Yes, if a female seahorse is having problems with positive buoyancy and the whole abdominal area is not swollen and bloated, then the problem is most likely due to an infection or inflammation of the swimbladder. In that case, medications that combine trimethoprim (TMP) with sulfa drugs can often be helpful.
However, a combination of kanamycin (which dissolves well in saltwater and is absorbed readily by the fishes skin and gills) and neomycin sulfate (which is not readily absorbed, but is a good choice for treating external infections) can also be useful for treating such problems, depending on the type of bacteria and which area of the gas bladder or swimbladder is involved. Also, aminoglycoside antibiotic such as kanamycin and neomycin can be used together to produce a synergistic combination of medications that is more efficacious than either of the antibiotics used alone.
It’s difficult to determine whether or not it would be best to stop the treatment with the aminoglycoside antibiotics and switch from the kanamycin/neomycin treatment regimen to the TMP Sulfa or Sulfa 4 TMP instead at this point, Tom. But I would say that if the female does not seem to be responding to the kanamycin and neomycin after several days of treatment, then switching to a combination drug that includes trimethoprim and sulfas should be considered. I would say that if you’re female is not showing any signs of improvement after Thanksgiving, then it might be best to switch over to one of the TMP/Sulfa drugs instead. Generally speaking, however, once you begin a regimen of antibiotics, I recommend completing the full treatment regimen whenever possible, in order to make more difficult for the pathogens involved to develop resistance to the antibiotics…
Regardless of the medications you are using, Tom, it was very prudent of you to lower the water temperature in the treatment tank to 69°F. Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) can tolerate the reduced water temperature very well, and the lower temperature will have the beneficial effect of reducing both the virulence the growth rate of any bacteria that are involved.
Best of luck with the treatments, sir.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support