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Goldfish with Severe Dropsy but Acts "Normal"


mawgui

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I have a goldfish with severe dropsy.  The subject lives with two other goldfish in a 20 gallon tank.  He is the largest and has grown to be 8" long; the other two are about 5" long.  The water quality is regularly maintained and measures well.  One of the fish (I forget which) developed dropsy over the spring and I successfully treated that one with Kanoplex.  I caught this goldfish early also and so was hopeful, however. the disease has progressed.

The goldfish has "inflated" over the past couple weeks.  He actually looks worse than the photo below but seemed happy and was eating normally so I left him in the tank with his family.  Finally, four days ago I moved him into a hospital tank.  He continues to eat although he does not like the hospital tank.

My question is: will my goldfish "get better"?  Or he forever look like a giant golden pinecone?  When will it be safe to return him to the regular tank with his family?

Thank you! 

Dropsy1_edit.jpg

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Truth? Fish with slow, severe dropsy and no other symptoms tend to have a failing organ, kidneys, liver, etc. These are the sort of cases that don’t respond to antibiotics but sometimes are eased with epsom salt.

If you want to try 1/2 tap epsom salt per ten gallons and see if that helps the swelling, you should notice a difference in a day or so. If any other symptoms or exposures could account for an infection we can talk about those, too.

But idiopathic dropsy is usually just a fish getting sick from something a home aquarist often can’t treat. As long as the fish eats and swims you can leave them be, but if their behavior changes for the worse then I would euthanize, if it were my animal.

 

Does that help? I’ve dealt with this in my own tanks  over the years and it’s always a bit frustrating, I understand! It’s a helpless feeling to see a healthy fish start to swell and then degrade, but the most recent animal I had with this issue made it six months or so before his behavior with eating dropped off and he wasn’t enjoying good quality of life anymore. So, a long time, as dropsy goes.

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Thank you for your note.  That is very helpful.  

I did a water change this morning and added a half teaspoon of epsom salt.  We will watch and see! 

Six months with dropsy is a long time.  Did you keep the fish in a hospital tank all that time or return him/her to her normal tank?  I ask because it seems to me that the fish in the hospital tank is quite bored with the surroundings.

Thanks again.

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43 minutes ago, mawgui said:

Thank you for your note.  That is very helpful.  

I did a water change this morning and added a half teaspoon of epsom salt.  We will watch and see! 

Six months with dropsy is a long time.  Did you keep the fish in a hospital tank all that time or return him/her to her normal tank?  I ask because it seems to me that the fish in the hospital tank is quite bored with the surroundings.

Thanks again.

That fish never went in a hospital tank after his initial treatment for columnaris, which I suspect damaged his kidneys a bit. He had intermittent bouts of pineconing for months before it was persistent.

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Status update.  Our goldfish is hanging on.  He was not eating for the past couple days but is eating today.  Perhaps this had something to do with getting acclimated to the hospital tank and with another dose of Kanoplex - I had not medicated him for about six days, since the first several courses. 

I wish I could say that he looked better.  The epsom salt had no effect on his dimensions.  I have posted pictures of his current condition below (the lack of sharpness is because the hospital tank is a storage container).

Question: is our goldfish contagious?  Or is he now just what he is now?  

Thank you as always - you are a tremendous help!

Goldfish1s.jpg

Goldfish2s.jpg

Goldfish3s.jpg

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Ooouch, poor fish! Since we don’t know exactly what is causing his dropsy it’s hard to say definitively, but if there was nothing brought into the tank in the last six months - no new fish or plants or live food - it is very very unlikely he is contagious.

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This fish was BADLY dropsied, and your fish is in far worse condition than even this one. This fish was also behaving fairly normally. It still was easily identified as unsavable and euthanized. Found with severely damaged kidneys upon necropsy.

There's no way being this bloated can be comfortable and these fish often don't show signs of illness until the VERY end. I would think they are actually suffering when in this state.

If this were my fish, I would euthanize it immediately. This level of dropsy is nearly always incurable and caused by irreparable organ damage. This is why he isn't responding to treatment.

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I know it can be really hard to make the decision to euthanize when the fish appears to be acting normally, I've had to make that decision a few times in the past couple of months. But when they aren't responding to treatment, and look that bad, I agree with MJ that there is no way it can be comfortable been so bloated even if they aren't showing it.  Thew few times I've decided to let them go passed when my instinct was saying to euthanize I've ended up regretting it.

I really like Dr Lohs videos.  

Ultimately it's your decision, but I agree that I would be euthanizing :(

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