Group work on 23 May 2005 at the meeting "Harmonisation of the Care and Use of Fish in Research"

Suggestions for the discussion:
Start with a summary of the situation today. Then discuss if this situation is satisfying. Make a list of possible improvements.

  1. What criteria do YOU use when YOU select fish for YOUR research?
  2. Is it possible to obtain pathogen free fish?  
  3. How do YOU avoid introduction of pathogens into YOUR research facility?
  4. How do YOU make sure that the fish that YOU use in YOUR research is "healthy" at the start of your research and stay "healthy" during your research?
  5. How do YOU monitor the welfare of the fish?
  6. How do YOU report the health status of the fish that YOU use in YOUR research?


Notes from group A:

  • Reluctance (or ignorance?) to use FELASA guidelines: "bughunting" 
  • We tend to rely on clinical observations (swim right side up, visible signs of damage)... 
  • Rather than using mammalian guidelines,
    we need species-specific or group-specific guidelines 
  • Quarantine and use of known sources is important,
    since we lack well-defined fish strains  
  • "Pathogen-free", "germ-free" are foreign terms that need to be defined and discussed more in the fish environment 
  • The level/type of monitoring should probably be linked to the use to which the fish will be put 
  • Or do we wait with screening until something goes (visibly) wrong?!
  • Aseptic techniques, can surgery be sterile? 
  • What about postoperative infections? 
  • Can the effects of surgery be distinguished from the effects of the organisms? 
  • We need to consider the microbiological quality of feed, water, enrichment substrates (remember water is a good medium for transmission of organisms) - worse in recirculating systems 
  • Better handling, respect for the mucous layer - more research needed
  • Healthy fish can develop disease if the environment is unfavourable (transport stress, sub-optimal environmental factors)
  • Reporting:
    e.g. Sweden: numbers of research fish increased from 150,000 to 9.5 million fish in one year (test fishing) 


Notes from group B

We do a lot of health monitoring already

  • We use only clinically healthy fish 
  • Veterinary inspections 
  • Health certificates and other documentations 
  • Quarantine with clinical controls 
  • Test for the pathogens that are causing problems 
    • Saprolegnia 
    • Vibrio 
    • Limitations on the detections methods available 
    • Limitation on economy 
    • Depending on Aims of study 
    • SPF = Specific pathogen free (IPNV, ISAV) 
    • ONE or several pathogen (FELASA list)

Avoid pathogens into your research

  • Fish 
    • Clinical examination 
    • Testing for pathogens 
    • Prophylactic treatment (may influence on the research) 
    • Antibiotics, formalin, vaccination, 
  • Live feed 
    • With or without pathogens
  • People 
    • Building structure (colour coding of rooms and tanks) 
    • Foot baths 
    • Competent personal
  • Birds and other not invited guests 
  • Water 
    • "Sharing water is sharing pathogens" 
    • Fish in the same water are ONE system 
    • Filters 
    • Organics 
    • Reverse osmosis 
    • UV 
      • Reduce number of bacteria
    • Ozone 
      • Difficult with salt water
    • Avoid water sources with salmonids 
    • Tap water, decolorize 
    • Deep water intake in the sea
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