Blood sampling is one of the commonest procedures conducted on research animals, but it may cause pain, distress and lasting harm if the technique is poor, or if too much of the circulating blood volume is removed.
The following criteria are a good yardstick for judging the quality of a method for blood sampling:
- The blood vessel is visible
- The amount of blood that is removed can be controlled
- It is easy to stop the bleeding after the sample has been taken
- The surrounding tissue is not damaged
Not all methods for bleeding animals satisfy all these criteria.
The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has produced a range of videos and slide series showing handling, injection and blood sampling techniques on several laboratory animal species (hen, mink, mouse, pig, rabbit, rat).
Please also see this part of the PREPARE guidelines for more references to best practice when taking blood samples.
- Resources about handling and procedures from RAT (Research Animal Training)
- NC3Rs Microsite on blood sampling
- Bonnet, El Hassani, Lecq et al. (2016): Blood mixtures: impact of puncture site on blood parameters
- Hem, Smith & Solberg (1998): Saphenous vein puncture for blood sampling of the mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guineapig, ferret and mink
- Aasland, Skjerve & Smith (2010): Quality of blood samples from the saphenous vein compared with the tail vein during multiple blood sampling of mice
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