Instech Blog

What to Do When You Need Catheterized Rodents But You Don’t Have a Surgeon On Staff

group housed catheterized miceCatheterized rats and mice can be useful for a range of studies. Perhaps you need to inject a compound intravenously over several minutes or hours, even continuously—too long to restrain the animal for a tail vein injection. Perhaps you want to infuse directly into the stomach, or sample bile. Or perhaps you need nice clean blood samples without the stress caused by acute techniques, such as direct puncture of the tail, saphenous, sublingual or jugular veins, or retro-orbital bleeds.

To do the surgeries in house you’ll need a trained surgeon with a steady hand, a dedicated surgical area with specialized surgical tools and microscopes, and SOPs to ensure aseptic technique. If it is a new procedure you will need the time and extra animals to practice. Resources are available to develop your in-house capabilities, such as the Instech Virtual Training Program the René Remie Surgical Skills Centre in Europe, but unless you will need surgically-modified animals on a regular basis, this may not make sense for you.

Fortunately, in the US and Europe, several animal vendors offer catheterization as a surgical service. Their surgeons operate every day, which keeps their skills sharp. They often work in an assembly line which can minimize the amount of time the animal spends under anesthesia. They have dedicated surgical suites and operate under aseptic conditions. They also take the time to refine and optimize surgical procedures.

Surgical Services Providers

Surgery can add significantly to the cost of an animal, from $30 for a simple rat catheterization to $100 or more for a mouse catheterization. But, the animals will arrive recovered from surgery and ready to use after acclimation. Compared to the cost, time and space required to maintain surgical expertise in house, having your animal vendor perform catheterizations is usually a no brainer.

See our surgical services providers guide for more information.