VET313 Aquatic Animal Medicine and Fish Health

Credits (ECTS):7.5

Course responsible:Øystein Evensen

Teaching language:Norsk

Course frequency:Yearly

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Spring semester. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring semester

About this course

  • Aquatic Medicine
  • Production principles / production cycle of salmon / trout
  • Smoltification in anadromous fish species
  • Fish diseases in farmed fish, freshwater and seawater
  • Welfare 
  • Fish Pathology
  • Preventive and therapeutic principles
  • Water quality
  • Reproduction and breeding in farmed fish, with emphasis on Atlantic salmon

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student should:
  • Have knowledge of the farming industry's structure, the production cycle, and principles of smoltification
  • Have basic knowledge of the life cycle of Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and other relevant species in Norwegian aquaculture.
  • Have knowledge of and be able differentiate between main infectious and production-related diseases in the different phases of the production cycle, with emphasis on issues related to the introduction and spread of pathogens, important host factors and environmental conditions.
  • Understand the basic requirements for good water quality under farming operations, particularly in the freshwater phase
  • Be able to diagnose the main diseases in farmed and wild fish based on histological preparations, provide a general description of pathological changes and indicate possible differential diagnoses.
  • Be able to conduct autopsies of fish and know the principles of organ sample collection for submission to a diagnostic laboratory.
  • Conduct examination (macroscopic) of fish for presence of parasites.
  • Understand principle of prevention and treatment of major diseases.
  • Know the main welfare indicators and how to assessment under a production setting
  • Know and describe the main principles of genetic selection in salmon farming
  • Know the outline of the legislative framework concerning infectious diseases and welfare of fish in Norwegian aquaculture. 
  • The teaching emphasizes current fish species farmed in Norwegian aquaculture. The teaching covers production conditions including smoltification, salmon breeding selection principles, water quality requirements, the main infectious and production related diseases during the freshwater and seawater phase, disease prevention and control, welfare assessment in a production setting, sampling and diagnostic examination principles, histopathological features of the various diseases of farmed fish.

    The teaching is spread throughout the 8th semester. Initial teaching is given in the group rotation. The teaching is based on video lectures presenting the production chain of salmon, the different stages of the production cycle and the main features of different production and infectious diseases in the different phases. Smoltification principles, including assessment of smoltification status (external signs) as well as various laboratory methods for assessing smoltification status. The video tutorial is followed by a review with the students, based on Kahoot.

    A field course is arranged in the 8th semester with visits to fish farms, hatcheries, seawater on-growth and salmon breeding station together with teachers from NMBU-Vet and local fish health veterinarians. This is combined with practical training (autopsy, lectures and discussion of relevant topics.

  • Recommended literature and detailed description of the course are found at the block's home area on Canvas
  • VET301+VET302+VET303+VEt304+VET305+VET306+VET307+VET308+VET309
  • 4 hours written exam (AKVFIS06)

    Examination support material: None

    Grading scale: A-F

  • Group teaching of students presenting salmon production/farming principles and smoltification (anadromous fish). Teaching is available on videos and as powerpoint presentations. There is a compulsory review of videos and topics discussed. These are reviewed by the use of Kahoot as part of rotational teaching with all students present. There is a compulsory attendance at the review.

    Student and course manager can agree how absences from the field course can be taken later in the semester, possibly next year.

    The field course at Frøya / Kristiansund is compulsory and if absent the student must participate next year, or attend a similar arrangement agreed between the student and the course coordinator.

    The student will normally be allowed to take the exam even if not all compulsory education is approved, but no credits will be awarded until the study requirements are approved.

  • Requirements - personal equipment/gowning.

    Warm clothes on the field course and water-repellant footwear.


    Field course:

    The aquaculture service and / or the various aquaculture companies' regulations and procedures for employees/visitors must be adhered to. It is mandatory to wear a life jacket when students are onboard a boat /vessel or out at sea/on sea cages. In addition to this, the students are required to adhere to the instructions given by the course leader, skipper on boat, or operating manager on site. There are separate safety procedures on board the boats and restrictions on passenger numbers. At all plants and most boats used there are first aid equipment that can be used in case injuries. There is very little or absence of zoonotic potential in the autopsy material the students get / have access to. When visiting a slaughterhouse, everyone is provided with protective gear and shoes to ensure product quality and student safety.

  • VET


  • Admitted to the Veterinary Medicine Program and completed minimum 166,5 ECTS after third year at the program