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Towards better understanding and treatment of gill disease in salmonids
  1. David Speare, DVM, DVSc
  1. Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, PE C1A 4P3, Canada
  1. e-mail: speare{at}

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FISH live in a world where oxygen is difficult to acquire. One of nature's remarkable organ systems is the gill. Here, gas exchange occurs through a counter-current arrangement across layers of fine leaf-like lamellae positioned along supportive vascular filaments. Although similar across many fish species, there are interesting examples where the gill has taken on curious adaptations, including rapid metaplastic capabilities, thereby permitting some fish to exploit a range of aquatic environments. However, this complex structure is also vulnerable to infectious and non-infectious diseases. Many are recognised and described, but we are only beginning to understand host-pathogen relationships governing their pathogenesis.

Within aquaculture, and particularly for high-performance fish such as salmonids, the impact of gill diseases is felt at all stages of the production cycle. Although the …

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