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Sick fish update

February 27, 2013

First of all, I am thankfully doing better, myself. That abscess seems to be trying to heal, and the pain levels are much better than even a couple of days ago. (Mostly because it’s not building up pressure anymore.) With any luck, I can actually get in the shower today, and get my hair clean, which would no doubt have a great psychological effect! Long snarly hair, not much use of one arm: not so compatible. 😐 I’ve been washing up, but it’s been probably two weeks now since I could give my head a good scrub. Good thing it tends to be dry, but yuck.

But, also good news on the pineconing fish front. (So now, at the back of my mind, I’m worried about jinxing it!) Since I posted about it before, an update seemed reasonable.

From a previous post, on the 11th:

Pineconing goldfish

Mainly for tracking purposes, with treatment. This was the first day, a couple of hours after I noticed the dropsy problem, and he’s so still because he’s working on a mouthful of medicated food.

After about a week of the best I could do then for antibiotic food (video from the 19th):

Goldfish with dropsy, part 2

A second progress video, while treating Canary for dropsy, from 19/02. On medication, it progressed so that he had some blisters popping out between his scales, and worrying red fin streaks that might be septicemia. (The smaller ryukin who videobombed here keeps some degree of red fins, because he’s a sinker with buoyancy problems, so I wasn’t too worried about him.) Not surprisingly, Canary got less active for a few days, and I was afraid he was a goner. But, he was continuing to eat well.

And, from last night, after the last feeding:

Goldfish with dropsy, part 3

This is from last night, 26/02. Canary was thankfully starting to deflate even before more suitable medication I ordered arrived, but this is the progress after a few days of the new medicated food.

His scales are lying almost flat now, and his activity levels are back to normal. I’m a lot more hopeful that he’ll make a full recovery. *crosses fingers*

The weird noises in the background, toward the end, were coming from our Staffie wanting attention. 🙂

I got the algae scraped off the glass, but wiping drips off the outside has been a minor consideration. 😉 I grew up on limestone karst, and the liquid chalk we’ve got coming out of the tap here leaves more deposits than anything I’ve seen coming out of a well or spring back home! (And that includes water with visible flakes of lime floating around when you run it into a glass.) But, at least keeping the hardness up to make osmotic regulation easier on him isn’t really a problem.

I’m going to continue the 10-day course of kanamycin and metronidazole food. Kanamycin is much broader-spectrum than the erythromycin they were getting, and I decided to use it even though it can be hard on their kidneys. (Which are already affected and making them bloat, with the dropsy.) I also got some Maracyn 2 (minocycline), but mistakenly didn’t order enough. Plus, from someone with a lot more experience than I have at treating fish on The GAB:

the dose is 250mg minocycline per 100 grams of food. This works out to three packets of maracyn two per rounded tablespoon of food. This food is not very palatable and fish may not eat it.

Erm, yeah, with a box of ISTR ten packets to feed three rather large fish for over a week, I think I’ll try the stuff they have been willing to eat in past. 😦 (I didn’t even try to set up a hospital tank for him, because the others have no doubt been exposed to the same bacteria.)

But, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic now. And irritated again at the overly cautious availability of effective medications for fish in the UK. (Thank goodness for eBay and the ability to import small quantities for personal use, is all I can say.) Using antibiotics regularly in fish farming operations is ridiculous and harmful; hobbyist aquarists having access to appropriate medication in the absence of access to veterinarians who treat fish is only reasonable, and helps prevent suffering. And a tiny threat in terms of encouraging resistant microbes, especially if said hobbyists use some sense and run activated carbon to remove residue from the water which will be going down the drain, while feeding medicated food. Though, indeed, not only are antibiotics less effective for internal infections when dosed in the water as often directed (to be idiot-proof, I guess), those instructions are irresponsible. More points to Seachem, for including sensible food dosing instructions on their medications. Even so, that is a very different situation from large-scale regular dosing in an aquaculture setting, in part so that they can keep the poor fish under worse conditions.

I do suspect, BTW, that most aquarists who would be trying to help their sick fish instead of just standing there watching them die are probably a little more clueful.

I can’t help but think that the “but it’s just a fish!” attitude plays into not just the low, low number of fish vets (and perceived/real demand for them), but also the low priority placed on medication availability. I don’t have much time for that, to put it very mildly. I knew to avoid a couple of people who had little enough empathy to question why I was taking hamsters to the vet when they needed it, and they are more similar to humans in a lot of ways. I’d hate to be their kids, and have to wonder if some of these folks would try just flushing them down the toilet* every time they got a sore throat or an earache if (a) they’d fit, and (b) it wouldn’t get the adults in serious trouble.



*Also the suggested treatment for a sick hamster, on one occasion. I wish I were kidding.

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