The only reason I would suggest changing to epsom salt somewhere down the road is to control the swelling and inflammation. If he's doing all right in AQ salt, then definitely let's leave him in that and not upset his little boat any more. :)
I hope he gets better, I've been following this thread for a little while but never had any input because I didn't know what to tell you to do to help him.. I hope he feels better soon. It's always a scary situation when you don't know what to do to make them feel better <3
I heard back from DarkMoon. She says it is most likely a hematoma caused by some kind of trauma to the gill, such as a gill fluke. In cases like these, she says the hematoma will either reabsorb on its own or, in larger animals, it would be lanced and drained. Since this isn't possible with a betta, she suggests epsom salt and hope for the best.
So I was right about it being a hematoma, eh? Can we tell that to the vet school admissions committee who just rejected me? ;)
More importantly: There has been absolutely no change in Mac. I've been keeping him in Epsom salts 1tsp/ gallon in his cup. He's still labouring with his gills, but he's not as lethargic as before. It almost seems like he wants to swim around but his head is too heavy :(. Do you think an increase in the salt concentration might help him at all? I'm not sure what the upper limit of safe is with regard to epsom salts.
If this was caused by a gill fluke:
Where would that have come from?
Would there be more of them in the water?
How can I get rid of it/them?
Should I be concerned for Mac's tankmate? He shares a divided 5 gallon with another male betta, who appears to be perfectly fine.
Thanks again for all your help Sakura. I've been getting to the point the last couple of days wondering if euthanasia is the next step for the poor guy. It being a hematoma gives me a little more confidence to keep trying but I don't want him to suffer.
Hi Classic. Awww, I'm sorry you were rejected by a vet school.
Gill flukes, like most pathogens and bacteria, are probably in the tank and on the fish in small quantities. It's only when something stresses the fish out that these pests become a problem. DarkMoon suggested it just because in most cases of gill irritation, gill flukes are the first culprit. But to be honest, I doubt it was a fluke because I think a fluke big enough to cause this damage would be big enough to be seen. I think it must have been something else, a speck of dirt or even a food particle, that irritated his gill and caused it to abscess like that. His tankmate should be just fine, especially if he is healthy and strong.
You can safely go up to 3 tsps of epsom salt per gallon. It *probably* is safe to go up to 4 tsps but I've never tried it. He can also stay in epsom salts as long as he needs to. DarkMoon never said how long it might take if the hematoma is going to reabsorb. I imagine it could be anywhere from weeks to months. I think usually a severe hematoma would be lanced by now, if it had occurred in a mammal or even a larger fish.
Do you have any Indian Almond Leaf? The antibacterial properties in its tannins might help keep Mac comfortable. I ordered 20grams of grade C leaves from Amy Lim on eBay for $20 or so (shipping included). Bad news is it takes a month for it to come from Singapore. If you have any oak trees around, you can use naturally dried and clean leaves to the same effect.
As far as Mac's quality of life, it's up to you. You know him best and you'll know when he's reached his limit. I know, it's really hard when they seem to be suffering and there doesn't seem to be a cure. I have a boy going through the same thing right now so I totally know how you feel. You give Mac as much as time as you think is right.
If I come across any new tips or info, I'll be sure to let you know.
I hope Mac pulls through!!!
It's hard for babies of any size or species to be sick :(
Question: how is eauthinasea performed for Bettas? I'm curious because I'd never heard of such a thing. I work in small animal as a vet tech but not with specialty pets