Reifenrath, J., Heider, M., Kempfert, M. et al. 2022. Buprenorphine in rats: Potent analgesic or trigger for fatal side effects? Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 64(1), 37.

With ongoing animal welfare efforts, multimodal analgesia is often recommended to implement in study protocols. Buprenorphine with very potent analgesic effect is a standard opioid for the use in this context in rats. In this study, two rat strains (LEW/NHanZtm, n = 6 and Crl:CD(SD), n = 8) underwent orthopaedic surgery and received carprofen, buprenorphine and a local anaesthetic in a multimodal setup. Crl:CD(SD) rats showed severe side effects in the first 24 h after anaesthesia, predominantly manifesting in pica-behaviour and reaching humane endpoints in two of eight animals, while LEW/NHanZtm rats showed only slight depression in the first postoperative days. In the context of improving animal welfare in experimental studies, buprenorphine is highly recommended not to be used in male Crl:CD(SD) rats and should generally be used very carefully and only if required.

Animal Type