Fish medicine has been a relatively small discipline of veterinary attention in the past because of many factors, the most important of which is the perceived value of pet and ornamental fish. As more people invest in expensive species, such as koi and various reef species, the demand to provide a higher level of care for these animals is increasing. This trend is also evident in the commercial food and bait fish industry, where aquaculture producers are expecting improved standards of care for populations of fish that are worth millions of dollars. With increasing numbers of pet and production fish operations, veterinarians will be expected to have the abilities and knowledge to diagnose and treat aquatic species and provide a standard of care commensurate with other commonly treated animal species. As their caseloads of aquatic species increase, veterinarians will come into contact with zoonotic diseases specific to aquatic species that have been of little concern when dealing with terrestrial animals. Certain pathogens pose a specific potential threat to veterinarians, pet owners, and producers working with finfish species. Although there is an extensive list of pathogens that are communicable to humans from aquatic species via consumption, pathogens can also be encountered during examination, handling, and treatment of aquatic species. It is important for veterinarians to be aware of the clinical signs that are associated with these specific zoonoses and ways to minimize risk of exposure to the causative organisms.
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