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Preoperative Preparations: Area and Animal Health


Prepping Steps: Shaving, Scrubbing, Positioning, and Draping


Intra and Postoperative Procedures





Considerations for Rodent Surgery

Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals1 dictates that rodent survival surgery be performed aseptically. Aseptic technique utilizes specific practices that minimize the contamination of the surgical site, including patient preparation, surgeon preparation, sterilization of instruments and other supplies, and the use of a clean and controlled environment. Presurgical planning, intraoperative monitoring, and postoperative care are essential for successful recovery of animals from survival surgeries.

1.  Presurgical Planning

Although the guidelines do not require that rodent surgeries be performed in a dedicated surgical facility, the area used must be sanitized with an appropriate hard surface disinfectant, which should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's listed concentrations and contact times. The area should also be kept free of clutter, and not be in the direct line of the supply and exhaust ducts, as the drafts could contribute to hypothermia of the animal. Access to

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Through the use of aseptic technique, the incidence of postsurgical infection is greatly curtailed. Minimizing tissue trauma during the procedure, taking precautions to prevent hypothermia, controlling postoperative pain and discomfort, and the use of nutritional supplements until the animal is able to ambulate normally will all reduce the extent of negative metabolic responses to the surgical process and increase the probability of a successful survival surgery.

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  1. Institute for the Laboratory Animal Research. 2011. Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals, 8th ed. Washington (DC): National Academies Press.
  2. Bernal, J., Baldwin, M., Gleason, T., Kuhlman, S., Moore. G., and Talcott, M. 2009. Guidelines for Rodent Survival Surgery. Journal of Investigative Surgery. 22. 445-451
  3. Brauer, A., Perl, T., Uyanik , Z., English, M.J.M. ,Weyland, W., and Braun, U. 2004. Perioperative thermal insulation: minimal clinically important differences? British Journal of Anaesthesia 92:6. 836-840
  4. Guidelines for Survival Rodent Surgery.  Accessed 11/11/15
  5. Eakin, K., Rowe, R.K., and Lifshitz, J. 2015. Modeling Fluid Percussion Injury
    Relevance to Human Traumatic Brain Injury in Neurotrauma: Molecular, Neuropsychological, and Rehabilitation Aspects. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  6. Rodent Anesthesia and Analgesia. The University of British Columbia. Retrieved from


Rodent Surgery

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