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Could Non-Invasive Identification be Remarkable for LAS?

Is there an opportunity for new, non-invasive identification methods in your lab animal research? Opportunities to enhance lab animal welfare, and lab animal science, are constantly presenting themselves in new ways. Do you want to stay on the cutting-edge?

In our webinar, “What’s Next? Unfinished Business for Lab Animal Care,” Steven Niemi, DVM, DACLAM, and Cindy A. Buckmaster, Ph.D., discuss these opportunities. What’s more, Steven Niemi discusses new, non-invasive tools to identify individual animal models that could improve lab animal science.

He explains how the current ways researchers identify individual lab animals are limited. Current practices are the use of tattoos and ear tags/punches. These options are acceptable, but Niemi doesn’t think animal researchers should settle for just “acceptable.”

Thoughtful Non-Invasive Alternatives to Increase Lab Animal Welfare

So, in the spirit of aiming for the stars, Niemi shares some suggestions for non-invasive identification tools that could take your research from just acceptable to incredible. And truly improve the well-being and quality of life for animal models.

Pattern Recognition

Niemi explains how new technology using artificial intelligence can identify animals by the patterns on their hair coats. Right now, wildlife research uses this technology to track various animals. Niemi suggests this could be beneficial for lab animal research. Especially for studying zebrafish.

Zebrafish are exceptionally valuable in LAS. But investigators and researchers face challenges distinguishing them as individuals. According to Niemi, investigators routinely house zebrafish in group tanks, which is great for socialization but could limit accuracy.

Using pattern recognition could help investigators more easily distinguish between zebrafish while improving their accuracy.

Facial Recognition Software

You have probably heard all about facial recognition software, either on the news or on social media. But have you ever considered the possibilities this type of technology could have on the lab animal science community?

Niemi suggests it might be an alternative, non-invasive way to track non-human primates. We presume those animals already distinguish different facial features from each other. Maybe facial recognition technology could help researchers better differentiate them, without resorting to using permanent markings.

Niemi ends this topic by saying, “food for thought.” We don’t know if facial recognition software would work perfectly in identifying non-human primates. But it’s certainly worth discussing.

How Utilizing Non-Invasive Identification Methods Aligns With the 3Rs

As the industry moves towards replacement, reduction, and refinement, more and more opportunities for advancement appear.¹ And as Niemi explains, gold standards in lab animal science are ever-evolving, constantly changing, and in need of scrutiny.

One way to refine animal research could be adjusting the current ways we track and identify animal models, such as ear tags and tattoos, to the non-invasive strategies that Niemi presented. And this is just one innovative way to refine research and improve animal well-being.

More From Our Webinar: Genetics Impact How Severe Infectious Diseases Can Be

Another topic Niemi uncovers in this webinar is how research shows that genetics can play a big part in how people experience symptoms of diseases.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in more discussion about ways to improve lab animal science, watch our latest webinar.


¹ Zemanova, Miriam A. “Towards More Compassionate Wildlife Research through the 3RS Principles: Moving from Invasive to Non-Invasive Methods.” BioOne Complete, Nordic Board for Wildlife Research.

Expert Tips for the Best Analgesic Plan in Animal Research

If you’re passionate about the well-being of your animal models, you have probably considered using an analgesic plan in your research. It’s an effective way to reduce and minimize pain in animal subjects.

So, does your particular study warrant the use of pain management? Or, if you’re already using analgesics in your animal research, are you applying the best practices? If you’re unsure, the former Chair of AAALAC International Board of Directors, Dr. Hilton Klein, has some advice for you.

Hilton KleinDr. Klein discusses the subject in our webinar, Current Practices for the Use of Analgesics in Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Emphasis on Rodents and Nonhuman Primates.

Here is a breakdown of Dr. Klein’s best practices when it comes to using analgesics in laboratory animal science.

The Welfare of Your Animal Models

If you’re considering using analgesics in your lab animal study, Dr. Klein explains that animal welfare should be your primary concern. Analgesics can vastly improve the comfort and well-being of animal models, making your research more humane.

You might avoid prescribing pain medicine because it could interfere with your study by creating more opportunities for variables, which is a valid concern. However, Klein explains how a well-made analgesic plan will reduce the risk of inaccuracy in your study.

He suggests, that if you’re going to be prescribing a pain management strategy, you should apply it to your control animals. Then, issues around the analgesic should come out in your markers and readouts.

Klein understands this isn’t an end-all solution. However, it’s worth discussing for the sake of animal welfare.

Accurately Prescribing Analgesics in Your Study

When creating an analgesic plan, it’s critical that you accurately prescribe the strength and quantity of the medication. For the welfare of your animal models, your medication regimen must properly address the specific nature of your study.

For example, inserting a catheter is a relatively quick procedure, with some discomfort. So, your analgesic prescription should be relatively mild. For studies that involve more invasive procedures, you should increase your analgesic accordingly.

Overall, you need to make sure your analgesic plan accurately reduces pain and improves animal welfare. To do so, you need to evaluate the potential types of pain and lengths of pain that might be associated with your study.

Make Sure Your Analgesic Plan is Realistic

Lastly, if you decide to use analgesics in your study, Dr. Klein urges you to make sure your plan is realistic. Here’s what you need to consider.

Can you actually comply with the dosing regimen you create? For example, if you plan on administering a pain medication every four hours, someone will need to administer pain medication at 2 am, which might not be practical.

So, to better execute your plan, consider the operational hours of your facility, the staffing, and the number of animals you use. Then, you can make the best decision for your exact needs.

More From Our Webinar: Dr. Hilton Klein Recommends Comparative Medicine

Dr. Klein suggests keeping the Special Topic Issue of Comparative Medicine nearby. It’s a great resource for all biomedical research professionals.

Watch the Full Webinar Now

What You Can Do Right Now to Implement and Advance the 3Rs

Refinement, Reduction, and Replacement are a key part of humane animal research and quality science. However, implementing 3Rs practices can be exceptionally challenging especially when working independently.

The North American 3Rs Collaborative is a non-profit organization whose sole mission is to advance science, innovation, and animal welfare research through collaborative 3Rs initiatives. They strategize in identifying and promoting these techniques that have strong evidence, substantial impact, and real-world practicality that bounds scientific research to forward progress. All their initiatives focus on learning from and collaborating with the experts across our industry, academia, and government.

On Tuesday, February 22, Dr. Megan LaFollette of The North American 3Rs Collaborative took us behind the scenes of the NA3RsC and provided an overview of available and useable 3Rs resources that lab animal pros can begin applying in their own research environments right away. Every day, Dr. LaFollette and team are dedicated to helping researchers and staff to increase safe and thoughtful implementation of practical and evidence-based 3Rs techniques.

Dr. LaFollette has her PhD in Animal Behavior and Well-Being from Purdue University where she also obtained a Master of Science in Animal Welfare. As Program Manager of the non-profit, she facilitates all the NA3RsC’s 6 key initiatives including refinement, rodent health monitoring, translational digital biomarkers, microphysiological systems, compassion fatigue, and a brand new 3Rs certification course.

Click here to watch our webinar for details on NA3RsC’s groundbreaking collection of 3Rs resources that you can use to do your part in advancing science, human, and animal welfare.

Dr. Norm Guilloud: Innovator in Lab Animal Science

Chances are that you’ve met, worked with, or heard of Laboratory Animal Science Pioneer, Norman B. Guilloud, DVM. No matter where your familiarity lies, Dr. Guilloud’s story is one worth telling and his dedication to animal welfare and scientific discovery is nothing less than remarkable.

60 years’ experience in contemporary practices in animal health, care, and use. Norm’s prestigious career includes being the very first Attending Veterinarian at prominent institutions such as Princeton University and the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center.

After graduation from Texas A&M University’s Vet School in 1960, Norm practiced veterinary medicine in Dallas for two years then was drafted into the Army Veterinary Corps and stationed at The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research as a First Lieutenant later gaining rank to Captain.

In 1964 as Norm was unloading his moving van after being discharged from the Army, he received an emergency call involving paralysis in gorillas and orangutans at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Orange Park, Florida. Employed as the first Lab Animal Veterinarian at Yerkes, Norm had no veterinary technician assistance nor any diagnostic equipment available. This was the most challenging diagnostic case in Norm’s entire career—and equally groundbreaking being the first recorded diagnosis of Paralytic Poliomyelitis in Lab Primates.

As a result of Norm’s innovative early work at Yerkes, the Oral Polio Vaccine in Anthropoid Apes was first recommended as the treatment for use in zoos as well in the wild. [In the above photo, Norm cares for an orang recovering from thoracic surgery to repair tension pneumothorax. This patient was treated by Norm at Yerkes and lived out its life at the Atlanta Zoo.]

Norm was and continues to be a proponent of the value of AAALAC Accreditation and the need for advancement of skills through continuing education via local, state, and national AALAS groups. He has successfully guided many institutions through the accreditation process as either an AV or a consulting veterinarian; moreover, Norm was the AV at 6 institutions that were first accredited by AAALAC, and in all cases he was their first AV.

In May of 2022, Norm will be recognized as the Texas A&M Veterinary School Distinguished Alumnus for his longstanding commitment to the laboratory animal research community. His eminent service over the years makes him an invaluable resource, allowing many generations of scientists the ability to learn from his unique historical perspective conveyed, as always, in Norm’s personable and welcoming style.

2021 Year in Review Video

As 2021 comes to a close, we reflect on a year filled with rewarding experiences that brought us together and innovative solutions that help our community to improve life.

Thank you for being a part of our journey and continuously inspiring us to serve science with integrity and care.

Promotions in North American Sales Organization

Supporting Allentown's growth and continued expansion as a global solutions provider, and reinforcing our unmatched commitment to our clients.

At Allentown we constantly strive to improve the level of care we provide to those who work in biomedical research. Those improvements are not just limited to our support and products, but also how we can best position our highly experienced and dedicated staff who are committed to serving science with integrity and care.

Scott Hoy – North American Sales Manager

Scott has been with Allentown for 16 years, most recently in the role of District Sales Manager. Scott's dedication to product knowledge and technical support has served his customers very well throughout the years. In his new role he will be working closely with Scott Schriver, Director of North American Sales, and directly overseeing a team of District Sales Managers and Technical Sales Consultants responsible for serving the United States and Canadian laboratory animal science communities.

Sarah Rovezzi – Eastern District Sales Manager

Sarah has been with Allentown for 11 years and her background in biocontainment and facility operations and management quickly made her an important and relied-upon resource for her customers. Her experiences of working closely with her customers to solve their research challenges will serve her well in her new role overseeing the care of the Northeast, New England, Mid Atlantic and Southeast laboratory animal science communities.

Marc Wohlfeil – Western District Sales Manager

Marc has been with Allentown for almost 15 years, most of that time serving Midwest customers as a Technical Sales Consultant. His dedication to his customers and their work allowed him to build strong relationships and provide products and services which advanced his customers' research. Marc will be taking that same dedication to customer service to his new role overseeing the care of the Midwest, Southwest and West Coast laboratory animal science communities.

Keeping the Glass Half-Full

Allentown Expands Solutions Footprint with Glassware Washers

Glassware has been a staple of research laboratories for centuries. Indeed, the alchemist Maria Hebraica, who lived in the first century, is credited with the invention of the first distillation apparatus. Stills are used to purify liquids and are thought to be the oldest use of glass in the laboratory.

This innovation notwithstanding, it is widely believed that glass could not be applied reliably in laboratory applications until the 13th century, when glassmakers in Venice and Murano found new processes for improving the thermal and chemical resistance—or durability—of glass, by using more calcium, magnesium, and potassium salts in the mixture.

In modern-day research, of course, glass is not the only option, as plastics are also widely used in many research applications. Glass out-performs plastic though, with its high chemical resistance to many substances, including acids, alkalis, organic solvents, saline solutions, and water. The only substances that can destroy glass are hydrofluoric acid, strong alkalis used at high temperatures, and concentrated phosphoric acid. Additional advantages to using glass in the lab include its dimensional stability, even at high temperatures, and its transparency.

Like all research equipment though, glassware requires thorough and efficient cleaning.

As an end-to-end solutions provider, Allentown offers laboratory glassware washers for research vivaria and other laboratories in North America. They are ideal for washing glassware equipment in universities, research centers, and in any installation where reusable glass materials are employed. Designed to work continuously and at peak performance in environments with limited space, these glassware washers are available in various sizes and have options and accessories for washing all types of glass. Every washer is of top quality and utilizes the latest technology to ensure high-performance and a reduction in energy consumption and operational costs.

For more information on Allentown’s line of Glassware Washers, click here.

Allentown Partners with UID To Introduce Home Cage Monitoring

Digital technology in the home cage is the future, but here in the present there has yet to be one solution that fits all research needs. Current solutions require a very large per-cage-slot investment with little flexibility, a tremendous learning curve and very little practical results. During this exciting phase of solution evolution, Allentown, LLC has partnered with Unified Information Devices (UID), the leading provider of radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions, to provide a practical approach — a proven home cage monitoring solution in a scalable framework to fit all needs and budgets.

"The Home Cage Monitoring system was developed to address the challenges researchers face when evaluating temperature and activity in socially-housed mice," said Matt Ruiter, Chief Scientific Officer with UID. "Using RFID and novel software, the system permits continuous and remote monitoring of digital biomarkers, temperature and activity, for one or multiple mice in their home cage environment."

home cage monitoring

Using the Home Cage Monitoring system, valuable research data can be collected automatically in real-time (24/7), even during the dark phases. In addition to removing experimenter bias, the system can help improve study outcomes by permitting frequent and accurate measurements of progressive behavioral and physiological changes over time in the same animal.

"Integrating UID's Mouse Matrix Technology with Allentown's state-of-the-art Rodent Housing Systems was an important step for both companies," said John M. Coiro, Chief Executive Officer for Allentown. "Our partnership will help research facilities automate data collection, streamline processes, and improve workflow efficiency."

For more information on the Home Cage Monitoring system, click here.

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