FEB 05, 2015 06:00 AM PST

Improving the Post-Operative Recovery of Rodents through Nutrition and Enrichment

  • Director of Nutrition and Quality Operations, Bio-Serv
      Dr. Jaime Lecker received her BS in Food Science from the Pennsylvania State University. She then worked as a Food Scientist in research and development at National Starch and Chemical Co. for two years before pursuing her graduate degree in Nutrition. She received her MS and PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism from Tufts University. Dr. Lecker was a member of the Cardiovascular Nutrition laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University where her research focused on dietary fatty acids and atherosclerosis in animal models. She conducted her dissertation research in lipid metabolism, and investigated the mechanisms by which dietary fatty acid profile and cholesterol status alter cholesterol and lipoprotein metabolism. Currently Dr. Lecker is the Director of Nutrition and Quality Operations at Bio-Serv where she focuses on initiatives to expand Bio-Serv's nutritional products and diets, works with researchers to develop custom diets to facilitate reliable research outcomes, and provides guidance for critical care and special needs diets for laboratory animals.


    Laboratory animal surgical models are instrumental in biomedical research; therefore establishing healthy defined animal models is crucial to this research. Surgical procedures produce metabolic changes and stress in animals, which can delay recovery and increase morbidity. A goal of post-operative care is to minimize stress in the animal, thereby improving the ability of the animal to heal and recover. Nutritional supplementation and enrichment have been demonstrated to play a role in improving the post-operative recovery of rodents. Proper nutrition and the administration of post-operative diets and appetite stimulants are critical to laboratory animal recovery and survival post-surgery in order to minimize weight and protein loss and ultimately help the animal maintain body weight and return to a normal metabolic state. An overview of the metabolic effects of surgery on rodent metabolism will be presented. Post-surgical nutritional support, stress-free oral dosing methods, edible enrichment for post-operative monitoring, as well as the rational for including these refinements in rodent surgical procedures will be discussed.

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