Abstract / Description of output
Gill disorders have become more prevalent and widespread in finfish aquaculture in recent years. Their aetiology is often considered to be multifactorial. Effective diagnosis, control and prevention are hindered by the lack of standardised methodologies to characterise the aetiological agents, which produce an array of clinical and pathological presentations. The aim of this study was to define a novel gross pathological scoring system suitable for field-based macroscopic assessment of complex or multifactorial gill disease in farmed Atlantic salmon, using samples derived from a gill disease outbreak in Chile. Clinical assessment of gross gill morphology was performed, and gill samples were collected for qPCR and histology. A novel total gill scoring system was developed, which assesses gross pathological changes combining both the presumptive or healed amoebic gill disease (AGD) and the presence of other types of gill lesions. This scoring system offers a standardised approach to characterise the severe proliferative pathologies in affected gills. This total gill scoring system can substantially contribute to the development of robust mitigation strategies and could be used as an indicator trait for incorporating resistance to multifactorial gill disease into breeding goals.