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September 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm #2096fishteerMember
My small, second generation pony, Leola, suddenly has a vent prolapse.
Hi, Pete. It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me! Fish music and seahorse arts and mermaiding have all been going well. But there’s trouble in my seahorse paradise. I have lost half of my 14 seahorses in the past 18 months or so due to varying causes. Most of the deaths have occurred among my second generation females due to egg binding and bloating.
I don’t exactly know why this has been happening, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that all of the ponies in my second gen tank were siblings. The tank itself was large (65 G) and tall, and there was a lot of active courtship/dancing going on among the brothers and sisters. But I wonder if, when it came right down to it, the females just didn’t see their brothers as daddy material and so wouldn’t give up their eggs.
Whatever the cause, I lost Zenyatta, Eugenia, and Bethena this year. I then combined my remaining second gen ponies with their parents in my original tank. (Sadly, I lost three of my first gen ponies in 2014-15, including my darling dance champions, Galene and Zephyr.) So the tank currently contains 2 first gen males, 2 second gen males, and 3 second gen females. Only Aethon is in no way related to the second gen ponies.
This summer, Mona Louise began to bloat up. I was able to successfully cure her with Diamox, and once her pressure reduced, she ejected her eggs. I also successfully treated a male with Diamox for gas embolisms in his tail. In order for Diamox to work for egg binding, of course, I have to be able to see the bloating early on. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
This brings me to my current situation. My “runt of the litter,” Leola, who literally is about 1/3 to 1/4 the size of the other horses, has been a vigorous and feisty little girl who always gets the upper hand in every situation. She and the males, particularly Aethon, have been enthusiastically dancing in the past few days. (Aethon is unrelated to Leola and is my largest boy. Leola looks like a minnow next to him!) Last night I took some photos for a children’s book I’m writing, and Leola looked just fine. This morning, I found her on her usual hitching post with a large prolapse, probably ovary and maybe even intestine, through her vent. I don’t know why this happened. I have seen no sign of bloating! She actually seems to be her normal weight.
I posted a photo here: http://mermaidgalene.com/images/leolaprolapse.jpg
Is there any chance Leola will survive this? Anything I can do? I have seen one brief mention on this forum of the possibility that a vent prolapse might repair itself, but this one is rather large. Should I euthanize Leola?
I would miss my little Spitfire, as I nicknamed this “take no guff” gal. I love her dearly. But I won’t let her suffer.
Diane (aka Mermaid Galene)September 28, 2015 at 3:04 pm #5797fishteerGuest
On close inspection, it became clear that Leola’s prolapse was intestinal, and it appeared there was a fecal blockage. I considered trying to aspirate it with a cannula and pipette. But with such a small seahorse, it would have taken a needle to get in there, and I wasn’t going to risk that. I left her in her tank with her friends overnight. This morning she had slipped into waning responsiveness with no improvement in the prolapse, so I euthanized her.
Leola was nearly 3-1/2 years old. Given all the losses I’ve had in the past year, I begin to feel that 3-5 years really is nature’s built in lifespan for these seahorses. (Even if one does occasionally live past a decade.) I wonder if, as in most animals, there is an inexorable physical decline once the peak reproductive years are past. And that peak probably differs a bit from one individual to another.
In any case, we can’t hold onto them forever. I loved Leola dearly. I miss her, and I will not forget her.
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