The use of anaesthetics and analgesics to implement the 3 R’s: practical examples.


Anders Kiessling1, Torstein Kristenesen4, 2, Brankica Djordjevic1, Øyvin Øverli1, 6Erik Höglund5, 6, Odd-Ivar Lekang3 and Bjørn Olav Rosseland2



The response to potentially aversive experimental manipulations varies between individuals, and this variation is affected by genetic and non-genetic factors. For instance, a number of experiments have shown that disturbance in the form of habitat change, handling etc will lead to appetite deprivation with reduced growth as a consequence. The depth of this deprivation will depend on genetic predisposition (Øverli et al., 2002), as well as previous and current treatment of the experimental animals (Carr, 2002). Similar considerations are true for any physiological and behavioural process that can be studied. Thus, anybody responsible for experiments with live animals, or material from live animals, should have detailed knowledge of the genetic structure, history, and immediate handling of the experimental population.   Among immediate factors that can be experimentally controlled, current involvement of pain and anaesthetic protocol is essential for both ethical considerations and relevance of results (Oppedal, Johansson and Kiessling, 2000; Kiessling, Johansson and Axén, 2001). We have also in a series of experiment showed the potential of dorsal aorta cannula to minimize inter-individual variation in long term uptake and clearance studies (see Kiessling, Buttle and Olsen, 2003). In addition techniques as repeated muscle biopsy (FAIR CT98 4003), temperature log implant (NFR project), blood flow (Thorarensen et al. 1993; Gallaugher et al., 2001) etc have been explored. Such methodology yields a wealth of data from a controlled situation. This presentation will focus the close connection between reliable, consistent and representative data and the welfare of the animal.


Carr, J.A. 2002. Stress, neuropeptides, and feeding behavior: A comparative perspectiveIntegrative and Comparative Biology 42 (3): 582-590.

FAIR CT98 4003, DNA vaccines for aquaculture: Development and testing of plasmid vectors for vaccination against bacterial and viral fish pathogens.

Gallaugher, P.,  Thorarensen, H., Kiessling, A. and Farrell, A.P. 2001. Effects of high intensity exercise training on cardiovascular function, oxygen uptake, internal oxygen transport and osmotic balance in chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) during critical speed swimming J Exp Biol 204: 2861-2872.

Kiessling, A, Olsen, R-E and Buttle, L. 2003. Given the same dietary inclusion Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar (L.) display higher blood levels of canthaxanthin than astaxanthin.  Aquaculture Nutrition 9: 253-262.

Kiessling, A., Johansson, D., Axen, C. and Johansson, B. 2001. Anestesi och anelgesi vid vaccinering av lax. In Havbruksrapporten 2001, Fisken og havet, saernr.3-2001. Ed. R.E.Olsen & T.Hansen.

Oppedal.F, Johansson, B. og Kiessling.A., 2000 Bedøvelse og vaksinering.- økt appetitt ved bedre rutiner. 2000, Norsk Fiskeoppdrett no. 9 : 24-26.

Thorarensen, H., Gallaugher, P. E., Kiessling, A. K., and Farrell, A. P. 1993. Intestinal blood flow in swimming chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and the effects of haematocrit on blood flow distribution. J. exp. Biol. 179:115-129.

Øverli, Ø., Pottinger, T.G., Carrick, T.R., Øverli, E., and Winberg, S. (2002) Differences in behaviour between rainbow trout selected for high and low stress responsiveness. The Journal of Experimental Biology,  205: 391-395.


1. Dept. Animal and Aquaculture Sciences, 2. Depts. Ecology and Natural Resource Management, of Plant and Environmental Sciences, 3. Dept. of Mathematical Sciences and Technology, P.O.Box 5003, 1432 Ås, Norway., 4. The Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, Norway, 5. Aquaculture Protein Centre, Ås, Norway, 6. Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway.