The Zebrafish International Resource Center (ZIRC) provides diagnostic pathology services and consultation on health and husbandry issues related to laboratory zebrafish. The diagnostic services can be utilized to analyze specific or suspected disease problems. Services include histopathology, bacteriology and necropsy exam. Specific recommendations for control or treatment of a disease problem are made based upon a review of test results and clinical history. The Resource Center can also provide histopathology for routine sentinel or quality control testing of laboratory zebrafish colonies. A program for disease surveillance is required by most Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs).
A major research goal of the Resource Center is to identify and characterize the diseases and health problems present in laboratory colonies of zebrafish. We encourage researchers to send us samples of diseased zebrafish. Our analysis of samples from many laboratories will provide a broad survey of most diseases affecting laboratory colonies. When a particular disease is identified, the source and course of the disease will be investigated including in vivo transmission studies.
Methods of disease control are established initially by adapting known treatments for similar diseases in other fish or animal species. The treatments are adapted using efficacy and toxicity trials.
The diseases of importance to laboratory zebrafish culture are being described and illustrated. For each disease, the following is included: general overview of the disease, gross pathology and clinical signs, microscopic changes (e.g. histopathology), and control and treatment.