It was a normal day in my home visit practice, until this fellow rang me up about his fish. You don’t see too many fish as a vet- or at least I haven’t, before or since that day! He was a demanding fellow, pushy without knowing that he was pushy, if you know what I mean.
“Can you help me with my fish,” he asked…
I was silent for a moment, because I was nonplussed at the thought of being a fish vet.
“Are you there?” the insistent voice broke through my confusion.
“Yes, I’m sure I can help you with your fish,” I replied, while frantically wondering how I would actually do so.
“It’s a discus, and I breed them. It’s worth a couple of hundred bucks, and I need to get it better as soon as I can. It’s got sores and spots on it, I’ve had this happen before, and I’ve lost a few…”
“No pressure then,” I thought to myself…
“I’ve seen a few fish over the years,” I told him (neglecting to mention that they had all been neatly filleted, and then well cooked, before landing on my plate). “And I know of a specialist fish vet who I will be able to give a ring and get advice from if I need to. Then I got his address, and made a time to see him and his precious fish the next day.
In the mean time I did some research on how to help fish with white spot or skin infections. Most involved bathing the fish in antibiotics, but I wanted to use something more holistic, if I could. I googled for a good long while, before discovering that you can use colloidal silver in the tank water to help heal such issues up. I carefully noted down the amounts needed per litre of water, and set off.
It was a big brick mansion deep in the heart of suburbia. The man was waiting for me as I pulled up – a big fellow, all muscles, obviously a gym nut. He hustled me out the back, into a shed that was wall to wall with tanks, all containing the shiny moving glimmers of discus fish of all sizes and colours. The air was rich with the hum and bubble of aerators, and the place was spotless, tidy as any unused hotel room I’ve ever been in.
“Here it is,” he said, as he showed me to the front of one of the tanks. “See- there’s these whitish spots eating into the skin and fins. It’s a bugger of a thing – I’ve used antibiotics before, but they don’t always work, and I saw that you use some holistic treatments in your practice, so I thought I’d give that a go.”
I looked at the fish, with my best professional manner covering up my almost total ignorance of all things fishy in veterinary medicine.
“Well – I do have something you could try,” I told him. “You can get some colloidal silver- that’s silver that has been made into very tiny particles in water, by electrolysis. It’s a potent antibiotic, and will actually be quite a bit cheaper than treating the tank with antibiotics.”
“Right then,” He broke in. “Do you have any? And how much do you need to use?”
I looked at him, and I could see that he didn’t even know he was on the borderline of rudeness. So I gave him a piece of paper on which I’d already written out the dose rates, told him of a good health store where he could buy the colloidal silver, and was quickly ushered out and back to my van.
I rang him back a couple of weeks later…
“Oh – the vet fellow, that’s right. The fish has come good, only took a week or so,” he told me, and then casually hung up in my ear. I was happy to hear that the fish was better. Never heard from him again though!