An assessment of laboratory mouse welfare in UK animal units
Contributor(s):: Leach, M. C., Main, D. C. J.
The welfare of conventional stock laboratory mice has been assessed in 46 UK animal units using an expert-defined welfare assessment protocol containing 119 measures of mouse welfare. These were recorded using a questionnaire and observations made during a one-day visit to each unit. The standard...
An illustration that statistical design mitigates environmental variation and ensures unambiguous study conclusions
Contributor(s):: Gore, K. H., Stanley, P. J.
This paper highlights the essential need for appropriate statistical design and randomisation in laboratory animal studies. Using an example of a 21 day weight gain study in mice, we show that without the use of an appropriate statistical design and randomisation, incorrect conclusions may have...
Behaviour of golden hamsters ( Mesocricetus auratus ) kept in four different cage sizes
Contributor(s):: Fischer, K., Gebhardt-Henrich, S. G., Steiger, A.
Cages for laboratory and pet hamsters are usually small. Using video recordings, the behaviour of sixty female golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus), housed individually in four different cage sizes, was compared in order to draw conclusions about their welfare. The cage sizes were 1,800 cm2,...
Body weight change as a measure of stress: a practical test
Contributor(s):: McLaren, G. W., Mathews, F., Fell, R., Gelling, M., Macdonald, D. W.
We report on the efficacy of body weight change as a measure of trapping and handling stress in two species of wild small mammal: bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus). We tested two hypotheses: (1) that weight change after capture and handling is related to the...
Can sleep behaviour be used as an indicator of stress in group-housed rats ( Rattus norvegicus )?
Contributor(s):: Abou-Ismail, U. A., Burman, O. H. P., Nicol, C. J., Mendl, M.
We assessed the value of sleep behaviour as a novel measure of stress in group-housed animals. We observed, non-invasively, sleep behaviour in 144 group-housed rats, and related it to other physiological and physical indicators of stress and welfare. Sleep frequency and duration correlated...
Clinical pathology and cardiovascular parameters are not influenced by housing rats under increased environmental complexity
Contributor(s):: Mikkelsen, L. F., Sorensen, D. B., Krohn, T., Lauritzen, B., Dragsted, N., Hansen, A. K., Ottesen, J. L.
Since the release of the revised Appendix A from the Council of Europe for housing of laboratory animals there have been claims that laboratory animals should be housed under more complex conditions; known popularly as enrichment. A number of studies have expressed concerns that this may increase...
Communication between rats of experiment-induced stress and its impact on experimental results
Contributor(s):: Beynen, A. C.
Consequences of enhancing environmental complexity for laboratory rodents - a review with emphasis on the rat
Contributor(s):: Sorensen, D. B., Ottesen, J. L., Hansen, A. K.
Enhancing the complexity of the environments of captive animals is often referred to as environmental enrichment, and aims to have positive effects on the animals' well-being. Such enrichments may have consequences both for so-called 'normal' behaviour and for the pathophysiology of the animals...
Corticosterone differences rather than social housing predict performance of T-maze alternation in male CD-1 mice
Contributor(s):: Fitchett, A. E., Barnard, C. J., Cassaday, H. J.
This study examined the effects of social housing manipulations on bodyweight, corticosterone levels, and performance of T-maze alternation in male CD-1 mice. Males that adopted a dominant social rank were heavier than those that adopted a subordinate social rank. Dominant males also had lower...
Disruptive effects of standard husbandry practice on laboratory rat social discrimination
Contributor(s):: Burman, O. H. P., Mendl, M.
Elements of husbandry procedures, such as handling, may disrupt rodent social behaviour. Such effects may be contingent upon the familiarity between individuals and upon the quality and quantity of the disruption. We investigated this issue using laboratory rats. We placed 36 rats into groups of...
Effect of group housing and oral corticosterone administration on weight gain and locomotor development in neonatal rats
Contributor(s):: Young, L. A., Pavlovska-Teglia, G., Stodulski, G., Hau, J.
Effects of physical activity and group size on animal welfare in laboratory rats
Contributor(s):: Spangenberg, E., Dahlborn, K., Essen-Gustavsson, B., Cvek, K.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether moderate physical activity and group size influence physical fitness, the level of social interactions in the home cage and rats' performance in the Elevated Plus Maze and a handling test. Forty-eight male Sprague Dawley rats were kept in groups of...
Enriching the metabolic cage: effects on rat physiology and behaviour
Contributor(s):: Sorensen, D. B., Mortensen, K., Bertelsen, T., Vognbjerg, K.
Metabolic cages are used for housing rats and mice for up to five days for collection of urine and/or faeces. The small, barren area of the metabolic cage compromises animal welfare as the animals lack a solid floor, shelter, nest material and social contact. We constructed and tested a...
Enrichment of laboratory caging for rats: a review
Contributor(s):: Patterson-Kane, E. G.
Rats are well-understood and widely used laboratory species that should be provided with environmentally enriched caging in line with modern animal welfare guidelines. This paper reviews which sources of enrichment are effective and should be prioritized, and how methods for providing enrichment...
Ethics of feeding: the omnivore dilemma
Contributor(s):: Kasanen, I. H. E., Sorensen, D. B., Forkman, B., Sandoe, P.
The way in which animals are fed is an important aspect of their welfare. Not only does food provide the energy and nutrients vital for survival, but feeding is also associated with a number of other factors contributing to the well-being of animals. The feeding method can determine the animals'...
Fear-related behaviour in two mouse strains differing in litter size
Contributor(s):: Janczak, A. M., Braastad, B. O., Bakken, M.
The fear-related behaviour of a mouse strain selected over 101 generations for high litter size was compared with that of a randomly selected strain. The H-strain, selected for large litter size, had a mean litter size at birth of 21.5+or-3.5 pups. The randomly bred C-strain has a mean litter...
Foraging enrichment for laboratory rats
Contributor(s):: Johnson, S. R., Patterson-Kane, E. G., Niel, L.
The provision of foraging opportunities may be a simple way of improving an animal's welfare, but this approach has been neglected for laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus). Standard housing contains little enrichment, and food is often provided ad libitum, which may result in inactivity and...
Gas killing of rats: the effect of supplemental oxygen on aversion to carbon dioxide
Contributor(s):: Kirkden, R. D., Niel, L., Stewart, S. A., Weary, D. M.
High concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), used for killing laboratory rodents, are known to be more strongly aversive to rats than sweet food items are attractive. This study investigated whether the maintenance of a high oxygen (O2) concentration, using a gas mixture of 70% CO2 and 30% O2,...
Gerbils prefer partially darkened cages
Contributor(s):: Broek, F. A. R. van den, Klompmaker, H., Bakker, R., Beynen, A. C.
Health Technology Assessment as a template for assessments in laboratory animal science with a focus on phenotyping protocols
Contributor(s):: Thon, R., Ritskes-Hoitinga, M., Vondeling, H.
This study introduces Health Technology Assessment (HTA) - a systematic, evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to assessing human health technologies, aimed at supporting decision-making in health policy and clinical practice - into laboratory animal science. A conceptual presentation is...