General Principles of Animal Selection and Normal Physiological Values

  • David R. Gross


Animals used in meaningful experiments must be held long enough in approved facilities to insure that they are not incubating infectious diseases. If the animal care facility does not require this, responsible investigators must still make certain these precautions are taken. Animals should be vaccinated, or tested and certified to be free of the diseases most likely to cause a problem in that species or that can be transmitted to personnel working with them. They should be verified free of both internal and external parasites. Prior to use they should be given a complete physical exam. Normal physiological parameters for the most commonly used species are in this chapter. Depending upon the experimental design, it might be prudent to collect blood samples and establish normal hematological and/or serum enzyme levels for each individual animal used. Although these precautions can be time consuming and expensive, the costs are minimal when compared with the overall cost of conducting experiments where the results are suspect because the physical condition or general health of the subject animals is a problem.

One of the most neglected aspects of a physical examination conducted on animals used in research protocol is a history. Significant information can be gleaned by talking with observant animal care personnel about the appetite of the animal(s) and the character of the urine and feces. It is the responsibility of the principle investigator to ascertain that the animal care personnel are, in fact, observant and have been properly trained to record their observations appropriately for each individual animal or cage of grouped animals.


Malignant Hyperthermia Animal Care Facility Normal Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction External Parasite Serum Enzyme Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Gross
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary BiosciencesUniversity of Illinois, Urbana Champaign College of Veterinary MedicineUrbanaUSA

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