Comfort care for dying betta?

Mamastacia3

Hi all,

Well Saki has taken a turn for the worse, from “hmm maybe something seems to be wrong” on Sunday to today he’s pineconing and dying.

I wish I knew what was causing it so I could treat him, but I don’t want to cause unnecessary suffering. Right now he is hovering motionless right at the top of the tank with his nose practically out of the water, trying to breathe. He has chosen a spot right by the filter/air stone so he is obviously searching for the best oxygen.

I have a mobile fish vet coming tomorrow but honestly I feel like it’s too late. I still want her to come look at him to see if she can figure out what happened, and maybe help me euthanize him if there is no hope. I have had other bettas and when it gets to this stage they just don’t recover. He isn’t eating, that went downhill fast too, from eating but spitting food out on Sunday to watching it float by and following it but then leaving it (yesterday), like he was interested but knew he couldn’t eat it, to totally ignoring food today. He is using all of his energy and strength to try to stay near the top to try to breathe. I put a betta leaf right where he was and he used it for a bit but now he’s just beside it. I moved the floating anachranis near him so he has something holding him up and he doesn’t have to work so hard.

I feel so sorry for him. This is by far the worst part of keeping fish, especially bettas. The suffering they go through is awful. I got this betta from a breeder when he was a baby (so young they thought he was a she), so I thought he’d live a lot longer. He’s only about a year and a half old, so I’ve had him a little over a year.

Anyway, anything I can do for him to help him feel better and offer comfort until the vet comes tomorrow? I gave him a Epsom salt bath yesterday which he didn’t seem to mind but it didn’t help - he’s much worse today.

Attached are photos of what he looks like now and a couple of him from before, when he was just normal and gorgeous.

Thanks as always!

-Stacia
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Cue

Clove oil is a sedative and can be used as a humane form of euthanasia. It may be best for him to be put down, dropsy is unfortunately nearly always fatal.

Clove oil can also be used as a painkiller, and used with the right doseage may relieve some pain.
 
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Noroomforshoe

I would turn the tank lights off, And limit noise and activity around the tank. Sorry about your fish!
 
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AvalancheDave

You're not using "liquid carbon," are you? It's become less popular these days but several years ago it caused a lot of problems including dropsy.
 
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Mamastacia3

Thanks all, I appreciate it. Nope, no liquid carbon, don’t even know what that is lol.

The tank lights have been off for most of the day, and I gave him another Epsom bath. I’m going to wait until the vet gives her verdict before deciding whether or not to euthanize.

I appreciate the empathy, I know most of us have unfortunately been in this situation.

-Stacia
 
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Rose of Sharon

So sorry you are going through this! :(

I am really interested in whatever the vet told you...
 
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Mbradley17

He is beautiful… so sorry :(
 
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Mamastacia3

I am really interested in whatever the vet told you...
It was very interesting! She said he did not look like a completely lost cause at this point, even with the raised scales/dropsy. Reason being that this happened so recently, it might still be possible to save him. She gave him an injection of antibiotics to reduce the swelling and the inflammation in his mouth. The hope is that he will be willing to eat again if the inflamed mouth gets better.

That said, there’s a reason behind his condition, and that she wasn’t sure about. She said it could be that he ate something he shouldn’t have that scratched his mouth, or he could have swallowed same unknown object and it caused an abcess inside his digestive system (nothing can be done about that), or he has a tumor (also not curable) or a mycobacterium infection, which the shot should help with.

Interesting feedback from her was to NOT use Epsom salt baths, that they don’t really help, but to add aquarium salt to the tank (at 1tsp per gallon concentration) which she said will help reduce the osmoregulative pressure on his kidneys and allow fluid to be pulled out. This is the opposite of what I had heard, I always thought aquarium salt would make dropsy worse. But no, according to the fish vet.

Other helpful info: she said to replace out his food pellets every few months, they get stale and lose vitamins after that, also to not soak them because that sucks out all the good vitamins.

She looked at my little aqua pharmacy that has various medications for things, a bacterial antibiotic blend and antiparasitic meds, and said we should never combine nitrofurazone and kanamycin, because “that’s like napalm, combining those two medications.” Also contrary to what I had always heard.

Anyway, my gut instinct is that he is still in very bad shape and likely is not going to survive this, but I am sure willing to hope against hope for him. She said they can offer instructions for clove oil euthanasia if it comes to that. I know with previous bettas that once they get to this stage, they almost always end up dying. I will not allow him to suffer for the length of time that my other sick bettas did - that was awful to witness and (obviously) terrible for them.

Thank you for the kind thoughts, please send healing fishie vibes to Saki if you can!

PS I plan to post another thread just with the info from the vet, in case it’s helpful to anyone else.

cheers,
Stacia
 
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Rose of Sharon

Stacia,

Oh, I do hope that Saki makes it through all of this! He is so very beautiful!!!


Thank you for the info! I have read in numerous places, even in some fish health books, that epsom salt baths help dropsy cases. Wow, who knew!!!

And don't put Furan 2 and kanaplex together - got it...

I think putting this in a separate thread is a great idea!

And I am sending Saki every good thought and prayer that I have!!!!!! :)
 
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AvalancheDave

Interesting feedback from her was to NOT use Epsom salt baths, that they don’t really help, but to add aquarium salt to the tank (at 1tsp per gallon concentration) which she said will help reduce the osmoregulative pressure on his kidneys and allow fluid to be pulled out. This is the opposite of what I had heard, I always thought aquarium salt would make dropsy worse. But no, according to the fish vet.

My recommendation for dropsy has always been antibiotics perhaps with some antiprotozoals since things like Spironucleus can also cause it.

Water follows salt. It's counterintuitive to think that salt in the water would make it worse.

Epsom salt was never my choice. I would use aquarium salt or marine salt. Ideally, it would have an ion profile close to blood plasma, and marine salt is probably the most similar.

Other helpful info: she said to replace out his food pellets every few months, they get stale and lose vitamins after that, also to not soak them because that sucks out all the good vitamins.

I wouldn't open the main food container daily. I fill a small jar and feed daily from that to minimize how often the main container is opened.

She looked at my little aqua pharmacy that has various medications for things, a bacterial antibiotic blend and antiparasitic meds, and said we should never combine nitrofurazone and kanamycin, because “that’s like napalm, combining those two medications.” Also contrary to what I had always heard.

A former user here pointed out that there was no scientific evidence of synergy between kanamycin and nitrofuran. I checked and sure enough I found nothing.

Kanaplex is under-dosed over 20 times now that they switched to a smaller scoop. It's too weak to do anything in most cases. It's thought that nitrofurans aren't absorbed from water which makes it useful only for external infections like Columnaris.
 
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Mamastacia3

My recommendation for dropsy has always been antibiotics perhaps with some antiprotozoals since things like Spironucleus can also cause it.

Water follows salt. It's counterintuitive to think that salt in the water would make it worse.

Epsom salt was never my choice. I would use aquarium salt or marine salt. Ideally, it would have an ion profile close to blood plasma, and marine salt is probably the most similar.



I wouldn't open the main food container daily. I fill a small jar and feed daily from that to minimize how often the main container is opened.



A former user here pointed out that there was no scientific evidence of synergy between kanamycin and nitrofuran. I checked and sure enough I found nothing.

Kanaplex is under-dosed over 20 times now that they switched to a smaller scoop. It's too weak to do anything in most cases. It's thought that nitrofurans aren't absorbed from water which makes it useful only for external infections like Columnaris.
Wow, such great additional input, thank you so much!!!
 
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Mamastacia3

I’m sorry to say Saki passed last night. He fought til the last moment, even leaping out of his floating betta log (and briefly out of the water) to try to find a way to breathe. I was right there when he passed, it was awful because he didn’t want to go, fighting it the whole time.

That’s the nature of bettas, full of sass and fight, that’s why we love them so much. He was very loved, he was so very beautiful, and absolutely healthy until a week ago.

I’m going to post a separate tribute to him with photos of when he was a baby, and just being his gorgeous self.

Thanks again for the support, I appreciate it more than you know.

-Stacia
 
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Rose of Sharon

I am so very sorry! I was really hoping that after the fish vet visit, he would pull through!!! :emoji_cry:
 
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