Anaesthesia and Post-operative Analgesia Following Experimental Surgery in Laboratory Rodents: Are We Making Progress?

Claire A. Richardson and Paul A. Flecknell

Current attitudes to the use of animals in biomedical research require that any pain or distress should be minimised. This can often be achieved by the use of appropriate anaesthetic and analgesic regimens. There, is however, little information on the peri-operative regimens used. A literature review was conducted to estimate how commonly analgesics are administered to laboratory rodents, the most widely used species of laboratory animals, and to assess the anaesthetic regimens employed. Studies describing potentially painful experimental procedures involving rodents were identified from peer-reviewed journals published from 1990 to 1992 and from 2000 to 2002. In papers published between 2000 and 2002, if analgesic administration was not specified, the institutional veterinary surgeons or authors of the papers were contacted by e-mail to obtain additional information on analgesic use. From 1992 to 2002, there was an
increase in the reported prevalence of analgesic administration to laboratory rodents from 2.7% to 19.8%. Although the use of analgesics has increased over the past ten years, the overall level of post-operative pain relief for laboratory rodents is still low. Anaesthetic methodology changed markedly between the two timeperiods sampled. Notably, there was an increase in the use of isoflurane and of injectable anaesthetic combinations such as ketamine/xylazine, whereas the use of ether and methoxyflurane decreased.
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2017-01-09T06:34:33+00:00 Tags: , , , , , |

Implementation of the Three Rs in Biomedical Research — Has the Turn of the Century Turned the Tide?

Shoko Obora and Tsutomu Kurosawa

There has been increasing pressure from the public against animal experimentation for testing and research purposes. The Three Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement) principle is thought to be a key foundation concept in optimising the welfare of animals used in experiments. This retrospective study attempts to investigate the transition of the Three Rs in biomedical research through a review of articles published in Nature Medicine. We categorised all of the articles published in Nature Medicine from 1998 to 2003, on the basis of the pain and distress of the animals used in the experiments featured in the analysed article. We found there were no large fluctuations in the distribution of these categories over this time period. We also examined each article for the presence of a statement relating to the humane use of laboratory animals, and found that the number of articles which included such a statement dramatically increased in 2002. Over the years studied, there was a decreasing trend in the total number of animal types used for the experiments in the articles. Our results suggest that: a) more encouragement by journal editors might improve the attitude of scientists in terms of animal welfare; and b) the progress of replacement appears to be a more long-term effort in the field of biomedical research.
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