Moore, E. S., Cleland, T. A., Williams, W. O. et al. 2017. Comparing phlebotomy by tail tip amputation, facial vein puncture, and tail vein incision in C57BL/6 mice by using physiologic and behavioral metrics of pain and distress. JAALAS 56(3), 307-317.

Tail tip amputation with minimal restraint is not widely used for mouse phlebotomy. In part, this infrequency may reflect policies influenced by tail tip amputation procedures for genotyping, which involve greater handling and tissue removal. To assess tail tip amputation with minimal restraint as a phlebotomy technique, we compared it with 2 more common methods: scruffing with facial vein puncture and lateral tail vein incision with minimal restraint. Blood glucose levels, audible and ultrasonic vocalizations, postphlebotomy activity and grooming behavior, open field and elevated plus maze behaviors, nest-building scores, and histologic changes at the phlebotomy site were evaluated. Mice in the facial vein phlebotomy group produced more audible vocalizations, exhibited lower postphlebotomy activity in the open field, and had more severe histologic changes than did mice in the tail incision and tail tip amputation groups. Facial vein phlebotomy did not affect grooming behavior relative to sham groups, whereas tail vein incision—but not tail tip amputation—increased tail grooming compared with that in control mice. Blood glucose levels, nest-building scores, and elevated plus maze behavior did not differ between groups, and no mice in any group produced ultrasonic vocalizations. Tail tip amputation mice did not perform differently than sham mice in any metric analyzed, indicating that this technique is a potentially superior method of blood collection in mice in terms of animal wellbeing.

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