Working with animals carries legal, scientific and ethical responsibilities. These responsibilities merge as we strive to humanely use the least number of animals necessary to provide the most robust scientific data possible. Attention to animal welfare not only serves the interest of the animal, it also minimizes negative impact of animal distress on the scientific results. Decreasing the confounding effects of stress on experimental results not only leads to more valid results, it can also lead to less variability and thus result in the need for fewer animals in a study.
This presentation will review some of the biologic effects of stress and discuss stressors which may be present in a study and strategies to refine our work with animals to mitigate those stressors. The details of experimental refinements must be included in reporting scientific results to maximize scientific reproducibility.