What to do if you get stung by a lionfish or a stonefish?

Envenomation by Scorpaenidae can be excrutiatingly painful. Thank goodness I’ve never encountered it firsthand!

These fishes have to be handled with great care and respect. During my preparations to visit a sick lionfish, I came across a really good article that details what to do in an emergency situation.

Basically, have plenty of hot (45-50 degrees Celsius) water on hand that is in a container wide enough and deep enough that you can plunge your stung part of the body into. My client was good enough to have this prepared for me before I started work on their fish.

Also, have some spare forceps/tweezers ready to remove spines that may remain embedded in your skin.

More details can be found at –

Lucky for me, I had the use of anaesthetics to sedate the lionfish, reducing the risk of me being stung. I also had the use of very long forceps to move him into position as part of the physical examination, and use the net as a barrier between me and the spines (pictured, Dr Loh tube feeding the lionfish).

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Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh
DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPhil (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics & Pathobiology), CertAqV, CMAVA, NATA Signatory.
THE FISH VET, Perth, Western Australia, AUSTRALIA.
Mobile Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.
Ph: +61 (0)421 822 383
Skype: thefishvet

President WAVMA 2014

Adjunct Lecturer Murdoch University | Secretary Aquatic Animal Health Chapter – ANZCVS.

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