Instech Blog

Rat Vascular Access Port Is Being Used “Off-Label” with Other Species

Including Ferrets, Hamsters, Rabbits and Minipigs

Ferrets and hamsters are receiving extra attention for their role in coronavirus research

Ferrets and hamsters are receiving extra attention for their role in coronavirus research.

Our team has developed the Vascular Access Button™ (VAB™) over the past ten years, working closely with our customers in pharmaceutical research laboratories, to improve blood sampling and IV dosing in rats and mice. We did not expect the VAB™ to be useful in other species, and so we have been surprised at our customers’ creativity and perseverance:

  • The US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center used the rat VAB™ for repeated, low-stress blood sampling from ferrets. 14 of 16 jugular vein catheters remained patent for 21 days, and the animals were able to be group housed thanks to the protective metal cap.
  • Our customers have successfully used the mouse VAB™ in hamsters (though we are not aware of any posters or presentations).
  • Bristol Myers Squibb presented at the 2019 Academy of Surgical Research meeting and the 2020 University of Pennsylvania Laboratory Animal Research Symposium on the surgical technique and results of using the rat VAB™ for serial blood sampling from rabbits, and noted that the technique was less stressful on the animals and the technicians compared to the standard method of sampling from the ear.
  • Both Ellegaard Gottigen Minipigs in Denmark and Frontage Laboratories in Ohio have presented on use of the rat VAB™ for dosing and sampling in minipigs.

Some VAB™ features do not carry over to these other species - for example, a rat tether for continuous infusion will not work on a larger animal, and minipigs make short work of the standard protective cap for group housing - but the ability to take low-stress repeated blood samples from an implanted catheter with extended patency has pushed our customers to become creative. If you have used the VAB™ on species not mentioned here, please let us know.

Learn more about the Vascular Access Button™