A Topical For Bacterial Sores or Ulcer Disease in Koi

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A Topical For Bacterial Sores or Ulcer Disease in Koi

With bacterial sores, one of the key elements is killing ALL the germs in the area. removing as much dead tissue and grossness as possible in ONE PASS and leaving something disinfectant in the vicinity as long as the water will let it stay. That seems to require a “stain” like Mercurochrome or similar.

Except Mercurochrome is pretty much straight-up mercury and good luck getting that (You can, lol – just click here).

An old standby for me is Iodine. But you need an aggressive staining iodine and you need to be able to get it ON a wound while getting dead-stuff OFF the wound.

Enter, Tincture of Iodine, 7% – 10% very strong.

And WOVEN gauze sponges. (See below) Most of what you find these days are “non woven” because they are considerably softer and MORE ABSORBENT. Finding “woven” gauze is kind of hard these days.

Ulcer disease in Koi debridement wounds iodine

^ Where to buy: WOVEN gauze sponges.

But when you’re debriding a Koi or other fish wound, you don’t care about absorbent, you need a “gentle roughness” for scrubbing. Not scrubbing, more like, rubbing. Kind of rubbing, but mainly “removing” dead stuff and “stopping while you’re ahead”.

You get the idea from the above that it’s a “finesse” sort of “experience” thing.

A Topical For Bacterial Sores or Ulcer Disease in Koi

Tincture of Iodine is available in several strengths. I used to buy the two-percent solution off the shelf at the drug store, but I felt like I needed something stronger. So I inquired of my local pharmacist and he supplied me with a seven-percent solution, which is fabulous for wound cleaning. Care must be taken to avoid using it near the gill. It may run under the gill cover and damage gill tissue. Fish hate that. ‘Really.

Tincture of Iodine will stain you severely, but does not ‘hurt’ the skin. It could do serious eye damage and so I must recommend that you wear protective eyewear. If this compound gets on the cornea of the fish, it will be of no consequence, as the cornea of the fish seems able to withstand this compound easily.

Use of this and almost any other topical should be limited to a single use. Once the wound has stopped bleeding, seems less red, and the edges seem to be ‘organizing’ into a thick white rim, do NOT re-apply any topical. You will disrupt the necessary migration of epithelial cells across the wound. This is the only way that large sores will heal. If you’re doing daily scrubs on the wounds, they cannot heal. A vicious cycle is propagated.

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Dr Erik Johnson

Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.