Technician Roundtable

Technician Roundtable

Contact: Email [email protected] if interested in attending

            Date & Time: April 22nd  @ 1pm

            Location: Virtual

            Talk: Kati Marshall (OHSU)


Mouse Handling With Tunnels – An OHSU West Campus Experience

The Small Laboratory Animal Unit at the Oregon Health & Science University West Campus houses 1,000 mice. Approximately 20% of our census are immunocompromised including NSG™ mice, a severely immunodeficient model generally unable to fight off infections. In 2016, we observed a significant increase in skin lesion reported in this population; 19 cases reported in a 6-month window versus our typical annual caseload of 1-2 cases. Two factors potentially contributing to the increase included a new staff member and the introduction of Staphylococcus xylosus. This challenge provided our team with an amazing new opportunity! Recently, the Unit Manager traveled overseas on an AAALAC International Fellowship Award, where she visited various facilities in and around London. There, she was introduced to an NC3Rs 2010 study discussing moving mice from dirty to clean cages by using tunnels or hands. The study showed that using hands or tunnels was less aversive for mice than using forceps, and resulted in fewer stress behaviors observed after cage change. Following this experience, in May 2017, the SLAU obtained both IACUC and Principal Investigator approval to implement tunnels as part of the cage change process for our immunocompromised mice. We made no other changes to the husbandry of the room, staff, nor to the researchers utilizing the room. We continued making clinical observations looking, in particular looking for additional skin lesions. An analysis of cases from May through November 2017 showed a 100% reduction in skin lesion cases. A more recent check in May 2019 showed that no further skin lesions have been observed in the NSG mice. Due to the success in implementation of tunnels in our immunocompromised room, we’ve expanded to make this our standard model for mouse husbandry across the facility.