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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Animal Welfare Enhancement Awards

2008 Award Recipients

Use of an aquarium containing live fish to reduce stereotypic behaviors in singly-housed macaques

Andrew Glenn BA 
Enrichment Supervisor/Primate Center Manager

Stereotypic behavior (SB) is a common problem in laboratory nonhuman primates, particularly those that were raised in social isolation or are individually housed.  SB consists of monotonously repetitive behavior that has no purpose.  Negative effects of SB include self injurious behavior, absence of species-specific behavior, and abnormal neural development. SB is difficult to eradicate once established.  Social housing and positive reinforcement training are the 2 most effective interventions but may be impossible, either due to the needs of the scientific protocol or the lack of compatible cage mates.  Other interventions, such as cage enrichments (toys) have also been used in an effort to reduce SB, however they are typically effective only if performance of the SB is incompatible with toy manipulation.  We have observed many of our group housed Rhesus Macaques (M. mulatta) playing in water and enthusiastically retrieving articles from paddling pools. Further, pigtail macaques (M. nemestrina) are known to use fishing as a food source in the wild. Therefore we expect that observation of live fish in aquaria will provide compelling entertainment for our macaques.  In this project, we will add observation of aquaria containing live fish to our environmental enrichment program and systematically assess whether it reduces SB in 8 singly-housed macaques with previously existing SB.  If successful this will become an important component in our environmental enrichment program for macaques with SB.

Alternatives to oral gavage in mice

Dean J. Kleinhenz and C. Michael Hart
Atlanta VA Medical Center and Emory University

Oral gavage is a reliable method to administer drugs to mice. Current methods to administer drugs by gavage involve restraining the animal, inserting a gavage tube into the mouth and esophagus, and delivering a set amount of treatment. Although this method is effective in delivering the drug, the technique is difficult and takes time to perfect. Side effects to the mouse can also occur which include potential injury to the esophagus and oropharyngeal tissues, aspiration of the treatment into the lung, and stress to the animal from the procedure. This proposal will explore alternative methods to reliably deliver treatments to mice, thus avoiding the physical and emotional stresses of the traditional gavage procedure. In these studies, we will explore 3 possible techniques to deliver a set amount of treatment to the mouse.  These include 1) training, 2) modification of a syringe tip, and 3) drug embedded in small amounts of tempting food.  Once these techniques have been performed we will have information showing the feasibility of alternate methods which will alleviate physiological and psychological stress in the mouse.

Noise Exposure during rodent inter-institutional air shipments

Eric A. Syversen
Rodent Import/Export/Quarantine Supervisor
Johns Hopkins University

Our goal is to characterize noise that is experienced by rodents during typical air shipments.  Mice are frequently air-shipped from vendors or collaborators to the research facility, however there are few data available on the nature or extent of noise exposure during shipment.  Given the potential for noise to affect subsequent research, this information is crucial. Therefore we propose a study to monitor noise during a typical return air shipment from our East Coast institution to the West Coast using our customary rodent shippers.  We have already obtained verbal agreement from both our regular ground shipper and our air freight forwarder to provide transport for the sound meter and technician for this study.  Data will be obtained over two trips from our East Coast institution to two separate West Coast institutions, and back, via air travel.  The data will be downloaded from the noise data-logger onto a laptop provided by Johns Hopkins Research Animal Resources for both trips.