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Optimized surgical techniques and postoperative care improve survival rates and permit accurate telemetric recording in exercising mice

Author(s): Schuler Beat | Rettich Andreas | Vogel Johannes | Gassmann Max | Arras Margarete

Journal: BMC Veterinary Research
ISSN 1746-6148

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 28;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Abstract Background The laboratory mouse is commonly used as a sophisticated model in biomedical research. However, experiments requiring major surgery frequently lead to serious postoperative complications and death, particularly if genetically modified mice with anatomical and physiological abnormalities undergo extensive interventions such as transmitter implantation. Telemetric transmitters are used to study cardiovascular physiology and diseases. Telemetry yields reliable and accurate measurement of blood pressure in the free-roaming, unanaesthetized and unstressed mouse, but data recording is hampered substantially if measurements are made in an exercising mouse. Thus, we aimed to optimize transmitter implantation to improve telemetric signal recording in exercising mice as well as to establish a postoperative care regimen that promotes convalescence and survival of mice after major surgery in general. Results We report an optimized telemetric transmitter implantation technique (fixation of the transmitter body on the back of the mouse with stainless steel wires) for subsequent measurement of arterial blood pressure during maximal exercise on a treadmill. This technique was used on normal (wildtype) mice and on transgenic mice with anatomical and physiological abnormalities due to constitutive overexpression of recombinant human erythropoietin. To promote convalescence of the animals after surgery, we established a regimen for postoperative intensive care: pain treatment (flunixine 5 mg/kg bodyweight, subcutaneously, twice per day) and fluid therapy (600 μl, subcutaneously, twice per day) were administrated for 7 days. In addition, warmth and free access to high energy liquid in a drinking bottle were provided for 14 days following transmitter implantation. This regimen led to a substantial decrease in overall morbidity and mortality. The refined postoperative care and surgical technique were particularly successful in genetically modified mice with severely compromised physiological capacities. Conclusion Recovery and survival rates of mice after major surgery were significantly improved by careful management of postoperative intensive care regimens including key supportive measures such as pain relief, administration of fluids, and warmth. Furthermore, fixation of the blood pressure transmitter provided constant reliable telemetric recordings in exercising mice.
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