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View Full Version : Pleco Problem - Please Help Identify



jessfish
01-22-2011, 09:45 PM
Hey everyone

I have been trying for months to identify the growth on the side of my pleco's mouth.

It started off several months ago (i've had him a yr) & i thought he had just snagged his mouth on a rock or something, however the growth has grown with him...but it has almost doubled in size since late Oct!

I'll add a pic that I took today, i hope it shows up big enough.

My worry now is that even though he is still eating, the growth is big enough to fit into his mouth & a little down his throat.

I'm debating cutting a small piece off to see what happens...but obviously i'm really worried that would cause an infection & possible my awesome pleco's death & i really really don't want that!

so im stuck!

any help is appreciated!!!!

btw the growth is soft & only attached by a small piece of skin to the side of his mouth

jessfish
01-22-2011, 09:54 PM
YAY!!
this one is bigger!!!
this is the pic from today

jessfish
01-22-2011, 09:59 PM
Here is the pic taken at the end of Oct

flydustydawg
01-22-2011, 10:02 PM
At first I thought it could be Lymphocystis but I dont think that it is. Here is an article on it if you want to read bout it. http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/management/Lawler_Lymphocystis.html

Sorry I couldnt be of more help.

jessfish
01-22-2011, 10:13 PM
[QUOTE=flydustydawg]At first I thought it could be Lymphocystis but I dont think that it is.

Thats what I thought at first to, but after reading up on it I don't think so either...

i'll check out the article

here's another pic I just got

Has anyone cut any growth off a fish? Does anyone have any experience with that? I DO NOT plan on just cutting it off...but I am leaning towards cutting a small piece to see what happens & if all went well than i might consider removing more

jessfish
01-23-2011, 05:41 PM
wow i'm kind of surprised how hard it is to find info on pleco problems...i guess this kind of mouth thing isn't very popular??

anyone have ideas of what the problem could be & if i should try to cut a small bit off?

jessfish
01-24-2011, 12:45 AM
anybody have any ideas before i get too serious with the cutters

CassieLEO
01-24-2011, 02:06 AM
Until someone can tell you what is wrong and what can be done with it, I wouldnt dare try and perform surgery yourself. Is he eating ok? Is he at good weight? You can cause him a infection and it could spread. If I were you, and he is fine, I would wait. You can cause mroe problems by cutting stuff off of him than waiting and seeing. Until you definately know what it is, just let it be. Please...

jessfish
01-24-2011, 02:15 AM
You can cause mroe problems by cutting stuff off of him than waiting and seeing.


Thats my worry too, I would feel so bad if I made things worse by doing any cutting...he is eating well - but the growth is starting to get in the way, it flops around and ends up in his mouth, his weight & growth is still excellent, his behaviour has changed in the last couple months - but i don't think in a bad way -he is very social & active doesn't spend much time in his cave.

Its so hard with not much information about what it could be, I keep thinking its going to fall off but its been so many months!! (I think it started in March)

gabbyguppy
01-24-2011, 02:57 AM
Is there a zoo, aquarium or Vet school close to you? If so, check and see if they have someone on staff that has experience doing surgery on fish.

I think this growth needs to be removed, but that's probably going to require anesthesia and perhaps an injection of antibiotics afterwards.

You might find someone willing to donate their time in exchange for the opportunity to use this case as a learning experience.

Karen

jessfish
01-24-2011, 05:16 PM
thats a good thought, there's only a vet around here & i have no idea yet if they have any experience with fish, but im going to Big Al's today to pick every staff memeber's brain to see if anyone there has any ideas as well...i know at my local big al's there are a few staff that seem to really know what they are talking about - hopefully they will know about this...
i wonder what it would cost at a vet if they didnt donate their time - i know its easily $50 just to take in a dog or cat for a check up...hummm

jessfish
01-24-2011, 08:55 PM
I went to my local big al's & talked to the one person who had a lot of knowledge of pleco's & mouth growth's (or just growths in general)

he said it's a tumor - he came to this conclusion based on the pictures & the fact that it is growing rapidly & that it has been there for close to a year.

His advice was to cut it off, treat with antibiotics & aquarium salt in a quarantine tank & hope for the best, he said he has seen lots of fish survive this type of 'surgery'

However i'm not ready to jump in & cut the thing off, im actually out of town tomorrow, but will be in the area of another Big Al's - so im going to get some more advice.

For now i have the antibiotics & aquarium salt (yes i spent the money on aquarium salt - i figure if i do end up doing this i rather give my lovely fish the best chance at survival possible)

I'm going to wait for a few weeks before i do anything - mostly i want the opinon on more than one person (& hopefully some people on here) & at the rate this thing is growing in a few weeks it could be at the point where something has to be done anyway. Plus i feel horrible at the thought of cutting this thing off & causing my lovely pleco's death - i rather it be more a life or death situation - which at this point he's still got time before it completely covers his mouth & swollowing it becomes a serious risk
:scry:

dbosman
01-24-2011, 09:51 PM
A clean snip and possibly cauterization would be the easiest thing to get this out of the way.

Dave66
01-24-2011, 11:49 PM
Looks like damage that resulted in the growth. If you do remove it, a small touch of iodine will prevent infection in the wound.

Dave

jessfish
01-25-2011, 01:24 AM
"a small touch of iodine will prevent infection in the wound"
"A clean snip and possibly cauterization"

Oh thanks for these sugestions I have been thinking about these things since i was told to cut it off this afternoon.

1. How do I use the iodine, any particular way to apply it? (I can get iodine at the drugstore right?)

2. Cauterization, that stops bleeding right? I've been worried about that bc if the 'tumor' is growing it obviously has a blood supply.
How do I cauterize it?

Would I do both of these things or just one? (I guess it depends how grossed out I get with cauterization - that just sounds nasty lol!)

dbosman
01-25-2011, 01:48 AM
Sigh, I hate this part of things. Some times you have to do things you really don't want to think about. If anyone is easily disturbed by clinics or hospitals, stop reading NOW.

Home cauterization is usually a clean flat tipped soldering iron or wood burning tool. You should be able to get functional one at a dollar type store. If the wound does bleed, touch the hot flat tip to the specific area blood is coming from. The blood vessels are small fortunately. There may be more than one.

If you can't stand the thought of doing this, get help. Get help anyway. Someone has to hold the pleco, which generally isn't hard, while someone else has to cut the growth and be prepared to stop the bleeding. All while keeping an aquatic creature out of the tank.

An adaptation of surgical tools to hobbies, is the cauterizing scalpel. Duck decoy carvers use relatively (couple hundred $) inexpensive blade type wood burners to carve and shape feather details. One of those would cut the tumor off the pleco and cauterize at the same time.

Good luck to you and the pleco.

jessfish
01-25-2011, 02:06 AM
Sigh, I hate this part of things. Some times you have to do things you really don't want to think about. If anyone is easily disturbed by clinics or hospitals, stop reading NOW.

Home cauterization is usually a clean flat tipped soldering iron or wood burning tool. You should be able to get functional one at a dollar type store. If the wound does bleed, touch the hot flat tip to the specific area blood is coming from. The blood vessels are small fortunately. There may be more than one.

If you can't stand the thought of doing this, get help. Get help anyway. Someone has to hold the pleco, which generally isn't hard, while someone else has to cut the growth and be prepared to stop the bleeding. All while keeping an aquatic creature out of the tank.

An adaptation of surgical tools to hobbies, is the cauterizing scalpel. Duck decoy carvers use relatively (couple hundred $) inexpensive blade type wood burners to carve and shape feather details. One of those would cut the tumor off the pleco and cauterize at the same time.

Good luck to you and the pleco.

Oh god! the tricky thing is that i will probably have to do this alone, & the thought of cauterizing is freaking me out...but the thought of a lot of blood loss that i cant stop freaks me out too....damn!
when a fish/pleco gets cut do they stop bleeding or clot if i hold the part that i have cut? or is that just people?

any ideas the best way to do this (the cutting anyway) on my own?
i've now realized its going to be pretty tricky to hold my fishy & cut & do whatever i decide after the cut?


with the iodine...will that stop any bleeding or is that just going to sting my pleco & help with possible bacteria/infection?

jessfish
01-25-2011, 02:41 AM
Ohhh i feel like such a jerk!

a little history on me & my pleco Peru - i've had him a yr & never done more than net him once to move & touched his nose & belly with my finger (a month ago)!
its been a growing process for me to get the guts to touch a fish that i've been kind of afraid of...

i figured if i am going to plan to cut the 'tumor' off his mouth i should probably grab him & get over that fear now & i wanted to see if i could get a better look at the growth...

maybe my 1st mistake was i put on rubber gloves?
(he's a gibbiceps so hes a bit spiny & hard which is why i picked gloves)

well i had to catch him with my gloved hand which took a min, but after i got a (not better) look at his mouth growth i put him back in the water & his perfect fins (the top & 2 side fins & one back fin) are a little frayed & one has 2 small splits!!! nothing bad - but im afraid my stupid move with the gloves hurt his fins?

Will he be ok...theres NO bad damage, just a little frayed & the 2 small splits - but i've never experienced this before.

i think surgery is a No!
i'm leaning towards letting him live the best life he can with the growth (unless i find someone else to do it without hurting his fins - which hadn't even occured to me)!!

is there anything i should do now that i've handled him & hurt his fins? I have water conditioner that has aloe & is supposed to help injuries?

i feel so bad im still shaking:scry:

jessfish
01-25-2011, 03:08 AM
I think I am more traumatized than Peru…he’s eating zucchini!
I’m still concerned about his fins…
If I did go ahead with cutting the growth off how do I do that without hurting his fins?

gabbyguppy
01-25-2011, 04:07 AM
You might try contacting the Vet in this article for help:

http://www.anythingfish.com/Red_Tiger_Tumor_Surgery.htm

Dr. Roger S. Hancock, DVM is the Vet on staff that's done surgeries on fish. He's listed under the "cow" section in the Dr's link.

He might be able to offer you some tips in removing/treating the growth on your pleco.

Karen

jessfish
01-25-2011, 04:48 AM
Thanks Karen!!

I never would have found that info!

I just emailed them & I hope they actually get back to me about the best course of action in doing surgery & in handling.

I just watched my pleco, who seems unaffected by my earlier antics, but the growth was in front of his mouth and he sucked it into his throat a few times, at least i did get to see him spit it out or move in such a way that it came out!

jessfish
01-26-2011, 03:00 AM
Back to the iodine that was suggested...

I'm not sure how I would use that?

Would I just use a Q-tip or little pad thing and dab at the cut spot?

I'm still against the cauterization - that's way to advanced for me to try on the side of my pleco's mouth...eww

Pleco380
01-26-2011, 03:26 AM
Don't worry about the split fins. My fish split fins now and then and they heal in clean water. Only worry if they get fin rot etc. One of my SD's has only half of his tail fin and he's fine. As for the tumor, that same SD had what I thought was a tumor. I left it alone and it popped so it was actually a cyst. It went away.

As for the pleco, put him in QT after the surgery and keep the water clean. That should help him. Not experienced with fish surgery though. Sorry.

jessfish
01-26-2011, 10:04 PM
i set up the QT tank today, im still not 100% on cutting the growth off, but i figure if i do i a few weeks at least the other tank will be all set to go
:ssuprised:

CassieLEO
01-26-2011, 10:09 PM
If he had done this for a year now, and he is eating fine, keeps his weight on and acting fine, why are you so insistant on fixing this right now? If I were you I would wait. There can be so many more problems once you do cut it off...

jessfish
01-26-2011, 10:19 PM
If he had done this for a year now, and he is eating fine, keeps his weight on and acting fine, why are you so insistant on fixing this right now? If I were you I would wait. There can be so many more problems once you do cut it off...


It's at a size now where it gets caught in his mouth, he eats less but is still healthy.
My thinking is that if i go ahead & cut it off i would rather do it when i know he is healthy and his immune system (appears) is strong than when he is showing signs of distress.

thats my thought right now...but who knows i could change my mind about this 50 more times :ssmile:

jessfish
01-27-2011, 09:37 PM
Is there a post somewhere about clove oil?

i've been looking into this - at 1st i was not going to even try to put my pleco to sleep for such a quick procedure, but i know that i will be doing this on my own & i think for the pleco's safety its better if he's really really relaxed or asleep...
but i'm the kind of person who needs to know everything before attempting to put him to sleep....i want to make sure he wakes up again :1luvu:

Obviously this means my plan is to go ahead with cutting the growth, i'm still scared but more confident that he will survive. I've talked to many employees at diff big al's who have given me MANY suggestions on what to do - but even without me prompting them on the idea - they all have said it should be cut off...it will probably grow back, but at this point cutting seems to be the best thing to do.

my plan is to do it in 2 weeks...
that gives me time to read more on clove oil (the hospital tank will be good to go)...& i thought it was a sign that today right beside the iodine that i bought was a bottle of clove oil - which i have never seen in a store in my area EVER!!!

by the end of this i will be able to write an article on how to remove growths from fish!
he better freakin survive! :11:

jessfish
01-27-2011, 10:30 PM
i just realized i could change my pic...why does it say cory cat?

Cyberra
01-27-2011, 11:25 PM
i just realized i could change my pic...why does it say cory cat?
Because of how many posts you've submitted. I just graduated from Corycat to German ram

jessfish
01-27-2011, 11:33 PM
Because of how many posts you've submitted. I just graduated from Corycat to German ram

oh thanks now it makes sense

jessfish
01-28-2011, 07:30 PM
You might try contacting the Vet in this article for help:

http://www.anythingfish.com/Red_Tiger_Tumor_Surgery.htm

Dr. Roger S. Hancock, DVM is the Vet on staff that's done surgeries on fish. He's listed under the "cow" section in the Dr's link.

He might be able to offer you some tips in removing/treating the growth on your pleco.

Karen


Thanks again Karen!!!!

Dr. Hancock actually emailed me back - which i wasn't really expecting (im used to doc's wanting $$ for any info LOL)

This was his info...i emailed him back to find out about a vegetative growth since i the only thing i know about a vegetative growth is regarding plants LOL & I have no idea what that means in terms of a growth on a fish & about tieing it off before cutting -sounds tricky!

Hi Jessica,
Thanks for sending the picture of your fish! I have to tell you that these suggestions are only based on your picture and that with out really seeing your fish I can only advise you. I don't think that the fish will choke on the growth. It look to be just vegetative growth, probably not a tumor.
Couple of ways to deal with it might be to ligate it and let it fall off or cut off once ligated. Could also use a laser to remove and cauterize at the same time. I would think that it would be best to sedate the fish first. A wet towel is a good platform for handling the fish and wearing gloves helps to prevent any bacteria on your hands form invading the skin of the fish. Antibiotics may not be necessary.
Where are you located?
Hope this helps
Roger Hancock, DVM

:19:

gabbyguppy
01-28-2011, 08:23 PM
I am so glad you heard back for him! I've learned that it never hurts to ask, especially these days when most folks communicate via e-mail.

I know someone that talked to a Vet School about making a prosthetic bill for their goose. He got attacked by a dog and the top portion of his bill was removed.

If you can find a way to give the fish anesthesia, you can tie off the tumor by using a piece of suture material. You could probably use plain dental floss, but I'm not sure how sterile that would be.

I hope this info helps you make the right decision for your pleco.

Karen

jessfish
01-28-2011, 09:52 PM
I am so glad you heard back for him! I've learned that it never hurts to ask, especially these days when most folks communicate via e-mail.

I know someone that talked to a Vet School about making a prosthetic bill for their goose. He got attacked by a dog and the top portion of his bill was removed.

If you can find a way to give the fish anesthesia, you can tie off the tumor by using a piece of suture material. You could probably use plain dental floss, but I'm not sure how sterile that would be.

I hope this info helps you make the right decision for your pleco.

Karen

Thanks, ya im hoping he can get back to me about the best thing to use to tie it off, he suggested that i could even try just tying it & see if it falls off - instead of cutting...& i mentioned the clove oil in my email back as well - i hope he can give me an idea of the best way to administer that to a pleco, even if i just tie it & dont cut right away i still need my pleco to be 'out' for that! no way i can do that with one hand & a wiggly stressed out pleco :help:

Trillianne
01-28-2011, 11:28 PM
I'm just popping a note in here to remember that link from gabby... that vet isn't that far from where I live, so it might be a handy link in the future.

jessfish
01-28-2011, 11:38 PM
I'm just popping a note in here to remember that link from gabby... that vet isn't that far from where I live, so it might be a handy link in the future.

& from his email he sounds open to taking in fish!

Lady Hobbs
01-29-2011, 12:59 AM
I would make an appointment with a vet and take him in and have the vet treat him.

jessfish
01-29-2011, 03:27 AM
I would make an appointment with a vet and take him in and have the vet treat him.


I've called a few in my area & they don't treat fish & another said that they didn't treat fish but i could bring him in & they could take a look...for $50!!

so im still thinking of a solution!

In the mean time poor Peru, i guess when the growth was in his mouth, he most have rasped on it or something, a couple of the little bits got really red & swollen - look like blood inside - which worries me more about doing anything myself.

I hope the vet, Roger Hancock, the only one who's had any useful info, will get back to me again about a logical next step.

CassieLEO
02-02-2011, 02:41 PM
What about calling a big aquarium place by you? Like in Boston, we have the New England Aquarium. SO, if they cant help you, they might know of someone who can help you. They usually are good about it.
In MA we also have the Angell Hospital which is a huge vet hospital. You should look into things like that.
Also, are there any veterinary schools in your area? They might be interested too...

Fisharefriends27
02-02-2011, 03:28 PM
I'd do what cassie said. This is why we have AC it's so we could help each other out. I hope everything works out.

Good Luck!

jessfish
02-02-2011, 05:58 PM
I'd do what cassie said. This is why we have AC it's so we could help each other out. I hope everything works out.

Good Luck!

LOL
I love everyone's ideas & they have been really helpful!! :19:

I talked to another vet in my area, this is the 3rd vet to suggest tying the growth off & letting it fall off on its on, rather than cut it right away. And they have all said they would use clove oil to sedate my fishy...but the 2 in my area (3rd is in washington) want $50-$60 for me to walk in the door.

I have done loads of research & think I can tie it off easy enough, im still looking into the clove oil since that seems to be the most important factor right now.
A week & a half until 'tie off day' (fed 11)
if anyone's wondering, i gave myself 3 weeks bc of the growth rate (3 weeks would give me a chance to see if it grew more) & 3 weeks would give me plenty of time to talk to many people, vets & fish store employees, do research & set up hospital tank...& prepare myself for the 'ewww' factor lol

& i wish i had a big aquarium place around here! -all i can think of is the Toronto zoo & they are closed & i don't think they have many fish...& no vet schools near me either lol
i don't even live in the sticks LOL
:1luvu:

CassieLEO
02-02-2011, 06:00 PM
You can do the same thing for human growths such as skin tags. You tie them off to cut the blood supply off and the growth will shrink, die and fall off. What a good idea!!!

jessfish
02-02-2011, 07:56 PM
You can do the same thing for human growths such as skin tags. You tie them off to cut the blood supply off and the growth will shrink, die and fall off. What a good idea!!!


I know its such a great idea!!!!!!!!! I never would have thought of it!!
Im so glad i've had a chance to take my time & get lots of advice!!!!

I'm also excited i found great stuff about the clove oil today to sedate!!

YAY things are coming togetherthumbs2: