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Open Access Wellbeing of Alcohol-preferring Rats Euthanized with Carbon Dioxide at Very Low and Low Volume Displacement Rates

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The 2013 AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia recommend the use of very-low or low flow rates of 100% carbon dioxide to euthanize small rodents. Although inhalation of high concentrations of carbon dioxide are generally recognized as painful in humans, whether the use of these low-flow methods of euthanasia increase potential distress for rats is unclear. This study compared physiologic and behavioral markers of animal wellbeing for rats euthanized by using 10% volume displacement per minute (VD/min), 30% VD/min, and 70% VD/min of 100% carbon dioxide. Rats were recorded during euthanasia for subsequent behavioral scoring, and blood samples were taken after euthanasia for assessment of blood glucose and serum corticosterone levels. In this study, rats euthanized with 10% or 30% VD/min of 100% carbon dioxide demonstrated increases in various behaviors, such as rearing and standing, concurrent with increases in serum corticosterone. Rats euthanized with 70% VD/min of 100% carbon dioxide did not exhibit these changes. The results suggest that a euthanasia method of 70% VD/min of 100% carbon dioxide may minimize potential pain and distress and thus be more humane for rats, as compared with very-low– and low-flow methods of carbon dioxide euthanasia.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory Animal Resource Center, School of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Illinois;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2019

This article was made available online on December 7, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Wellbeing of Alcohol-preferring Rats Euthanized with Carbon Dioxide at Very Low and Low Volume Displacement Rates".

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

    Attention Members: To access the full text of the articles, be sure you are logged in to the AALAS website.

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