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J Fish Dis. 2011 Jul;34(7):531-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2761.2011.01265.x. Epub 2011 May 30.

The effect of water temperature on vertebral deformities and vaccine-induced abdominal lesions in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L.

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Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Matre Research Station, Norway.


This study investigates the effects of water temperature (T) on vaccine-induced abdominal lesions (i.p. injection with oil-adjuvant vaccine) and vertebral deformities in Atlantic salmon. Quadruple groups of vaccinated (V) or unvaccinated (U) underyearling smolts were reared in tanks under four different temperature regimes for 6 weeks in fresh water (FW) followed by 6 weeks in sea water (SW). The four different T regimes were 10 °C FW-10 °C SW (10-10), 10 °C FW-16 °C SW (10-16), 16 °C FW-10 °C SW (16-10) and 16 °C FW-16 °C SW (16-16). After the temperature regimes were finished, the fish were group-tagged and transferred to a common sea cage for on-growth until harvest size. At termination, weight was significantly affected by both T and V, while lesion score and deformities were affected by T only. The weight difference between the largest and smallest U group was 20.3% (16-10 U: 2.4 kg, 10-16 U: 1.89 kg), while the largest difference between U and V fish within a T regime was 28.7% (16-16 U: 2.1 kg, 16-16 V: 1.5 kg). Fish from the 16-16, 16-10 and 10-16 regimes had a significant higher lesion score than those from the 10-10 regime. Fish from the 10-16 and 16-16 regimes displayed a significantly higher prevalence of vertebral deformities (palpation : 13-27%, radiology: 88-94%) than fish from the 10-10 and 16-10 regimes (palpation: 2-3%, radiology: 27-65%). Vertebra number 26 (located beneath the dorsal fin) was the most frequently affected vertebra in smolts, while vertebra number 43 (located above the anal fin) was most frequently affected in adults.

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