This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Even though fish are relatively simple organisms control of swimming is quite a complex thing. Many disorders can lead to abnormal swimming behaviour - even swimming upside down
If you have ever owned goldfish or other ornamental fish, you may well have seen individuals that seem to lose control of their swimming - they may swim on their sides or upside down, swim in spirals or float in the water. Oftentimes they float or swim near the surface of the water - other times they cannot seem to get up from the bottom of the tank/pond.
Normal swimming requires both the nervous system and the muscular system to be intact and working properly. Buoyancy is controlled through a special organ called the swim bladder.
Any disease which affects the nervous system , muscular system or swim bladder can cause abnormal swimming behaviour. Any debilitating disease that causes weakness will also lead to inability to swim properly, and so it isn't surprising that fish which are terminally ill will be seen swimming abnormally - even up-side down.
Because there are so many potential causes diagnosis requires a full history and examination of :
Disease that have been documented to affect swimming include :
Diagnosis can only be confirmed by taking samples for laboratory testing, or by performing a post-mortem examination. Always remove affected fish from your aquarium and seek veterinary advice.
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