If an animal is picked up by the scruff of its neck using a two-fingered technique, this has a tendency to create a longitudinal skin fold on the animal. This can tighten the skin over the throat and trachea, causing stress to the animal.
Norecopa, in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, has produced a short video, available in English and Spanish, illustrating a refinement of this technique using three fingers, which creates a transverse skin fold on the animal, thereby relieving the pressure on the throat:
This page can be accessed from: https://norecopa.no/scruff
We welcome feedback about this technique!
We are very grateful to Rafael Frías for providing the text for the Spanish version of this film.
Henderson et al. (2020) examined anxiety-like behaviour in mice exposed to repeated scruffing with the standard method or with this three-fingered approach. They were unable to detect significant differences between the two groups. We believe however, that the three-fingered technique is an improvement, both on veterinary clinical grounds and for the benefits it gives the operator in the form of better control of the animal's head.
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