Cameron, A. S., Rub, A. M. W., Sandford, B. P. 2023. Evaluation of healing progression at surgical incision sites and the use of antiseptics for enhancing post-operative survival in subyearling Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). PLOS ONE 18(7), e0288056.

In an attempt to develop more effective surgical implantation methods for fish, surgical incisions typical of those made for implanting micro-acoustic transmitters into the peritoneal cavity were evaluated on a weekly basis for healing progression using a suite of metrics. Additionally, four chemicals were evaluated at concentrations commonly used in aquaculture for their ability to prevent surgical site infection and thus to promote incision healing and survival. Chemical treatments included hydrogen peroxide (25, 50, and 100 mg l-1), salt (10 and 30 ppt), Argentyne (1:1, Argentyne:water), and PolyAqua (1/2 tsp 36 l-1). For all study fish, the presence of two intact sutures seven days post-surgery (generally associated with good suturing technique) was negatively correlated with survival. A generalized linear mixed effects model indicated that suture presence, increasing tagging temperature, and the presence of foreign material on sutures decreased survival by 0.56, 0.72 and 0.60 respectively. Conversely, evidence of suture tearing and increasing fork length at tagging increased survival by 0.24 and 0.17. The antiseptic treatments tested promoted neither faster healing of surgical incisions nor higher survival for fish held for 28 days compared to a reference group and two of the chemicals may be contraindicated for prophylactic use at published doses. These findings underscore the need for researchers to adopt a decidedly cautious approach to planning and interpretation of study outcomes that rely on telemetry tagging, carefully considering the study subjects, potential effects of the techniques used, and implications of the environmental conditions experienced.

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