Copper toxicity in fish

Liver from Atlantic salmon fingerling showing positive copper reaction in hepatocyte cytoplasm. Rhodamine stain. Note the intracytoplasmic granules (bright red or rust-red) that correspond to lysosomes with sequestered excess copper (arrow).

Copper is a significant trace element necessary for the normal growth and metabolism of living organisms. However, if there is overexposure, it can be toxic. Levels of dissolved copper are often increased from anthropogenic origins such as mine washings and direct applications of algicides, molluscicides or antifouling agents. The most toxic form of copper is the cupric ion (Cu2+). Fish and crustacea are 10 to 100 times more sensitive to the toxicity of copper than mammals. For salmonids, the upper recommended limit is < 0.03...

Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD) in Salmonids – Gross Pathology

Atlantic salmon (adult-1500 g) with BKD. Note the multiple granulomas in kidney. These severe lesions lead to renal failure

Bacterial kidney disease (BKD) is a chronic systemic infection of salmonid fish, the cause of which is the gram-positive diplobacillus, Renibacterium salmoninarum. Although BKD is most common in salmonids, both farmed and wild, R. salmoninarum is also found in other fish species, such as cyprinids and sablefish Anoplopoma fimbria. R. salmoninarum grows intracellularly in the phagocytic cells of the fish, resulting therefore in a largely granulomatous host response, although the early response to infection does involve significant numbers of neutrophils. Clinical signs and external lesions...

Tenacibaculosis in Fish – Gross Pathology

Figure 1. Rainbow trout displaying tail and peduncle lesions.

Tenacibaculosis is primarily a skin infection causing ulcerative dermatitis in a range of commercially important species worldwide. Three species belonging to the genus Tenacibaculum have been associated with the disease: T. dicentrarchi, T. finnmarkense, and T. maritimum.   These bacteria are all Gram-negative and filamentous.  In marine fish, the most common isolate is T. maritimum. There is variation in the external pathological signs of the disease, depending on the species and age of the fish involved. Different names have been used for this usually ulcerative dermatitis; they include salt water columnaris...

Gas Bubble Disease

Figure 1. Rainbow trout with several gas bubbles in the anterior chamber. Note the haemorrhage both dorsally and ventrally, the latter “coning” through the ventral iris pore

Gas bubble disease (GBD) is the fish equivalent of the “bends” in human scuba divers. It is the result of gas coming out of solution in the bloodstream, thereby leading to the formation of emboli, especially in smaller blood vessels, including rete. Thus, lesions are common in gills, and the choroid gland of the eye. In water that is supersaturated, fish equilibriate with that supersaturated gas, just as human scuba divers equilibriate with gas at high pressures. It is not known precisely what prompts the...

Short operculum – Gross Pathology

Figure 1. Severe opercular erosion in farmed rainbow trout.

Bone deformities occur regularly in fish farms around the world. The operculum is one of the earliest craniofacial bones to form embryologically and is subject to a range of developmental and acquired abnormalities. Opercular shortening is one of the most prevalent diseases in larval and juvenile salmonids (and other species), sometimes affecting up to 80% of fish in a population. In those species that rely on the operculum to help move water over the gills, loss of efficiency in this part of the pumping mechanism...

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