Fish Health - Dropsy

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Dropsey FishDropsy is not a disease, it's a name for a fishes shape. It means generally swollen and scales standing out from the body. .I have never seen a case of true dropsy cured in the 40 years I've been with fish and have only seen one fish spontaneously recover.

Most fish with this problem survive for only 2-3 weeks but sometimes as many months. Often the belly becomes reddened shortly before death. 99% of case I've seen have mainly a mixed bacterial infection (aeromonas hydrophila and mycobacteriosis). Aeromonas enters the body through intestines in the winter or spring and through ulcers, heron or parasites wounds.

Once inside the fish the bacteria infect the kidneys and the liver. Failure of either one of these organs can course dropsy symptoms. Dropsy especially from liver or kidney damage can be so severe as to finally cause primary organ failure itself.

You should immediately use fish anaesthesia. You must NEVER allow fish to die in a pond once dropsy has shown itself. Don't start with injections as none will work, the internal organ are beyond help and you are risking a secondary infection to start that you may not be able to stop.

You should be treating the fish in hospital tanks - it is surprising how many Koi keepers do not have them. Start look for how it came about in the first place.

dropsy

dropsy

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This is a classic case of dropsy. Note the swollen eyes and gill covers and the reddening of the belly and fin pits. I destroyed this fish within 5 mins of seeing the animal. This is an advanced case and you should never allow a fish to get in this condition and DIE in the pond. As you can see from the pictures, sepsis is well advanced, and if fish can feel pain this one would have been in agony - I would suspect the fish had been ill for some days or even weeks.