13-Experimental procedures

The division of labour, costs and responsibility between the facility and scientists regarding the recording of observations on the animals must be discussed at a very early stage. Novel routines for these observations, including the production of scoring sheets, may have to be developed. Procedures must be described in sufficient detail to enable them to be assessed.

General principles
For fish researchers

Administration techniques

  • Consideration of species-specific guidelines for administration of substances, including the likely stress caused by handling and immobilisation. Traumatic injuries to the skin are particularly common in fish. Where at all possible, substances should be administered in connection with a pleasurable activity such as feeding, rather than as an isolated negative event.
  • Evaluation of the potential effect at the injection site, including methods to refine the injection such as the use of smaller needles, local anaesthetic cream, buffered solutions, liquids at body temperature and the avoidance of incorrect deposition of the injectate
  • An assessment of the likely effect of the injection volume on circulatory, renal and pulmonary function
  • The timing, order of treatment and length of the administration process, to avoid introducing temporal artefacts and treatment bias caused by the animal's temperament, particularly if multiple measurements are to be made in the presence of other animals. The effects of performing tasks on different weekdays, when they may be very different routines and activity levels in a facility, should also be considered, since animals adapt quickly to these routines.
  • The possible effects of differences in competence levels between personnel
  • The possible secondary effects of a treatment, such as loss of body weight or muscle mass, and interference from co-habitants
  • The appearance of sham-treated animals, to avoid observer bias

Links to resources on administration and sampling

General or collective guidance:

Species-specific guidance:

Blood sampling techniques

  • Knowledge of the total circulating blood volume of the animal
  • Consideration of species-specific guidelines for blood sampling and choice of the most refined method
  • Assessment of the likely consequences of blood removal (including the stress of handling)
  • Consideration of steps that can be taken to minimise residual bleeding (within or outside the animal) after the sample has been taken.

Links to resources on blood sampling

Sedation, anaesthesia and analgesia

  • There are major concerns about the lack of details on pain management in papers reporting experiments involving survival surgery. Justification should be provided for the drugs to be used, or for withholding analgesia or anaesthesia. The case for using traditional techniques must be weighed against novel ones which may improve animal welfare. The effects of withholding sedatives, anaesthetics and analgesics on the quality of collected data, procedural severity, ease of animal handling and welfare must be considered before any study where this is contemplated. The water quality of the anaesthetic or analgesic bath must be monitored in experiments on aquatic species.
  • An assessment must be made of the risk of physical danger to the animals and observers, particularly during induction and recovery, and of inhalation or self-injection of anaesthetics
  • Guidelines for procedures in emergency situations and out-of-hours, when less experienced personnel may be available, must be provided
  • An assessment must be made of the need for specialised personnel and equipment, and for adequate staffing in the post-operative phase when pain assessment and pain management are critical
  • Evaluation of methods of housing and care which can help to alleviate pain and suffering, such as the provision of soft bedding and food, and floor feeding, must be considered.
  • Analgesia and anaesthesia of fish are discussed in a separate section, as is the subject of pain and suffering in these species.
  • The TextBase database which is part of Norecopa's website includes citations of many textbooks on anaesthesia and analgesia, including Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia by Paul Flecknell.
  • eLearning modules on anaesthesia and analgesia developed by Newcastle University and FLAIRE consultants
  • Navarro et al. (2021): Mouse anesthesia: the art and the science
  • Crisis management in anaesthesia: What can we learn from airline pilots? (recording of a presentation by Colin Dunlop & Nathan Koch) 

Advice on reducing hypothermia in small rodents

Other resources

Please see the section on Educational Courses, including a link to WASP Science.

The principles embodied in the WHO Guidelines for Safe Surgery are highly recommended, even though they were developed for human surgery. See also The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande about the development of these guidelines. This book also contains a useful checklist for constructing checklists.

See also the other sections of the PREPARE guidelines in the menu at the top of this page. They include Section 9 on Test substances and procedures, Section 10 on Experimental Animals and Section 12 on Housing and Husbandry.

This page was updated on 14 May 2024

Fant du det du lette etter?

Ja, jeg fant det! Nei, jeg fant det ikke!

Takk for din tilbakemelding! Vær oppmerksom på at vi ikke kan kontakte deg hvis ikke du oppgir din epostadresse.

Hva lette du etter?

Gi oss gjerne en tilbakemelding slik at vi kan forbedre informasjonen på siden. På forhånd takk for hjelpen! Vennligst skriv inn din epostadresse hvis du vil ha et svar.

Kontakt oss gjerne på e-post hvis du har spørsmål.

Takk for din tilbakemelding! Vær oppmerksom på at vi ikke kan kontakte deg hvis ikke du oppgir din epostadresse.


Abonnér på nyhetsbrevene fra Norecopa