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A koi is acting abnormally, swallowing air and blowing

Customer Question
A koi is acting...

A koi is acting abnormally, swallowing air and blowing bubbles out through its gills. Eats some but has lost weight.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. The Expert will know if the Koi will be able to digest that. What is the Koi's name and age?

No name, approximately 25 years old

Veterinarian's Assistant: What is the Koi's name?

Doesn't have a name

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the Koi?

I believe it is a male fish

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Pet
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
10/4/2017
Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 10 months ago
Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,950
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 40 years of experience keeping fish. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. It can be very difficult to figure out what is wrong with a fish, but we can probably figure out the best steps to take. Some additional information will be useful.Do you have other koi? If so, are they all fine?In the week before this began, did your area have any thunderstorms?Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I have a large pond approximately 5500 gallons with two sand filters and UV light. I have approximately 20 other koi of the same age all acting normally. There have been no thunderstorms. I live in southern California and the weather has been temperate, in the 70's during the day and 60's at night.
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Never got a response.
Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 10 months ago
Thank you for getting back to me. I asked about storms because A lightning strike causing a power surge to pumps is a common cause of symptoms like these. That often affects a larger koi that is resting near a piece of equipment . We can rule that out now.The symptoms your fish has are not those of any common illnesses, but something is clearly wrong with his respiratory system. The best thing to do would be to place him in a hospital tank. An extra large RubberMaid tote ( sold in home improvement stores) may work well. Fill it with water from the pond. Aerate it extremely well. Add aquarium/pond salt at the rate of one teaspoon per gallon of water. Salt can help fish cope with any kind of stress, and strong aeration will help with breathing.The fish may have gill parasites, but in most cases, more than one fish is affected. A gill infection coukdcalso be responsible. Before we go on, would you be interested in having an aquatic vet examine the fish to reach a certain diagnosis? If so, give me your city and I'll see if I can find one. There are quite a few in southern California.
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I actually know of one if he is still working. He diagnosed one of my female koi with ovarian cancer years ago and advised me how to euthanize her by gradually adding ice to pond water in a Rubbermaid tote then putting her in the freezer. I am aware of the salt treatment and plan to try this. Was just wondering if you had any other advice. Thanks.
Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 10 months ago
OK. Without a vet diagnosis, we would have to make an educated guess at how to treat the fish is in isolation. The two most likely possibilities are infection or parasites. You can treat for both, but would need to do it one medication at a time. Adding two at once might be more than the fish can take. But using the wrong one could also allow whatever is wrong to progress. For infection, I would use a combination of MelaFix and PimaFix. The combination can fight both bacterial and fungal infections. They are safe to use together.If the fish doesn't respond to the medication combination, the next step would be to treat for parasites. Gill flukes are a possibility. You could treat with a general anti- parasitic medication, such as praziquantel. Acriflavine MS is also very effective, but harder to find. A commercial blend called Aqu Pro- Cure is also effective.You'll have to use your judgement about which to use first. There are possibilities that can't be treated. The fact that the fish is losing weight is a concern. He may have cancer, with a tumor located in a spot where it interferes with breathing.
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Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 10 months ago
Sorry to take so long . I am unfortunately, a slow typist. If there are large pond supply stores in your area, you may be able to find a medicated food. If this were my fish, I would begin with the MelaFix/ PimaFix combination. If that doesn't help, try one of the parasite medications. Of course, the vet would be the best option of all.If you have more concerns, just let me know. I hope the koi will be able to recover.
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Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 10 months ago
Here is an online source for medicated food:https://www.koisale.com/medicated-fish-food.html
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Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 10 months ago
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Anna
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