When you think of a vet's waiting room, you probably picture it full of people with cats and dogs, plus maybe the odd rabbit or other small mammals. These animals certainly make up the bulk of veterinary appointments, but most vets can treat a wider range of creatures when needed.
One type of pet you don't often see at the vet, despite their popularity, is the humble goldfish. Perhaps it's because people view them differently to other animals, or perhaps it's because there's an assumption that vets can't treat them. In reality, vets can often help a sick goldfish, so there's nothing wrong with making an appointment. Here's what you need to know.
When to go
Goldfish can suffer from a range of problems, but they often reveal themselves in similar ways. Common things to look out for include:
- Not eating as normal
- Unusual swimming motion or lack of movement
- Discolouration of scales or other visible signs of a fungal infection
In general, fish are very much creatures of habit, so if you have a goldfish that's behaving in any unusual way, it could well be a sign of illness. Telephone the vet for advice or to make an appointment.
How to prepare
The first thing you need to do is get a small tank ready for transporting your goldfish. A compact, lightweight plastic one is ideal for this. Fill it with water from the fish's main tank and keep it in the same room so that the temperature remains the same. If you have other fish in the same tank, you may want to separate the sick fish immediately to prevent the disease from spreading.
Because many health problems in fish are caused by their environment, it's also helpful to prepare a separate sample of tank water in a small bottle, in case it needs to be sent elsewhere for testing. Your vet may also need to know the details of your tank setup, so write down the type of filter you have and any lighting.
Transporting your fish
When you're ready to go, carefully transfer your goldfish to the portable tank using a small net, if you haven't already. You should minimise the water movement when carrying the tank, as this can cause stress in fish, making them weaker.
During the journey, you'll need someone with you to keep the tank steady in the car, so get a friend or family member to accompany you and help. Finally, don't forget to take your water sample and any information you've written down, so the vet can make a full assessment.
Contact local veterinary services for more information.