The following score sheets have been developed to assess animals in toxicology studies. This assessment is based on a detailed and systematic observation scheme that identifies and scores abnormalities according to a predetermined scale. The recorded symptomatology will determine the diagnosis and subsequent alleviatory actions. They can be adapted to any protocol or animal care facility system as long as the behavioral definitions are uniform across the same facility.

Investigational screen for toxicology studies

Step 1.

Daily Cageside Observations

This examination is typically performed with the animals in their cages and is designed to detect significant clinical abnormalities that are clearly visible upon a limited examination and to monitor the general health of the animals. The animals are not hand-held for these observations unless deemed necessary. Significant abnormalities that could be observed include but are not limited to: decreased/increased activity, repetitive behavior, vocalization, incoordination/limping, injury, neuromuscular function (convulsion, fasciculation, tremor, twitches), altered respiration, blue/pale skin and mucous membranes, severe eye injury (rupture), alterations in fecal consistency and fecal/urinary quantity.

Clinical Observations

Study personnel will conduct careful, hand-held, clinical examinations during the live phase of the study. The categorical observations made during this examination use a description to record the severity. These observations can be made at any time during the study.

  1. Abnormal behavior: Description of unusual behaviors (e.g., circling, stereotypy) and changes in posture (e.g., arched back, splayed stance) not noted during the cageside portion of examination.

  2. Abnormalities of the eye: Any additional descriptive observations concerning the eye, including, but not limited to, cloudiness, opaqueness, overall size, ruptures, etc.

  3. Abnormal urine or feces: Description of animal excreta used to assess general health of animal, includes changes in color or quantity.

  4. Abnormalities of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract: Description of atypical visual finding related to the gastrointestinal tract (e.g., prolapsed rectum, decreased water or food intake, reflux of test material).

  5. Injury: Description of injury the animal has sustained.

  6. Missing extremity: Description of missing body part, includes tail, ears, limbs, etc.

  7. Abnormal muscle movements: Description of unusual movements (e.g., tremors or convulsion).

  8. Palpable mass/swellings: Description of unusual growths or swellings. Includes the location, onset, appearance, and progression of any finding.

  9. Abnormal posture: Description of unusual posture or stance.

  10. Abnormalities of the reproductive system: Description of atypical visual findings in the reproductive organs, including but not limited to: prolapsed vagina, unretracted penis, scrotum bluish, enlarged testicles.

  11. Abnormal respiration: Description of changes in respiration including shallow, slow, rapid, or mouth breathing.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement