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Reported analgesic and anaesthetic administration to rodents undergoing experimental surgical procedures

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Paul FlecknellORCiD, Dr Claire Richardson


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A structured literature review was carried out to assess recent trends in the administration of analgesics and anaesthetics to laboratory rats and mice undergoing surgical procedures. The ScienceDirect database was used to systematically identify studies published in peer-reviewed journals over two periods (2000-2001 and 2005-2006), 86 studies from each time period were included in the review. The total number of animals that underwent surgery, species used, type of procedure, anaesthetic regimen and analgesic administration were noted for each study. There was an increase in the reported administration of systemic analgesics from 10% in 2000-2001 to 20% in 2005-2006. Buprenorphine was the most commonly reported analgesic in both periods (2000-2001: 78%, 2005-2006: 350%) and reporting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increased from 11% to 53%. There was also a change in reported anaesthetic practices, notably a decrease in the use of pentobarbital and an increase in the use of isoflurane and ketamine/xylazine. Although reported administration of analgesics has increased and there has been some refinement in the selection of anaesthetic agents used, the findings of this review suggest that there is still significant scope for improvement with respect to the perioperative care of laboratory rodents.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stokes EL, Flecknell PA, Richardson CA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Laboratory Animals

Year: 2009

Volume: 43

Issue: 2

Pages: 149-154

ISSN (print): 0023-6772

ISSN (electronic): 1758-1117

Publisher: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd.


DOI: 10.1258/la.2008.008020


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