A few months ago, I forked over a meager $45 for a 20-inch long Koi who is now named Paco. He's kinda goofy looking but he has his moments. All was well with Paco until he got what appeared to be a cut halfway up his right side. I added 0.3% salt to the water and kept an eye on him (I usually add salt when I don't know what else to do). Initially I thought he lost a scale from handling but the cut never healed. Paco was active, although he wasn't much of an eater. A few months later, a growth appeared where the cut had been. His behavior never changed, but the tumor didn't look good. It was very hard to see through the water, but the tumor appeared to be about 3/8 inch diameter, smooth and pink. I e-mailed Doc Johnson learned just enough to be dangerous, although certainly not enough to be competent. I'm sure both John and Doc Johnson will disavow any knowledge of what follows... Kids, don't do this at home!
|Here Paco is going under the anesthetic in a large ice chest, filled with highly-oxygenated pond water and 5 drops oil of clove per gallon of water. After about 10 minutes, Paco was rolling upside down. His gill function was always strong.
|Close-up of tumor. This picture taken through water while Paco was rolling around in the ice chest.
|Here Paco is on the operating table (read plywood, covered with towels and wax paper). I didn't want to remove any more slime from Paco's body that was necessary. The oil of clove anesthetic mixture in the ice chest was cut by 50% (equivalent to 10 drops/gallon) for a sustainment dose.
|With the assistance of my lovely wife Barbara, a clear tube siphoned the anesthetic into Paco's mouth while he was out of the water (in this picture, it's just flopping around). The anesthetic mixture was also frequently splashed over his gills and body using a cup.
|Here's another close-up of tumor, but this time Paco's out of the water. The growth was about 3/8 inch by 1/4 inch. It was smooth and firm to the touch. The tumor appeared more red when viewed from this position, but was milky-translucent in color when viewed from the side.
|Another close-up of the tumor. I really didn't spend a lot of time with taking photographs while Paco was out of the water.
|Here's a close-up after the tumor was excised using a sterilized Ex-Acto knife. I regret not having a curved blade -- I would have been able to remove more of the tumor.
|Paco didn't flinch while the growth was being excised. While out of the water, his gill function remained strong and he occasionally flopped his tail. After the growth was excised, I applied mercurochrome to the site. Perhaps potassium permanganate would have been better, but I was unable to locate any.
|Here's what was removed, next to a Q-tip for scale. It looked smaller once it was removed. After the picture was taken I chucked it. I didn't really want to pay for a biopsy.
|Maybe I threw away a rare Chinese aphrodisiac worth a million dollars per gram.
|After surgery, Paco was returned to the pond. In about five minutes, he was swimming around with his buddies, who hung-around close and checked him out. The picture shows a large mercurochrome stain on his dorsal fin.
|The picture, however, fails to show the mercurochrome stains on me from when he flopped his tail after I applied it to his wound. I didn't add any antibiotics to the water, nor did I inject him with any. I've kept the water salted and he appears fine. Again, I freely admit that I didn't really know what I was doing, although everything went smoothly. I regret not having Doc Johnson's Book before this surgery. He was kind enough to review this page and thought the growth was probably a viral papilloma, lymphocystis lesion, or maybe even Carp pox. Doc said serious (malignant) skin cancers in Koi are rare. I wouldn't hold anyone to a diagnosis over the Internet but Doc Johnson's opinions are appreciated. I'll post any comments any knowledgeable Koi person wishes to offer.
Doc Johnson's Koi Care
Doc Johnson's Koi Surgery
Stanley London Brass Sextants and Nautical Collectibles