The well-being of the animal and validity of the study are enhanced by proper management before the operative procedure.


Animal health status The health status of animals should be assessed before undergoing a surgical procedure. Evaluation of blood, urine, and feces can be helpful, depending on the animal species and health history of the animal or colony. Health assessments are usually conducted during a quarantine period when the animals are kept separate from conditioned animals. The quarantine period of random source animals is generally a few weeks duration, in part since these animals may need to be immunized against common infectious diseases. Purpose bred animals also require quarantine, but the period is much shorter.


Conditioning It is important that animals be provided a period of adaptation prior to undergoing surgical procedures. This allows the animal's physiologic and metabolic systems to stabilize to a new environment thereby minimizing risk of complications; this period also minimizes the effects of uncontrolled environmental influences on the results obtained from the experimental protocol.


Animal stress Investigators and research staff should be familiar with the normal behavior of the species and recognize abnormal behaviors. Since distress can alter experimental results, efforts should be targeted to reduce stresses associated with survival surgery, prolonged studies, confinement, and chronic pain.


Proper handling and restraint will help prevent injury and minimize stress, to both the animal and personnel! Consultation with the veterinarian is advised.