Most of the time I diagnose Hexamita as a surface pathogen. However I also do impressions of the vent. You can open a fish up and “run the gut” and look for these in wet mounts, as well.
Hexamita infections in Discus aquarium fish are caused by a protozoan parasite called Hexamita.
Symptoms of Hexamita infection include white areas on the fish’s body, decrease-to-disappearance of appetite, and marked weight loss.
In severe cases, the fish may develop ulcers and become lethargic.
To identify a Hexamita infection, I’ll examine the fish and take a sample of its feces for microscopic examination. The presence of the parasite in the feces will confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of Hexamita infections in Discus aquarium fish involves the use of antibiotics such as metronidazole or furazolidone. These medications should be administered in accordance with the instructions of a veterinarian or fish biologist.
In addition, and as a way to reduce the odds of a problem (prevention or reduction in severity) the aquarium should be kept clean and the water should be changed constantly, or at least regularly. The fish should also be fed a nutritious diet to help it recover from the infection.
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.
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