Fitchett, A., Judge, S., Morris, C. 2011. Using olive oil to orally dose laboratory rats. Animal Technology and Welfare 10(1), 39-41.
Many compounds are orally administered to laboratory rats using the gavage technique. This technique is stressful for the animal and can cause injury or death if performed incorrectly. Often compounds are suspended in food oils such as corn oil for gavaging. We have found that rats will voluntarily lick a range of food oils from a plastic syringe after minimal training and will maintain this behaviour over a number of weeks. We believe this constitutes a significant refinement of the gavage technique as it reduces animals' stress and chances of injury.