Re:ulcer/cyst looking thing on Pony

#4741
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear Barbara:

Okay, this new development changes the clinical picture and diagnosis dramatically. If the suspicious growth on the seahorse was not a gas-filled pseudocyst and the seahorse is having no buoyancy problems, then you are probably not dealing with gas bubble syndrome (GBS), Barbara. Rather, if the lesion produced a pus-like exudate, then it sounds like a pyrogranulatomous cyst, which is a clear indication of a bacterial infection. That’s very important to know because the Diamox will have no effect on a bacterial infection, and whereas GBS is an environmental disease that is not infectious and does not spread from seahorse to seahorse, a bacterial infection such as this is typically highly contagious.

The appropriate treatment under these circumstances is to isolate the affected seahorse and treat him using broad-spectrum antibiotics in your hospital tank. If you can gradually reduce the water temperature in the treatment tank, this will also help to reduce the growth rate and possibly the virulence of the bacteria.

The most useful antibiotics for treating such infections are normally chloramphenicol, Baytril, doxycycline, kanamycin, oxytetracycline (only if it can be a minister orally), neomycin sulfate, sulfonamide or streptomycin, or Furan2 or Nitrofuracin Green (in mild cases that are detected early). As with other bacterial infections, lowering the water temperature during the course of treatment can help a great deal. This is your best course of action when you are confident that the problem is due to a bacterial infection (Giwojna, Nov. 2003).

Chloramphenicol is the treatment of choice but must be handled very carefully and is probably not going to be available to you. It can be given orally or used as a bath (Prescott, 2001c). Therapeutic baths lasting 10-20 hours are administered in a chloramphenicol solution consisting of 40 mg per liter of water (Prescott, 2001c). If the seahorse is still eating, the chloramphenicol can also be bioencapsulated by gut loading feeder shrimp or ghost shrimp with flake food soaked in the antibiotic solution. Even if the affected seahorses does not eat, feeding medicated shrimp to its tankmates is a good way to help prevent this contagious disease from spreading to the healthy seahorses (Prescott, 2001c).

The treatment protocol for Chloramphenicol or Chloromycetin is as follows:

Chloramphenicol can be used to treat bacterial infections at 40 mg/ litre of water (which comes out to about 150 milligrams per gallon) in a bath for 10-20 hours. It is important to watch the quality of the water, and if it starts to become turbid, the water must be changed. It is best to treat in a separate tank. In stubborn cases, a series of such baths may be necessary to resolve the problem, in which case a complete water change should be performed before the medication is redosed.

Chloramphenicol can also be used as an additive to the feed, if the fish are still eating (all to often in a major infection they will refuse to eat, but this treatment may be most useful in preventing the horizontal spread of the infection). When used as an addition to the feed use 500 mg per 100 gram of feed. (In the case of seahorses, the flake food medicated with chloramphenicol in this way would first be bio-encapsulated in live feeder shrimp, which would then in turn be fed to the seahorses.)

If you do obtain the chloramphenicol, be sure to be very careful when handling it. Remember, in a few rare individuals exposure to chloramphenicol can cause a potentially fatal side effect (aplastic anemia). These are rare cases and almost always involve patients who were being treated with the medication, but I would use gloves when handling it as a precaution and if you crush crush up tablets of chloramphenicol, be very careful not to inhale any of the power.

Because of this side effect, which affects one in 100,000 humans, chloramphenicol is no longer available as a medication for fishes and can therefore be difficult to obtain. If you find that is the case, your next best alternative is to obtain doxycycline and kanamycin from National Fish Pharmaceuticals and use them together to form a synergistic combination of antibiotics that is often very effective in treating Vibrio infections.

Doxycycline hydrochloride

USE: broad spectrum antibiotic derived from oxytetracycline. Use for both gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial disorders, including fin and tail rot, septicemia, and mouth rot. Unlike tetracycline antibiotics, it will not be deactivated by the high pH levels found in marine aquaria. Works in a similar manner to chloramphenicol.

DOSAGE: add 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons, every 24 hours for 10 days. Do a 25% water change before each treatment.

Kanamycin sulfate

This is a potent broad-spectrum, gram+/gram- aminogylcoside antibiotic. It is wonderfully effective for aquarium use because it is one of the few antibiotics that dissolves well in saltwater and that is readily absorbed through the skin of the fish. That makes it the treatment of choice for treating many bacterial infections in seahorses. Kanamycin can be combined safely with certain other antibiotics such as doxycycline or neomycin (as well as metronidazole) to further increase its efficacy. Like other gram-negative antibiotics, it will destroy your biofiltration and should be used in a hospital tank only.

USE: gram-negative bacterial infections and resistant forms of piscine tuberculosis (mycobacteria). Works especially well in saltwater aquariums.

DOSAGE: add 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons. Treat every 24 hours and perform a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days. (When treating piscine tuberculosis, treat for 30 days.)

Both the doxycycline and kanamycin can be obtained online from National Fish Pharmaceuticals at the following URL:

http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/products.html

Baytril is another good antibiotic for treating ulcerative dermatitis and tail rot, but it is a prescription medication that you would need to obtain from your family Vet. It would be your next best option if you cannot obtain the chloramphenicol or the doxycycline hydrochloride + kanamycin sulfate.

Baytril is a potent new broad-spectrum antibiotic that is effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria and is widely used to treat marine fish. However, it is a prescription medication and you would need to obtain it from a veterinarian. A 7-day treatment regimen for the liquid form of Baytril is recommended as follows:

Day 1: a five hour bath in Baytril at a concentration of 22.7 mg/ml.
Day 2: perform a 50% water change in the treatment tank and administer a 5-hour bath in Baytril at half strength (11.4 mg/ml).
Days 3-7: repeat the procedure for day 2 — a 50% water change followed by a five hour bath in Baytril at a concentration of 11.4 mg/ml.

If you cannot obtain Baytril, then treating the seahorse with with Furan2 + acriflavine or with Nitrofuracin Green would probably be the next best option.

Furan2 is a good combo medication that consist of two nitrofuran antibiotics (nitrofurazone and furazolidone) plus good old methylene blue. That gives it both bacteriostatic and bactericidal properties, and makes it active against various gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. The methylene blue stains the water in the treatment tank as and prevents the photosensitive nitrofuran antibiotics from being deactivated by light. Methylene blue is effective in preventing fungal growth, and it has antiprotozoal and antibacterial properties as well, by virtue of its ability to bind with cytoplasmic structures within the cell and interfere with oxidation-reduction processes. This makes the combination of methylene blue, nitrofurazone and furazolidone very broad spectrum and fairly potent.

Best of all, Furan2 can be safely combined with Aquarium Pharmaceuticals antiparasitic medications such as acriflavine to increase its effectiveness and guard against secondary infections.

Thus, when combined with an effective antiparasitic medication, a good combination drug like Furan2 can be the ultimate weapon in your medicine cabinet. It is effective against a wide range of diseases, making it a versatile shotgun for restoring order when trouble breaks out in your tank. When you suspect an infection is at work, but don’t know whether you’re dealing with fungus, bacteria, protozoan parasites or a mixed infection, Furan2 + Aquarium Pharmaceutical acriflavine is an effective combination that produces good results! Furan2 is especially effective for treating mild skin infections.

However, Barbara, you have to take special precautions when administering nitrofuran antibiotics such as this because they are photosensitive and can be deactivated by light. That means you’ll need to darken the hospital tank while you treat the seahorse. Do not use a light on your hospital tank, and keep an opaque lid or cover on the aquarium during the treatments. Remove this cover from the aquarium only long enough to feed your seahorse.

You should also be aware that Furan2 will cause discoloration of the aquarium water, turning it a shade of blue-green. This is harmless and can be removed after the treatments using activated carbon filtration.

Nitrofuracin Green is another combo medication with similar ingredients that is equivalent to Furan2. The instructions for using it are as follows:

Nitrofuracin Green

A special formula consisting of two nitrofuran antibiotics (nitrofurazone and furazolidone) + methylene blue and sodium chloride.

USE: anti-microbial, anti-protozoan, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. Wide spectrum. Good for newly arrived fish in quarantine situations. Also be good for healing wounds and ammonia burns on newly arriving fish. Widely used for shipping or packing water. Works well for sores on fish in Koi ponds.

DOSAGE: add 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons every 24 hours, with a 25% water change before each daily treatment. Treat for 10 days.

In summation, Barbara, I would recommend isolating the affected seahorse and treating him aggressively with antibiotics in your hospital tank as soon as possible. The following antibiotics have proven to be effective in treating such infections when they are detected early (I have listed them in order of preference):

Chloramphenicol (i.e., Chloromycetin)
Doxycycline hydrochloride + kanamycin sulfate
kanamycin sulfate used alone or in conjunction with neomycin
Baytril
Furan2 + acriflavine
Furan2 or Nitrofuracin Green

Best of luck obtaining an appropriate antibiotic and treating this infection, Barbara.

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna


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