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High laboratory mouse pre-weaning mortality associated with litter overlap, advanced dam age, small and large litters

Morello, Gabriela M. and Hultgren, Jan and Capas-Peneda, Sara and Wiltshire, Marc and Thomas, Aurelie and Wardle-Jones, Hannah and Brajon, Sophie and Gilbert, Colin and Olsson, I. Anna S. (2020). High laboratory mouse pre-weaning mortality associated with litter overlap, advanced dam age, small and large litters. PLoS ONE. 15 , e0236290
[Journal article]

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Abstract

High and variable pre-weaning mortality is a persistent problem in laboratory mouse breeding. Assuming a modest 15% mortality rate across mouse strains, means that approximately 1 million more pups are produced yearly in the EU to compensate for those which die. This paper presents the first large study under practical husbandry conditions to determine the risk factors associated with mouse pre-weaning mortality. We analysed historical records from 219,975 pups from two breeding facilities, collected as part of their management routine and including information on number of pups born and weaned per litter, parents' age and identification, and dates of birth and death of all animals. Pups were counted once in their first week of life and at weaning, and once every one or two weeks, depending on the need for cage cleaning. Dead pups were recorded as soon as these were found during the daily cage screening (without opening the cage). It was hypothesized that litter overlap (i.e. the presence of older siblings in the cage when new pups are born), a recurrent social configuration in trio-housed mice, is associated with increased newborn mortality, along with advanced dam age, large litter size, and a high number and age of older siblings in the cage. The estimated probability of pup death was two to seven percentage points higher in cages with litter overlap compared to those without. Litter overlap was associated with an increase in death of the entire litter of five and six percentage points, which represent an increase of 19% and 103% compared to non-overlapped litters in the two breeding facilities, respectively. Increased number and age of older siblings, advanced dam age, small litter size (less than four pups born) and large litter size (over 11 pups born) were associated with increased probability of pup death.

Authors/Creators:Morello, Gabriela M. and Hultgren, Jan and Capas-Peneda, Sara and Wiltshire, Marc and Thomas, Aurelie and Wardle-Jones, Hannah and Brajon, Sophie and Gilbert, Colin and Olsson, I. Anna S.
Title:High laboratory mouse pre-weaning mortality associated with litter overlap, advanced dam age, small and large litters
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:15
Article number:e0236290
Number of Pages:15
ISSN:1932-6203
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-107791
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-107791
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0236290
Web of Science (WoS)000561793900001
ID Code:17580
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:22 Sep 2020 14:30
Metadata Last Modified:22 Sep 2020 14:31

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