Hobbyist Spotlight

Marv Ewing & Lisa Barnett following successful koi surgery

A Koi Surgery Tale

The day began early at about 5:30 am. I checked my east pond and found that all of my koi were starving. They had not been fed for about two and a half days. We were preparing to remove my “crow” koi for a tricky procedure. I had noticed many weeks earlier around early June that one of my favorite fish, which happens to be a Doitsugoi Karasu that is 18 years old and 24 inches long, had been acting very coy at the feeding time. She would come to the surface to eat, only to flinch away if any other fish came close. My Doitsugoi Karasu had not ate anything for about 10 weeks. During this time we had several of our more experienced friends, including Randy Rattray from Aquapro Koi Systems, come over in order to evaluate her. Randy had thought the fish looked just fine; although, a little thing and said we should continue to watch her closely. In addition, Randy also suggested the problem might be viral.

Around the 15th of August, she had began to eat a little at each feeding. Towards the end of August, she had began eating at almost a normal rate. However, on August 31st at the last feeding of the day which was about 7 pm, I noticed that something was sticking out from her left gill plate. I thought it was shred of skin that may have been caused from brushing against an obstacle inside the pond. Although, the next evening, I had a closer look and to my horror I realized the object was the sharp, blunt end of a black plastic zip tie. It had been protruding approximately one inch perpendicularly from the side of her gill plate. The zip tie had broken off of the overhead shade tarp and fallen into the water. Therefore, she must had swallowed it nut first with the broken ends facing towards her mouth making it impossible for her to spit it out.

That evening, I spend a couple of hours calling friends for advice and formulated a plan to cut and extract the object as soon as possible. By the time Lisa Barnett, who is known for being reliable, arrived at about 9:15 am, September 4th, I had everything ready for the operation. This consisted of shaded work tables, nets, buckets, and tools. We bowled the fish and added a medium dosage of MS-222 in order to sedate her. It had taken about 20 minutes before we could handle her, during which time our esteemed club president, Earl Rugraff and his wife Diane, had arrived in order to assist. I was able to reach my gloved finger into her mouth and found the other end of the zip tie which was about two inches from the front of her mouth. Earl reached in to check and in doing so he pushed another half inch of the zip tie to the outside of her head. We held her mouth open and could see the end of the object which was sticking straight out at us with the knot end approximately five inches down her throat. We cut the protruding tab off, very close to her head, and then used a medical clamp tool in order to reach into her mouth to pull the object free. We wiped the medicated hole in her gill plate and put her back into the bowl with fresh pond water and an air stone to revive her before returning her to the pond. Needless to say, she is the first one in line at feeding time and we hope she regains the 2-3 pounds that she had lost over the last twelve weeks. Make sure to keep a closer eye out for items that may fall into the water.

Marv Ewing
Sgt. At Arms
Nishiki Koi Club of Southern California

Dr. Mann delighted and surprised to be lifting an Ochiba out of the water

Ron’s Believable Stories

As koi lover’s I am sure we all get a little sick and tired of hearing about our friends brag about all the tricks and cutie things that their pets can do. When I talk about my koi to people they look at me and I can see what they are thinking “more of Ron’s BS”!

It wasn’t too long ago I was in my dentist’s office and started explaining how I can tickle the pond water with my fingers and the koi will come over to get petted and fed by hand. I looked up and I could see that “more of Ron’s BS” on their faces. I continued to explain how Ochiba will come over to me and I simple place my hand under her and lift her out of the pond so kids can touch her. At this point I really got the “more of Ron’s BS” look.

A few weeks later I got a visit from a man in a white coat, no not a psychiatrist but my dentist Dr. Mann and his wife Trish. Maybe it was a friendly visit or it was a challenge of “more of Ron’s BS”.

As the old saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words. Just look at the expression on Dr Mann’s face below as he lifts Ochiba out of the water. Now you can see that Ron’s BS really does stand for “Believable Stories”

Ron Kardynski
Michigan Koi and Pond Club