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Re: Maybe Not Glugea or Pleco
I feel that I must comment on Barry's notes regarding histopathological
examination of tissues and the possibility of informed amateurs being able
to do such examination and diagnosis.
As a human pathologist I could not agree more with what Barry says. One
thing that Barry forgot to mention is the preservation of the sample for
histopathological examination - if the sample isnt preserved properly, you
will face the problem of unrelated post-collection changes. And if you think
that an informed amateur should be readily capable of doing it - ask any
pathologist as to how many samples collected by professionals in the field
are useless because of the lack of proper preparation.
And samples for histopathology are best collected from living tissue (or as
soon as possible post-mortem). How many hobbyists are willing to sacrifice
Barry also refers to specialised knowledge about examining specimens. I
again agree completely. Even in my own area of expertise, sometimes a sample
has me scratching my head and asking for a second opinion. On some other
areas of human pathology, I can of course say it is such and such but I
would be floundering with a total differential diagnosis.
With fish, if there is obvious pathology I can say that there is obvious
pathology but that is as far as I can go (after 24 years of experience in
pathology). To take one example, a few months ago I was shown some slides of
fish kidney tissue - I was told that it was kidney tissue and I opened my
mouth and concluded that the fish must have been terribly sick (based on
human experience). It was normal tissue.
An amatuer pathologist friend of mine (he is a science teacher) did a ZN
stain on some fish tissue and on microscopic examination found the presence
of acid fast rods. Therefore his fish were suffering from Mycobacterium
tuberculosis? What are people's thoughts on this as a final differential
I think that the best thing to do with fish is to help keep their immune
system as intact as possible (you know, all the best fish-keeping practices)
and learn how to recognise easily treatable disases. If a fish or tank of
fish come down with a "nasty" disease which does not respond readily to
readily available medication, it is easiest to destroy the fish and properly
sterilise the tank and environment.
One final comment - there are wonderful photos in text books of every
conceivable disease. Unfortunately diseases have not studied these textbooks
and their appearance in real life can take on a vast variety of different
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