Aquatic Animal & Avian Pathology

EPL has expertise in the post-mortem diagnostic evaluation of a variety of aquatic animal and avian species, including laboratory animals used for toxicologic testing, and wild animals collected to evaluate the effects of xenobiotics on organisms in natural waterways. Typical aquatic animals used in laboratory experiments include small aquarium fishes such as the Japanese medaka, guppy, zebrafish, and fathead minnow, larger fish such as rainbow trout, and amphibians such as the leopard frog and the African clawed frog.  Wild aquatic animals evaluated in survey studies have included numerous additional species of freshwater, euryhaline, and marine fish (to date, EPL has participated in studies involving over thirty different fish species).  EPL has also developed proficiency in the preparation and examination of tissues from Coturnix (Japanese) quail.

Examples of xenobiotics featured in EPL studies include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), by-products of chlorination of water supplies, therapeutic antimicrobials, and a variety of chemicals that may interfere with endocrine balance and thus impair reproductive or metabolic processes. EPL has taken part in numerous studies in support of endocrine disruption Tier 1 and Tier 2 type assays, and has helped to develop guidance documents that provide standardized diagnostic criteria and terminology that is specifically applicable to these types of experiments.

Some advantages of having EPL evaluate your Aquatic Animal or Avian study include:

  • Histopathology supervised and performed by an ACVP board-certified pathologist with special expertise in the examination of tissues from aquatic animal species, toxicologic studies, and in experiments that involve carcinogenic, acutely toxic, or endocrine-active chemicals.
  • EPL offers pre-study consultation, including protocol design and assessment.
  • Integration of pathology expertise with a full-service on-site histology laboratory (see “Histology of Aquatic Animals”).
  • Potential interaction with more specialized analytic services such as immunohistochemistry, digital image analysis, and electron microscopy (TEM/SEM).
  • Ability to perform studies in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice guidelines as prescribed by the US FDA, US EPA, OECD, or other regulatory organizations.


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