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A comparison of abdominal and scrotal approach methods of vasectomy and the influence of analgesic treatment in laboratory mice

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Amy Miller, Siân Wright-Williams, Emeritus Professor Paul FlecknellORCiD, Dr Johnny RoughanORCiD


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Vasectomized mice are needed in the production of genetically-modified animals. The BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement recommended that vasectomy should be performed via an incision in the scrotal sac, rather than via laparotomy, arguing that the former could be less painful due to minimal tissue trauma. This study was undertaken to assess the validity of this recommendation. Mice underwent vasectomy via either abdominal or scrotal approach surgery. Mice were filmed for 15 min presurgery and at one, 24 and 48 h postsurgery. Data were obtained using automated behaviour recognition software (HomeCageScan). Meloxicam was administered either alone or combined with acetaminophen prior to surgery. A third group received only saline subcutaneously. Postsurgery behaviour changes were compared between groups at each time point. Exploratory behaviours such as rearing, walking and sniffing were most greatly reduced at one hour following surgery whereas the duration of grooming increased. By 48 h these changes had largely subsided. Results indicated mice undergoing scrotal approach surgery fared better at one hour postsurgery, but the magnitude of this was relatively insignificant compared with the overall effects of surgery. If the observed behaviour changes resulted from pain, results suggested there was no significant advantage of scrotal versus abdominal approach vasectomy. These and other recently obtained data on the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in mice suggest considerably larger doses of these or more potent analgesics, more precise monitoring of surgical outcomes, or a combination of these factors are needed to determine the extent of pain experienced by mice undergoing vasectomy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Miller AL, Wright-Williams SL, Flecknell PA, Roughen JV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Laboratory Animals

Year: 2012

Volume: 46

Issue: 4

Pages: 304-310

Print publication date: 01/10/2012

ISSN (print): 0023-6772

ISSN (electronic): 1758-1117

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1258/la.2012.012078


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