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Fish Health Management. Dr. Craig Kasper Aquaculture Disease Processes FAS 2253. Fish Health Management. GOALS : Prevent introduction of disease to healthy animals. Prevent propigation of existing disease agents. Production of healthy, high quality fish.

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fish health management

Fish Health Management

Dr. Craig Kasper

Aquaculture Disease Processes

FAS 2253

fish health management2
Fish Health Management
  • GOALS :
    • Prevent introduction of disease to healthy animals.
    • Prevent propigation of existing disease agents.
    • Production of healthy, high quality fish.
principles of health maintenance
Principles of Health Maintenance
  • Maintain conditions which are designed to optimize growth, feed conversion, reproduction and survival.
  • Intensive aquaculture – high numbers, close quarters, lots of food!! (optimal?)
  • Enhance natural resistance
    • Well managed fish have healthy immune systems!
    • Healthy fish give rise to healthier offspring!
maintaining health
Maintaining Health
  • Inverse relationship between environmental quality and disease status of fish
  • Changes occur over time (type of system)
    • Water quality degrades.
    • Fish become more crowded.
  • Emphasis of Health management:
    • Physical features of facility
    • Use of genetically improved fish
    • “SPF” stocks
    • Environmental control
    • Prophylactic/preventative therapy
    • Feed quality and quantity
rem stress
REM: Stress
  • Adverse situation that

affects the well-being

of individual animals...

stress related disease
Stress related disease
  • Environmental associated
    • Wild fish are in equilibrium with there pathogens.
    • Captive fish are much more effected by changes in temp. or water quality due to excessive crowding, handling, etc.
  • Microbial diseases
    • Decreased resistance to pathogens
    • Endemic pathogens
location of site
Location of site
  • Soil, water and fish species must be compatible
  • Chose site properly
    • Pond aquaculture
    • Soil characteristics
    • Drainage

Good, bad, or just ugly??

avoiding exposure
Avoiding exposure
  • Best method to control infectious disease
    • Water is effective at delivering pathogens to fish (endemic)
    • Don’t feed contaminated feed.
avoiding exposure9
Avoiding exposure
  • REM: U.S.: Title 50?
    • What about other countries?
    • Do they have regulations?
  • Quarantine
    • Isolate fish 2 weeks +
  • Eradication of Stocks
    • Last resort!
    • Is it worth it?
    • Can you manage around


avoiding exposure cont
Avoiding exposure (cont.)
  • Example:
    • VHSV (or Egtved) Washington (1989)
      • Destroyed adults that were found to have viru
      • Destroyed juveniles
    • Great lakes (lake trout) Epidermal epitheliotropic disease (herpesvirus)
      • Destroyed fish and disinfected contaminated facilities
      • Appears to have worked
    • BKD (Wyoming) (1990)
      • Destruction of RBT, lake, CTT, and BrT brood stock
      • Based on highly sensitive detection technique (ELISA)
      • No evidence for disease
      • “Was the cost and consequence greater than the value of what was saved?”
exposing dose
Exposing Dose
  • To be sick, fish must be exposed! If no exposure, liklihood of disease greatly reduced.
  • Introduction of disease agent = potential trouble as we disscussed last time.
  • Once pathogen load increases (due to poor resistance) = DISEASE
  • Exposing dosage data usually confined to toxicity studies.
extent of contact
Extent of contact
  • Infection vs Disease?
    • Facultative – may live under many conditions
    • Obligate – require host to complete life cycle
      • Viruses, some bacteria, and few parasites
    • Route of transmission
      • Oral
      • External
      • Vertical
      • Horizontal
      • Direct exposure
    • Carriers
protection through segregation
Protection through segregation
  • Young fish/newly hatched fish
    • Only innate immunity
    • Highly suceptable to stress and water quality


    • May need medicated feed.
  • Fingerlings
    • Immunity increasing
    • survive poor water quality for short duration.
  • Growout
    • Immune system well established.
  • Approaching market/release size
    • Very resistant to disease
    • Can survive in poorest water quality
addition of new fish
Addition of new fish
  • Should take needed precautions when adding new fish to existing stocks...duh!!
  • Home aquaria

or large facilities

  • Again...Quarantine!
breeding and culling
Breeding and Culling
  • Important in the development of domesticated stocks that perform well
  • Improve by selecting for desired traits
    • disease resistance
    • fast growth
    • tolerance of stressors
  • Future possibilities (genetic engineering)
    • Gene manipulation
    • Hybridization/transgenic
rem epc
  • Eradication: Kill ‘em all!!
  • Prevention: Kill what kill’s ‘em!!
  • Control: Reduction of problem to an economically/biologically manageable level
    • Do all you can.
    • Be prepared for the worst.
    • Sometimes fish just get sick!!
anticipating problems
Anticipating problems
  • Plan ahead.
  • Good health records for each pond.
  • Good observations.
  • Good feed.
  • Water quality/quantity.
  • Stay on top of things!!
fish health monitoring
Fish Health Monitoring
  • Early diagnosis
    • Know what “normal” is!
    • Know what treatments are available. (and how to utilize them.)
    • Know what abnormal is.
    • Remain proactive.

You are in charge of fish health monitoring at an aquaculture facility.

During morning rounds you notice that a first use pond containing RBT (50g/fish) is having some problems. Fish appear lethargic, and some dark fish are observed.

  • What possible problems may be causing this?
  • How would you narrow the possibilities down?
  • You suspect the problem to be disease related, what would you do?