SCIENCE EDUCATION > Basic Biology

Lab Animal Research

This collection is a comprehensive video guide for appropriate lab animal care and use. Since a majority of biomedical research is focused on studies involving rodents, it is critical that every scientist learns the essential procedures demonstrated in these videos.

  • Lab Animal Research

    13:39
    Rodent Handling and Restraint Techniques

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN 

    It has been demonstrated that even minimal handling of mice and rats is stressful to the animals. Handling for cage changing and other noninvasive procedures causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and other physiological parameters, such as serum corticosterone levels. Fluctuations can continue for up to several hours. The methods of restraint required for injections and blood withdrawals also cause physiological changes that can potentially affect scientific data. Training in the proper handling of mice and rats is required to minimize the effects to the animals.1 Mice and rats can be restrained manually with restraint devices, or with chemical agents. Manual methods and the use of restraint devices are covered in this manuscript. All restraint methods include the process of lifting the animals from their home cage.

  • Lab Animal Research

    14:43
    Basic Care Procedures

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    Mice and rats account for over 90% of the animals used for biomedical research. The proper care of these research animals is critical to the outcome of experiments. There are general procedures that apply to the majority of these mice and rats, but some of the animals, such as the immunocompromised ones, require additional steps to be taken to sustain them for experimentation. Commonly used immunocompromised mice include those that have naturally occurred in inbred mice and those that have been created through genetic engineering. The first immunocompromised mice used in research were "nude" mice. The BALB/c Nude (nu) mouse was discovered in 1966, within a BALB/c colony that was producing mice lacking both hair and a thymus. These athymic mice have an inhibited immune system that is devoid of T cells. The value of this animal was soon discovered for the use in studies of microbial infections, immune deficiencies, and autoimmunity. Although not as commonly used as the nude mouse, there is also a nude rat. The nude rat is T cell deficient and shows depleted cell populations in thymus-dependent areas of peripheral lymphoid organs. Another naturally occurring immune deficient mouse is the severe combined immunodeficiency mouse (SCID). T

  • Lab Animal Research

    13:53
    Fundamentals of Breeding and Weaning

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    Millions of mice and rats are bred for use in biomedical research each year. Worldwide, there are several large commercial breeding facilities that supply mice to research laboratories, but many facilities choose to also breed mice and rats in-house to reduce costs and increase research options. When breeding in the animal facility, researchers are able to manipulate the genetics of the animals, time the pregnancies to meet the needs of the research, and work with embryos and neonates as required. Mice and rats can be bred in a variety of schemes and methods. Technical procedures, such as the use of vaginal cytology, visualization of the vaginal area, and observation of copulatory plugs, have been developed to assist with the synchronization of breeding to correspond to research requirements. This manuscript is an overview of the basic fundamentals of mouse and rat breeding and technical procedures used. More detailed descriptions of the complex breeding schemes, and the full description of the methods for vaginal cytology, are available in the list of references.

  • Lab Animal Research

    13:03
    Rodent Identification I

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    A fundamental requirement of biomedical research is the proper identification of research animals. It is essential that the right animal is utilized for procedures and data collection. Laboratory mice and rats can be identified with the following permanent methods: ear tags, ear punch codes, microchip implantation, tail tattoos for adult mice, and toe tattoos for neonates. Temporary methods of dyes and marking pens can also be used for acute studies. This video covers the technical aspects of ear tagging and punching for mice and rats, as well as the benefits of each with respect to the type of research being conducted on the animals. Knowledge of the basic manual restraint techniques for each animal (covered in a separate video) is required for these identification methods to be properly accomplished.

  • Lab Animal Research

    13:45
    Rodent Identification II

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    Animal records must be accurately maintained to ensure that data collection is correct. Records range from maintaining information on cage cards to having a detailed database with all of the relevant information on each animal. The primary component of recordkeeping is the individual identification of research animals. There are a variety of methods suitable for identifying mice and rats. This video describes the procedural techniques for tattooing, microchip placement, and temporary identification methods, and also explores the benefits of each.

  • Lab Animal Research

    15:05
    Compound Administration I

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    As many research protocols require that a substance be injected into an animal, the route of delivery and the amount of the substance must be accurately determined. There are several routes of administration available in the mouse and rat. Which route to use is determined by several factors of the substance to be injected: the pH of the solution, the volume required for the desired dosage, and the viscosity of the solution. Severe tissue damage can occur if a substance is administered incorrectly. This video looks at the various restraint methods and technical details for the most commonly used injection routes.

  • Lab Animal Research

    12:30
    Compound Administration II

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    Compound administration is often an integral component of an animal study. Many factors need to be evaluated to ensure that the compound is delivered correctly. The route of administration affects the mechanisms of absorption. The characteristics of the substance to be introduced (the pH, viscosity, and concentration) may dictate which route of administration is selected.1,2,3

  • Lab Animal Research

    12:33
    Compound Administration III

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    There are many commonly used routes for compound administration in laboratory mice and rats. However, certain protocols may require the use of less commonly used routes, including intradermal, intranasal, and intracranial injections. Specialized training is essential for these procedures to be performed successfully. Justification for these routes may need to be provided to gain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval.

  • Lab Animal Research

    12:20
    Compound Administration IV

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    There are many commonly used routes for compound administration in laboratory mice and rats. Protocols may, however, require the use of the less commonly used routes: intracardiac, footpad, and retro-orbital injections. Specialized training is essential for these procedures to be performed successfully. Justification for these routes may need to be provided to gain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval.

  • Lab Animal Research

    16:34
    Blood Withdrawal I

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    Blood collection is a common requirement for research studies that involve mice and rats. The method of blood withdrawal in mice and rats is dependent upon the volume of blood needed, the frequency of the sampling, the health status of the animal to be bled, and the skill level of the technician.1 All methods discussed-retro-orbital sinus bleeds, initial tail snip bleeds, and intracardiac bleeds-require the use of a general anesthesia.

  • Lab Animal Research

    12:26
    Blood Withdrawal II

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    The collection of blood from mice and rats for analysis can be done through a variety of methods. Each method of collection has variations in the type of restraint required, the invasiveness of the procedure, and the necessity of a general anesthetic.1Historically, the use of the retro-orbital sinus cavity has been used, but not without debate. The controversy related to the potential tissue damage,or even blindness,caused by retro-orbital bleeds has led to the development of facial and submandibular vein bleeding methods in mice.Blood collection from the saphenous vein in both mice and rats is another technique that has been developed. These procedures do not require anesthesia and therefore are suitable when the use of anesthetics may confound blood results or other data.

  • Lab Animal Research

    12:34
    Anesthesia Induction and Maintenance

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals ("The Guide") states that pain assessment and alleviation are integral components of the veterinary care of laboratory animals.1 The definition of anesthesia is the loss of feeling or sensation. It is a dynamic event involving changes in anesthetic depth with respect to an animal's metabolism, surgical stimulation, or variations in the external environment.

  • Lab Animal Research

    10:11
    Considerations for Rodent Surgery

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals1 dictates that rodent survival surgery be performed aseptically. Aseptic technique utilizes specific practices that minimize the contamination of the surgical site, including patient preparation, surgeon preparation, sterilization of instruments and other supplies, and the use of a clean and controlled environment. Presurgical planning, intraoperative monitoring, and postoperative care are essential for successful recovery of animals from survival surgeries.

  • Lab Animal Research

    18:51
    Diagnostic Necropsy and Tissue Harvest

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    Many animal experiments rely on final data collection time points that are gathered from the harvesting and testing of organs and tissues. The use of appropriate methods for the collection of organs and tissues can impact the quality of the samples and the analysis of the data that is gleaned for the testing of the tissues. The method of euthanasia of the animal can also impact the quality of the samples. This manuscript will outline proper necropsy techniques for rats.

  • Lab Animal Research

    12:23
    Sterile Tissue Harvest

    Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

    In 1959 The 3 R's were introduced by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch in their book The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. The 3 R's are replacement, reduction, and refinement of the use of animals in research.1 The use of cell lines and tissue cultures that originated from research animals is a replacement technique, as it allows for many experiments to be conducted in vitro. Harvesting tissues and organs for use in cell and tissue cultures requires aseptic technique to avoid contamination of the tissues. Sterile harvest is also necessary for protein and RNA analysis and metabolic profiling of tissues. This manuscript will discuss the process of sterile organ harvest in rats and mice.

JoVE IN THE CLASSROOM

PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH THE TOOLS TO HELP THEM LEARN.

JoVE IN THE CLASSROOM