or is it a case of seek courses for seahorses?

One of the good things about being a vet is every day is different. For the first time in 14 years I had the opportunity to treat a seahorse!  I will admit my knowledge about horses in general is very rusty but as for sea horses it is very limited.  However the client in question had some very knowledgable people behind her.

This is Jasper, the white bit on his nose is abnormal. Thanks to Neil at the Seahorse Trust I was able to diagnose that Jasper had a bacterial infection.  More specifically vibrio.  Vibrio is a water-borne bacterium of a group that includes some pathogenic kinds that cause cholera, gastroenteritis, and septicaemia.  It is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria, possessing a curved-rod shape, several species of which can cause foodborne infection, usually associated with eating undercooked seafood. It normally starts because of small cuts or abrasions from feeding off the bottom of the tank which get infected.

So how do you treat a seahorse with bacterial infection, well actually pretty much similar to a cat or dog. The environment seahorses live in is in quite a delicate balance so adding antibiotic to the water like you would with fish isn’t actually a good thing. You could add the antibiotic to a food source but sea horse get sick very quickly and quite often they stop eating so that wouldn’t be easy. You could float them in an antibiotic bath but it would involve them being away from their natural environment and othe sea horses for up to an hour which can be quite stressful.

So it was decided using an insulin syringe the Pam would give Jasper an injection once a day of antibiotic, and here we have to thank Tom Hornsby, he provided a video for how to inject a seahorse. Tom has written a book called So you want to keep seahorses and I will be honest having seen photos of Jasper I wanted to run out and get sea horse but they need a loooootttttttttttttt of work to keep as a pet and shouldn’t be taken on lightly.

While reviewing stuff to help Jasper I found the seahorse trust website and it made me realise as humans we are doing a lot of damage to the environment of seahorses.  If you would like to learn more please check out the seahorsetrust.org.  Mochdre Vets were very grateful for their help and happily donated to their excellent work.  If you would like to donate to the Seahorse Trust click the button below or visit their website.


Amazing Facts About the Seahorse

  • There are about 40 known species of seahorse.
  • Seahorses prefer to swim in pairs with their tails linked together.
  • They swim upright and avoid predators by mimicking the colour of underwater plants.
  • Except for crabs, few marine predators eat the seahorse – it is too bony and indigestible.
  • Seahorses propel themselves by using a small fin on their back that flutters up to 35 times per second. Even smaller pectoral fins located near the back of the head are used for steering.
  • Because of their body shape, seahorses are rather inept swimmers and can easily die of exhaustion when caught in storm-roiled seas.
  • They anchor themselves with their prehensile tails to sea grasses and corals, using their elongated snouts to suck in plankton and small crustaceans that drift by. The seahorse can suck up food from as far as 3cm away.
  • The seahorse feeds constantly on plankton and tiny fish. It moves each of its eyes independently, so it can follow the activity of passing sea life without giving its presence away.
  • Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach. Food passes through their digestive systems so quickly, they must eat almost constantly to stay alive.
  • They can consume 3,000 or more brine shrimp per day.
  • Rarer still, they are among the only animal species on Earth in which the male bears the unborn young.
  • Male pregnancy frees to female to make more eggs straight away and so reproduce quicker.
  • Seahorses engage in an eight hour courtship dance which includes spinning around, swimming side by side and changing colours.
  • When mating, the female seahorse releases up to 50 eggs into a pouch on the male’s abdomen.
  • The male seahorse carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.  As little as 5 or as many as 1,500 young can be born.


This is Lola if you have read to this point you realie sea horse mate for life and she is Jasper’s wife