Flavobacterium columnare: an important contributing factor to fish die-offs in southern lakes of Saskatchewan, Canada.
During June and July 2012, Buffalo Pound Lake and Blackstrap Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada were visited biweekly and surveyed for sick and dying fish. During this investigation, 2 fish kills were identified. Buffalo Pound experienced a large die-off of yellow perch (Perca flavascens) in June, while Blackstrap experienced a die-off of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in July. In excess of 50 fish were examined for gross lesions at each lake, and dead and moribund fish consistently had 1 or more of the following lesions: multifocal petechial cutaneous hemorrhage, skin ulceration, or branchial necrosis. Of these, 17 fish were collected for necropsy, and major tissues were submitted for histology. Aerobic bacterial culture was performed on 16 out of 17 fish. In 7 out of 8 (88%) yellow perch, the body wall had multiple areas of pale discoloration that corresponded to erosion and ulceration of the skin. Seven out of 8 (88%) whitefish had severe necrotizing branchiitis, and 8 out of 8 (100%) had severe epicardial parasitism, consistent with Ichthyocotylurus erraticus. Wet mounts of skin and gill lesions demonstrated filamentous bacteria with gliding motility, which often formed haystack-like arrangements. Flavobacterium columnare and Aeromonas hydrophila were cultured from skin and gill lesions of all fish. Based on the characteristic appearance and distribution of lesions, mortality was attributed to columnaris disease with secondary infection with A. hydrophila. The current study demonstrates that columnaris disease is an important contributor to fish kills in southern Saskatchewan lakes. However, further research is needed to determine what role environmental factors play in outbreaks of columnaris disease in prairie lakes.更多