Medicine Cabinet – What to have on hand for seahorse emergencies

It never fails. Seahorses pick the most inopportune times to have issues. Nothing worse than a Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend to be short on what you need. About 95% of the folks who call us for help do not have what they need on hand. They find themselves scrambling to obtain the necessary items. The ideal situation would be to setup a hospital tank immediately with clean new saltwater, not only for the benefit of the affected seahorse, but to isolate it from the rest of the herd to help prevent the issue from spreading. In most cases, the sooner appropriate treatment is given, the better the final outcome.

This list covers the basics for bacterial, parasitic, injury and pouch evacuation. Essentially handles the immediate needs. One can add to this list, however, most of the other medications can be obtain later if needed. This list is designed to get you through what you need now if something happen without having to scramble to locate and purchase.

  • Wide spectrum antibiotic – Furan 2, Triple sulpha, kanamycin, etc – (Don’t know what is available in other countries) (For treating bacterial infections)
  • Antiparasitic – Formalin 37% (For external parasites and parasites in the oral cavity and gills)
  • A topical antiseptic – Neosporin, Biobandage, Betadine, Allicin, etc. (For wounds and open sores)
  • Anesthetic – Clove oil (For Euthanasia)
  • 18 ga IV Catheter without needle. (For tube feeding, pouch evacuations and pouch irrigation)
  • 1 cc Syringe (For use with catheter)
  • 10 gallon hospital tank (For Quarantine & Treatment)
  • Water – Enough to fill the hospital tank and/or a major water change on the display tank
  • Air pump with Airline and rigid tubing (To aerate hospital tank)
  • Disposable gloves (Prevent human contact with disease and medications)
  • Phone Number/email address of your most trusted mentor/expert who can give you good advice. (Unless you have a lot of experience, and even if you do, it is wise to get someone who is experienced with treating seahorses to give advice. The most qualified person would be an Aquatic Veterinarian. If you purchased from a breeder, they may be able to help or a person who has a lot of successful experience in the area.