Dosing & Blood Sampling
Efforts should constantly be made to refine scientific techniques so as to decrease the volume of blood samples required. In small animals such as mice, sample volume and frequency of sampling are of particular importance. If the animal's welfare may be compromised by the volume of the sample required, either more animals should be used or a compensatory volume replacement (such as warmed saline or a blood transfusion) should be performed. In general, the following points should be considered:
- rather than multiple samplings carried out by repeated needle punctures, a butterfly needle or a percutaneous (over the needle) cannula taped in position should be used
- in removing volumes greater than 0.1 ml, a needle with as large a bore as possible should be used, in order to ensure rapid blood withdrawal without collapsing the vein or causing formation of a hematoma
- before taking a sample, it is important to accurately locate the vein and dilate it by gentle obstruction or warming (if general body warming is used, the animal must be constantly observed to prevent hyperthermia, as evidenced by more rapid breathing, panting or salivating)
- the use of xylene (xylol, dimethylbenzene) as a dilator is not recommended as it causes skin rashes and is easily misused
Efforts should also constantly be made to refine techniques for animal dosing (including reducing volume size; improving solvent formulations and minimizing distress associated with dosing procedures).
For more information on dosing and blood sampling, the following resources may be useful.
- Diehl K-H., Hull R., Morton D., Pfister R., Rabemampianina Y., Smith D., Vidal J-M. and van de Vorstenbosch C. (2001) A good practice guide to the administration of substances and removal of blood, including routes and volumes. Journal of Applied Toxicology 21(1):15-23.
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) (2004) Blood sampling of finfish, animal-user training template 4. Ottawa ON: Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
- Hem A., Smith A.J. and Solberg P. (1998) Saphenous vein puncture for blood sampling of the mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, ferret and mink. Laboratory Animals 32(4):364-368.
- Morton D., Jennings M., Buckwell A., Ewbank R., Godfrey C., Holgate B., Inglis I., James R., Page C., Sharman I., Verschoyle R., Westall L. and Wilson A.B. (2001) Refining procedures for the administration of substances. Report of the BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement. Laboratory Animals 35(1):1-41.
- National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) (n.d.) Blood Sampling Microsite.
- This UK-based website provides information and photographs describing the techniques for blood sampling from mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, dogs, pigs and marmosets. It also contains information about the general principles of blood sampling and choosing the most appropriate technique, and references for further information. However, the CCAC considers that some of the methods described in this site (e.g., retro-orbital bleeding and decapitation) should only be carried out in exceptional circumstances, following careful review and approval by an animal care committee, based on scientifically justified necessity.
- National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) (n.d.) Procedures with Care: Administration of Substances.
- Turner P.V., Brabb T., Pekow C. and Vasbinder M.A. (2011) Administration of substances to laboratory animals: routes of administration and factors ot consider. JAALAS 50(5):600-613.
- van Herck H., Baumans V., Brandt C.J.W., Hesp A.P.M., Sturkenboom J.H., van Lith H.A., van Tintelen G. and Beynen A.C. (1998) Orbital sinus blood sampling in rats as performed by different animal technicians: the influence of technique and expertise. Laboratory Animals 32(4):377-386.
- Zeller W., Weber H., Panoussis B., Burge T. and Bergmann R. (1998) Refinement of blood sampling from the sublingual vein of rats. Laboratory Animals 32(4):369-376.
- Coleman K., Pranger L., Maier A., Lambeth S.P., Perlman J.E., Thiele E. and Schapiro S.J. (2008) Training rhesus macaques for venipuncture using positive reinforcement techniques: A comparison with chimpanzees. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 47(1):37-41.
- Christensen S.D., Mikkelsen L.F., Fels J.J., Bodvarsdóttir T.B. and Hansen A.K. (2009) Quality of plasma sampled by different methods for multiple blood sampling in mice. Laboratory Animals 43(1):65-71.
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