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Old 29-07-2008, 10:21 AM   #105

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Originally Posted by applepie View Post
Instead of culling a SBD goldfish, why not give it a last shot by removing some air from the swim bladder? I saw an interesting article on how to remove air from the swim bladder. Check this out.


To locate the swim bladder, check this out. Warning: don't see if you have a weak heart.


Bro...thats a good article and thot I open it up for easy reading.

Swim Bladder Surgery
By Lisa Englander

Those of us who keep fancy goldfish know all too well about the dreaded Swim Bladder Disease. It seems that just when my goldfish start to get a good size, are nice and plump, and I dream of them winning a Best of Show trophy - it hits!

I feed my goldfish a variety of goldfish sinking pellets, as well as de-shelled peas and occasionally some brine shrimp. I must admit though, I just started soaking the pellets before feeding them to the fish even though I’m not completely sold on the fact that food, nor eating habits have anything to do with swim bladder. Of course I am not a veterinarian, but how can the swim bladder have anything to do with digestion? Aren’t these 2 separate systems?

I’ve seen, mostly on the Internet, surgeries by veterinarians where a kind of stone is implanted in the fish to keep it upright. I think this is cruel and unusual punishment and does not seem to me to cure the problem, but merely masks the underlying cause... but that’s just my opinion. I personally would not want this for any fish of mine.

So, with (lots of) help from Dr. Chris Bonar, Associate Veterinarian of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, I was able to try something that made a lot more sense to me- to remove the excess air from my fish’s swim bladder.

Dr. Bonar was kind enough to e-mail me a photo from a book of an x-ray of a goldfish. This showed me exactly where the swim bladder is located. Then, since I am a dental assistant by trade, I was able to get a needle, syringe and carpule of anesthetic from work. The carpule was merely a vessel into which to expel the air into, not to numb the fish. (Perhaps those of you who are not in the medical/dental field can obtain a needle and syringe for diabetics from your local pharmacy. As far as a carpule, well, I‘m not sure where you can get one unless your dentist is willing to give/sell you one).

First, I put the needle and syringe together and inserted the carpule. This is the only part of this I know how to do; the rest was by the seat of my pants. I then emptied the carpule by squirting out the contents almost completely, but left in a small amount of anesthetic to act as a seal around the stopper. Whether it helped or not, I am not sure, but it didn’t hurt anything either. Since I was not injecting the liquid into the fish, it really didn’t matter.

I prepared the “operating table” which consisted merely of a wet towel in my sink. I used my sink because I knew that if I injected the fish and it should jump, or even move, I would freak out and the fish could hit the floor and I could stick myself. So the sink seemed pretty safe for the both of us. I soaked the towel with the fish’s water, added some Stress Coat and made a sort of nest. With the email x-ray and syringe at hand, it’s time to get the patient.

Catching the fish was quite an easy task since she is constantly trying to wedge herself between things in the tank in order to rest, therefore she is usually exhausted and she hadn’t been able to eat much of anything in her upside down predicament. (I never use a net to catch my goldfish; I always use my hands for fear of bending or ripping the finnage).

I placed the poor fish on her side in the “nest” (and I say poor fish because I have never stuck anything with a needle in my life), and told her I was sorry for what I was about to do, in case the outcome was not a good one and just in case Mother Nature was watching. I covered her fins and head lightly with a little bit of the towel thinking this may help keep her steady. Dr. Bonar suggested I go under the scale, which I tried to do, but the scale just popped off. I don’t think this is a big deal since she is no longer a show fish anyway, and it will grow back. (That is if she lives through my role-playing as a doctor). I carefully injected the needle into the area I believed to be the swim bladder and pulled out the plunger of the syringe. I immediately saw the sides of my fish go flatter, like a tire, as I expelled the air out and into the carpule. I assumed I was doing just as the doctor had ordered since there was no liquidy, fishy substance in the carpule, just air.

I withdrew the needle, uncovered the fish, and thankfully she was still alive. I put her back into the tank to rest and to breathe and, lo and behold, she was not as buoyant as before. She was tilted to one side and the side I “operated” on was beneath her. This gave me hope that I was doing this correctly. I felt more confident and after a few minutes I expelled the air from her other side in the same manner Again the scale popped off. Since this side seemed larger, I expelled more air than I had on the first side. Still, she remained alive. Mother Nature IS watching!

Returning her to her tank, she was no longer upside-down at the top of the tank… she is now on her side at the bottom of the tank and remains there as I write this article 2 weeks later. Did I remove too much? She could have put some air back in her swim bladder on her own, although this is not the case. According to the veterinary book that the x-ray came from, her being at the bottom of the tank is to be expected and, OK, I should keep my day job, but it’s possible she may have some other underlying problem, like a bacterial infection, excess air in the caudal swim bladder, bacterial granulomas in the liver, a tumor, or a neurological problem, according to Dr. Bonar.

Even though I think I may have removed too much air from one side, I believe she is definitely more comfortable than before. She is no longer struggling to rest and she will eat from my hand as well as on her own. Yes, she still looks pitiful, and euthanasia is not out of the question, but now I know that if in the future, another one of my goldfish should come down with the dreaded disease, I will try it again and perhaps we will have a better outcome.
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