Health monitoring is a crucial aspect of the management of any research animal house.
Repeatability of every experiment, as immunity, genetics or behavior is directly related to the
health of animals studied. RESAMA (Réseau d’Études Sanitaires des Animaux Modèles
Aquatiques) is a network strong of 60 academic and private partners acting in France since the
end of 2012. The network aims to increase awareness of animal caretakers and researchers on
health management issues in facilities holding aquatic model species (zebrafish, African clawed
frog, medaka, Mexican tetra …). In order to do so, each partner research-facility is visited at least
once. The visiting team is composed of one veterinarian and one zootechnician specialized in
aquatic species. The visit provides a health monitoring assessment of the facility which includes
fish sampling for parasitology, histopathology, bacteriology, molecular biology and water analysis.
Husbandry practices are also reviewed through an interview of the caretakers about the
management of the facility. The network also provides advices or suggests improvements to fish
facility management in respect with animal welfare and 3R rules. The ultimate goal of the project
is to provide a network-wide picture of health issues in aquatic facilities. In parallel, the rearing
practice assessment will ultimately allow us to establish rational relationship between handling
practices and animal health in aquatic facilities. Organization of the network will evolve during
2019 to expand the field of study and services (Customized training, international facilities visits).
The study is drawn from an analysis of 43 visited facilities, mostly French but also including 5
international facilities. 17 different aquatics species were studied: 13 fish and 3 amphibian
species. We sampled 1781 fish from 31 facilities and 127 amphibians from 14 facilities, resulting
in 2310 individual tests on fish and 577 on amphibians.
Focusing on Astyanax mexicanus, we have visited 2 French facilities. We sampled 54 individuals
and done 80 analyses including 26 Surface fish (41 analyses), 16 Cavefish (17 analyses, and 4
ongoing) and 7 hybrids (13 analyses). 5 fish were old samples with no information about their
genotype (5 analyses). Among these 54 fish, 20 fish were targeted and 34 randomly sampled.
Very few data exist on Astyanax mexicanus pathologies, as much in captivity as in the wild. Gill
monogen worms are known to be present in the wild as well as in research facilities but their true
impact needs to be evaluated. We now aim to extend the study by comparing parasites and
pathogens found in the wild with those encountered in research facilities. To do so, we are also
recruiting more facilities housing Astyanax to expand the study.
Work supported by UMS AMAGEN, DECA group, Vetofish and the program “Investissement
d’avenir” “TEFOR” bearing the reference ANR-II-INSB-0014 (2012-2019).
RESAMA: A Network for Monitoring Health and Husbandry Practices in Aquatic Research
Facilities. Legendre L, Guillet B, Leguay E, Meunier E, Labrut S, Keck N, Bardotti M, Michelet L,
Sohm F. Zebrafish. 2016 Jul;13 Suppl 1:S56-65. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2015.1199. Epub 2016 May 18.