Fish Health

The objective of this program is to utilize annual fish health inspections to determine the disease status of fish populations and to classify fish culture facilities. These inspections provide diagnostic samples to detect, describe, and document fish diseases or causative agents occurring in 11 state hatcheries, six commercial facilities, four quarantine units, and six feral brood populations in Wyoming. Based on this information, recommendations for prevention and the control of fish diseases are developed and applied. Priority is given to those diseases occurring at state fish culture stations, although the occurrence at Federal, commercial, and natural habitats is also studied. Wild spawning brood populations and hatcheries are tested, and if found free of specific disease agents, are certified to export eggs out-of-state. 

The success of the disease prevention program in Wyoming is known nationally and is attributed to a sound fish health policy, rapid diagnoses, and treatment. During routine diagnostic analysis, tests are conducted for Myxobolus cerebralis (the causative agent of whirling disease). The laboratory can also look for several common bacterial problems including; coldwater disease, bacterial gill disease, bacterial septicemia, motile aeromonas septicemia, furunculosis, bacterial kidney disease and enteric red-mouth disease. Environmental conditions that can also cause problems include gas supersaturation, nephrocalcinosis (calcium deposits in the kidneys), and mechanical gill disease caused by iron deposits in gill tissue. During the last year, detailed investigations conducted by the lab indicated the cause of some fish losses in free-ranging Wyoming fish were due to environmental toxicity problems, parasites and drought. For more pictures of parasites found in fish from Wyoming, proceed to the PDF, "Parasites of Wyoming Fishes". The descriptions of each slide are under the pictures.

Fish Health Sample Collection Procedures

A few examples of fish submitted to the lab are pictured below: the first fish contained a tape worm of such immense size that when it was removed from the abdominal cavity of the fish, it appeared larger than the victim, the second fish is infected with a round worm and the third fish has a benign tumor, the fourth is a snail, the fifth is Copepods on the skin of fish, the sixth is bacterial infection of the kidney.

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