My koi seems to have a sore on his head... looking for help identifying the cause.


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I have a koi who is about 25-30 years old. He appeared to have hurt himself somehow, at least that was what it looked like to me. I salted the pond for 2 weeks and didn't see any improvement. I do not see it on any of the other younger Koi so wonder if it has become infected. I did manage to catch him today and took some pictures of his head and decided it wouldn't hurt to treat the whole pond with Melafix. I really want to save this fish if possible and will appreciate any input you can offer. Thank you for any help in advance.
 

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Looks like hole in the head disease.

I've never been a fan of whole pond treatments, but if you've already done it, then that ship has sailed.

We had a koi with this once and we treated him with a few salt dips. Just some salt in a small container of water - I don't remember the actual dosage we used, but I'm sure that info is out there for the googling. We also bought special medicated food - which I don't think you can buy anymore. He did recover, but always had a white scar on his head.
 
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Lisak1, wow, thank you so much!! I have never heard of hole in the head disease but will for sure get the salt out again. I hope it isn't contagious?
 
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I don't think so - none of our other fish ever got it. I think it's caused by a parasite... but don't quote me on that. It's been a long time since I researched this stuff. When the guy at the pond store told me "hole in the head disease" I was like VERY FUNNY WISE GUY.

You want to watch for infection - that was my biggest concern with our fish.
 
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I might have laughed at someone telling me that too! I am worried about infection as it looks kind of raw and red around the holes. I did try a few years ago now to get that medicated food and even tried contacting my vet who couldn't get it for me, why they ever stopped selling it bugs me. I will have to get a bigger container to treat him in as he is very big. I have not found online the amount of salt and how long he needs to be in it... but I'm not giving up on him. thank you for you help.
 
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@Tula - I think this is more ulcerated than stabby, if that makes sense... at least from the photo. When our fish had this it would get larger then smaller, then larger again, until it finally resolved.
 
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Is it possible the would was cause by a heron strike ?
absolutely could have been! I have an electric fence as well as a scarecrow sprinkler and a full net around the pond but about a month ago I did see one land on the middle of the netting, so of course he could have been here another time and I didn't see him, or he got in a strike before I found him. would the salt bath be appropriate for that too?
 
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@Tula - I think this is more ulcerated than stabby, if that makes sense... at least from the photo. When our fish had this it would get larger then smaller, then larger again, until it finally resolved.
Did you treat your fish with a salt bath? I was thinking it looked very ragged a week or so ago so maybe a heron strike and then it got infected or ulcerated? l so want to save this boy is possible and feel like I should be doing something for him. thank you....
 
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Yes. That was me up there that first responded. When you say "ragged" that's exactly how I would describe the sore on the head of our koi. It would start to get better and then get a bit ragged around the edges again. It took quite a few months for it to resolve. We fed it the mediated food to hopefully avoid infection. The fish eventually recovered.
 
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Yes. That was me up there that first responded. When you say "ragged" that's exactly how I would describe the sore on the head of our koi. It would start to get better and then get a bit ragged around the edges again. It took quite a few months for it to resolve. We fed it the mediated food to hopefully avoid infection. The fish eventually recovered.
thank you! Do you happen to remember how many times and how often you did the salt bath with him? I plan on catching him again this afternoon for round one, i printed off all the instructions last night. sadly you cannot buy the medicated food any more so I am between a rock and a hard place with that.
 
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If you can find out what antibiotics are needed, you could make medicated food, using something like rapashi, a gelatin fish food. Use regular pellets, coat a meal worth in the proper dose of antibiotics, then coat them in a thin layer of rapashi, or even a thin coating of plain unflavored gelatin. This will prevent the antibiotics from just washing off.
 
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But that food should not go into the regular pond! Just in case big fish spits it out, or it sinks, the gelatin will dissolve, then the antibiotics could harm beneficial bacteria
 
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We did it every other day for a week and then once a week after that for probably two or three more times. Maybe 5 or 6 times total. Eventually we decided that catching him was causing too much stress, so we stopped.
 
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But that food should not go into the regular pond! Just in case big fish spits it out, or it sinks, the gelatin will dissolve, then the antibiotics could harm beneficial bacteria
Thank you!!!
 
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We did it every other day for a week and then once a week after that for probably two or three more times. Maybe 5 or 6 times total. Eventually we decided that catching him was causing too much stress, so we stopped.
Thank you for all your help, his first salt bath ... done!!!
 
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I want to thank all of your for your help, this has been one of the most inviting and informative group I have ever joined! Looking forward to letting you all know he made it and you helped!!!
 
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Stick around - lots of smart and helpful people here! We love to chat about ponds... and all kinds of other stuff, too!
 
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addy1

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Welcome to our forum!

Good advice up there
 
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