Gill swabs

Gill swabs contributes to an easier and better surveillance of infection status. Swabbing of gills is a gentle sampling method that also can be performed on live fish. Gill swabs for AGD screening can be used on both healthy and moribund/dead fish, but the sensitivity is higher on healthy fish. The sampling can therefore easily be performed on random fish in connection to a routine sea lice count.

AGD is an important gill disease in farmed Atlantic salmon and is caused by the amoeba Paramoeba perurans. AGD is highly infectious under the right environmental conditions and can cause major losses. Early detection and measurements are therefore effective to limit the spread and development of the disease. PatoGen has developed and validated an own protocol for the use of swabs on gill tissue for analysis of P. perurans. The experience with gill swabs is good, and sampling with swabs gives higher sensitivity with analysis for P. perurans than gill tissue. This gives a higher probability to detect the gill amoeba at an early stage and the possibility of implementing measures.

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Gill swabs can also be used for sampling when analysing for Candidatus Branchiomonas cysticola and Paranucleospora theridion. Analysis for these gill pathogens, in addition to AGD, can contribute with useful information on the gill health of the fish. PatoGen recommends using gill swabs for early detection of AGD to keep control of the infection status on the sites so that a treatment can be implemented fast enough. The infection picture on gills is complex, and control of the infection status on gills is important to be able to implement the right measure and prevent loss. A lot of breeders have challenges with loss during handling caused by gill diseases. 

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Contact PatoGen for more information on the use of gill swabs for your company’s AGD strategy.