Fish Eyeball Removal Surgery

Yes, fish need surgery at times. Ever wonder what happens when a fish needs to have an eye removed? Check out this video!


Five Years of Fish Fun

Five Years of Fish Fun

Five years to the day, something that has never been done before got started. The FIRST veterinarian to pursue an all-aquatic veterinary practice, not on the side or part of a previously established veterinary practice, opened her clinic doors. No one had ever heard of this specialty before. Not in California or many other states. And not only a veterinarian, but a traveling one that could show up and take care of things pond or tank-side. We didn’t have a single client for over 2 months. Our first year, we had 53 appointments for 29 clients. We now have over 350 clients and almost 50 appointments in our first two months, even with our chief vet being out for 3 weeks. Our range started with Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. We now cover 22 counties and have traveled as far north as Roseville and south as Torrance. That’s 420 miles of 800 miles total for California! We never mind the far drives. We know how important our services are to fish owners everywhere!

Our staff has grown from a one-person operation to a two business hospital/store with 5 total employees. Expertly trained by our veterinary leader, this staff is a wealth of fish knowledge and can solve most common husbandry problems without veterinary intervention. Our hospital manager, Sara, is started on her vet tech degree, and can triage most callers issues before the vet even knows about them. Our answering service is an amazing addition to our team. They talk to our callers and can send us a detailed summary of all the calls coming into the hospital. It allows us to filter these through and decide which calls get priority. When we started, we got a call or two per week. Now, there are days when our phones don’t stop ringing. We just can’t get to everyone at once, so the answering service helps us out immeasurably.

And don’t forget our publications! Our children’s book series, Boo & Bubbles, was started to make sure that families had all the correct information regarding adopting a pet fish. We see countless instances where some prior knowledge or general help with basic husbandry issues could have solved problems swiftly. Our first book, Boo & Bubbles, addresses tank setup, bringing your fish home from the store and acclimation. The second, Boo & Bubbles: A Visit from the Fish Vet, covers maintenance and what to do when your fish gets sick. It is the first appearance of a fish veterinarian in literature. The third, to be available this coming April, will cover quarantine and adding fish to the same system. This is a very accessible children’s series that needs to be a part of any new fish family’s library. Our koi book, Healthy Koi Made Easy, just came out with its second publication, updated with new pictures and chapters. This highly accessible koi manual covers all topics new and seasoned fish owners should know, including water quality, signs of disease and quarantine. It is available in softcover, PDF and on Kindle.

It has been a very challenging five years since our inception. We are attempting a business model with no plans or blueprint. Other veterinarians have tried aquatic medicine and settled on making it a side profession. We are modifying that plan and paving the way for future veterinarians to bring aquatic practice into their hospitals in any way possible. All fish deserve high quality veterinary care, and we will make sure it happens. In the last five years, our company his made a lasting impact on the veterinary profession, and we will continue to do so for the next 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 years and on.

Thank you for your support.

Dr. Sanders at the 2014 ZNA NorCal koi show meeting all the wonderful fellow koi enthusiasts

Reminder this Weekend: UC Davis Pre-professional/pre-health Conference

Dr. Sanders as an undergraduate student
Dr. Sanders as an undergraduate student

Interested in learning more about pre-health and pre-professional programs? Well, you’re in luck! This weekend, the University of California Davis is putting on a great program for all students interested in all medical fields. There will be panels on different specialties within each field in addition to talks on admissions and interviews.

Our very own, Dr. Jessie Sanders, will be speaking at two different panels during the conference:

1) Saturday 10/11, 2:00pm-2:45pm – Uncommon Veterinarians Panel (Shalm)

2) Saturday 10/11, 4:00pm-4:45pm – Aquatic Vet Med (Valley Hall 1020)

For more information, check out their website. Click here for the full conference program.

Hope to see you there!

Learn More About Dr. Jessie Sanders

Learn More About Dr. Jessie Sanders

Interested in the inner workings of Aquatic Veterinary Services? Well, we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Jessie Sanders, our owner and head veterinarian.

Here’s a little bit about our lead vet:

Hometown: Durham, CT (east coast transplant!)

Pets: 3 cats (Ari, Blinkin & Trixie), and 8 fish (1 kuhli loach, 5 neon tetras, 1 tequila sunrise guppy, and 1 zebrafish)

Siblings: 1 sister (Dr. Bailey Sanders of UNC-Chapel Hill – surgical resident)

Favorite Color: Blue (duh…)

Vet School: Tufts University (North Grafton, MA)

College: University of Rhode Island – majored in Marine Biology with minors in Computer Science and General Business

Read my senior honors thesis here!

Athletic Endeavors: running, skiing, outrigger canoe paddling (Outrigger Santa Cruz!)

Current Books:

  • I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich
  • Women Entrepreneur Revolution by Jenn Aubert
  • What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self edited by Ellyn Spragins
  • Pearls Falls Fast by Stephan Pastis

(sorry, I usually read more than 1 at a time depending on what I am doing and how much energy my brain has used up)

Photo Album:

Dr. Sanders, DVM (left) & Dr. Sanders, MD (right) Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders.
Dr. Sanders, DVM (left) & Dr. Sanders, MD (right) Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders.
More recent shot of the 2 doctors. Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders
More recent shot of the 2 doctors. Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders
Working at KSCO 1080 not too long ago. Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders
Working at KSCO 1080 not too long ago. Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders

For more information about Dr. Jessie Sanders, check out her website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. Check out our articles on how Dr. Sanders developed her love of aquatic veterinary medicine in Why A Fish Vet? and My one piece of advice…


The ZNA Koi Show will be taking place next week in San Jose, CA. If you have time to stop by, come by the Aquatic Veterinary Services on Northern California booth to get some free information and prizes! The koi health seminar will be given by our own Dr. Jessie Sanders and focuses on pathogen resistance. Hope to see you there!

ZNA NorCal Koi Health Seminar 2014 – Pathogen Resistance

In medicine, the discovery of antibiotics revolutionized how doctors treat disease. However, with overuse, even the most successful treatments can come across a pathogen they cannot defeat. How do these superbugs occur and how can we stop them from getting into our fish? Dr. Jessie Sanders of Aquatic Veterinary Services of Northern California will discuss the pathobiology of the pathogens that can resist few or many treatments and how to prevent the creation and spread of these resistant pathogens in your pond.


Article in KOI USA – The World of a Fish Vet

Article in KOI USA – The World of a Fish Vet

So, for those of you who do not receive KOI USA magazine, they have given me permission to post it here on our website. If you are not subscribed to KOI USA, I highly suggest doing so. Not only do they have lots of fun fish articles, other interest areas surrounding the hobby, such as landscaping and travel, are also highlighted.

KOI USA 1 KOI USA 2 KOI USA 3Thanks again to the great folks at KOI USA for letting me contribute! I hope to do this many more times in the future, so subscribe today!