Lab mice live quiet lives. Most of them are bred to serve research purposes in a number of fields, most often in medicine and pharmacology. Healthy and unstressed mice provide the best test subjects for vaccines, injections, and blood testing in search of understanding and treating disease and/or in discovering pharma-remedies.
Making life easier for lab mice is important to the researchers as well as the mice.
Tips on making life easier for lab mice
- Follow guidelines and regulations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports on Federal, State, and International recommendations and regulations, including the Animal Welfare Act.
The American Psychological Association has published Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care of Nonhuman Animals in Research.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) ties grants to understanding and practice of published ethics.
And, the universities and institutes involved in such research have all published standards of compliance.
- Purchase quality mice.
Research relates specifically to the breed, gender, age, and genetics of the mice.
Common strains are deliberately inbred to eliminate genetic anomalies. Others are bred for their susceptibility to certain conditions or because they possess certain genes targeted in the research.
Provider farms are bound by the same guidelines and reputably produce reliable and healthy products. Researches should limit their shopping to recognized breeders.
- Control living conditions.
The NIHS guidelines specify the size and construction of mice cages, the necessary ventilation and lighting, and the management of fluid and food.
- Reducing stress.
Properly fed and ventilated mice will thrive if they are caged loosely in small numbers. Any handling bothers the animal, so researchers need ways to reduce the handling.
According to Brett Swope, President of RapidLab.com, “Manual animal identification methods can be easily misapplied and are often misread, with sometimes serious consequences.”
For example, the traditional ways of identifying lab mice involved tattoos, surgically inserted chips, or clipped ears. Anything that reduces the stress of handling, pain, or time out of their environment creates stress, and stress reduces their value to the research.
- Choose state-of-the-art ID.
RapidLab.com created one solution: its patented RapID Tag® as a responsive solution the problems presented. The ingenuous tag attaches like a pierced earring through a punch hole.
It’s made of biologically inert polymers that prevent infection, eliminate tissue reactions, sterilizes completely in an autoclave, and proves 100% compatible with MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (computerized tomography) procedures.
The color-coded tags let handlers sort and separate mice as needed with minimal handling. It holds a square easily scannable 2-D barcode to identify specific animal and position in testing process. And, all parts are completely recyclable.
Mistakes made in identifying lab mice are costly. They lead to mistreatment, mismeasurement, and testing data errors. Each error raises issues of testing integrity which, in turn, require new testing, new mice, and new expense.
Researchers take perhaps surprisingly good care of their lab mice. It’s in their interest as professionals to comply with guidelines, model ethics, save money, and improve the quality of their work.
And, there are issues raised by animal advocates on the whole subject of animal testing. If making life easier for lab mice delivers on these challenges, researchers will pursue innovations that help.
Michael F. Carroll
Title: Freelance writer at OutreachMama
Mike is a freelance contributor to Towering SEO and OutreachMama who helps businesses find their audience online through research, content copy, and whitepapers. He frequently writes about management, marketing, and sales with customized outreach for digital marketing channels and outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.