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Laboratory Animal Handling Techniques – a Reach out to Researchers and Veterinary Scientists


The following are the experimental animal used regularly in biological scientific research:

  • Mouse
  • Rat
  • Rabbit


  • To comply with the Animal Welfare Ordinance and avoid mishandling of animal in research.
  • To provide basic concepts of animal handling technique to new animal user.
  • While offering our concept and techniques to animal users, we also encourage comments from experienced animal users. By doing so, we would enrich our knowledge in the field of laboratory animal research and further benefit animal welfare as well as the credibility of Research in University.

Laboratory Animal Handling Techniques for Rat as required for the following purposes:

  1. Intraperitoneal injection.
  2. Blood collection from tail vein.
  3. Blood collection from cardiac puncture.
  4. Oral feeding.
  5. Sexing.

Intraperitoneal Injection in Rat:

  • This is the most common method of administering drugs to rats.

Tools for intraperitoneal injection in Rat:

  • 75%  alcohol cotton ball for surface disinfection.
  • Medium sized towel for restraining the rat.
  • 25G 5/8” needle with 1cc syringe for injection.


    • Let the rat to relax on the top of the lid of rat cage.
    • The body of the rat is stretched by pulling up its tail and then covering the rat with a towel by left hand.
    • The skirts of towel are folded under the rat from all directions.
    • The left hind limb of the rat is grasped up to expose the abdomen.
    • The injection site should be in the lower left quadrant of the abdomen because vital organs are absent from this area.
    • Only the tip of the needle should penetrate the abdominal wall to prevent injection into the intestines.

Collection of blood from tail vein in Rat:

      • General anesthesia needed.
      • Small amount: 0.1-1 ml.

Tools for collection of blood from tail vein:

  • 75% alcohol cotton ball for surface disinfection.
        • 27G1/2” needle with 1 ml syringe for blood withdrawal.
        • A vial for blood collection.


  • Optimal site of blood withdrawal is around the distal one-third of the tail since this part of tail gives better visualization of the veins.
  • The tail is disinfected with 75% alcoholic cotton ball.
  • When the needle penetrates the epithelium of the tail, the plunger is pulled back a bit to create negative pressure inside the syringe, then the needle is pushed in the vein slowly until blood gets into the dead space of the needle head.
  • The plunger is pulled back by the ring finger to withdraw blood from the tail vein.
  • Using a scalpel a small wound is made on the tail which is also an option for collecting blood from tail vein.
  • Blood can be collected by using a pipette from the wounded region of the tail.

Collection of Blood from Cardiac puncture in Rat:

    • General anesthesia needed.
    • Large amount: up to 3% of body weight.

Tools for collection of blood from cardiac puncture:

      • 75% alcohol cotton ball for surface disinfection.
      • 24G needle with 10cc syringe for blood withdraw.
      • 15 cc centrifuge tube for blood collection.


  • The left thorax is first disinfected with 75% alcoholic cotton ball.
  • The point of maximum heart beat is then searched for.
  • The needle is inserted straight on the selected point and blood withdrawal is done by left hand.

Oral Feeding in Rat:

    • Feeding amount limited to 1% of body weight.

Tools for oral feeding in Rat:

        • 16 G ball-tipped feeding needle with syringe.
        • Leather glove.


  • The shoulders of the rat are restrained by thumb and index finger, then the lower limbs are supported with the right hand.
  • The tail of the rat is restrained in between ring finger and little finger.
  • The rat is let lie on left palm and then the ball-tipped feeding needle is introduced from the pharynx in to the esophagus when the rat is in the act of swallowing.

Sexing of Rat:

General condition to remember

The distance between the anal and genital orifices is greater in the male compared to the female rat.

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admin • April 22, 2016

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