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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Disease diagnostic service

​Our aquatic animal health (‘fish health’) unit can provide a diagnostic service to the seafood industry, including aquaculturists, when fish experience health problems.

Fees are charged for this service, however, as in other livestock industries, they may be reduced if the health issues are of exceptional concern to Western Australia or the wider aquaculture industry.

Fish diseases need to be promptly diagnosed and controlled. Aquaculturists should contact our aquatic animal health laboratories if they suspect a disease problem with their fish.

While some diseases can be treated easily following a telephone discussion, in other cases a veterinary practitioner will need to visit the farm/facility. There are several veterinarians in WA who specialist in fish health.

If specimens are required by our animal health unit for laboratory diagnosis, we will advise you of the preferred options for sampling and shipment to our aquatic animal health laboratories. The three main options are:

  1. Live sick specimens placed in plastic bags filled one-third with water and two-thirds with air (or oxygen if possible), to be delivered within 12 hours.
  2. Frozen whole fish, very fresh dead or recently killed fish placed in separate, clean plastic bags on ice or cooler bricks in a small foam ‘esky’, to be delivered within 24 hours.
  3. Small dead fish, with their abdomen slit open, should be placed in 10 per cent formalin (or in methylated spirits in an emergency).  If possible, chilled or frozen specimens (as above) should also be supplied.

If possible, option 1 should always be selected.

You will also need to supply:

  • A one litre sample of water from the tank in a clean glass container.
  • An accurate history of the fish, their environment and any water quality data.

Last modified: 25/07/2012 1:45 PM

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