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Metal Gavage Tubes Cause Significantly More Esophageal Inflammation in Mice Than Plastic Tubes

Poster: Comparison of Plastic and Metal Oral Gavage Needles in C57BL/6 Mice

A new study by BMS scientists highlights an animal welfare refinement to this common dosing procedure

Flexible plastic feeding tubes have been recommended as an animal welfare refinement over rigid metal tubes for rodent oral gavage for many years1,2 largely based on observations. A new study presented in October at the 2023 AALAS conference adds some data to support this recommendation.

All ten of ten C57BL/6 mice dosed with metal feeding needles once a day for five days showed esophageal inflammation and necrosis. In contrast, only one of ten mice dosed with plastic gavage tubes showed signs of inflammation.

The authors Jessica Herrod et al note, “When designing studies, researchers who require oral gavage dosing in mice should consider using flexible polypropylene gavage needles to improve animal welfare. Furthermore, the potential for systemic inflammation and the impact on data should be considered when selecting which type of gavage needle to use.”

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1 Refining Procedures for The Administration of Substances, Laboratory Animals, 2000.
2 NC3Rs, Procedures With Care