Bailey, K. T., Jantre, S. R., Lawrence, F. R. et al. 2022. Evaluation of active warming and surgical draping for perioperative thermal support in laboratory mice. JAALAS 61(5), 482-494.

Surgical procedures are commonly performed using mice but can have major effects on their core body temperature, including development of hypothermia. In this study, we evaluated active perioperative warming with and without surgical draping with adherent plastic wrap to refine practices, improve animal welfare, and optimize research experiments. Mice were randomized into treatment groups (n = 6; 8 CD1 mice per group). Treatments included placement within a small-animal forced-air incubator at 38 ° C for 30 min before surgery (Pre), after surgery (Post), or before and after surgery (Both). To explore the effect of surgical draping, one group received incubator warming before and after surgery in addition to surgical draping (Both/ Drape), whereas another group received surgical draping only without incubator warming (Control/Drape). The final group of mice received neither warming nor draping (Control). Subcutaneous temperature transponders were placed in all mice. Approximately 5 d after transponder placement, mice were anesthetized with ketamine–xylazine and underwent laparotomy. Subcutaneous body temperatures were collected perioperatively from transponders, and rectal temperatures were taken every minute during surgery. For recovery from anesthesia, mice were placed either in a standard cage on a warm water blanket set to 38 °C (100.4 °F) or in the incubator. Subcutaneous body temperatures were significantly higher in mice prewarmed for 30 min (Pre, Both, Both/Drape) as compared with mice that were not prewarmed. Anesthetic recovery times were significantly longer for mice placed in the incubator (Pre, Post, Both, Both/Drape) than for those that did not receive incubator warming (Control, Control/Drape). Mean intraoperative rectal temperatures of Both/Drape mice tended to be greater than those of mice in the Both group, suggesting a warming benefit of surgical draping. Using a forced air incubator and adherent plastic draping mitigated body temperature loss in mice during both surgery and postoperative recovery.

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