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  • Results 1 to 11 of 11

    Thread: Need advice on sick Koi - 2 weeks QT with no change

    1. #1
      Tipsy-and-Ozzie is offline Junior Member
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      Exclamation Need advice on sick Koi - 2 weeks QT with no change

      I have a sick Koi. I apologise for the length of this, but I wanted to provide as much information to all of you as possible. I have owned the pond and fish for 4 years (it pre-dated my ownership). I dont have a microscope, although Im now determined to get one. My husbands a lab technician, so he can likely handle a microscope better than I.

      Overview of affected Koi: 26 female Koi (garden variety domestic), 11 years old, small bulge on body right side (more toward the caudal fin from centre side of fish it looks like every sample Ive seen online of an ovarian tumour). Always had a hearty appetite, always been a very healthy fish. Damage to right pectoral fin and lower caudal fin from rubbing herself aggressively against stationary objects in the shallow of the pond (I watched her do it). Left pectoral fin has two splits in it (run parallel to the cartilage in the fin), but no redness or fraying evident there was initial one split, the other appeared yesterday. Two weeks ago, she began surfacing on her side (head up, tail down), circling frantically; then shed rest on the bottom for a while, dart frantically across the pond wriggling her body dramatically (not side-swimming flashing, but twisting her head going hard left, hard right, like shes dancing the twist), surface, and repeat. Always the right side that surfaces, if thats remarkable.

      Pond overview: Current temperature: mid-day 72F / early morning 64F. 8 deep at the drain, 10,567 USG to the high water mark. Matala and Kaldnes filtration (8 cubic feet of Kaldnes) + 80W UV, pump circulating 5,500 USG/hour; 26 Koi (2 @ 26, the rest are their offspring 16 inches or less in size). Fish winter under ice, and the pond is normally clear of ice and into the low 50F range by mid to late April.

      Water parameters as of yesterday 6:00 p.m.:
      Well water filled (no chlorine)
      Water temperature: 72F
      PH 8 8.2 (static)
      Ammonia < 0.25 ppm
      Nitrite < 0.25 ppm
      Nitrate < 5 ppm
      KH 140 mg/L
      GH 180 mg/L
      Iron 0 (reading same for both non-chelated and chelated iron)
      Generous aeration
      Koizyme was added in the spring for 6 weeks
      Aquascape Pond and Debris clarifier was used in the spring 2 x 40% water changes have been done since then (one as soon as the ice was off the pond the week of April 15th, and the other this past Monday).
      Salt 0.2% to protect against Nitrite/Ammonia, since where I live, the biological filter is just now establishing itself (hence the elevations in ammonia/nitrite/nitrate; normally, they're undetectable). I just cleaned and re-potted pond plants this week, so the Nitrate should begin to come down. Her issues precede the plant repotting; pond is vacuumed theres no debris in the pond. The only difference in water parameters between now and two weeks ago was that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were undetectable.

      Additional information: no other Koi is flashing or showing any of these symptoms. There is a Painted Turtle in the pond we live in a wooded area, and she arrives annually. I imagine turtles can bring issues to the pond, but I cant really prevent this, since we live in a protected wetland area, so Im not allowed to disrupt their habitat. The Painted Turtle shows no aggression towards the fish; in fact, it often scurries under objects to avoid the fish, who are often in hot pursuit. She goes in and out of the pond once daily, lays eggs in the area for a few weeks and then disappears back into the forest.

      Treatment of the sick Koi to date:
      Assumed she may have a gill fluke or that it was the onset of a fluke problem so I treated the pond with Praziquantel, 120% dose. A couple of other fish did ONE minor flash within the first hour of treatment, but otherwise, theres been no significant reaction from fish in the pond. After 24 hours, she showed absolutely no improvement. I think the prazi treatment may have been pointless. I removed her after 24 hours, did a PP dip at 100 ppm for 5 minutes (no signs of distress from her whatsoever), then rinsed her in clear water, then placed her into a hospital tank. Added salt in increments to 0.6%, lots of aeration, increased temperature in increments to 80F, added Melafix to help with abrasions to fins. Injured fins were red and vein-ish, but not to the base, and not a dark solid red. No ulceration present, no signs of mouth irritation/rot, no white or red spots on her to indicate any issue whatsoever.

      Progress: After 2 weeks in the hospital tank, frayed pectoral and caudal fins have repaired significantly, but although she rests quietly and will swim normally in the hospital tank when I interact with her, she wont eat, and shes normally eats quite a bit. Tried returning her to the pond yesterday with the hope that she would return to normal and eat in the pond environment ensured the water parameters, temperature, and salt were very close or equivalent between the tank and the pond: she immediately began the same behaviour! Its as if she wants out of the pond immediately: circling at the surface, then down to the bottom to rest, then wriggle all the way back to the surface and circle frantically. Removed her, returned her to the hospital tank, now increasing salt incrementally to 0.6%, added Melafix, increased water temperature incrementally. She still wont eat. Swimming behaviour is normal in the tank, but becomes completely abnormal in the pond.

      I dont have a submersible pump, or anything electrical in the pond, so I have ruled out a short as a potential cause.

      At this point, Im considering treating her with Tricide-Neo for a bacterial infection, and if I can get her to eat, Romet-TC. Im not optimistic I can get her to eat. She wont even eat peas or fruit at this point.

      Id appreciate any advice or direction you may offer I really dont know if Ive overlooked anything, or if Im on the wrong track and wasting precious time, given shes not eaten for almost 2 weeks. I dont know if its possible that she could have any parasite or fluke after the PP dip I did, albeit I did the dip only once. Should I repeat a PP dip daily for 3 or 4 days?

      The closest fish vet is 100 miles (160 km) away, and although hes mobile, Im not sure hell drive this distance to administer an injectable antibiotic. Id likely have to transport her to and from the vet.

      I am wondering if: (1) she may have an object lodged in her mouth or gill, although her mouth and gills appear to be acting normally, so I haven't looked; (2) this may be something that happens in fish that have a tumour?

      I can post photos/video (or share them otherwise). I thought Id start with this overview. I really want to do everything I can for her, but I am a novice to this hobby, so I'm looking for help and knowledge.

      Many thanks in advance,

      Hillary

    2. #2
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Hi Hillary, thanks for the thorough background.

      At this point, I think you would be best served in doing a physical exam of her under sedation. You've posited a number of things that could be ruled out with the exam. Sedate her, check her all over for signs of infection and check her mouth and gills. The gills should look deep red without frays and so forth. If you don't have a sedation method, check the ER sticky about using clove oil. You should be able to find that without too much trouble.

      Stop using Melafix. It does nothing and can coat the gills.

      It kind of sounds like she is dealing with a swim bladder issue but until you've done the exam and ruled out something else, I would not treat for that. It also sounds like there is a gill irritant. That could be a number of things including water parameters being slightly out of whack. We'll just have to work systematically through it all but it starts with an exam.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

      I'll say something when I feel I have something worth saying. I'm not a fan of flapping my lips just because they are there.

    3. #3
      icu2's Avatar
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      Emergency Sticky... scroll down to part 17 for sedation info:

      http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...-Health-Sticky
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company." --George Washington

    4. #4
      Tipsy-and-Ozzie is offline Junior Member
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      Thanks, both, including the observations about Melafix. I just happened to have Melafix on hand that had not 'expired', and some people in the hobby claim it helps; that said, I must say I don't like that it appears to interfere with ammonia testing in (of all things) the API test kit. I get no ammonia reading with just well water, but if I add Melafix per the dosing instructions, the test kit says I have .5 ppm ammonia. Given this alone, I'd never dose the pond with it. I think anything helping her, so far, is the salt.

      I will go out for clove oil now, and I'll report back with the results. It's not possible any of this is spawning behaviour, and the injuries are a side effect, is it? I found a couple of thumb sized bits floating in the QT that look jellyish. I have my reed bed out for replanting, and I've seen them spawn in there before. That's where she injured herself.

    5. #5
      icu2's Avatar
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      Sometimes clove oil can be hard to find so if you have trouble check health food stores. They
      seem to always have it.

      Sorry it's under the bad circumstances but thanks for joining Koiphen!
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company." --George Washington

    6. #6
      Tipsy-and-Ozzie is offline Junior Member
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      Thanks, Steve. I found it at our only Pharmacy, 10 minute drive. Now waiting for my husband to get home to help. Great instructions at the link you provided! I've spent the last 4 years reading this site. Although I didn't buy any of these Koi or choose the pond design, I enjoy the Koi, as well as every living creature around here. Let's hope I can get to the root of this and help her get back to her old self. She is the QUEEN of that pond - she is both mother and defender. They are all out of sorts without her.

    7. #7
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      Update after examination under sedation with clove oil

      Okay, we sedated her with clove oil and examined her. I've attached photos.

      Firstly, I'd like to mention that I have found what appear to be a few eggs in the quarantine tank for the past two mornings in a row. I've included this in the photos attached.

      Gill inspection: gills are consistent in colour, dark red (like liver), no signs of mucous, tears, fraying, or layers sticking together. They look good on both sides of the fish. I found nothing lodged in the gills.

      Mouth inspection: I could neither see nor feel anything lodged in the mouth.

      Pectoral and Caudal Fins:
      her right pectoral was the one she damaged rubbing on either the lip of a lily pot, or some large stones that are in the reed bed. At one point I saw her literally trying to squeeze back in between two stones, which is when I noticed the damage to her caudal fin and removed her from the pond. The damage to her caudal fin was fresh at that point. She's been out of the pond 13 days, so the attached photo of the right pectoral ad caudal fins show significant improvement from how they appeared 13 days ago.

      Vent: she appears swollen around this area

      Lump/Tumour: you can see this on her right side, just behind the ventral fins. When we bought the house four years ago (and acquired her), she was 7 years old. This lump was already there.

      Eating: she's still not eating. I put food in the tank last evening again - I believe she may have eaten a few (if I get too close, she'll just go to the bottom of the tank). I heard her come up, and at one point I did get a glimpse of her taking a piece of food from the surface edge of the tank; that said, I put very little food in the tank, and I ended up removing most of it after a half hour. Normally, she is a voracious eater.

      General comments: Her underbelly was quite mushy - maybe that's normal, I really don't know. It's the only part of her that feels very mushy. With respect to the eggs (if that's what they are), I have seen them spawn in the reed bed in our pond, around this time of the year; however, I pulled the reed bed to replace the soil (I don't leave soil in for more than 2 years at a time - annually, if it "smells"). I'm now wondering (given what I think are eggs found in the tank) if my temporary removal of the reed bed is what caused her to injure herself on the stones?

      Concerns: the left pectoral did not have two "splits" in it when I removed her from the pond 13 days ago, but it does now. I'm looking for the best approach moving forward. She's currently in a warm tank (80F) with 0.6% salt. I'm concerned about her lack of appetite, but when I return her to the pond (in the hope she'll resume eating), she first swims on the surface right side up in a circle; then she dives to the bottom and sits on the bottom for several minutes; then back to the top to circle, and repeat. She is not staying solely to the bottom of the pond, or otherwise floating oddly. When she darts to the bottom, or up to the top, her body twists aggressively (as I said earlier, like someone dancing the twist, or power walking vigorously, her head darting fully left-right, left-right). I've a video of her when we first returned her to the pond, but I can' upload it here.

      Any thoughts on next steps?

      Many thanks in advance!

      Hillary
      Attached Images Attached Images         

    8. #8
      icu2's Avatar
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      Good job on the sedation and exam... great pics.

      I'm still learning when it comes to diagnosis so I won't guess, but the gills don't look good. They should not be split.
      Compare her to this one:

      Name:  gill 3.jpg
Views: 158
Size:  320.6 KB

      Yours are red but the splits are what I'd consider fraying.
      I think your exam pics though should help a lot with those that can make a diagnosis, so well done.
      --Steve
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    9. #9
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      From history and from the sound and looks of it, it is injury with secondary bacterial infection and probable sepsis.
      Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. ---- Marthe Troly-Curtin



    10. #10
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Very good job on the exam and pics.

      Being in Canada, I don't know what antibiotic medications you have available. It does appear that you are dealing with bacterial issues.
      See if you can find TricideNeo, Oxolinic acid or Elbagin. I agree that it appears to have been going on a while and the redness at the vent is not a good sign. I would reach out to he mobile vet and see if they are willing to prescribe antibiotic injections which are more effective than the bath medications I listed previously.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

      I'll say something when I feel I have something worth saying. I'm not a fan of flapping my lips just because they are there.

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      Tipsy-and-Ozzie is offline Junior Member
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      Updates

      It has been the most frustrating summer of my 4-year Koi-keeping career, so far.

      1) We managed to find a vet who treats fish (we were out of the mobile vet's range), albeit it is a 70 kilometre / 45 mile drive one way. We prepared a portable tank (complete with air pump), put it in our van, and off we went. To date, tests have eliminated parasites and flukes, we have administered a series of Baytril injections, and both Ultrasound and X-Ray with contrast were performed to examine what I had originally suspected was an ovarian tumour: it isn't a tumour or a mass. It's a displaced (torsion) swim bladder (the rear one, towards the caudal fin). The swim bladder has been likely displaced in conjunction with a spinal injury, which showed up on the X-ray. We managed to find photos of her dated a few weeks before we bought this house in June 2014 (and inherited the pond), and the photo clearly shows the swim bladder displaced and pushing her side outwards - no idea how long she may have been like this prior to that photo / our ownership of her, but until May of this year, it didn't appear to affect her behaviour much. Given that she spawned 24 of the remaining 25 fish in the pond, I wouldn't rule out that the injury happened during spawning; however, the previous owner also used to drain the pond annually and transfer the fish to a smaller pond with a net (it's a walk!), so could she have dropped her? I wouldn't rule it out.

      2) Under sedation, the vet aspirated about 12-15 cc from her swim bladder, hoping the bladder may reposition itself: it hasn't. That said, after the procedure, although the bulge in her side was half the size it had been, there was still a noticeable bulge (i.e., her right contour still doesn't match the left contour), so I think it may be worth a shot to remove more air from the swim bladder to completely relax her side, and see if it will reposition. I think the vet believes it will not, since she has discussed possible surgical intervention with the possibility of tying (suturing) the bladder permanently back into place - which would truly be a last-ditch, extraordinary effort to save her.

      Current situation:

      I have moved her to a larger portable tank of 1,000 USG yesterday, since she's a 27" fish, and we were constantly battling ammonia with water changes in the smaller tank. She did not swim on her side in a circle as she had been doing when we removed her from the pond; however, she still has a hard side-to-side wriggle when she begins to swim (kind of like a person's arms when they're power walking), which the others don't display. She is still not eating, which I understand could be related to the swim bladder condition; however, she becomes more active when food is placed into the tank, and she looks like she's going to take it, but ... she seems to "miss it", every time. Up until last Wednesday morning, I had been sedating and feeding her via intubation. These fish aren't used to hand feeding, but I am trying to train her in that direction, to see if that will get her to eat again. She's also alone in the tank - I'm contemplating adding another fish from the pond, although I'll likely have to dip it in PP first, since she's been out of the pond for 3 months now, so in my mind, reintroducing her to the pond and its "bugs" will be like introducing any other new fish. I don't want her battling parasites in the hospital tank, but my thoughts were that perhaps another fish might encourage her to resume eating?

      To add to my frustration, we're on the cusp of September here, and by late October, the water in the pond will be below 50F, so my window of opportunity to return her to the pond is closing quickly -- not to mention my concerns as to whether or not she would survive the winter, especially if she has surgery in early September.

      If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate them; otherwise, I'll update after my next discussion with the vet this week. I have read (i.e. I am aware) that there have been few successes when it comes to swim bladder correction.

      On a side note, the other fish in the pond (3 months after her removal) are eating and functioning normally, with no signs of disease or distress. The biofilter finally completed its kick-in in mid July (one month later than usual - I'm thinking I had my salt levels too high in June?), so the water parameters in the pond are:

      PH 8.4 (static)
      Ammonia - undetectable
      Nitrite - undetectable
      Nitrate - undetectable
      KH 140 mg/L
      GH 180 mg/L

      Many thanks for all your support,
      Hillary

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