The body is then riddled with the events associated with hyperdynamic shock, leaky blood vessels, pulmonary edema, and glucose and electrolyte disturbances. Such events must be detected within hours to provide symptomatic relief as well as to stabilize the experiment. Therefore, an 8-hour or singular monitoring scheme is worthless to the animal, the model, and, ultimately, extrapolation to public medicine and benefit.


In 1989, when I first joined NIH, this model received only a few hours of intensive care and was put back in a kennel. The mortality rate was 55%. During my first 5 years there, I had supportive program directors who encouraged the augmentation or magnification of veterinary presence. I made steady improvements, which included acquisition of an overnight technical staff, clinical chemistry and complete blood count analyzers that gave results instantly at the cageside, and the provision of scoring systems that augmented analgesic administration. Survival rates increased to 95%. Deaths were always associated with sudden ischemia and closure of the ameroid rather than with other complications.

I was very proud of this progress and other changes, and the scientists noted a more expensive short-term solution with long-term benefit. Over the next 5 years, I continued to make similar improvements across all species and all projects. Although the scientists initially viewed this as expensive, they eventually understood the benefit.

Scheme of Veterinary Care

In my view, the way to achieve this outcome is to suggest a scheme more like a good veterinary teaching hospital or private clinic for animals in these risk groups. We thus need small teams to cover large amounts of ground and high rodent density housing for less risky groups in an effort to discover outliers. Such management is accomplished by the hiring of clinically astute veterinarians and roaming technical teams.

The emergence of large numbers of genetically altered rodents can also be monitored in this manner by central dispersion of teams of technologists under the line command of clinical veterinarians. Successful monitoring has already been achieved in some places and was recently described in Lab Animal (Hampshire and others 2000a,b).

Shifting Responsibility for Performance Standards

Additionally, it is not reasonable to expect today's scientist to be clinically knowledgeable or experienced about veterinary medicine; therefore the development and line accountability of such teams of clinical veterinarians and technologists

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