FEB 07, 2018 10:30 AM PST

Evaluation of Analgesia Efficacy in Postoperative Mice Using Novel Cage-Side Measures

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  • Associate Attending Veterinarion for Performance Standards and Enrichment, University of Michigan Medical School
      Jennifer Lofgren, DVM, MS, DACLAM is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, where she provides clinical veterinary support, protocol review, mentorship, and lecture support to residents. Dr. Lofgren also serves as the Associate Attending Veterinarian of Practice Standards and Enrichment and as the Faculty Advisor for the Enrichment and Social Housing Committee, where she helps animal use protocols meet or exceed laboratory animal science standards and regulations to achieve scientifically sound animal welfare excellence.

      In partnership with fellow U-M faculty veterinarian Dr. Jean Nemzek, Dr. Lofgren founded the Refinement & Enrichment Advancements Laboratory (REAL) at the U-M in 2015. As one of the country's only laboratories dedicated to optimizing biomedical research efforts through improved animal well-being, REAL seeks to understand the relationship between the animal's lived experience and scientific results. As part of this work, Dr. Lofgren has received three grants, including both the American College Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM Foundation) and the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (GLAS), to support nociceptive and behavioral research to identify pain behaviors and effective alleviation of pain in rodent species.

      Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Dr. Lofgren completed a visiting research fellowship at Newcastle University, where she learned how to conduct scientifically rigorous studies that isolate and evaluate pain behavior in rodents. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine in 2011 after completing post-doctoral training in Comparative Medicine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at MIT, Dr. Lofgren engaged in infectious disease and cancer research, as well as refining husbandry and veterinary care to improve animal welfare. Dr. Lofgren completed a dual degree Masters in Comparative Biomedical Sciences and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University.


    The ability to rapidly and accurately identify pain in mice is critical for providing them optimal care and welfare. To meet this need, we developed and validated the Grooming Transfer Test (GTT) and Nest Consolidation Test (NCT). We assessed these novel tests along with electronic von Frey and ambulatory parameters at baseline, after isoflurane anesthesia +/- analgesia, and after laparotomy in adult CD1 and C57BL/6 mice of both sexes, housed singly with or without an existing nest or in pairs. While ambulatory parameters had no and von Frey responses minimal significant changes after surgery, GTT and NCT were significantly altered for 48 hours after surgery in both sexes, strains, and across the various housing conditions. Buprenorphine and carprofen each reduced post-operative pain, however only the combination of the two completely prevented delays in nesting behavior. Therefore, these two novel cage-side methods can be used to quickly and objectively identify mice from a variety of signalments and housing conditions with alleviated and unalleviated postoperative pain. 

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