Dude RIP

Last week was a very sad week for me.  My leopard gecko, Dude, developed some pretty nasty abscesses that needed surgery.  Courtland and I looked up the lifespan of leopard geckos and what we found was that they live “into their teens” typically.  Well, I had had Dude for 11 years and before that he had belonged to my friend David T. from whom I had purchased Dude (then named Bibo) when his son got a dog and the gecko wasn’t getting much love.  It wasn’t until after all this that I asked David how old he thought Dude/Bibo was.  We actually think the number is somewhere around 14.  Anyhow, even with the estimated 13 years of age I gave the vet, he thought surgery was the best option.  I had actually gone in thinking that Dude was looking so bad he would be put to sleep, but that option was not even offered to me, so I went ahead with the *gulp* $500 procedure.  ON A LIZARD.

But this was Dude.  He was the coolest gecko ever.  He would look outside his terrarium and watch us (cats included).  Sometimes he’d wiggle up the side of his cage and show us his belly.  He got an eye infection once a few years ago and the vet told us he was a she…Dudette?  So the past few years we’ve been trying to say “she” but still called her Dude…and then found out this last week that SHE was, indeed a HE as first presumed.  If you were holding Dude and ran your finger under his chin, he would stick out his tongue.  Every time.  So rad.

On Thursday evening I picked Dude up from the vet.  He was looking much better without the huge abscess on the side of his head/jaw, but he was not moving much and I can only imagine he was in a world of pain.  I didn’t like how the vet assisstant picked him up and flipped him over to show me his stitches.  I didn’t need to see them, and I really didn’t think Dude needed to be flipped over and handled after having 4 incisions made on his little gecko body.  I honestly think that’s when he turned for the worse.  I got him home, put him in his little sauna, and monitored the heat in his cage all night.  At one point he moved his head and backed up a little.  I had a horrible feeling he was trying to turn over (the way lizards turn over when they die) but lacked the strength.  He never moved again.

In the morning I called the vet and told them he hadn’t made it.  I’m actually really unhappy with how everything was handled.  I felt like such a monster for even considering not doing the surgery and putting him to rest, and they were not supportive of that option…and now they have my $500 and I don’t have a gecko.  I’m bummed.

Bye bye Dude!  I’ll miss you, little guy!

3 Responses to “Dude RIP”

  1. erin says:

    I’m sorry Dude is gone. I’m sorry the vet experience was a bummer.

    Those are great pictures. What a cool little creature.

    Bye, Dude.

  2. George says:

    The way the vet handled this was completely unprofessional, and borders on (if not defines) veterinary malpractice. If I was in your position I would look into some form of recompense.

  3. Shelby says:

    Thanks for writing. I tried to dispute it with my credit card but it didn’t work. Well, the way I figure it, if Dude was still alive, if he had survived the procedure, I wouldn’t be bummed. So if the vet thought he would make it, I believe him. I do believe the woman who flipped him over and handled him the way she did contributed to his death, but that’s just me.

    I talked to a vet friend of mine who said technically an abscess is just a “procedure” not real surgery so should not be high risk. Even if you’re cutting open half a body, if you’re not cutting into organs it’s not considered high risk. That being said, when someone brings in a geriatric lizard, or really, when they bring any animal in, you ARE supposed to know ALL the options, and I don’t think it is the medical practitioner’s place to omit or weight an option just because they don’t believe in it. They can always refuse to do the procedure, but I should be well-informed, right?

    If I was made of money I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, though. So since it was just money, and I KNOW I would KICK myself for not trying to do everything I could to save Dude if someday money wasn’t on object, I am looking at the situation as: I did everything I could. It was a crappy experience, but I didn’t do anything wrong and that’s the bottom line in my heart, right? :)

    Someone once told me my cat Mommy (who was 22 when we had to put her down) would get a personal angel devoted to scratching her ears. I hope Dude gets the equivalent in leopard gecko terms…plus the equivalent of chocolate dipped crickets. :)

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