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Open Access Assessment of Mouse Handling Techniques During Cage Changing

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Mouse handling during cage changing and health evaluation has traditionally been performed by using forceps. This method was adopted as a biosecurity measure but can adversely affect employee ergonomics and rodent behavior. In this study, we evaluated alternative methods of rodent handling and their potential implications for efficiency, biosecurity, and animal welfare. Study groups included plastic cups, gloved hands, 2 methods of tunnel handling, and forceps. Evaluations included speed of cage change, ATP-based assessment of sanitization, and retrospective analysis of colony health and breeding data. The time to change 14 cages was significantly faster at each time point for the gloved hands and forceps groups as compared with the other methods. Overall speed did not increase significantly with each subsequent study week for any group. ATP levels after sanitization with hydrogen peroxide–peracetic acid mixture differed significantly between gloves and forceps. When ATP level was evaluated on a per-cm2 basis, no significant difference between gloves and forceps was detected. Although tunnel and cup handling both increased the time for cage-changing, the tunnel served as both an indirect handling method and a shelter when left within the cage. Retrospective analysis revealed that breeding performance and colony health were similar among groups. Although efficiency is a concern for large-scale implementation of novel handling methods, the tunnel method may prove beneficial for sensitive strains or studies requiring indirect handling. In addition, using gloved hands to directly handle mice during cage changing is efficient and avoids the ergonomic strain associated with forceps. Precautions should be taken when handling mice with gloves, given that the increased contact area carries an increased load of organic debris. Changing gloves between rack sides or before proceeding to the animals belonging to a different investigator minimizes the potential for cross-contamination.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan;, Email: [email protected] 2: Refinement Enrichment Advancements Laboratory, Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 3: Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 4: Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Publication date: November 1, 2019

This article was made available online on October 23, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Assessment of Mouse Handling Techniques During Cage Changing".

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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.

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