Re:bloated seahorse

#4045
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear Lynn:

Just to make sure that we are both on the same page, when you perform a needle aspiration, you are not penetrating the seahorse’s stomach, but rather the brood pouch that is slung beneath its belly at the base of its tail.

Also, you cannot release the gas that has built up in your male’s pouch simply by perforating the side of his pouch with a small needle. Rather, you need a hypodermic needle and syringe in order to perform a needle aspiration. You must first depress the plunger on the hypodermic syringe to empty all of the air out of the barrel of the syringe, and then carefully insert the hypodermic needle into the side of the pouch, just far enough to penetrate into the cavity of the pouch, and then gradually withdraw the plunger again, which will extract the gas from that area of the pouch.

You may need to perform this procedure twice, once from the left-hand side of the pouch and once from the right-hand side of the pouch, since male seahorses in breeding condition develop an internal septum or membrane that divides their pouches roughly into left and right hemispheres. So you may need to aspirate air from the left side of the pouch, and then repeat the procedure with your hypodermic needle on the right side of the pouch in order to remove all of the trapped gas from your stallion’s marsupium. But do not penetrate the pouch of your male with a hypodermic needle more than that; if aspirating the gas once from each side of the pouch is not sufficient to deflate the pouch and eliminate the problem with positive buoyancy, then you will need to flush out his pouch instead using one of the methods for performing a pouch flush that I described in my previous post. You will do more harm than good if you try to repeatedly perform needle aspirations (you must avoid turning your male into a pincushion at all costs)!

Also, Lynn, as we have discussed before, releasing the gas from your male’s pouch in this way will merely provide him with some temporary relief, if successful. It won’t cure his problem, and the gas will soon build up in his patch again unless you also treat him with acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) and correct the conditions in your aquarium that trigger this problem in the first place.

Best of luck with the needle aspirations, which are the first step toward resolving this problem, Lynn.

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna


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