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Veterinary Visits...what is your opinion?


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Hey guys,

 

So my Ranchu Turbz has not been doing well for the past 5 or 6 weeks or so. Back in late April/early May, she had a large lump near the base of her tail that was red and inflamed, with raised scales. With the help I got here on the forums, I was able to nurse her back to health with Epsom salt, kanaplex, and metroplex. I returned her to the main tank where she thrived for the next few weeks.

 

I went out of town for a weekend, and when I got back, she was still doing well. I immediately did a huge water change, and after that, she hasn't been the same. This was at the very beginning of June and she has been bottom sitting ever since. I noticed a few days ago that she seems a little swollen where the freaky lump was before. She is back on kana, metro, and Epsom in a QT, and as of today has a lot of redness on her fins and near the base of her tail. (I have also kept her QT half-full, to see if a lower water level might help with the bottom sitting)

 

Turbz is a beautiful fish that I fell in love with on a visit to Michigan back in October, and my boyfriend surprised me on Christmas with a tank upgrade, so that we could ship her here to Los Angeles. Since her arrival, she has been in and out of QT -- she has some chronic swim bladder problems that I was aware of when we got her, and so far I've been able to "fix" her every time, but at this point, we are in an extended period of her just sitting on the bottom.

 

It is breaking my heart that she is no longer thriving. There are a couple of vets in my area that can see her. One charges $75 for an office visit, but I wasn't able to get an appointment this week. The other I booked with for Wednesday morning, but the office visit alone is $145. I'm not sure what typically happens with a fish vet visit, but I'm assuming it might involve X-Rays and/or microscope work...$145 is certainly not cheap for a vet visit. I'm okay with paying JUST that at this current time, but just don't really have much wiggle room beyond that, which inevitably I am sure there will be other charges and fees (this vet practice looks like they are pretty darn expensive). My boyfriend can help a little bit, but doesn't want to go crazy spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a fish, dearly as we both love her.

 

So -- I am worried I'm going to have a very difficult call to make this week. I am worried if I go through with this visit on Wednesday, my only real option financially would be to say goodbye :( Plus, there is always the chance too, that even if I were to get treatments and go through with them, depending on what it is, there is no guarantee that she will bounce back to her normal self. Plus, as I've mentioned, she just hasn't been a very healthy fish in general. I guess I'm just not sure how far I am willing to take this. I hate to put a price tag on my pet, but I think I may have to cap this at like $250. You all are so knowledgeable here at Koko's, and I'm kind of feeling if this is beyond the expertise of the folks here, plus the research I have done myself -- how much more can I put this fish through?

 

My other option would be to book with the less expensive vet for next week and hope I can keep her comfortable in QT until then...I'm kind of leaning towards this right now.

 

Anyway, what do you guys think? How far would you be willing to go for one of your fish if she seems to be on the decline and nothing has helped? I know everyone's financial situation is different,and there is no "right" answer, I guess I was just interested in hearing your opinions.

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I don't do vet visits for pet fish. If I cannot treat them myself I euthanize - it's just a lot of stress otherwise for both fish and myself.

I treat my small animals myself, generally. Hamsters, rats, fish, etc. It just makes the most sense for our situation and forces me to be a well researched, well prepared animal owner :)

I'm sorry Turbz isn't doing well :(

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I try my best to treat fish myself, apart from the fact that I know of no vets that will treat fish, I doubt I'd be able to afford the fee for 'exotics'  Plus I also feel that going to a vet, having xrays etc seems a lot more stressful for a fish who has to be carted around in water and travel when they are used to just spending all their time in a tank. Probably worrying too much there, or over emphasizing how stressful it must be for them but it does worry me a lot.

 

In the end I've never taken a fish to the vet and I doubt I ever will...I usually feel if their quality of life has declined so much that I have nothing left I can do to treat them myself, I'd euthanize rather than taking them to the vet

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I try my best to treat fish myself, apart from the fact that I know of no vets that will treat fish, I doubt I'd be able to afford the fee for 'exotics'  Plus I also feel that going to a vet, having xrays etc seems a lot more stressful for a fish who has to be carted around in water and travel when they are used to just spending all their time in a tank. Probably worrying too much there, or over emphasizing how stressful it must be for them but it does worry me a lot.

 

In the end I've never taken a fish to the vet and I doubt I ever will...I usually feel if their quality of life has declined so much that I have nothing left I can do to treat them myself, I'd euthanize rather than taking them to the vet

 

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that too -- that I'm also factoring in the stress of the travel as well. Probably not great for a fish who is not doing well :(

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I try my best to treat fish myself, apart from the fact that I know of no vets that will treat fish, I doubt I'd be able to afford the fee for 'exotics'  Plus I also feel that going to a vet, having xrays etc seems a lot more stressful for a fish who has to be carted around in water and travel when they are used to just spending all their time in a tank. Probably worrying too much there, or over emphasizing how stressful it must be for them but it does worry me a lot.

 

In the end I've never taken a fish to the vet and I doubt I ever will...I usually feel if their quality of life has declined so much that I have nothing left I can do to treat them myself, I'd euthanize rather than taking them to the vet

 

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that too -- that I'm also factoring in the stress of the travel as well. Probably not great for a fish who is not doing well :(

 

Yea that part would worry me the most :(

Either way it's a tough decision with a loved pet and I'm sorry you are having to go through this :( 

When my Google dropsied a few months ago, i tried for so long to get him better but nothing was helping, I got everything out ready to euthanize and I still couldn't make myself actually do it...despite having done it with other fish in the past. Google passed on his on the next day :( It's never easy, especially when they have a special place in your heart

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I think you should do whatever you are able so you can say you gave Turbz the best possible chance at recovery. That said, I don't think there is anything wrong with having a cap on how much you are able to spend on veterinary care. That's not putting a price tag on your love for Turbz. It's just a fact that very few people have a virtually unlimited amount of money.

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Also I just wanted to add, that if someone could afford it and wanted to then there isn't any issue with taking their fish to the vet...it's a personal decision that you make based on your finances and how much you think it will benefit your fish

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Local koi clubs can always advise you on fish veterinarians.  You can check with this one:

 

http://www.akca.org/akca-koi-clubs/california/so-cal-koi-club/

 

They have a contact form or you can email one of the officers.

 

Otherwise, you can check with the vets you have found to see if the office visit includes scrapings and lab work.

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I do all I can to treat & get a sick or injured fish better! I get all the advice I can collect on whatever info is out there. I keep the sick fish in the cleanest water I can & as comfortable as I can.  If all this fails to bring any good results I, sadly, euthanise the fish. Just my opinion but I would think that once they are really bottom sitting & not doing well it is doubtful that a Vet could actually save it & it thrive again. I'm not say Impossible......just doubtful.

 

But you have to make the decision that YOU can live with. The best to you & you fish

Edited by Jeana727
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I think a well equipped and knowledgeable vet can save a fish if the fish is brought in soon after the illness is discovered.  The problem is that most of us think of a vet as a last resort after trying everything else first.  This is understandable as vets are very expensive and many don't treat fish.  Unfortunately, by this time it is usually too late for even a fish vet to help.  Injectable antibiotics are one very effective treatment that veterinarians can provide.  They can also perform surgeries and have access to microscopes and X-ray machines which help to more accurately diagnose the problem.  

Edited by Jared
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First things first I would be wondering why a water change triggered the problem to reoccur. Have you tested the water thoroughly? Second, since you said the fish has already has chronic swim bladder problems,there is no way that I would take it to the vet if it was my fish. I do what I can for them and that's that.

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We have a vet who does house calls for the girls since they are so big (She's only had to do a few visits, but we are really glad she did since the first time, the girls were crashing hard after only about a day or two of illness and nearly died without the care of that vet). She's the only aquatic vet that we know of here and they specialize in goldfish (they've done a lot of surgeries on older goldies), so that's why we even use a vet. Before we found out about them, we did a lot of home treatment, but when New Fish had his first bout with Septicemia and none of the home treatments were working, we went to find a fish vet for him. They've since become the vet for all of our fish (and the ones we recommend to anyone with fish - his in office visit was $33 and the round of shots was $180 - this was before they taught us to give shots). The girls are a bit more expensive since they are so big and can't travel.

It really depends on the situation that the owners are in as to whether or not to go to a fish vet. We have care credit since I had to open it for myself once but paid it off, so we have a way to pay for the vet, but some I know a lot of exotic vets can be expensive or don't even work on fish. A visit for all of our fish is $90, which is definitely cheaper than the birds - which can get over $200. Some of the illnesses we've had to deal with, we need the vets' for (mostly because of needing a prescription for ceftazadine or for spawning issues - the reason for the latest vet visit). The fish are pretty much my kids though so I've been pretty guilty of spoiling them (especially vet-care wise). We even do well checks for them once a year around spawning season just to make sure the girls are healthy during it. I don't think we would be able to do that if it weren't for care credit and having such a good fish vet that is local and does house calls.

Edited by ilrak
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I'm sorry to hear that Turbz is poorly :(

I know how it feels to have a chronically ill fish, and I have also seriously considered vet care in the past. Money was a huge obstacle, as well as having no idea where to take him. My opinion is: if you can afford it without getting yourself into financial trouble, and home treatment is slow/not working then I think it is the right thing to do. Otherwise, I think it is ok to do what you can with the resources available to you, and to know when to end any suffering.

My Googles has fought quite some battles thoughtout his time as a sinker. I'm so proud of him. Although it's unlikely there will ever be anything I can do to enable him to swim again, he's somehow amazingly stable. He can wriggle and has a big healthy appetite. He does have slime coat issues and redness in the fins which I try and keep at bay, but for now, he still has a strong will to live.

I don't have much experience with treating sick fish, other than my Googles, and I don't know Turbz medical history, but I guess what I'm really trying to say is, either way - vet treatment or not - euthanasia isn't always the only option for a bottom sitter, unless they are clearly suffering.

Keep us updated, and wishing you all the best with whatever you decide to do....

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If I had a goldfish worth thousands of dollars I would use a vet but no not for the pet fish I have. If you do go don't go to any ole vet you have to find one that is trained with fish and that is highly unlikely unless you live somewhere with a  nice public aquarium and even then they may not see general public.

Edited by Hidr
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..... My opinion is: if you can afford it without getting yourself into financial trouble, and home treatment is slow/not working then I think it is the right thing to do. Otherwise, I think it is ok to do what you can with the resources available to you, and to know when to end any suffering.

 

Sorry to hear about Turbz's illness :(  I do agree with Black's comments. 

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It is breaking my heart that she is no longer thriving. There are a couple of vets in my area that can see her. One charges $75 for an office visit, but I wasn't able to get an appointment this week. The other I booked with for Wednesday morning, but the office visit alone is $145. I'm not sure what typically happens with a fish vet visit, but I'm assuming it might involve X-Rays and/or microscope work...$145 is certainly not cheap for a vet visit. I'm okay with paying JUST that at this current time, but just don't really have much wiggle room beyond that, which inevitably I am sure there will be other charges and fees (this vet practice looks like they are pretty darn expensive). My boyfriend can help a little bit, but doesn't want to go crazy spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a fish, dearly as we both love her.

 

 

My other option would be to book with the less expensive vet for next week and hope I can keep her comfortable in QT until then...I'm kind of leaning towards this right now.

 

 

I took one of my fish to the vet a few months ago. For me it ran around $100 for the visit which included checking for parasites with a scraping and fecal under the microscope. It was actually a lot less money than I expected it to be for an exotics vet. But, some of them can run more expensive. I would say if your fish is doing okay at the moment, it would probably be best to wait for the cheaper office if you want to do it. In my experience, it can be helpful to find out what's going on for sure if you've done all that you know how to do and nothing has worked to fix the problem. I would just caution to be prepared for the worst case scenario that you may spend the money on the visit to be told that there may not be anything you can do that you haven't already done, or that the treatments needed are more expense than you want to pay. There is nothing wrong with having a limit on what you are able/willing to spend. 

 

What I would do if you decide to take your fish is call ahead and ask their advice on the best way to transport your fish for minimal stress. My vet had me put the fish in one bucket of clean water and bring a second for the trip back home. I used a portable, battery-operated air stone as well.

 

Would I do this for all of my fish? No. I love them all, but there are a couple in particular that are the piscine equivalent to me of what a dog or cat are to most people. 

 

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck. I hope your fish gets better soon!  :bighug

Edited by goldfishgirl82
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It is breaking my heart that she is no longer thriving. There are a couple of vets in my area that can see her. One charges $75 for an office visit, but I wasn't able to get an appointment this week. The other I booked with for Wednesday morning, but the office visit alone is $145. I'm not sure what typically happens with a fish vet visit, but I'm assuming it might involve X-Rays and/or microscope work...$145 is certainly not cheap for a vet visit. I'm okay with paying JUST that at this current time, but just don't really have much wiggle room beyond that, which inevitably I am sure there will be other charges and fees (this vet practice looks like they are pretty darn expensive). My boyfriend can help a little bit, but doesn't want to go crazy spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a fish, dearly as we both love her.

 

 

My other option would be to book with the less expensive vet for next week and hope I can keep her comfortable in QT until then...I'm kind of leaning towards this right now.

 

 

I took one of my fish to the vet a few months ago. For me it ran around $100 for the visit which included checking for parasites with a scraping and fecal under the microscope. It was actually a lot less money than I expected it to be for an exotics vet. But, some of them can run more expensive. I would say if your fish is doing okay at the moment, it would probably be best to wait for the cheaper office if you want to do it. In my experience, it can be helpful to find out what's going on for sure if you've done all that you know how to do and nothing has worked to fix the problem. I would just caution to be prepared for the worst case scenario that you may spend the money on the visit to be told that there may not be anything you can do that you haven't already done, or that the treatments needed are more expense than you want to pay. There is nothing wrong with having a limit on what you are able/willing to spend. 

 

What I would do if you decide to take your fish is call ahead and ask their advice on the best way to transport your fish for minimal stress. My vet had me put the fish in one bucket of clean water and bring a second for the trip back home. I used a portable, battery-operated air stone as well.

 

Would I do this for all of my fish? No. I love them all, but there are a couple in particular that are the piscine equivalent to me of what a dog or cat are to most people. 

 

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck. I hope your fish gets better soon!  :bighug

 

 

Hi everyone,

 

Thank you so much for the thoughtful responses -- I have been so busy I haven't gotten a chance to reply, but I've been following the thread and you all have helped me make a decision.

 

The post I quoted from goldfishgirl82 is pretty much exactly where I'm at right now. I found a vet who charges $65 for the visit, and will be driving down on Saturday. It will be anywhere from a 30-60 minute drive in Los Angeles traffic, and I have been looking at battery powered air pumps online. 

 

Turbz seems to be doing a little better...still very much bottom sitting, but I'm hoping to get some answers as to what the cause is, and if it is treatable. And if not -- is she okay to go back in the main tank? She can bottom sit in my tank for years if she wants, as long as she's not suffering! 

 

I am comfortable with spending up to $200...250 is kind of my max. Even if the worst case scenario happens, that is kind of the monetary amount I feel okay about spending whatever the outcome. At least i would have some peace of mind knowing exactly what is going on. I figure -- this is my hobby. Sometimes we have to shell out $$ for the things we love. If I were a runner, I might spend a ton on a new pair of shoes, or to travel to go to a race, or something (I'd make more analogies but I think you get the idea, haha). Now, in a different situation, I may go straight for the euthanasia, but I truly have no idea what is going on and wouldn't feel comfortable doing that just yet. Well, and regardless, I wouldn't be able to do that myself anyway, and a vet won't do it without an exam, so I pretty much HAVE to go to the vet! Haha.

 

So yeah, that is the plan!

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Hi all,

 

Just wanted to pop in and post a quick update. I took Turbz to the vet today. Based on what the vet saw, and from what I explained of her symptoms, and her recent treatment with Kanaplex and Metroplex, he determined her issues must be related to the swim bladder. He said if she's been bottom sitting for a month and a half now, it is likely it may be permanently damaged. After inspecting the fish, he doesn't think she is uncomfortable or in pain (especially if her appetite is still strong, which it is), she just can't really swim. So, he said it is okay to return her to the main tank. He is going to make me a gel food with the antibiotic Enrofloxacin in it, which I have to pick up on Monday (bleh...this vet is like 30 miles away, booo!). He didn't really push the X-ray, since he was pretty sure of his diagnosis, but since I was already there and would still be under my $200 budget, I decided to go for it.

 

This is a crappy photo, literally a cell phone pic of my laptop, haha, but I'm waiting to have access to a computer with a CD drive so I can upload the real version. But here it is:

 

IMG_20150718_192854709_HDR_zpsl9jm6k9n.j

 

The vet explained that that dark circle to the right is a normal looking swim bladder. If you look to the left of that, the three grey-ish circles that make up sort of a Mickey Mouse shape, that is the messed up swim bladder. He said they should both be circular like the one on the right. Unfortunately without opening up the fish, it can be hard to determine what causes this -- whether it's an infection, or something wrong with the kidneys, causing them to push the SB out of whack, etc. So, he wants to try the medicated food and see if there is any improvement.

 

But yeah, other than that, he said she should be feeling fine. I need to watch out for red sores on the belly from all of the bottom sitting -- THAT would be my indication that she may be in pain, but as of today she looks good. He said that if the meds don't work and this ends up being the new normal, it would be my choice on whether or not to euthanize. Although she is probably not feeling poorly, we do have to consider the quality of life of a fish who is unable to swim.

 

I have her in a QT with fresh water for now, and will keep her there at least until tomorrow, maybe Monday, to give her a chance to recover from the trip and the vet visit. Other than that, I will go forward with our treatment plan and see what happens!

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Sounds like she does have a good quality of life still! Good Luck with your treatment and I'm glad the vet visit worked out for you.

 

I know Black has a goldie who is always on the bottom but he still has a great life :) So it can work out even if it is permanent :)

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Oh yeah, I saw Black posted in this thread and mentioned Google! -- glad to hear others have experienced this issue and are doing fine with managing it.

 

The vet asked how my other fish were doing, and I said two were great, and one periodically has some floaty, SBD-looking issues, and he pretty much was like, "as long as you keep goldfish, you are going to run into these things from time to time." 

 

I have sand as a substrate for now -- I'm wondering if a bare bottom could potentially be easier on her belly, or if it wouldn't really make a difference either way?

 

Black, if you're reading, I'd be curious to hear more about your fish and if there is anything you've found that particularly helps him/her :)

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The vet also says he has been working with other vets to come up with an alternative to the harnesses/corks/etc. people have been using for their floaters/bottom sitters. I know the consensus on this forum is that those aren't so great, and he seemed to agree, and isn't interested in anything like that for Turbz, thankfully.

 

He did say if I were to ever decide to euthanize, or even if Turbz passes away, he would be interested in doing a necropsy...  :yikes  A little morbid to think about, but I suppose I'd be open to that if it were to potentially be helpful to his reseach/other fish down the road...

Edited by misssmountain
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Good for you hun, Im glad you got some answers. It's very hard watching a sick fish. We have NO fish vets where I live at all. So I can't take mine to the vets. However I would take them in if they were sick.

Edited by CourtneyandThunder
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