Jang, Y., Park, Y. E., Yun, C.-W. et al. 2016. The vest-collar as a rodent collar to prevent licking and scratching during experiments. Laboratory Animals 50(4), 296-304.
Various types of restraint collars have been used for research animals, and the Elizabethan collar (E-collar) is the most commonly used. However, animals can be choked by the E-collar or they tend to remove it; furthermore, repeated rubbing and scratching of the collar may chafe the neck. We developed a new restraint collar with a vest to overcome these limitations. The vest-collar (V-collar) can be worn similarly to a vest, in contrast to the E-collar, which is fixed around the neck. A cone-shaped collar is attached to the vest in the V-collar and is made of Eva foam to surround the chest softly, accompanied by a transparent polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film for visibility. To evaluate the performance of the V-collar, we conducted experiments with mice wearing the V-collar and the E-collar. Both groups showed normal weight gain and food intake. Glucose and stress hormone levels showed no significant differences, and no stress-associated leukocyte profiles were observed during the experiments. However, despite the short experimental duration, more than half of the mice in the E-collar group showed injury to the skin on the neck, with increased thickness of the epidermal and keratin layers. Moreover, inflammatory cell counts were higher in the E-collar group than in the V-collar group. In conclusion, the V-collar, in contrast to the E-collar, does not cause skin injuries in animals and is thus beneficial for animals and investigators. Investigators can effectively use the V-collar to enhance laboratory animal welfare.