Postoperative Monitoring of Rodents
The postoperative monitoring of rodents which undergo major surgery* requires the administration of analgesics at induction of anesthesia (preemptive analgesia) and postoperatively for 24-72 hours. The agent of choice for rodents is generally Buprenorphine HCL, given at 8-10 hour intervals for moderate to severe pain. Other agents such as butorphanol, Tylenol, bupivacaine, and lidocaine may be used for minor pain but these agents are limited by their duration of action (lidocaine, butorphanol) or difficulty of administration (Tylenol). You should consult the veterinary staff if you have questions regarding the selection of an appropriate analgesic. *Note: Major Surgery is defined as procedures that penetrate and expose a body cavity or produces substantial impairment of physical or physiologic function. Ex. Thoracotomy, craniotomy, limb amputation.
The postoperative treatment of rodents is the responsibility of the investigator. The IACUC will require proof of compliance during laboratory inspections and the veterinary staff may request documentation of treatment when animals are reported for complications. Treatment records should not be kept in animal rooms as they may be damaged or lost. However, notations of treatments on the back of the "Rodent Surgery" cage card (see below) is encouraged to assist the veterinary staff in assessing reported animals. The "Rodent Surgery" cage card will not suffice as the official record of medical care thus you should maintain some other permanent record in the laboratory (lab book, treatment form, etc). All treatments/observations must be documented.
Postoperatively, investigators should place a "Rodent Surgery" card on each cage when returning the animals to the vivarium. Unless other arrangements are made with CCMS, it will be the investigator's responsibility to administer treatments. Treatments must be given for a minimum of 24 hours and animals observed for a total of 72 hours before "Rodent Surgery" cards are removed. It is the investigators responsibility to remove the "Rodent Surgery" cards in a timely manner, at 72 hours. The veterinary technicians will monitor compliance during rodent rounds. Animals with postoperative cards will be observed for signs of pain, wound infection, or other complications. Investigators will be notified if there are problems and the treatment plan evaluated by a member of the veterinary staff.
The "Rodent Surgery" cards are available in the Icahn Medical Institute surgery suite (27F) or Supervisors office or Annenberg main office 26-10. Please contact a member of the veterinary staff if you need assistance in evaluating postoperative pain in rodents. Thank you.