Removal of blood from laboratory mammals and birds
Laboratory Animals (1993) 27, 1-22
Blood is removed from animals for a variety of scientific purposes. Scientists should be aware that the process may well be unnecessarily stressful for an animal, simply because of the handling, the type of anaesthetic, or the discomfort associated with a particular technique. The physiological changes associated with increased stress may even invalidate results (Ajika et al., 1972; O'Neill & Kaufmann, 1990; Sarlis, 1991). Comparison of 'normal' blood obtained through chronic indwelling canulae in unrestrained animals with blood obtained by more conventional methods has shown significant differences, for example in the levels of prolactin, cortisol, corticosterone and glucose, as well as in counts for red and white cells and platelets, and packed cell volunie. Since stress may cause physiological reactions which may affect the
research, the method of blood sampling used should be checked for any associated changes, e.g. in blood corticosteroid levels. It would then be possible to see if an animal adapted to a procedure and becomes less stressed as a result. It is obviously in the interests of good science, as well as of animal welfare that stress should be kept to a minimum. It is worth noting that when collecting blood for antibody production, it may be desirable to collect blood into an anticoagulant and process the plasma. The yield of serum
from blood is relatively, poor and the yield of antibody can be 20-50% higher from plasma than from serum. The report is divided into sections which describe the removal of blood from veins (Sections 3 & 4), arteries (Section 5), and by cardiac puncture (Section 6). Where the route for blood removal may also be used for the administration of substances, or for measuring blood pressure, further details are given. Each section is subdivided to describe possible techniques and ttieir advantages and disadvantages. The potential adverse effects of each are discussed together with recommendations on how these can be minimized. The report concludes with a guide to the severity banding of blood sampling techniques for project licence applications,
together with recommendations for training of personal licensees.