Course code VET331

VET331 Differentiation in Aquatic Animal Medicine

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2019 - 2020 .

Course responsible: Øystein Evensen
ECTS credits: 27.5
Faculty: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
Look at the semester plan
Course frequency: Yearly
First time: Study year 2018-2019
Preferential right:
Course contents:

Content in Salmon Production/pharmacology/fish welfare. The teaching deals with smoltification, biology of salmon and clean fish, welfare of salmon and cleaner fish, salmon lice / algae / therapy and practical review of analgesia / anesthesia. The teaching deals with the principles of fish biology, general principles in the welfare of fish including legislation and animal welfare considerations using fish as experimental animals and principles in fish farms and legislation on food residues in food and feed.

Content in Diagnostics and Diagnostic Methods. The teaching deals with the use of various diagnostic methods for detection of infectious diseases in farmed fish. This includes a review of methods used with practical demonstrations (real time PCR, serological methods, virus cultivation) - histology in fish health practices (including the use of histology in risk assessment by mechanical handling of fish) - practical implementation of withdrawal and interpretation of results (practitioner veterinarian).

Content in Water Quality and Fish Health The teaching includes a review of criteria for determining adequate water quality in fish in hatcheries, methods for assessing both flow-through and recirculation plants, and health challenges related to deviating water parameters.

Content of Disease/biosecurity/vaccinology The teaching deals with disease control in the extended sense -  prevention through vaccination, biosecurity principles, screening for infections, review of analysis tools to understand cost related to illness, interaction veterinarian / Food Safety Authority. 

Content Clinical nutrition of farmed fish Nutrition of carnivorous fish species, Introduction and overview of the importance of nutrition as a basis for good health, and the effects of malnutrition

Content External work veterinarian/breeding farm Practice: Appointment with a practicing veterinarian / fish health biologist with involvement in daily tasks / health control, and this may also include visits to facilities along with the operations manager or veterinarian. Review of daily routines on site (feeding, smoking, care, clarification of cases, etc.). Practice can also take place at one of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority's regional offices, at diagnostic laboratory laboratories (private or public), at pharmaceutical companies, or at various laboratories that work on the testing of vaccines / therapeutics for fish.

Content Scientific and methodological specialization related to the thesis

Self-study and preparation work to accomplish a thesis within 13.5 weeks.

Scientific and methodological specialization related to the thesis through participation in conferences, meetings and self-study in a relevant subject.

Optional laboratory animal science

To create interest and knowledge about the various tasks a laboratory veterinary has. We will look at the career opportunities a vet have within laboratory animals and teach the students to start thinking critical and ethical like a real scientist. To increse the student's skills in practical handling and simple methods (like blood tests and injection methods) and surgical methods (like OVHV and tooth pull) of rabbit, rat and mice. Aswell as get to know these species as laboratory animals, we would like to have a closer look at them as pets. 

Learning outcome:

Aim Differentiation in Aquatic Medicine 

The teaching in the differentiation year in aquatic medicine will provide students with in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge about infectious diseases in farmed salmon, the diagnosis of these, principles about prevention by vaccination and the underlying immunological mechanisms, importance of nutrition for good fish health, criteria for good water quality and how this is documented / analysed both in flow-through and recycling plants and the connection between water quality and fish health.

Purpose and learning outcomes Production of salmonids

Give the student a good introduction to the production principles for salmonids, medicine in aquaculture, and introduction to fish welfare in modern fish farming (with emphasis on salmonids). Upon completion of the course the students should know: The basic principles for absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of medicinal products in fish. Be familiar with indications of use and behavior for the most common groups of medicines intended for fish. The basic concepts for a toxicological risk assessment and know and understand how ADI, MRLs and retention times are calculated. National and international legislation on food residues in food and feed, and know about surveillance programs for drug use and drug residues in fish. · Have good knowledge of the welfare criteria for salmonids. · Have knowledge of concepts used in the field of welfare and how they are defined. · Know critical points during the production of salmonids that affect the welfare of the fish. · Legislation and animal welfare considerations using fish as experimental animals.

Purpose and learning outcomes Diagnostics and diagnostic methods

Provide an overview of the most important infectious diseases in fish with special emphasis on coldwater fish and diagnostic principles used to detect disease, After completion of the course the students will be taught: Have good knowledge of pathogenic agents for the most important infectious diseases affecting coldwater fish. Have good knowledge of virulence mechanisms including bacterial antibiotic resistance where this is included in the subject. Be able to explain the basic principles of national legislation on fish diseases. Could perform routine sampling for diagnostic examination after autopsy, could suggest preservation method for samples for various diagnostic procedures and know the limitations regarding the possibility of identification of agents causing disease. Be able to understand the principles of molecular characterization of a pathogenic agent.

Purpose and learning outcomes: Water quality and Fish Health 

Give an overview of definitions and documentation of water quality in hatcheries with emphasis on physicochemical parameters that define good water quality, and deviations from such that impact on fish health. After completion of the course the students will know the criteria for good water quality, know the importance of water quality for fish health and welfare, especially negative consequences of poor water quality, and know how to measure / determine water quality from laboratory analyses.

Aim and Learning outcome Clinical nutrition 

Provide an overview of the importance of nutrition for good fish health (with emphasis on salmonids).

After completing the course the students will:

  • Have good knowledge of the nutritional requirements of salmonid fish.
  • Have knowledge of nutrient sources used in feed for salmonids.
  • The relationship between vegetable and marine feed ingredients in fish feed.
  • The importance of anti-nutrients in vegetable feed ingredients.
  • The vegetable feed ingredients and intestinal health.

Aims and learning outcome Disease control / biosafety / vaccine in aquaculture

Provide an introduction to disease control, biosecurity principles and vaccination methods and vaccination principles in disease control in aquaculture (with emphasis on salmonids).

The students will after completing the course:

  • Have good knowledge of the principles of disease control in aquaculture, including an overview of the use of vaccines as a tool to prevent disease in farmed fish.
  • Know the basic principles of immunological reactions associated with vaccination.
  • Know the principles that underlie good biosecurity
  • Have knowledge about the systematisation and presentation of data describing disease in farmed populations.
  • Have knowledge of remedies used in disease control.
  • Have knowledge of methods for cost-benefit assessments of resources used in disease control.

Aim and learning outcomes occupation in fish farms / diagnostic companies / pharmaceutical companies

Provide an insight into the clinical fish health/aquatic medicine and understand the basic principles applied  and requirements for a practicing veterinarian in an aquaculture operation. After completing the practice period the students will have knowledge of typical, clinical problems in fish farms, understand how to analyse and diagnose disease problems under practical conditions. With the work experience from service providers of pharmaceutical companies the students will be familiar with the services provided, the use of diagnostic services by fish farmers or practicing veterinarians and how the diagnostics contribute to disease control and risk management in aquaculture operations. 

Aim and Learning outcome Fish welfare 

Provide an introduction to fish welfare in modern fish breeding (with emphasis on samonids).

After completing the course the students will:

  • Have good knowledge of the criteria for the welfare of salmonoids.
  • Have knowledge of the concepts used in the field of welfare and understand how it is defined.
  • Know comparative aspects of welfare in modern animal husbandry.
  • Harvest the practical experience of critical points during the production of salmonids that are important for fish welfare.

Aim and Learning outcome Scientific and methodological specialization related to the thesis

Give more time associated with tasks that require extra preparation.

After the practice period the students will have detailed knowledge of the academic subject as the thesis deals with.

Aim and learning outcome Ambulatory clinic 

Enhanced hands-on clinical work at individual levels out in the farms/fields with focus on cattle and pigs, as well as some sheep and horse- practice

After the course the student shall have extended knowledge- and skill level with regards to dealing with practical work in clinics on production animals and horses, as well as to assess this against the need to take action at the herd level and to implement such measures.

Learning activities:

Program Production of salmonids, pharmacology and fish welfare. The program consists of lectures, practical exercises, group discussions, presentations, visits to Solbergstrand and the aquarium in Drøbak and a 1-week field course focusing on fish welfare.

Program Diagnostics and diagnostic methods. The teaching will be a combination of lectures and practical laboratory work, presentations by representatives from diagnostic companies.

Program Water quality and Fish health. The teaching program consists of lectures, group discussions and a laboratory course with practical exercises in measuring different water parameters.

Program Disease control/biosecurity/vaccinology in aquaculture The teaching will be a combination of lectures, task solving, group discussions, cases and presentations from veterinarians who work in various fish health services, as well as from suppliers and from management.

Program Clinical nutrition of farmed fish 

Teaching will be a combination of lectures and exercises.

Program External work veterinarian/breeding farm 

Students deliver a brief report at the end of the practice period.

Program Disease control in Aquaculture 

Teaching will be a combination of lectures, assignments, and presentations by participants from industry, suppliers and management.

Program dish welfare

Teaching will be a combination of lectures, exercises and a field course (practical course)



Elective arrangement: 1 week

There is a total of 1 week, 1.5 ECTS in which the student can choose from the following arrangements in the differentiation in medicine in aquaculture:

Program Scientific and methodological specialization related to the thesis

The period may include participation in meetings, work experience in administrative or production environments, or in research environments within the industry.

Program Ambulatory clinic 

The teaching will take place in small groups with a lot of self-study under supervision.

Time: Spring semester, or summer or December. Exact time period are agreed upon individually after agreement with Hans Petter Kjæstad, depending on the capacity of the section and adapted to the individual student¿s participation in mandatory education

Program Optional laboratory animcal science 

From 2016, this couse will be an "inverse classroom". It means that the students will get access to lectures in form of instruction videos and they have to reviewing the syllabus in the form of own work. The gatherings (flipped sessions) with lecturer will be used for review of group assignment, discussion and practical work with the animals/cadavers

Part 1: Laboratory animal science

We will delve into the subject and looking specifically at what tasks a vet can have within laboratory animals. 

Part 2: Clinical examination techniques on living animals.

We will work specifically with clinical examination and simple techniques (like blood samples and infection methods) on rabbit, rat and mice.

Part 3: Surgery methods

We will work specifically with surgical methods (like OVHV and tooth pull) on cadavers of rabbit, rat and mice.

This is defined by the supervisor and will consist of text books, scientific review articles and original articles, technical reports and other relevant literature.
Completed 1-9. semester of the veterinary medicine program
Recommended prerequisites:
Based on the examination in medicine in aquaculture from 8th semester
Mandatory activity:

Compulsory education and study requirements Production of salmonids, pharmacology and fish welfare. Laboratory exercises are mandatory. Oral test in pharmacology. Field course is mandatory.

Compulsory education and study requirements Diagnostics and diagnostic methods The laboratory part of the course is mandatory. Multiple choice test and approval of laboratory reports.

Compulsory teaching and study requirements Water quality and fish health The course is compulsory for students with aquaculture as specialization. 

Compulsory education and study requirements Disease control/biosecurity/vaccinology in aquaculture The first 2 weeks of course are compulsory for students with aquaculture as specialization. Multiple choice test for the immunology/vaccinology part. 

Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Clinical nutrition of farmed fish 

Written test

Mandatory teaching and program requirements: External work veterinarian/breeding farm 

Mandatory attendance during the entire practice period id required.

Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Disease control in Aquaculture 

The course is mandatory for students with aquaculture as a specialization.

Written submission of the thesis is required.

Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Fish welfare

The field course is mandatory.

Written test/submission of assigment

Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Scientific and methodological specialization related to the thesis

Mandatory attendance. The student submits a brief report.

Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Ambulatory clinic 

Everything is mandatory, including shift participation. Approval of submitted records.

Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Optional animal laboratory science

- Attendance: All gatherings (flipped sessions 1, 2 and 3) is mandatory.

- Participation in the review of the group tasks. 


Assessment of academic specialization topics:

To pass the academic specialization, assignments, reports and tests need to be approved in line with what has been described for each subject. Students may have to wait until next year if no assignments, reports and tests are approved after 3 attempts. In addition, the student must attend mandatory activity. If the student has a valid absence of this, it may be accepted with later work experience in the same academic year. If invalid absence, the student must wait until the next time it is held. Subject manager keeps lists of students with approved topics in the academic study and file them. Subject manager acknowledges the subject as approved on the censorship form to the student.

Review of optional part

Presence and mandatory activities have to be completed in order to get approved. It is the students responsibility to ensure that the optional part will be completed, and it will not be given extra lectures unless the students can document valid absence.

Course supervisor gives diploma/certificate and/or acknowledge the evaluation form where the chosen part will be listed. Only 100% completed optional tasks is approved. 

Evaluation Thesis

To pass the differentiation direction of medicine in aquaculture, the following 2 parts must be passed:

  • Thesis (20 ECTS): Passed

Norwegian and English names should be applied to the diploma

  • Specialization in medicine in aquaculture: Passed

(Consists of 26.0 ECTS mandatory part and 1.5 ECTS elective part).

Censorship form and 2 copies of the thesis must be delivered SFA no later than two week before the end of the term for the diploma to be issued to exam completing.

Entrance requirements:
Admitted to the Veterinary Medicine Program and completed 1-9. semester of the veterinary medicine program

External work experience in companion animals/horses/aqua as an elective part (1 week)

Up to one week of the elective courses can be taken externally.

This requires 100 % attendance.

It is essential that this is a full day on a small animal- or horse practice.

The clinic must meet the same requirements for approval that are set in the small animal- and horse direction.

The student must participate in on-call arrangements.

Optional laboratory animal science: HMS

Quarantine rules: No contact with rodents or rabbits on 48 hours. No contact with animal abroad on 72 hours. 

Notify if you have allergy against animals, dust or grass

Optional laboratory animal science: Following students can apply the course:

Open for everybodt: Maximum 12 participants.

Requirements for own equipment

No special requirements

Examination details: Differenseringskurs: Passed / Failed