Blood sampling mink from the saphenous vein: An alternative to cardiac puncture and tail bleeding

Produced by Adrian Smith and Marius Rudi, Laboratory Animal Unit, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Oslo

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A general article describing blood collection from the saphenous vein in a variety of species is available here.


The saphenous vein of the mink is best accessed between the knee and hock joints.  It is not necessary to clip as much hair as shown here, but an area just above the hock joint should be prepared with electrical clippers or a curved pair of scissors.


The branches of the saphenous vein are clearly visible on this dissection.  All that has been removed is the overlying skin.   The vein branches just above the tarsal (hock) joint.  The best site for blood sampling is therefore approximately 1 cm above this joint.


The saphenous vein can be visualized by applying pressure above the knee joint.


The vein is punctured using a relatively large-bore needle to ensure a good flow of blood.  In this case an 18-gauge needle has been used.


Blood may be collected in haematocrit tubes, or in small plastic Microtainer tubes as shown here.

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