaining weight, it was a perfect recovery at first. But then she started to slow down with her healing and I took her back to the vet. They did an ultrasound and found her liver was inflamed, so we gave her marbocyl and inflacam to try and resettle her liver.

It was still inflamed two weeks later and so was her gallbladder this time. So the inflacam was stopped and destolit was added instead. By now she'd lost weight, stopped eating, stopped drinking and hadn't pooped in a while, so of course I was concerned. It's now been two months since she's eaten (and in that time she's been the vets 11 times trying to find what's causing the problem) and her tail (aptly named The Machine because it was so large when I rescued her) is considerably thinner, and 6 weeks since she's pooped for me.

Two weeks ago she had an enema to make sure there was nothing blocking her from pooping because they noticed a high up fecal matter being trapped by her inflamed liver, but the enema didn't work. She passed a little urate and that was it.

On Monday 20th June I took her back to the vets because she hadn't improved on the post-enema medication, they took blood for testing her liver function and found a high white blood cell count - at this news I knew what was wrong, she had cancer. And it was confirmed by the vet as leukemia.

She had a biopsy on her liver on Tuesday 21st June, because the vet thought it'd spread. But luckily it hasn't. They've prescribed Prednisolone for a week to see if it improves her condition. But she's refusing to take any more medication (it's been about 3 months on and off medication) and I have to use the force-feeding technique with the small slice of cardboard to open her mouth, which I'm sure is traumatic for her.

I've been told that she needs to go back on Friday for tube feeding if she doesn't start on her own, and on Monday for more blood tests if the medicine doesn't seem to improve her condition.

And I guess I just need some advice and reassurance on when I should just... let her go. I'm thinking give her a week, then if she's not tolerating being given the medicine then to discuss euthanasia with the vet, but I've never had to make that decision to euthanise an animal before, and I don't want to cling onto her when she doesn't want to fight anymore, nor do I want to give up prematurely, so I was just wondering if yourselves had any experience with anything like this and could offer any advice/reassurance?
 

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Sadly I have faced this dilemma many times and it never gets easier. I would say that you are pretty much getting to that time I am afraid. She seems to have gone through quite a lot in recent months and as she has stopped eating and taking her meds it may be kinder to let her rest. Maybe try the tube feeding to see if this kick starts her eating on her own and see what the bloods show up but after that if no improvement then yes I would say it's time.
 

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I have 8 leopard geckos, a rankin's dragon, and a bearded dragon
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sadly I have faced this dilemma many times and it never gets easier. I would say that you are pretty much getting to that time I am afraid. She seems to have gone through quite a lot in recent months and as she has stopped eating and taking her meds it may be kinder to let her rest. Maybe try the tube feeding to see if this kick starts her eating on her own and see what the bloods show up but after that if no improvement then yes I would say it's time.

Thank you for your reply, it's been a hard few months on both of us, I've had two leopard geckos pass in the past (Echo passed young, she had MBD, a poor immune system and some other unidentified issues, and Artemis had post-follicular stasis surgery complications), but they both passed at home so euthanasia is new for me.

She's been tube fed on Monday/Tuesday and she immediately perked up, but as soon as I've presented her with livefood she's just turning her nose up at it. I'm about to try her on the prednisolone again in an hour or two and hope it stimulates some appetite after a second dose.

I just feel like waiting the week is just too long for her to be suffering any longer, but I just don't know.
 

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Hiya, so sorry you are going through this. I don't have experience with this with reptiles, but my cat passed away in my arms a few months away from a heart condition -and because we were so desperate to save him, we kept pushing back the euthanasia talk until it was too late. He had multiple vet visits prior to this and we knew that his condition wouldn't get better, but we believed that we could keep him stable. Unfortunately he rapidly declined in the span of a day and the choice was taken out of our hands. I have spent the last few months blaming ourselves for not opting for euthanasia sooner. I'm so sorry you are faced with this choice, and I'm not trying to say this is something you should do, but just thought I would tell you my experience. I don't think it matters whether it's a reptile or a mammal, if we love our animals, its a horrible decision to have to make.
 

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I have 8 leopard geckos, a rankin's dragon, and a bearded dragon
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hiya, so sorry you are going through this. I don't have experience with this with reptiles, but my cat passed away in my arms a few months away from a heart condition -and because we were so desperate to save him, we kept pushing back the euthanasia talk until it was too late. He had multiple vet visits prior to this and we knew that his condition wouldn't get better, but we believed that we could keep him stable. Unfortunately he rapidly declined in the span of a day and the choice was taken out of our hands. I have spent the last few months blaming ourselves for not opting for euthanasia sooner. I'm so sorry you are faced with this choice, and I'm not trying to say this is something you should do, but just thought I would tell you my experience. I don't think it matters whether it's a reptile or a mammal, if we love our animals, its a horrible decision to have to make.

Thank you for sharing your experience and I'm so sorry for your loss. It's helped me feel a little more at ease in terms of euthanasia as an option, I think I'm worried about the finality of the decision as well as the worry of euthanising too soon. But I think you're right. I shouldn't wait until she's clearly suffering, especially because I had two geckos pass at home last year within 4 months of each other. It was the hardest thing ever watching them fade away in my hands. I don't want that for Florence. So I'm going to call the vet and discuss that option with him. Thank you again for sharing your experience 💜
 

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I have 8 leopard geckos, a rankin's dragon, and a bearded dragon
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've booked her in on Friday at 5:15 to be euthanised, given the nature of her illnesses and the severity of her condition, refusal to take her medicine and numerous other problems, I can't justify keeping her alive with no quality of life. I'm not going to give her anymore medicine, I'm just going to give her time to rest, spend time holding her, and caring for her until it's time to let her go.

Thank you all for your support and reassurance 💜
 

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I've booked her in on Friday at 5:15 to be euthanised, given the nature of her illnesses and the severity of her condition, refusal to take her medicine and numerous other problems, I can't justify keeping her alive with no quality of life. I'm not going to give her anymore medicine, I'm just going to give her time to rest, spend time holding her, and caring for her until it's time to let her go.

Thank you all for your support and reassurance 💜
You are welcome, and again, my condolences. x
 

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My condolences. Sounds like it's the right time. They usually have a way of letting you know. Give her lots of hugs and understand you are doing what's right for her.
 
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