Page 44 - WSAVA2018
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 25-28 September, 2018 | Singapore
N. Saint-Erne1
1PetSmart- Inc., Pet Health, Phoenix, USA
Aquatic veterinarians can use much of the same equipment and medications used in any small animal veterinary practice. Most diagnostic tests in fish can
be done using standard veterinary equipment, and surgeries performed with instruments typically used
for ophthalmic work, such as iris scissors. Radiology equipment, especially digital or dental units, sonograms, endoscopes, and blood evaluating equipment used for other animals work well with fish patients, too. Many small animal drugs are also used in fish medicine, with only a few special medications needed to supplement other veterinary drugs.
Aquatic veterinarians often make house calls to examine fish, but there are also advantages of having clients bring in the fish to the veterinary hospital. Having a client bring a sick fish into the veterinary hospital allows treatment in a quarantine tank where all the conditions can be controlled and properly maintained. Regular daily observations can be made, and appropriate diagnostic tests and treatments performed. Sick fish
are isolated from the remaining fish in the aquarium or pond. Once a diagnosis is made, the fish can be properly medicated, and the sick fish can be cared for until it is well enough to return home. Disadvantages include the lack of examination of the remaining fish and the aquatic environment (aquarium or pond) itself; having the owner transport the sick fish in plastic bags, buckets or ice chests to the clinic; and in many cases the unwillingness of the owner to catch and bring in their sick fish.
By making a house call, the fish can be examined in its own environment. The filtration units can be examined and water tests performed on the spot. Apparently healthy fish can be biopsied and checked for early signs of lesions that the owner might have missed. Suggestions
on improving filtration, water quality and fish husbandry are easier to make when the facilities have been visited, rather than having just the owner’s descriptions.
When making a house call, portable diagnostic equipment including microscopes, slides and coverslips, bacterial culturettes, and water test kits must be brought along. A “Doctor’s Bag” of common medications and antibiotics can be made up for house calls. Some very important pieces of equipment to bring when visiting koi ponds are your own quality long-handled koi nets (many pond owners have only pool skimmer nets!), a plastic container for holding the fish for examination, and chest- high waders!
Drawing blood samples from larger fish, especially
koi, can be done from the caudal vein below the spine in the caudal peduncle. Use a 1-ml tuberculin syringe with a 22 or 23-gauge needle of appropriate length.
A butterfly catheter can be attached to the syringe
to facilitate handling of the needle separately from
the syringe. Fill the hub of the needle with a drop of lithium heparin to prevent the blood from clotting. This is preferable to ammonium heparin or sodium heparin, but they can also be used for hematology testing. The ammonium and sodium heparins will affect those blood values if used in samples for serology or electrolyte testing. Ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) is not recommended to be used to prevent blood clotting in fish blood samples as it may cause erythrocyte lysis.
Some normal values for koi blood parameters, derived from Advanced Koi Care by Nicholas Saint-Erne (2002, 2010) and from Hematology and Clinical Chemistry of Cyprinid Fish by Groff and Zinkl (1999), are listed in the chart below.
Normal Range:
Red Blood Cells (Erythrocytes):
Red Blood Cells (10-13 μm cell length) 1-2 Million/μl Hematocrit (Packed Cell Volume) 24-35% Hemoglobin 8-13 g/dl
Methemoglobin 4.8-5.6%
Mean Corpuscular Volume 202 fl
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin 49.1 pg/cell
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration 0.24 g/dl
White Blood Cells (Leukocytes):
Total White Blood Cells 5-15 Thousand/μl Neutrophils (10-15 μm) 750-1500/μl Neutrophils (% of Total WBC) 12-20% Band (immature) Neutrophils 0-4%
Small (Mature) Lymphocytes (6.6 μm) 3000-12,000/μl Small (Mature) Lymphocytes 65-85%
Large (Immature) Lymphocytes (11.8 μm) 0-3% Monocytes (10-16 μm) 100-600/μl
Monocytes 1-4%
Eosinophils (13.8 μm) 0-150/μl Eosinophils 0-1%
Basophils (13.8 μm) 0-150/μl
Basophils 0-1%
Thrombocytes (4.6 x 7.7 μm) 50,000/μl

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