Re:Swollen Tail

Pete Giwojna

Dear Scubagal:

It’s good that she tolerated her first freshwater bath of Epsom salts so well. About all you can do in a case like this is to repeat the Epson salt baths once a day and hope that the baths will stimulate the release of the eggs and relieve the blockage.

The prognosis for this condition is poor, but if it’s any consolation, egg binding is of course not at all contagious so none of the other seahorses should be affected. The fact that more prolapsed tissue now seems to be protruding from her vent is an indication that the pressure is building up internally, but the appearance of a second opening could actually be a good sign. The seahorse’s vent is the cleft that is formed by the openings of the anus (uppermost) and the urogenital pore. The opening for the anus is superior, so the opening that is lower down is the urogenital pore, from which the female extrudes her eggs during mating. If the urogenital pore or ovipositor is now evident and open, perhaps your female will be able to drop the eggs that are clogging up the works and feel herself. (Prolapses will often repair themselves once the internal pressure has been relieved.)

If you are treating your female in a hospital tank, you might consider adding a good broad-spectrum antibiotic to help prevent secondary infections, but of course you want to avoid treating the main tank with antibiotics.

Best of luck resolving the sticky problem, Scubagal.

Pete Giwojna

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