Lymphocystis Fish Surgery - Luther


Peacock Bass
MFK Member
Nov 27, 2018
Long Beach
My Kel Luther (age 5+)has had a tough life. Had a disease where he wouldn't eat. Got past that then would flash very hard at times. This was about age 2-3.
Solved finally with very strong salt dose. Really struggled with pitting which finally stopped after large rounds of metro. This about a year ago. He looks like someone who had severe acne.
His mate Theo is a fireball. She got a little bit of pitting years ago and it stopped on it's own. No meds.
Months ago he got a tumor that formed where his jaw hinges. It stopped growing, appeared benign. Then he started getting a large tumor under his operculum. It would spew puss clouds at times. He finally rubbed about half of it off. It grew back and appeared to be spreading.
I was afraid it could spread to the gills. Seeing as there is no cure for this disease I reached out to vets. To remove it. 2 responded. One would help if I lived close (but I don't). Gave some referrals. The other referred me to vets near me who didn't respond.
I don't know how to do anesthesia but since Luther was still vibrant I decided to perform surgery. Better than if I tried when he is struggling.
I did it in the kitchen. Filled the sink with treated water of same temp. Towels on the drainboard. The tumor at the jaw took a long time to cut out. Firm tissue like a ligament. No bleeding. Back to the sink. Then the operculum. Very difficult to remove it all. He fought a lot. Got about 75%. Some bleeding. Rubbed with iodine. Put him back in the tank and finished water change.
Dosed Stress Guard and 75% dose kanaplex.
He was upside down at the bottom of the tank!.. Finally righted himself and was swimming. Eyes a little cloudy. Probably from scratching on the wet towel. Would not eat anything for 3 days. Even feeders. After almost a week he would eat some krill. Gingerly. After 2 weeks appetite fully back.
My handling of him with his struggles really beat up his right pect fin. Very red and beat up.
The Lymphocystis stated growing back. Fast. One night he scrapped about 75% of it off. Good man!
It appears to have stopped growing (and no redness indicating it is not vascularized). He is happy. Eats krill out of my hand at the surface. Fin in good shape and growing back.
Would I do this type of surgery again? Man, that would be hard. I thought I killed him.

Mouth Tumor that happened many months ago.jpg

Large clump before scratching off.jpg

Other view growth under operculum.jpg

Luther Today.jpg