Disease treatment and prevention
Aquaculture veterinarians aim to prevent disease, and they actively intervene to treat diseases. They have the expertise and legal authority to prescribe medication. They work with their fish-farming clients to develop biosecurity measures to avoid introducing diseases, just as a large-animal veterinarian works with dairy farmers or hog farmers.
Animal husbandry, fish nutrition, disease diagnosis and treatment, epidemiology, microbiology, and water chemistry are all factors in maintaining fish health. Aquaculture veterinarians can turn to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to test for disease, and to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine for research, expertise, and continuing education.
Until recently, there has been zero tolerance for microscopic organisms that may cause disease in fish. For example, if a fish were found in Wisconsin with a virus that had been unknown here previously, all the fish that had come in contact with it would be destroyed. Now we are more likely to assess the risk before deciding how to handle the situation. Does the virus pose a human health risk? Will this virus actually cause fish to become sick? Will it make fish sick only if they are already weakened by other causes? Is it likely to spread?
Many farm-raised fish in Wisconsin are raised for food. Just as large-animal veterinarians do, aquaculture veterinarians protect against drug residues and microorganisms that could make people sick if they ate the contaminated fish.