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Housing laboratory dogs and rats

implications of physical and social activity

Spangenberg, Elin (2007). Housing laboratory dogs and rats. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2007:103
ISBN 978-91-85913-02-2
[Doctoral thesis]

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The major part of the life of laboratory animals is spent in their home cages/pens. Both dogs and rats are social, active, exploratory animals. Keeping them on a restricted area leads to limitations in activity. The aim of this thesis was to evaluate if increased physical and social activity in the home environment improves animal welfare. In study I, it was shown that male Beagle dogs increased their activity (steps/hour) and frequency of active behaviours when they had access to an outdoor kennel compared to when they were kept only indoors. Male Sprague Dawley rats were kept in several alternative housing systems for 4-10 weeks; a furnished pen (study II), two or four connected Makrolon type IV cages (study III), Enriched Rat Cage System and Scantainer NOVO cages (study IV), in groups of four (study III) or eight (studies II-IV) with control rats either housed individually (study II) or in pairs (studies III, IV) in standard cages. In study III half of the number of rats from each cage was given moderate treadmill exercise. The cage types in study IV were also tested in Spontaneously Hypertensive rats. Compared to controls, pen-housed rats had lower body weight, increased muscle oxidative capacity and strength and a more diverse behavioural pattern. The treadmill-trained rats had lower exercise blood lactate levels and greater endurance, lower body weight and plasma insulin levels and a greater relative heart weight compared to controls. Rats living in groups of four or eight performed better in an exercise test, had more social interactions and showed more activity in the Elevated Plus Maze compared to controls (study III). In study IV, rats of both strains showed a higher home cage activity with a greater variety of active behaviours in the alternative cages. This resulted in a lower lactate response and a greater endurance in an exercise test in both strains. The hypertensive rat model was not affected by the increased activity. In conclusion, the outdoor housing in dogs and all alternative housing systems tested in rats has lead to higher physical and social activity with positive implications for animal welfare.

Authors/Creators:Spangenberg, Elin
Title:Housing laboratory dogs and rats
Subtitle:implications of physical and social activity
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :October 2007
Number of Pages:57
ALLI. Spangenberg E.M.F., Björklund L., Dahlborn. K. Outdoor housing of laboratory dogs: effects on activity, behaviour and physiology. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 98 (2006) 260-276 II. Spangenberg E.M.F., Augustsson H., Dahlborn K., Essén-Gustavsson B., Cvek K. Housing-related activity in rats: effects on body weight, urinary corticosterone levels, muscle properties and performance. Laboratory Animals 39 (2005) 45-57 III. Spangenberg E.M.F., Dahlborn K., Essén-Gustavsson B., Cvek K. Effects of physical activity and group size on animal welfare in laboratory rats. (Submitted manuscript) IV. Spangenberg E.M.F., Dahlborn K., Essén-Gustavsson B., Remes C., Cvek K Effects of alternative housing systems on physical and social activity in male Sprague Dawley and Spontaneously Hypertensive rats. (Manuscript)
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Dept of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Associated Programs and Other Stakeholders:SLU - Research Areas for the Future > Future Animal Health and Welfare (until Jan 2017)
ISBN for printed version:978-91-85913-02-2
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:rats, dogs, laboratory animals, behaviour, physical activity, animal housing, animal welfare, sweden
Keywords:laboratory animals, housing conditions, physical activity, natural behaviours, animal welfare, dogs, rats, exercise test
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1591
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences
Deposited By: Elin Spangenberg
Deposited On:12 Oct 2007 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:13

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