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Making A Splash

Making A SplashThanks to her unique specialty, veterinarian and Tufts graduate Sandra Yosha has become a bit of a celebrity among fish owners.Lakeland, Florida

No. Grafton, Mass. [06.27.02] For koi owners like Carl Forss, Tufts graduate Sandra Yosha is a lifesaver. The pet fish - which can live more than 60 years and command six-figure prices - are growing increasingly popular in the U.S. and around the world. And Yosha is one of just a few veterinarians in the nation with the expertise to keep them healthy.

"We're ecstatic when we find somebody like Sandy - a real fish veterinarian," Walter Cover - a koi owner from Mission Viejo, California, told the Lakeland Ledger.

A 1986 graduate of Tufts' School of Veterinary Medicine, Yosha has become a kind of celebrity among koi owners, who number 10,000 strong in the U.S. alone.

"She is definitely one of the top six in the country; she's very knowledgeable," Carl Forss - who owns a wholesale koi business outside Philadelphia -- told the Ledger. "She provides a comfort level to someone in my profession. When fish are sick, you need access to somebody and she's always reachable."

Koi owners around the country contact Yosha by phone, email and fax with questions about their fish, reported the newspaper.

Karen Pattist contacted the Tufts graduate when one of her "grand champion" koi died from a mysterious virus.

"The sick koi, bred in Japan, infected four or five other pet koi, all of which eventually died," reported the Ledger. "But Yosha's consultation kept the disease from killing her remaining pets."

As more and more koi owners turn to Yosha for help, her impact on the industry grows.

"Her research is not just impacting the United States, but it's trickling down to other countries as well," Pattist told the Ledger. "Her approach to everything is very scientific."

With four degrees - including a masters in marine biology, a doctorate in animal sciences and a veterinary degree specializing in fish from Tufts - Yosha brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the profession.

She also brings her passion.

From the age of 8-years-old, Yosha knew she wanted to work with marine life. All it took was one trip to the beach.

"I'd seen the ocean for the first time and was just fascinated," the Tufts graduate told the Ledger.

She learned to scuba dive and started studying marine biology. Four degrees later, she is at the forefront of her field.

"Fish without a doubt feel pain," Yosha told the Ledger. "It's our obligation to reduce [their] pain and suffering."

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