Simpson, D. 2017. Investigation of transportation on rat acclimatisation using novel cage side recording equipment (Rodent Big Brother). Animal Technology and Welfare 16(1), 1-12.
The transportation of animals from supplier to experimental facility is one of the biggest stressors to animals in research. Transportation unavoidably causes stress and when the animals arrive at the testing facility they require a period of acclimatisation, which is not consistently applied within the laboratory animal industry. This study investigated the time it takes, after transportation, for rat behaviour to return to normal levels. The parameters investigated in this study were bodyweight, behaviour and cage position. Rodent Big Brother (RBB) is a novel system being developed as an automatic monitoring of animal behaviour in rats using an approach to measure activity and temperature in group housed animals. This study investigated the acclimatisation period using the RBB system and formed part of the validation of the system. Although these results do not show any statistical significant difference the graphs do show that there are important changes in the bodyweight, behaviour and positioning in the cage of animals over the seven days acclimatisation period after transportation. Based on the data analysed in this study a five day acclimatisation period after 6 hours of transportation would be suitable prior to putting male Han Wistar rats onto study, but it must be remembered that bodyweight may never return to the same place on the growth curve before dispatch.