Nicolis, I. N., Beale, C. N., Bidot, W. A. et al. 2022. Performance and consistency of circulating warm water blankets for rodents. JAALAS 61(1), 96-100.
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by providing external heat support. The circulating warm water blanket and associated heat pump are often used in rodent procedures. The current study demonstrated that the heating pump and water blanket require quality control assessment to ensure adequate function. Our data showed that of the 6 pumps tested, 5 were able to achieve a temperature that met or exceeded the documented thermoneutral zone for mice. Pumps required 20 min of warming to reach their maximal attainable temperatures for the designated user setting. Although the pumps reached a temperature that was sufficient to provide external thermal support, only 1 of the 6 pumps reached the temperature that was set by the user during the trial. Surface temperatures across the water blanket were recorded to analyze whether a difference in heat support was influenced by animal placement along the water blanket; however, the location points did not yield statistically different results. Two pumps were eliminated from the study due to failure to pass the preparation phase of the trial. The results of this study support the need for facilities to establish quality control measures to ensure that heat support systems are functioning at a level required to maintain normothermia during anesthetic procedures.