Goldfish with huge belly but no pineconing of scales

Discussion in 'Illness and Disease' started by Meg-in-Maryland, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Meg-in-Maryland

    Meg-in-Maryland

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    One of the goldfish in my mother's backyard pond has a hugely swollen belly. I will attach photos. I've read about dropsy, but this fish has very smooth scales -- none of them have been pushed outwards to give him or her a pinecone appearance. At least they look completely smooth when the fish is in the water. Oddly, in these photos while the fish was briefly out of the water in a net, it does look somewhat pinecone-like -- that might be an optical illusion.

    I posted a description of the pond, pond maintenance, and food in my introduction a few minutes ago.

    The fish is about 8" long from lips to tail tips.

    My mother thinks this fish looks disgusting and she wants to get rid of it. I'd like to give it a chance if it's a condition that the fish can recover from.

    I have read other posts in this forum about other goldfish with swollen bellies, and I will pass on this information to my mother. Meanwhile, if any you have insights from looking at the photos, we will be so appreciative.

    One other thing -- the fish is still very interested in eating, and does his or her best to swim, although sometimes just lays on the bottom of the pond, even sometimes tipped over. When we very briefly caught the fish in the net to take these photos, the fish was not at all listless -- definitely wanted to get back in the water and live!

    Thanks so much for reading this, and for any advice you're willing to provide. Please feel free to refer me to specific previous posts and/or websites.

    Good luck to everyone, of all species, in the path of Hurricane Isaac.

    All the best,

    Meg H. in Maryland
     

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    Meg-in-Maryland, Aug 29, 2012
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  2. Meg-in-Maryland

    sissy sissy

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    Is she egg bound .
     
    sissy, Aug 29, 2012
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  3. Meg-in-Maryland

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    If is egg bound it's severely egg bound, You say it's still eating may try feeding it peas without the skin. or try a bacterial medicated food. If it is dropsy there isn't much you can do, I would try treating as a bacteria infection first. It has probably the most chance of helping of anything. second choice would be to try and help it spent the eggs out artificially.
     
    fishin4cars, Aug 29, 2012
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  4. Meg-in-Maryland

    Meg-in-Maryland

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    Thank you for your replies. I've read that it's unlikely for females to become egg bound when there are males in the pond, and there are definitely lots of males my mother's poind. I'm willing to try an epsom salt bath, just in case.

    As for peas and medicated food, would this be in addition to the regular food that all the fish are getting, or instead of it? Does one put the sick fish in a separate container during feeding time, and then return it to the pond when everyone (including the sick one) has finished their respective meals, or keep this one entirely separate until it's either significantly better or has succumbed?

    Thanks again!
     
    Meg-in-Maryland, Aug 29, 2012
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  5. Meg-in-Maryland

    Fishylove

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    Hmmm. My goodness! I don't think I've seen a fish with a belly that big! :huh: I just had a Shubby with dropsy that didn't make it :( But his belly was more out the sides, not down, and his scales looked sort of.... Fuzzy? ( if thats what you can call it) and of course the pine cone scaling. Tetracycline mixed with the food if she's still eating. You might could separate her if you have a way to, that way shell be the only one eating the anbx food. Are those dragon scales?
     
    Fishylove, Aug 29, 2012
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  6. Meg-in-Maryland

    Meg-in-Maryland

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    Sorry to hear about your Shubby, Wendy.

    Thank you for the suggestions.

    In these photos, the fish is laying on top of the net, which makes the belly look like the swelling is hanging down. In the water, the swelling looks more like it goes out to the sides except when the fish lays over on its side, down on the bottom of the pond.

    We couldn't get any good photos of the fish in the water, showing this, because there was too much glare on the surface of the pond.

    Dragon scales? I like that!
     
    Meg-in-Maryland, Aug 29, 2012
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  7. Meg-in-Maryland

    Fishylove

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    Oh and I'm sorry, the anbx food will be instead of her regular food. Use tetracycline 10 ml mixed well with 10 ml cod-liver oil. Put this mixture in a plastic baggy together with 1 pound of food and shake well. Use this as her sole ration for no less than 10 days.
     
    Fishylove, Aug 29, 2012
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  8. Meg-in-Maryland

    Fishylove

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    Lol your welcome!
     
    Fishylove, Aug 29, 2012
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  9. Meg-in-Maryland

    Waterbug

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    Keep in mind dropsy is just a symptom. Cause can be many things including a genetic problem balancing fluids. So saying it's dropsy wouldn't really help with treatment.

    Generally if this all happened in a few days I would suspect bacteria infection. If this is egg bound I'd say its certainly progressed past that to bacteria infection. Same with constipation. Most people, myself included, first think egg bound. But I think it's more common to be something else. The fish eating well to me means it isn't in pain and kind of rules out bacteria, egg bound, and constipation...just playing the odds.

    I had a fish that ballooned like that over a few years and acted normal in every other way. I finally had to euthanize the fish when it became so round it couldn't swim. When cut open the body cavity was just filled with clear fluid. No sign of redness or disease, not at least as far as my limited experience could see. My assumption is this fish couldn't have lived several years with a bacteria infection...possible, but not likely. I assumed a genetic problem.

    I've never heard of a fish being cured of this. Unless you're experienced treating fish, have a hospital tank, etc., and because it's eating well, I would just let the fish live out its life. That's just me.
     
    Waterbug, Aug 29, 2012
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  10. Meg-in-Maryland

    Meg-in-Maryland

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    What an amazing community this is! How kind of each of you to reply.

    Waterbug, my mother noticed this fish's condition about two weeks or three weeks ago.
     
    Meg-in-Maryland, Aug 29, 2012
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  11. Meg-in-Maryland

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    j.w, Aug 29, 2012
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  12. Meg-in-Maryland

    ididntdoit99 ididntdoit99

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    Aww, that fish would be the highlight of any pond! "Look I have a gold pufferfish"
     
    ididntdoit99, Aug 29, 2012
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  13. Meg-in-Maryland

    sissy sissy

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    Well if she caught it once she can hopefully catch it again ////PUTTERFISH lol :LOL: :LOL:
     
    sissy, Aug 29, 2012
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  14. Meg-in-Maryland

    Meg-in-Maryland

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    This poor fish is even more swollen today, and it's a struggle for her to move off the bottom of the pond. She does seem to prefer hiding under the water lilies -- this might be in part because a heron visited the pond this morning.

    She wouldn't eat any peas, but none of the others would either.

    I thawed frozen peas, very gently cooked them, and then expressed the innards out of the outer casing (a time-consuming process, to be sure). But none of these fish were at all interested in them. I gently caught the swollen fish in the net, held her under the surface of the water so she wouldn't be overly traumatized (if that's possible), and put several peas right in front of her lips, but she declined the offer. I didn't try giving her any of the regular food to see whether she'd eat that. It's not yet their regular feeding time -- maybe that's part of the problem.

    I haven't done the bath salts or antibiotics because my mother (whose goldfish this is) is inclined to either let this fish die naturally, as several of you have suggested, or to immediately kill it, which breaks my heart. I told my mother about oil of clove to euthanize this fish with. She gave me a look of horror, but that might have been because she was considering the effort of acquiring the stuff, and then capturing this fish and administering it. (I'm not actually sure how to administer it, although I will look into it.) Mom

    did say she doesn't think she could possibly watch the fish be thrown on the ground and gasp its tiny life out. I know I sure couldn't! On the other hand (other fin?), the fish looks like it's suffering. But what do I know about fish pain?

    My mother's boyfriend is inclined to net it and immediately kill it with a paddle or something. He's tired of the fuss. It's not like he's disintested -- he feeds the fish himself every morning and late afternoon, and he buys the food, and he meticulously cleans the pump filter ever week, and cleans the lava rocks, and manages all the pond plants, and does all the other maintenance. But I think he's less interested in the lives of the fish as individuals.

    This is heartbreaking for me. I've become very attached to this fish through these few days of photographing her, finding this website, communicating with all of you, and researching elsewhere about possibilities. How do you make these decisions?

    Thank you all for your care, concern, suggestions, advice, and time.

    And all the best to all of you in Isaac's wake!
     
    Meg-in-Maryland, Aug 30, 2012
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  15. Meg-in-Maryland

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Have been following this thread and hope all ends well for the fish -- whatever "end" that happens to be. It always breaks my heart when I know an animal is suffering, and we've many times discussed with our vet the, "how do you know what to do and when?" issue, and it always comes out that THE ANIMAL WILL LET YOU KNOW. I guess that translates to, "follow your heart." Thanks for the updates, Meg, and let us know.
     
    Mmathis, Aug 30, 2012
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  16. Meg-in-Maryland

    Waterbug

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    Increased swelling in a short period points to infection imo. Given the amount of distension I don't see how anything would fix this fish.

    It's time.

    They might not see it as food or aren't so hungry that they'd try something new. If you want them to eat peas in the future train them now.

    Fish aren't generally interested in food when terrified for their lives which being held by a 1000 ft omnivore can inspire.

    Moms...tough as nails. My Mom once, and only once, held a box of kittens to a car exhaust pipe...to be fair I think Dad put her up to it. We were well behaved kids.

    Placing the fish in the freezer is another choice that some people don't consider to be too bad.

    There are choices. A little humor in a difficult time. I'm a fisherman and that is how kept fish are often dispatched.

    Forget the choices...this one's a keeper.

    Welcome to pond keeping. To me the world is a pretty cruel place, but that's just the way the world works. We can pretend it isn't, drop out, live in a fantasy world where the chicken in our McNuggets came from chickens who died of natural causes after living a full and rewarding life. Nothing wrong with that. If you prefer that you can put the fish into a nice container and take it you a local pet shop where I assume for a small fee they will do the deed for you. The fish will probably be in a trashcan, still alive, before you close your car door.

    Another way I look at it is this is a Goldfish's lot in life. Thousands of fish were put to death in order for you to have this one pretty fish. If people didn't kill trillions of fish there wouldn't be any Goldfish at all. Is it better they don't exist at all?

    It isn't easy. Feeling bad for the fish is OK, it is sad. I've cried, and one deformed fish in particular I still choke up over 15 years later. But it's also the owner's job...that's our lot in life.

    Want to create a memorial for this fish...learn everything you can about pond keeping and keep the remaining fish in the best possible conditions. This is one of the things that drives me to learn. If I have to put down a fish I know I did everything I could to make their lives good. Makes it easier imo.
     
    Waterbug, Aug 30, 2012
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  17. Meg-in-Maryland

    Fishylove

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    good luck Meg :( sorry to here that
     
    Fishylove, Aug 30, 2012
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  18. Meg-in-Maryland

    gardengimp

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    QFT

    Well said WB.
     
    gardengimp, Aug 30, 2012
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  19. Meg-in-Maryland

    gardengimp

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    It is tough. And it never gets any easier.
     
    gardengimp, Aug 31, 2012
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  20. Meg-in-Maryland

    Meg-in-Maryland

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    Thank you, everyone, for your help.

    This amazingly swollen fish is now dead, we think.

    This afternoon my mother and brother put her in a 5-gallon bucket with pond water in order to separate it from the others, in case of infections, and to observe her. They phoned me that they had done this, and I immediately went back over there.

    She (or he) seemed to have swollen even more since earlier this afternoon. She seemed completely uninterested in food, and lay on her side on the bottom of the bucket. She occasionally seemed to get more strength and swam to the surface to gulp air, or to turn herself over to lie on her other side.

    I held her for a few minutes. Her belly felt like she was filled with fluids -- it was very soft and pliant. It also looked as though she was filled with dark stuff. I put my pinky into what I assumed was her anus, and it felt like it was blocked a little way in, but that was my first (and probably last) time doing this, so I didn't know what a healty goldfish anus would feel like! (Am I really even saying this in public?)

    I had to go to a meeting for a couple of hours, and when I returned to my mother's hosue, they told me that the fish had died. I looked into the bucket with a flashilight, and she's obviously no longer moving or breathing in any way I could discern, although she has not floated to the surface.

    My mother and I sat with her, while she was in the bucket, for about 45 minutes, and wished her well. It was a profound experience for me to watch the resilience of this little creature.

    From a more clinical perspective, my mother and I both remarked that it was remarkable how much her belly could stretch. Usually fish scales overlap each other, and are very closely positioned to each other. Her white belly scales were quite far apart from each other this afternoon, with a log of white skin in between them.

    Thank you again so much for your care and counsel. This has been an amazing experience for me.
     
    Meg-in-Maryland, Aug 31, 2012
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