Fish Pathology

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​AHL undertakes testing of aquatic animals from both freshwater and seawater. Please notify the laboratory prior to sending whole animals for necropsy.

Field Sampling - Finfish

  • Fix tissues in 10% buffered formalin, at a minimum ratio of 1:10 tissue to fixative; 
  • Detailed guidance on field sampling can be found in

Guidelines and Procedures Manual for Field Sampling of Fish for Disease Investigation and Health Monitoring (PDF 489Kb)

Laboratory Examination


  • select moribund animals; 
  • immediately pack on crushed ice and send without delay; (fish should arrive the same day as they are sent; the interval between collection and arrival should not exceed 24 hours);
  • small fish, 1-10 g in size, can be submitted live in plastic bags containing water and sealed under oxygen. Fish submitted this way should be kept cool and arrive the same day as collection;
  • provide a clear history including​ site or lease number, water quality, vaccination status, signs of disease​ and stressors.​

Molluscs or crustaceans

  • submit in an insulated box;
  • ​multiple ice-bricks should be placed around the samples and dispatch immediately;
  • animals should arrive at AHL within 24 hours.
  • provide a clear history including lease number, growing conditions (e.g. sub-tidal or intertidal), salinity, temperature etc.

Larval materials/spat

  • ​fixed in 10% buffered seawater formalin or submit in seawater – clearly mark the container with the liquid content
  • NB – refer to Fish Microbiology sections for further information.


Animal Health Laboratory - Specimen Reception

(Postal) PO Box 46,
(Delivery) 165 Westbury Road,