Bailey, C. 2017. Refinements in housing during data capture in long term Safety Pharmacology dogs. Animal Technology and Welfare 16(2), 147-149.
Dogs are individually housed when collecting data for ECG studies to avoid any cross talk between transmitted signals (generally for a 24 hour recording period). Each implant is set at a certain frequency which transmits via radio frequency. Implants with similar frequencies in close proximity would interfere and confuse data. Individual housing can cause additional stress to dogs. Dogs that have been singly housed for periods of time have shown signs of separation anxiety such as pacing, salivation, vocalising and a reduction of food consumption. All of which can mask effects on the study and hinder the welfare of the dogs. In 2016 we upgraded to the new Digital DSI telemetry system which enabled us to collect cardiovascular data from paired housed dogs as the new implants are no longer connected via radio frequencies. Therefore allowing the possibility of pair housing telemetry animals and potentially reducing the effects of separation anxiety. The main objective was to find out if pair housing could reduce signs of separation anxiety during study. There were concerns about pair housing such as positive interaction between the dogs which may affect data results from excitement being misinterpreted as a cardio vascular effect. The pair-housed dogs were calmer in the pen and also when brought to the anteroom for procedural work, such as dosing and blood sampling. Positive interaction such as playing and sharingbeds was also seen. The ECG data obtained from the pair-housed dogs is similar to the data obtained from single-housed dogs. This allows us to feel confident that the pair housing can only benefit the welfare of the dogs and not hinder data capture.