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Painful Procedures List

Painful Procedures used in Research Laboratory Animals

The IACUC has reviewed commonly performed procedures and has classified those procedures into pain categories.

Pain Category B (breeding and housing)

  • Breeding only
  • Housing only

Pain Category C (momentary pain or distress)

  • Alert animals (behavioral observation or brief restraint)
  • Anesthetize and release for non-invasive procedures (e.g., imaging, bandage change)
  • Change in environmental parameters (e.g., diet, light cycle, room temperature if within thermoneutral zone)
  • Chemical carcinogen use (e.g., BrdU)
  • Euthanasia with or without tissue/organ harvest
  • Food restriction that results in weight loss of <20% of normal age-matched controls
  • Gavage
  • Irradiation (sublethal or with reconstitution)
  • Non-surgical collection of body fluids (blood, urine, etc.) unless otherwise categorized
  • Radioisotope use
  • Simple injections (IP, IV, SubQ, etc.)
  • Tail biopsy for genotyping prior to or at weaning
  • Use as a parasitic host

Pain Category D (more than momentary pain or distress for which appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing drugs will be used)

  • Antibody production:  polyclonal (non-ascites, no footpad injections)
  • Burns
  • Diagnostic procedures  (e.g, laparoscopy, needle biopsy)
  • Electric shock with escape
  • Introduction of illness (including the administration of toxins, microbiological agents, clincal transgenic phenotypes) with pain relief
  • Lavage
  • Non-survival surgery
  • Physical trauma
  • Survival surgery
  • Tail biopsy for genotyping on post-weaning animals
  • Toxic substances use (e.g., streptozotocin, MPTP, cisplatin, doxycyline)
  • Transgenic mouse production (embryo manipulations to produce novel strains, etc.)
  • Tumor induction or implantation without metastasis
  • Exposure of skin to UV light to induce sunburn with pain relief
  • Exposure of blood vessels for catheterization
  • Exsanguination or transcardial perfusion under anesthesia
  • Forced exercise

Pain Category E (more than momentary pain or distress for which appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing agents are not used)

  • Antibody production:  ascites
  • Death as an Endpoint or lethal dose studies
  • Euthanasia by procedures not approved by AVMA Guidelines
  • Exposure to extreme environmental temperatures
  • Food restriction that results in weight loss of >20% of normal age-matched controls
  • Food or water deprivation beyond that which is necessary for ordinary pre-surgical preparation
  • Footpad injections (antibody production or microorganism)
  • Genetically engineered animals with phenotype that causes pain or distress that will not or cannot be alleviated
  • Housing outside thermoneutral zone
  • Induction of arthritis with prolonged pain and discomfort
  • Induction of illness (including the administration of toxins, microbiological agents without pain relief)
  • Noxious stimuli from which there is no escape, including electric shock
  • Ocular or skin irritancy tests
  • Pain study
  • Paralysis
  • Total body irradiation (lethal or without reconstitution)
  • Tumor production or implantation with metastasis
  • Unusual or prolonged restraint (e.g., pie chamber, chair – 30 minutes or more in a conscious animal)
  • Use of housing outside thermoneutral zone
  • Withholding of post-operative analgesia for any surgical procedure for which analgesia is typically given