A few months ago, I was at a koi sale and saw this guy swimming around a tub.
What do you think happened to this fish? It may have been a previous injury that never healed properly. Possibly this fish has had this defect since birth. Being the curious veterinarian I am, we took him over to Westside Animal Hospital in Santa Cruz to take some spinal x-rays. Apart from being a little skinny (it must take considerably more energy to swim with this deformity than a regular fish), this fish was behaving normally; eating and getting around his pond home like a champ! So, on to the x-ray table he went, albeit under slight sedation.
And what did we find? Well, his spine is certainly crooked, but overall, not in too bad a shape. As veterinarians, we look for clean X-shaped vertebrae with no fuzziness. Fuzziness usually means the bone has been irritated and started to deform itself. You can see this on the last few vertebrae in his back. Overall, this fish’s spine is a lot like a normal fishes, save for the S-shape.
So what is going to happen to this fish? Well, as long as he is eating a getting around okay, and has a good “quality of life,” he may just have to live with this. Research will be done to see if there is anything we can do to help him get a little straighter. Look for more posts about this guy in the future!