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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Animal Welfare Enhancement Awards - 2005 Recipients

Prior to the use of individually ventilated cage (IVC) systems for mice, cages were often changed at least weekly.  It is now standard practice with these systems to extend cage changing intervals up to 3 weeks.  The choice of when cages are changed is often not based on animal preference or concern for animal well-being but instead based on cage type, bedding type and cost.  We performed a simple preference test in groups of mice that allowed them to choose between an unsoiled cage, and a cage that they had soiled for 1-day, 7-days and 14-days.  The mice preferred the unsoiled cage when evaluating both nest position and dwelling time.  Younger mice (<150 days) showed a stronger preference for the unsoiled cage.  This study raises the question of whether prolonged cage changing intervals are acceptable for mice.  Further studies are needed to determine the strength of preference in mice for cage changing intervals and to determine if extended cage changing intervals impact mice in a negative way.
Dr. Tamara Godbey, DVM
Acting Associate Director
Animal Care Centre
6199 South Campus Road
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC  V6T 1W5
604-822-6283 Off
604-822-6696 Dir
604-822-3505 Fax