Xie, W., Palme, R., Schafmayer, C. et al. 2021. Distress analysis of mice with cervical arteriovenous fistulas. Animals 11(11), 3051.

The welfare of laboratory animals is a consistent concern for researchers. Its evaluation not only fosters ethical responsibility and addresses legal requirements, but also provides a solid basis for a high quality of research. Recently, a new cervical arteriovenous model was created in mice to understand the pathophysiology of arteriovenous fistula, which is the most commonly used access for hemodialysis. This study evaluates the distress caused by this new animal model. Ten male C57B6/J mice with cervical arteriovenous fistula were observed for 21 days. Non-invasive parameters, such as body weight, faecal corticosterone metabolites, burrowing activity, nesting activity and distress scores were evaluated at each time point. Six out of ten created arteriovenous fistula matured within the observation time as defined by an increased diameter. The body weight of all animals was reduced after surgery but recovered within five days. In addition, the distress score was significantly increased during the early time point but not at the late time point after arteriovenous fistula creation. Neither burrowing activity nor nesting behaviour were significantly reduced after surgical intervention. Moreover, faecal corticosterone metabolite concentrations did not significantly increase. Therefore, the cervical murine arteriovenous fistula model induced moderate distress in mice and revealed an appropriate maturation rate of the fistulas.

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