What to do if your fish has bent spine?

Have you seen Arnold Schwazenegar at his prime? Well, he has nothing compared to fish. You see, fish have massive muscles on either side of their spine. Their spine is relatively fragile and is prone to fracture from the forces of muscle contraction. I’ve seen fish with fractures from jumping and landing incorrectly, from electrocution and even from lighting strike!

For those that sustain traumatic injury, could we immobilise it so that it heals straight? Theoretically yes, and external fixateurs and rods come to mind. However, practically no. I believe it’d put the fish in more pain. Having said this, spinal curvatures can get worse with time as their muscles tense and pull on the spine. So it’ll have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Fish should be rested in a shallow tank, just enough to keep them upright for the next few weeks.

Fish are lucky in that they are supported by the body around them. So they are not under the same forces as us terrestrial dwellers.

Our considered opinion is that so long as your fish is still eating and getting around with ease, then their quality of life will be acceptable.

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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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