Zebrafish Health and Welfare Glossary - How To Use The Welfare Terms

The zebrafish welfare terms are provided in the form of tables. When a welfare assessment is recorded it must be in the form of a description not a diagnosis. For example a zebrafish with raised scales would be described that way, and not as ‘dropsy’.    

1. Page: Welfare terms are subdivided into individual pages, providing general categorization of possible welfare issues associated with behavior, appearance, or gross anatomical locations.

2. Parameter: The first column is an optional parameter to provides more detailed anatomical location.

3. Welfare Indicator: The second column defines welfare indicators, for example discoloration.

4. Welfare Indicator - Sub Category: The third column is another optional column for indicator sub categories. When appropriate this can be used to provide further information for the assessment. For example, for discoloration one can specify pale, blackened, or reddened.

5. Synonyms: The fourth column provides synonyms to allow further clarity of alternative terms which other facilities may have used prior to using the welfare terms format. For example one facility may use the terms ‘lesions all over’ whilst another may use ‘wound’.

6. Definitions: The fifth column provides definitions for further clarity to aid consistent application.

7. Severity score: The sixth column provides the severity score to assist with defining severity limits, writing project licences, assisting care staff to define when a severity limit is reached and assisting with Home Office returns (ASPA). If 3 or more of the highlighted (*) mild conditions are observed at the same time point then the  banding is defined as moderate.

8. Pictures: The seventh column provide pictures matching the definitions, again to assist with further clarity. This may also provide a useful training tool for new animal care staff, learning signs of disease and welfare concerns.


Example: How to record welfare terms:

Zebrafish showing skin ulcers should be recorded as: Appearance_General_Skin ulcers.

Zebrafish showing rapid operculum movement should be recorded as: Head_Operculum_Rapid operculum movement.

Zebrafish showing masses under skin should be recorded as: Trunk_Skin_Masses under skin.


Welfare Terms (Wiki Section)


ParameterWelfare IndicatorsIndicator-Sub CategorySynonymsDefinitionsPicture Number