Home About Browse Search

Lydén, Frida, 2016. Handling methods of laboratory mice and rats. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



Stress and anxiety in laboratory mice and rats can affect not only their welfare, but also research results. It is also known that daily routines such as handling can be stressful. However, the question of whether different handling methods are more or less stressful is perhaps more interesting, and there is not much published research on the subject. When writing a scientific paper, it is always essential to document all relevant parameters and details in the methods, in order for the results to be credible, and to make sure that the experiment can be replicated and accurately peer reviewed. If different handling methods can cause different amounts of stress and anxiety, thus possibly affecting research results, then handling methods ought to be included as relevant information in article methods. The aim of this literature review is to investigate how different handling methods can affect both animal welfare and research quality. Furthermore, to analyse to what extent handling is reported in article methods, the method sections of ten recently published articles from Nature Neuroscience and Nature Immunology respectively - two high impact factor journals using mice and/or rat models - were reviewed and compiled. The literature review showed evidence of alternative handling methods sections, such as using tunnels or cupped hands when picking up mice and rats, having positive impacts on animal welfare and consequently possibly on data reliability, when compared to stressful traditional handling methods such as lifting by the tail. The data compiled from article methods showed that reports of handling methods were lacking across all reviewed articles, regardless of journal or year. It is concluded that using the least stressful handling methods, identified in the reviewed literature, goes in accordance with the refinement and reduction principles of the 3Rs. Methods such as using tunnels or cupped hands when lifting laboratory mice and rats, instead of lifting by the tail or body, should therefore be recommended. It is also suggested that handling should be added as a method criteria in checklists and guidelines such as NC3Rs ARRIVE guidelines or journals’ own methods checklists that are used by authors.

Main title:Handling methods of laboratory mice and rats
Authors:Lydén, Frida
Supervisor:Yngvesson, Jenny and Spangenberg, Elin
Examiner:Wichman, Anette
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:657
Year of Publication:2016
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:handling methods, mice, rats, welfare, laboratory routines
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Deposited On:23 Aug 2016 14:54
Metadata Last Modified:23 Aug 2016 14:54

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics