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Assessment of the postoperative discomfort of intra-auricularly hypophysectomized rats

Hansen, Axel Kornerup, Christoffersen, Lene B., Hejgaard, Katharina C., Thon, Rikke, Velschow, Sten
Laboratory animals 2002 v.36 no.2 pp. 144-152
pain, postoperative care, body weight, animal welfare, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, body temperature, animal use reduction, opium alkaloids, hypophysectomy, feed intake, animal use refinement, fearfulness, rats, analgesics, oxytetracycline, postoperative complications, mortality
Rats subjected to hypophysectomy make up one of the largest groups of experimental animals in Europe, since there is a legal demand for batch testing of industrially produced growth hormones. To describe the clinical performance of rats having undergone hypophysectomy, animals were examined postoperatively by monitoring behaviour, body temperature and food intake. Behavioural changes were observed in rats that had only been anaesthetized, as well as in sham-operated rats, while no behavioural deviations could be shown in hypophysectomized rats. On the first day after surgery all rats had declining body temperature and food intake; and this change was not reversed by treatment with carprofen, buprenorphine or oxytetracycline. The mortality rate in rats treated with buprenorphine was increased, as was the mortality rate in rats hypophysectomized when weighing more than 100 g. As there seemed to be no differences whether methohexital or a combination of fentanyl, fluanison and midazolam was used, the latter anaesthesia is recommended due to its analgesic potential. For post-surgical analgesic treatment, carprofen is recommended rather than buprenorphine. At best, the use of hypophysectomized rats should be replaced in industrial batch testing by an existing in vitro method.