Florida Aqua News Aquatic Tool Time

Florida Aqua News
For Aquatic Animal Veterinarians
Spring 2005 Volume 1, Issue 2
Tools for the wet vet
Health certificates, how2 3
General Transport Tips
Calendar of Events
From the Fish Tank
About the Authors
Aquatic Tool Time
What Equipment do you
need for a Fish Patient?
ments in their aquatic
diagnostic techniques unique
collection; thus such owners
to fish examinations. It is
become quite concerned
wise to consult these
More and more clients are
when their fish are ill.
resources, but also realize
seeking veterinary advice for
Fortunately, veterinary
that the fundamentals learned
their sick pet fish. A survey of
interest and education in
in veterinary school are
pet owners by the American
aquatics has been growing.
applicable to fish medicine4.
Pet Products Manufacturers
As a reader of this newsletter
Various diagnostic procedures
Association, Inc., found that
you are a prime example of
used in small animal medicine
there were 192 million pet fish
can be adapted for use in
in the United States at the
For veterinarians just starting
piscine patients. Many of the
time of the 2003/2004
to learn about fish medicine,
supplies you already have on
survey . Some people form
there are a number of
hand in your veterinary clinic
emotional attachments to
publications2,3,4 and continuing
can be used to work-up a fish
their fish while others have
education opportunities avail-
case. This article will review
significant economic invest-
able that explain basic
some necessities if you intend
By Dr. Jennifer Matysczak
Continued on page 5…
Fish Transport: Too much of a good thing?
Hemorrhage in mouth of gar.
Photo by Jamie Holloway
By Dr. Lara Croft
to live wells (43” x38” x22”,
32-gallon trash can with no
At the Fish Health Laboratory
155 gallons), filled with water
supplemental oxygen. MS-222
at the University of Florida we
from the holding tanks. The
(an anesthetic) was added to
recently received a case
gar did have brief exposure to
the water at 30 ppm to
where 3 adult and 1 juvenile
freezing temperatures and
provide sedation and
longnose gar had died during
winter winds during the trans-
consequently decrease stress
fer from the holding tubs to
associated with transport. It
History: The gar had been
the livewells. One livewell (X)
was adequately buffered with
housed in holding tubs for
contained one carp (24”) and
sodium bicarbonate at a 2:1
approximately 6 months and
3 adult gar (38-46”). Another
ratio. Next, the livewells were
appeared healthy prior to
livewell (Y) contained one
tightly baffled (a baffle is a
transport. First, the gar were
medium size juvenile gar
cover placed just over the
caught up in nets by the
(~13”) and 3 adult gar (38-
surface of the water to min-
aquarium staff and brought
46”). Also, seven small
imize sloshing) and then
out to the load-ing dock. From
juvenile gar (6-9”) were
loaded into the back of a
there, they were transferred
transported in an uninsulated
rental truck. Aeration was
Continued on page 2…
Fish Transport…continued from page 1
Gas bubble disease (GBD) is
a sequela for fish with acute
or chronic exposure to water
supersaturated with dissolved gases. Fish may die
of acute GBD without any
visible lesions. Clinical
behavioral signs can include
sudden anorexia, lethargy,
loss of equilibrium and
buoyancy, abnormal swimming activity, or spasmodic
convulsions. Uni- or bilateral
exophthalmia is a common
clinical sign. Also gas bubbles can be seen grossly in
blood vessels or tissues of
the oral cavity, capillaries of
gill filaments, eyes, or within
subcutaneous tissue.
Histopathology of GBD can
reveal edema of secondary
gill lamellae with degeneration of overlying
epithelium, edema and
infarction of buccal and
intestinal mucosa, and
vacuolar degeneration of
renal tubular epithelium.
Lesions have also been
documented in liver and
Mechanisms through which
water can become supersaturated with dissolved gas:
provided by two large com-
three large gar revealed
pressed oxygen tanks, each
All other fish from the trans-
bright red gill cartilages on
with aeration lines running
port (the carp from livewell X,
two fish and a few tiny air
through a single stage
one large gar and one juvenile
bubbles (2-3 per filament)
pressure regulator and
gar from livewell Y were doing
within the gill lamellae.
flowmeter to large airstones in
fine. The four dead fish were
External biopsies on the
the livewell.
frozen and subsequently
juvenile gar were all within
At the first check, less than
shipped to us with three
normal limits.
one hour into the trip, one
water samples (one from the
Internal examination of the
large gar from livewell Y was
original holding tank and one
three adult gar revealed sub-
found dead with severe
from each livewell) for
jectively reddened, injected
hemorrhaging. Approximately
thorough necropsy and
liver, spleen, anterior, and
6½ hours into the trip
transport problem review.
posterior kidneys. Internal
another large gar in livewell Y
Necropsy: On physical
examination of the fourth fish
was found dead and two large
exam, all three large gar had
(juvenile gar) was unremark-
gar from livewell X were
some blotchy areas of
able. Organs showed no
observed lying on their sides
hyperemia along the ventrum
obvious pathology microscop-
with decreased respiration
and on one, along the lateral
ically on squash preps.
rates. Dissolved oxygen (DO)
line. There was mild to mod-
Bacterial cultures were
was checked at this time and
erate diffuse hyperemia of all
performed on the posterior
was 12.11 ppm. Upon arrival
fins. The irises of the eyes
kidney, liver, and spleen of all
(8½ hours later) the third
also appeared reddened. The
fish; all yielded no growth.
large gar from X was also
gills were very dark/brick red
Unfortunately, histopathology
laying on its side barely
and were oozing blood. A
could not be performed since
gilling. Also, one of the small
small amount of free blood
the fish had been frozen and
juveniles in the trashcan was
(~1ml) was discovered in the
the freeze-thaw artifacts
reported to have a slight
oral cavity of all three.
obscure normal architecture
twitch and appeared
Physical exam findings on the
and pathologic changes
moribund. One of the large
fourth fish, a small juvenile,
gar from livewell X and the
were within normal limits.
All three water samples con-
juvenile gar died later that
Skin scrape and fin clip were
tained small air pockets at the
night. The two other stressed
unremarkable except for some
top of the bottles, which may
gar from livewell X appeared
excess mucous which is
have caused measured
much better following
probably an artifact from
dissolved gas levels (DO and
acclimation and water
freezing. Gill biopsy from the
CO2 to be spuriously lower
Continued on page 3…
1. Groundwater from
springs and deep wells
2. Air entrapment through
small leaks in pipe valves
or fittings and incompletely submerged intakes
leading to systems
3. Heating cold water
4. Water flowing from
areas of increased hydrostatic pressure into areas
of less hydrostatic
pressure (i.e.
hydroelectric projects).
Table 1
Water Source
TAN (total ammonia
UIA (unionized
Nitrite (NO2-)
Total Alkalinity
Total Hardness
Dissolved oxygen (DO)
Original aquarium
70 F/ 21 C
0.4 ppm
Livewell A or ?
65 F/ 18 C
1.1 ppm
Livewell B or ?
65 F/ 18 C
0.8 ppm
0.004 ppm
0.01 ppm
0.008 ppm
0 ppm
2 ppt
17.1 ppm
68.4 ppm
9.5 ppm
0 ppm
2 ppt
17.1 ppm
68.4 ppm
12.4 ppm
0 ppm
1 ppt
17.1 ppm
68.4 ppm
12.0 ppm
Health Certificates
Preparing Health
Certificates for Aquatic
Animal Shipments?
By Dr. Kathleen H.
First, you must feel
comfortable with assessing
aquatic animal health. Most
certificates may be signed
courses on fish health ranging
from 2 days to 2 weeks.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic
Institution (HBOI) also offers
several educational programs
Feeling a little hesitant about
following a visual examination
signing health certificates for
of the animals or sub-set of
aquatic animals? You’re not
animals being shipped.
the only one! Many
However, you must be able to
Second, which form to use?
practitioners feel anxiety
evaluate fish, shrimp or clam
To date there is no dedicated
about signing health
health (as examples) by visual
form for aquatic animal health
certificates for aquatic animals
inspection. If you are not
certification (one is in the
and there are several reasons
comfortable with this – don’t
works though!). For now use
for it! Which form? What
sign! There are several
APHIS form 7001 (Certificate
should the certificate say?
opportunities around the state
of Health Examination for
How to inspect the animals
of Florida to receive
Small Animals) or APHIS form
and what should the
continuing education (and
17-140 (United States Origin
statements attest to?
sometimes for credit!) on
Health Certificate). As with
Hopefully I can address some
aquatic animal health. The
other official documents of
of these questions and
University of Florida’s Institute
this type, the certificate
of Food and Agricultural
should be typewritten,
Sciences (IFAS) offers several
including one on shrimp
medicine (www.hboi.edu).
accurate, and complete and
Continued on page 4…
Fish Transport…continued from page 2
Carbon dioxide… is very
soluble in water and removal
than the actual levels. At the
which tissues are affected.
have on hand, and histopath-
of dissolved CO2 requires
given water temperature, the
Tissue hemorrhage and brain
ology, which was not an
vigorous surface aeration.
sum of the measured levels of
damage have been postulated
option since these fish had
Excess aqueous CO2 inhibits
diffusion of CO2 out of the
DO and CO2 alone (not
to cause mortality.
been frozen, are other tests
accounting for other
that may have helped to
blood. High CO2 in the blood
atmospheric gasses which
In this case, we believe cause
confirm a diagnosis of gas
lowers blood pH and
may have been present),
of death in these fish was
bubble disease. Postulated
decreases the oxygen carrying
indicated that the water was
acute gas bubble disease with
causes for the gas supersat-
capacity of hemoglobin. This
at least 120% saturated [see
possible carbon dioxide toxic-
uration include: excessively
causes respiratory distress,
sidebar on page 2]. In
ity [see sidebar on this page]
high regulator setting or flow
and eventually CO2 narcosis
general, levels of >110%
based on history, clinical
rate of oxygen into the live-
and death. Chronically
saturation are considered
signs, and water quality
wells; extremely tight baffling
elevated CO2 has been
dangerous for fish, however
analysis. It is possible that
preventing adequate
associated with
this varies with age and
this was compounded by
ventilation and gas exchange
nephrocalcinosis and systemic
species of the fish. Pathology
transient temperature stress
at the surface of the water, or
granuloma in salmonids.
from gas super-saturation
subsequent to carrying the
lack of a mechanical agitator
Warmwater fish are much
occurs when excess gas
gar in winter wind and temp-
which is often used in
more tolerant of hypercarbia
leaves solution in the
eratures to the livewells at the
combination with an oxygen
than coldwater fish. Optimal
bloodstream and forms emboli
start of the transport.
diffuser to help aerate and
in various tissues. Severity of
Measurement of the total gas
remove carbon dioxide.
damage depends upon the
saturation of the water with a
number of emboli formed and
saturometer, which we did not
(Note: See General Transport
Tips on page 4.)
CO2 levels are <10 ppm.
Clinical signs of carbon dioxide
toxicity can be seen at levels
>20 ppm.
Quick Guide for Health
Step 1. Determine from the
client what the health
requirements are for the state
or country to where the
animals are being shipped.
(See Useful Resources on
page 5.)
Step 2. Perform health
evaluation as directed by
certificate requirements set by
importing state or country.
Step 3. Complete and sign
health certificate. Until
specific aquatic animal
certificates are available use
APHIS forms 7001 or 17-140.
Step 4. If endorsement is
required – send completed
forms to the area office (via
express mail (with pre-paid
return envelope) with a check
made out to the USDA for
$24.00 (per certificate to be
endorsed) or contact
Dr. Kathleen Hartman, in
Ruskin at 813-671-5230 x119.
Include copies of test results
for any required laboratory
Step 5. Collect your fee for
performing inspection.
Health Certificates…continued from page 3
must be signed in a color
currently listed there. For
observed no signs of disease,
different from the text.
example, England and France
2) The fish are packed in new
have import requirements not
containers and 3) Fish did not
yet added to the USDA
originate from an area under
database. For movement of
quarantine. At a minimum,
fish to the European Union
the number of animals and
(EU) check out website
the common and scientific
names of each should be
k/default.asp. It is strongly
described on the form.
Third, what should the
certificate say? It is the
responsibility of the
owner/exporter/shipper to
determine what the
requirements are for the state
or country that the animals
are being shipped to. For
international destinations,
each country may have
specific health requirements
for the entry of animals.
These requirements are
established by the importing
country, not the United
States. Other countries may
also have their own certificate
format. Only five countries
have specific health
requirements related to
shipments of aquatic animals
to their country. Brazil, Chile,
China, Japan and Spain have
specific health requirements
for some aquatic species that
can be found at
However not all countries that
have import requirements are
recommended that exporters
wanting to ship aquatic
animals to countries whose
requirements are not
described specifically, have
the importer/buyer in the
country of destination apply
for an import permit at the
appropriate ministry. This
import permit will most likely
outline the specific
requirements. If no specific
requirements are known,
general attestations may be
printed or typed on the form
or check the appropriate
boxes (form 7001). Examples
of general attestations
regarding fish health include
statements such as: 1) I
performed a visual
examination of the fish at the
time of shipment, and
For interstate movement of
aquatics, check website:
for individual state
regulations. It is highly
recommended that the
shipper contact the State
Veterinarian’s office in the
destination state to make sure
all the requirements are met.
In some states the state
wildlife agency should be
contacted also, as the state
veterinarian is not the lead
“agency” for fish health in
some states. For example, the
lead agency for importation of
hard clams (Mercenaria
mercenaria) in Virginia is the
Marine Resources Commission
Continued on page 5…
General Transport Tips
By Dr. Lara Croft
1 cm of fish (or 0.5 gallon per
appropriate temperature.
1 inch fish). Fish can be
Ideally, withhold food from
For smaller scale transport
transported in higher densities
fish for at least 1-2 days
(i.e. a client bringing a fish to
or for longer duration if
before transport in warmer
your clinic) the best mode of
supplemental oxygenation is
weather and 3 days or more
trans-port is a plastic
available. To avoid
during cooler weather (do not
aquarium bag. Clean plastic
temperature extremes it is
starve cannibalistic fish longer
buckets, plastic-lined coolers,
best to place the container of
than 3 days). Fish with empty
or Styrofoam coolers are
fish or the fish itself directly in
stomachs will not regurgitate
acceptable alternatives. If the
a cooler. Heat packs may be
food in transport unit, and will
trip is short term (<30
required in winter and ice
produce less metabolic waste.
minutes) a good general rule
packs may be required in
is providing 1L water for every
summer to maintain the
Poor water quality is the most
Continued on page 7…
Health Certificates…continued from page 4
Be aware too, that states and
and the export clerk’s number
countries may have
is: 352-333-3120 x200.
restrictions on certain species.
Advise clients to check if the
animals they’re moving
require a permit from the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (e.g.
CITES listed animals such as
seahorses. Refer to website:
sLists/SpeciesLists.shtml) or if
a state has certain restrictions
on animals (e.g. injurious
wildlife such as the walking
catfish (family Clariidae).
Fourth, how to inspect a
shipment? Unless specific
sampling or tests are required
for entry into a state or
country (e.g. the state of
Florida requires that shrimp
entering the state be tested
and free of these viral
diseases: White Spot, Taura
Syndrome and Yellowhead) a
visual examination of the
shipment population or a
reasonable sub-set of the
For additional information on
shipment population suffices.
export requirements, contact
If there is any sign of
the Area Veterinarian-in-
morbidity, pathogens or
Charge (AVIC) who can
abnormalities, advise the
provide information on current
client appropriately and don’t
regulations, tests, and
sign the health certificate.
inspections that may be
Some countries require that
required. Because export
diagnostic testing be
requirements frequently
performed at USDA approved
change, obtain the current
laboratories. Refer to
export requirements from the
Veterinary Service office in
your area before each
ab.htm for a listing of
shipment. In Florida the area
laboratories and their
office is located in Gainesville
approval status.
Fifth, who has to sign the
certificate? Health certificates
for the export of aquatic
animals are completed by the
accredited veterinarian who
certifies animal health status
by inspecting the shipment
and collecting any required
specimens for diagnostic
testing, and recording test
results for the animals being
exported. Some foreign
countries require that exports
from the United States be
endorsed by a Veterinary
Services area office in order
to be valid. For endorsement,
certificates may be sent to the
APHIS area office in
Gainesville or to Dr. Kathleen
Hartman (see sidebar on
USDA Resources). Copies of
results from required
diagnostic tests prior to
shipment should be included
with the health certificate.
The current user fee for
endorsing a health certificate
is $24.00.
Aquatic Tool Time…continued from page 1
to see fish patients.
seeing fish to have a water
pet stores may be
Water Quality
quality test kit. Even if clients
recommended for client moni-
Assessment of water quality is
insist that they have tested
toring of water quality. For
of utmost importance, given
their water and all parameters
the best results, all testing
that fish eat, breathe and live
are normal, experience has
solutions should be discarded
in the same water where they
shown that it is wise to check
and replaced if not used
defecate. Perturbations in
water quality to confirm this.
before their expiration date or
water quality parameters can
Francis-Floyd provides a good
within a year of purchase.
have direct or indirect
reference on water quality5.
Test kits should be kept in a
influence on a fish’s health. A
Accurate, reasonably priced
cool, dry place.
great num-ber of cases can
water quality test kits are
At a minimum, one should
be resolved by identifying and
avail-able from several
invest in ammonia, nitrite, pH
rectifying water quality
companies including HACH,
and alkalinity tests. Additional
problems. Therefore, it is
LaMotte and Orion.
common tests include
essential for any clinician
Inexpensive tests available at
hardness, nitrate, chlorine and
Continued on page 6…
Useful Resources:
USDA APHIS, Veterinary
Services Area Office
Export clerk
7022 NW 10th Place
Gainesville, FL 32605
Phone: 352-333-3120 x200
Fax: 352-333-1912
Dr. Kathleen H. Hartman
Aquaculture Epidemiologist,
1408 24th Street, S.E.
Ruskin, FL 33570
Phone: 813-671-5230 x119
Fax: 813-671-5234
For international destinations:
For interstate movement:
(also recommended to contact
the State Veterinarian’s Office
and the state wildlife agency
of the destination state).
Aquatic Tool Time…continued from page 5
Performing a gill biopsy
tank side.
copper. Other essential
to have microscope slides and
suspicious looking organs may
equipment includes something
cover slips. For small fish, the
provide valuable information.
to check salinity (a
fin and gill clips require a small
While it can sometimes be
refractometer will suffice), a
set of scissors, such as ophthal-
difficult to discern the initiating
dissolved oxygen meter, and a
mic scissors. Transport water
pathogen from cultures of
thermometer with an
can be used to mount the
ulcers, proper culture of ulcers
appropriate temperature range
biopsies on the slide; alterna-
may yield useful information2,7.
(digital thermometers for
tively saltwater can be used for
Culturettes can be used as
humans will not work).
marine fish or non-tap
transport media to be sent to a
“Holding and Handling”
freshwater can be used for
laboratory accustomed to
samples from freshwater fish. A
working with fish samples. An
Of course you will need nets of
microscope that allows
in-house, benchtop acid-fast
various sizes to catch swimming
visualization at 40X, 100X and
stain to preliminarily identify
patients4; soft woven nets will
400X magnification will be
mycobacteria is essential for
minimize trauma to fish .
adequate for evaluation of these
any practitioner seeing fish
Having a number of buckets on
external biopsies. However,
hand is a good idea as well.
1000X is helpful for examining
Advanced Diagnostics,
Nets and buckets must be
any gram stained slides or
Anesthesia, and Surgery
disinfected between patients.
histology that might be
Radiology and ultrasound can
Quaternary ammonia com-
required. In case of excessive
be insightful into a fish’s
pounds are commonly used
hemorrhage from a gill clip,
medical condition8. Having a
disinfectants that can be
silver nitrate sticks may be use-
“normal” of the same species
followed by an alcohol spray.
ful for hemostasis, although the
and similar size is helpful for
Be sure to rinse equipment very
long-term effects of this
comparison purposes when
well after any disinfectant use,
application are unknown6.
evaluating a diseased fish. In
as any residual compounds can
A gram scale measuring up to a
addition to supplies used for
be toxic. Bleach is an
kilogram (unless, of course, you
radiographing small animals, a
alternative to quaternary
are working with large koi or
plastic wrap or other protective
ammonia compounds, but the
other large fish that weigh more
covering to keep film cassettes
risks of toxicity from contam-
than that) is instrumental in
dry is needed. Radiographs can
ination of a fish’s water with
monitoring a patient for weight
help identify swim bladder
bleach are greater6. Bleach can
abnormalities, foreign bodies,
be neutralized with an
If the client has a number of
neoplasia, gastrointestinal
appropriate agent, such as
fish and can sacrifice one for
obstructions and other
sodium thiosulfate; testing for
diagnostic purposes or can
pathologies4. Studies with
chlorine residuals in a container
provide a freshly dead
barium or other contrast media
by adding water to it and
individual, necropsy can provide
can be very informative. The
measuring chlorine levels is
valuable information. For this
ultrasound probe will also need
you will need cover slips and
to be wrapped up in plastic or
Use of non-powdered latex
microscope slides for wet mount
other material to avoid water
gloves is important to minimize
preparations of organs2, a dis-
damage. Ultrasound can be
damage to the fish’s protective
secting kit (scalpel with blades,
used to identify abnormalities or
skin layer and to shield the
scissors, forceps), dissecting
to assist with needle biopsies or
clinician from zoonotic diseases.
board, freshwater (not muni-
swim bladder deflation6.
Biopsy and Necropsy
cipal tap water) for the internal
Some fish will require sedation
Physical examination of a fish
organ squash preps, and
for diagnostic procedures.
should always include a skin
supplies for preserving tissues
Tricaine methane sulfonate (MS-
scrape as well as fin and gill
for histology. Sterile culture of
222) is the most universally
clips7. For these, you will need
brain, kidney, spleen, and any
used fish anesthetic; this drug
examination of a fish
should always
include a skin scrape
as well as fin and gill
Continued on page 8…
Calendar of Events
June 6-7,
Seavet I
Sarasota, St. Petersburg,
Tampa, St. Augustine, and
Orlando, Florida
Kendal Harr
Phone: 352-392-4700 x5686
Fax: 352-846-1171
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/ame/index.html
June 13-17,
30th Eastern Fish Health
Shepherdstown, West
Rocco Cipriano
Phone: 304-724-4432
Fax: 304-724-4435
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.fisheries.org/fhs/eastern.htm
July 16-20,
American Veterinary
Medical Association,
142nd Annual Convention
Minneapolis, MN
AVMA Registration and Housing Bureau/ITS
Phone: 1-800-521-6017
July 27-29,
AFS Fish Health Section
Annual Meeting
Minneapolis, MN
Joe Marcino
Phone: 651-779-6770
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.fisheries.org/fhs/meeting.htm
American Fisheries
11-15, 2005 Society, 135th Annual
Anchorage, AK
Website: http://www.fisheries.org
Advanced Fish Medicine
13-19, 2005 Orlando & Gainesville, FL
Ruth Francis-Floyd
Phone: 352-392-4700 x5638
Fax: 352-846-1171
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/ame/afm
Transport Tips…continued from page 4
A small fish properly bagged
Photo from
common cause of fish losses
during transport. While the
previous case involved supersaturation, hyperoxia, and
hypercarbia, a much more
common problem is hypoxia or
low dissolved oxygen (DO). In
general, 6.0-9.5 ppm is
desirable range for DO. If
transporting fish for >30
minutes or if the fish are
densely packed it is
recommended to have a
portable aerator. Alternatively,
fish can be shipped in a sealed
plastic aquarium bag with an
oxygen-enriched atmosphere.
Other water quality issues that
arise during transport are due to
the buildup of waste products,
specifically ammonia and CO2.
Over the duration of the trip
ammonia and CO2 levels will rise
and consequently pH will
decrease. Therefore, upon
culmination of the transport it is
crucial to acclimate the fish to
the new water since rapid shifts
in temperature and/or pH can
kill the fish and raising the pH
will increase the proportion of
ammonia in the toxic unionized
form. A good easy way to
acclimate fish is to float a bag
containing the fish in the
transport water in the new
water for 10 minutes to
equilibrate temperature. Next
check and compare water
quality parameters between
transport water and new tank
water. If pH values are similar
(within 0.5) take the fish out of
the transport water and move it
directly into the new tank. If pH
values vary by >0.5 and the
desired pH will not increase
unionized ammonia to >0.05
mg/L, add new water into the
bag until you have doubled the
initial volume, discard some of
the water in the bag and repeat
the process once or twice more.
Finally, scoop the fish from the
bag and transfer it to the new
water. Never dump transport
water into the new system!
In summary, careful planning
and monitoring can help cut
down on many fish losses
during transport. After all, fish
medicine is a field on the move,
and sometimes so are your
Jensen, GL. (1990) Transportation of Warmwater Fish:
Equipment and Guidelines.
Southern Regional Aquaculture
Center Publication No. 390
Speare, DJ. (1998) Disorders
Associated with Exposure to
Excess Dissolved Gases. In:
Woo, P and Leatherland, J.
(eds) Fish Disorders and
Diseases, Vol. 2 CABI
Publishing, New York, pp.207223
Wedemeyer, GA. (1996)
Physiology of Fish in Intensive
Culture Systems. Chapman and
Hall. New York, pp. 121-139
American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc.
March 1, 2005.
Noga, EJ. 1996. Fish Disease:
Diagnosis and Treatment. St.
Louis, Mosby. 367pp.
Stoskopf, MK. 1993. Fish
Medicine. Philadelphia, WB
Saunders. 882pp.
Lewbart, GA. 1998. Emergency
and critical care of fish.
Veterinary Clinics of North
America: Exotic Animal Practice,
Francis-Floyd, R. Fish. 1998.
in Aiello SE (ed). The Merck
Veterinary Manual, ed 8.
Whitehouse Station, NJ, Merck
and Company, Inc. pp 12681294.
Francis-Floyd, R. 1999. Clinical
Examinations of fish in private
collections. Veterinary Clinics of
North America: Exotic Animal
Practice, 2(2):247-264.
Yanong, RPE. 2003. Necropsy
techniques for fish. in Echols S
(ed). Practical Gross Necropsy
of Exotic Animal Species. in
Fudge AM (ed). Seminars in
Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine.
Philadelphia, PA, W.B. Saunders
Co. 12(2): 89-105.
Love, NE and GE Lewbart.
1997. Pet fish radiography:
techniques and case history
reports. Veterinary Radiology
and Ultrasound, 38:24-29.
Lewbart, GA and CH Harms.
1999. Building a fish anesthesia
delivery system. Exotic DVM, (12): 25-28.
Lewbart, GA. 2001. Surgical
techniques in the koi patient.
ICE Proceedings, p43-47.
Hurty, CA and DC Brazik, JM
Law, K Sakamoto, GA Lewbart.
2002. Evaluation of the tissue
reactions in the skin and body
wall of koi (Cyprinus carpio) to
five suture materials. Veterinary
Record, 151: 324-328.
Weisse, C. 2002. Fish
Surgery. in Introduction to Fish
Diseases, University of
Pennsylvania School of
Veterinary Medicine curriculum,
March 26.
Aquatic Tool Time,
continued from page 6
has been approved by the FDA
strips, an ophthalmoscope, and
commitment to fish medicine,
for use in food fish (with a 21
eye ointments and drops used
some may want to have hospital
day withdrawal period). Again,
for other companion animals
tanks in their facility. Standard
there are numerous references
frequently find use in fish
equipment for fish tanks
that can be consulted if you do
includes, but is not limited to,
not have experience using this
Miscellaneous Supplies
the tanks themselves, air
drug6. You will also need sod-
A number of other miscell-
stones, filters, siphon hoses for
ium bicarbonate (baking soda)
aneous items are useful for the
water changes, sodium chloride,
to buffer the MS-222 solution,
fish practitioner. Especially
and sea salt. Heaters and
which tends to be acidic. For
critical is a commercial
substrate or décor appropriate
short-term sedation, the drug
dechlorinator or chloramine
for the fish species being
can be administered in aerated
remover to help detoxify water
housed may also be necessary.
water within a bucket containing
laden with chlorines or
And don’t forget fish food!
the fish. An IV fluid bag with
chloramines. Ammonia locking
You’ve Got More than You
drip set and red rubber catheter
or binding solutions, available
Think. . .
can also be used to flush small
over-the-counter, can also be
Hopefully it is clear that while
volumes of anesthetic water
helpful under some circum-
some additional supplies will be
over the gills of a small patient.
stances. In addition, assisted
needed to see fish patients,
For long procedures, a fish
feeding or administration of oral
much of the equipment used in
anesthesia delivery machine is
medications can be done with a
fish medicine is already found at
recommended; please consult
gavage tube or red rubber
the average veterinary clinic.
cited references for more
catheter and syringe.
So go for it! Get wet!
information and list of supplies
Medications that are frequently
used in the care of non-food pet
Only a few additional supplies
fish or aquarium display fish
may be needed for fish surgery
include injectable antibiotics
beyond the equipment found at
such as enrofloxacin and
most veterinary practices. A
florfenicol; topical preparations
plastic surgical drape such as
such as Panalog®; dewormers
those used for avian patients is
and other parasiticides (fen-
recommended and can be
bendazole, praziquantel,
fastened to the patient with
levamisole, metronidazole);
lubricant jelly. An
water treatments such as
ophthalmologic surgical pack
copper and formalin; and
and head loupes will facilitate
emergency drugs including
surgery on small patients10. A
doxapram, epinephrine, dexa-
study by Hurty et al11
methasone, atropine (for acute
recommended monofilament
organophosphate toxicity), and
polyglyconate suture material
furosemide. Lidocaine and
for body wall skin and muscle
sterile water should be stocked
closure in koi. Weisse
as well. Heparin is useful for
discourages the use of cyano-
coating syringes to prevent
acrylate glue, which may cause
blood from clotting when
dermatitis and dehiscence12.
For some cases, endoscopy/
Finally, it is important to create
laparoscopy may be warranted
new record sheets specifically
for diagnostic or surgical
for fish patients that reflect the
different anatomy of these
Eye pathology is not uncommon
animals and to incorporate the
in fish. Ophthalmic equipment
diagnostic tests unique to them.
and supplies such as fluorescein
Depending on a clinician’s
Other Educational
In addition to books and other
publications including this
newsletter, classes such as the
biannual two day fish health
workshop at the Tropical
Aquaculture Laboratory, the
University of Florida’s Diseases
of Warmwater Fish two week
course, state and national
veterinary conferences, and
online continuing education on
the Veterinary Information
Network are great places for
Floridian vets to learn about
fish medicine. The University
of Florida also has numerous
online publications discussing
husbandry and common
diseases of fish at
.html under “Fisheries and
Aquatic Sciences” and
“Veterinary Medicine”.
From the Fish Tank
It took longer than expected,
Thanks also to those who wrote
link to go to the site.
but the second issue of Florida
in asking for specific inform-
In the next issue, we will report
Aqua News is finally ready.
ation on fish med topics. I hope
on the IAAAM meeting in
I want to thank everyone who
that the articles in this news-
Alaska, and a new column
sent in the data cards. For those
letter answer your questions.
reviewing fish medicine books
who requested that their
Your input is vital; please help
will begin. If you have an
information be placed on the
me to identify subject matter
interesting case, please share
FVMA website, Dr. Hartman has
that will be useful to you.
with us!
forwarded the information to
Note that all of the web links
Denise Petty, Editor
the appropriate FVMA person.
are enabled. Just click on the
Denise Petty
352-392-9617 x229
Roy Yanong
813-671-5230 x104
Kathy Hartman
813-671-5230 x119
Ruth Francis-Floyd
352-392-4700 x5638
About the Authors
Lara Croft is the Aquatic
Animal Medicine resident at
the University of Florida
College of Veterinary Medicine
where she is concurrently
pursuing an MS degree. She
received her DVM from the
University of Florida in 2003.
Dr. Croft is an active member
of the International
Association for Aquatic Animal
Medicine (IAAAM) and
American Association of Zoo
Veterinarians (AAZV).
Jennifer Matysczak is a
veterinarian at the Tropical
Aquaculture Laboratory (TAL)
in Ruskin and the Florida
Aquarium in Tampa. She is a
2003 graduate of the
University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Matysczak is also a
member of IAAAM.
Kathleen Hartman is the
USDA APHIS, Veterinary
Services aquaculture
epidemiologist stationed at
TAL. She received a DVM and
PhD from Virginia-Maryland
Regional College of Veterinary
Medicine and a MS from the
University of Maryland,
College Park. She is an active
member of AVMA, IAAAM,
World Aquaculture Society
and American Fisheries
GAINESVILLE, FL 32653-3071
We’re on the Web!
See us at: