Skip to Content

Can Fish Have Strokes? (Symptoms to Look For)

Can Fish Have Strokes? (Symptoms to Look For)

Share this post:

The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Many people love fish, and when you see your beloved fish acting strange, it can cause you to wonder what is going on. There are some actions that can cause you to wonder if your fish is having a stroke.

So, can fish actually have strokes?

Fish are animals with a brain, and a stroke happens when the brain does not get a good supply of nutrients and oxygen to function. So, technically, it is possible for a fish to have a stoke, but this has not been scientifically proven, and there have been no reported cases.

If a fish had a stroke, what would the possible symptoms of the stroke be? Are there any other conditions that may cause the fish to exhibit the same symptoms?

Is there anything you can do for a fish that may be having a stroke? Let us find out!

Could a Fish Have a Stroke?

Fish are creatures that have many organs, including a brain in their bodies. Now, stokes are something that happens in an animal’s brain, so technically, it is possible for a fish to have a stroke. But this is a highly unlikely occurrence, and there have been little to no reported cases of a fish having a stroke.

So, a stroke happening to a fish is an extremely rare occurrence, and it is something that has not been scientifically proven, but it is something that is possible. If a fish were to have a stroke, there could be many things that could cause it to happen.

A stroke is caused when the blood supply to one part of the brain is reduced or interrupted, preventing the brain from receiving the nutrients and oxygen needed to function. This can be caused by injury, tumors, aneurysms, narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain, and many other possibilities.

Possible Stroke Symptoms in a Fish

Upside Down Goldfish

If a fish were to have a stroke, there would be some tell-tale symptoms that you could watch out for that you could use to reach this prognosis. Some of these symptoms would include:

  • Loss of motor functions in one half of the body
  • Confusion
  • Inability to eat properly
  • Seizures
  • Trouble with buoyancy – floating upside down or on their side

Unfortunately, nothing can be done to help a fish with a stroke, as there is no way to treat brain issues in a fish.

Other Possible Causes of These Symptoms

If your fish is showing the signs mentioned above, you do not need to worry about a stroke being the cause just yet, as several conditions can cause a fish to act this way.

Not all of these other conditions are treatable, and they can result in the death of the fish, but the one disease that is often confused for a stroke by fish owners is a treatable condition. Let us go through these conditions.

Swim Bladder Disorder in Fish

Fish Swim Bladder

All fish have an organ called the swim bladder, which helps in various aspects of the fish’s physical swimming abilities. Swim Bladder Disorder refers to a condition where this swim bladder of the fish does not function normally.

This malfunction in the swim bladder can be caused by physical abnormalities in the bladder itself, a disease, environmental or mechanical factors due to things going wrong with their tanks, but there are many cases of Swim Bladder Disorder that have not had a precise diagnosis.

The Swim Bladder Disorder will have a lot of the symptoms mentioned above, especially the symptoms involving the buoyancy of the fish. As this disorder shares many of the same symptoms as a stroke, this disease is often misdiagnosed and is thought to be a stroke by the fish’s owner.

However, some symptoms are only attributed to Swim Bladder Disorder that you can use to make an accurate diagnosis for your fish. These symptoms include a curved back, a distended belly, and constipation.

Brain Aneurysm in Fish

Fish have brains, some are more developed than others, but they do have them. This means that, just like with any other organ, there can be problems with it that cause a variety of symptoms and problems for the fish, which could lead to the death of the fish.

Brain aneurysms in fish are rare, but they are not unheard of, especially in the bigger fish species. A brain aneurysm in a fish is the same as a brain aneurysm in humans; a blood vessel in the brain develops a colt, which then causes the blood to back up in the blood vessel.

This then causes the blood vessel in the brain to bulge or balloon. This bubble in the blood vessel is the aneurysm, and it could rupture or leak at any time. Brain aneurysms do not cause severe symptoms before they rupture, making them a sudden killer.

If your fish has a brain aneurysm and it ruptures, then this could cause your fish to have a stroke. This stroke is known as a hemorrhagic stroke, and it can cause all of the strokes mentioned above, and they will come on suddenly and without warning.

Sadly, this is likely a stroke that will end in the death of the fish, and there is no way to prevent this in a fish as we cannot test them for an aneurysm.

Brain Tumour in Fish

Goldfish with Tumors
Goldfish with Tumors

As fish are creatures with brain and body cells that die and regenerate, just like the cells in the human body, this does mean that fish can get brain tumors. A brain tumor is a mass or collection of abnormal cells inside the fish’s brain.

The skull of a fish encloses the fish’s brain, and it is pretty rigid, so any abnormal growth inside this rigid, restricted space can cause problems for the fish. These tumors can be noncancerous or cancerous, depending on the make-up of the cells.

When these tumors begin to grow, they can increase the pressure in the fish’s skull. This pressure can lead to several problems, including brain damage, problems with motor functions like swimming, and it can cause stroke.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell if your fish has a brain tumor while still alive, as there is no way to test for it. There is also no way to prevent the tumor as it is the fish’s body cells that cause it.

Final Thoughts

Fish do have brains, which means that they are susceptible to conditions that can damage the tissues of a brain, including a stroke, but a fish has not been scientifically proven to suffer a stroke just yet.

However, there are other conditions that fish are susceptible to that can mimic the symptoms of a stroke. Good luck with your fish!

Share this post: