This Animal Welfare Foundation two-part video tutorial is from expert veterinary staff demonstrating the correct procedures for handling small mammals for clinical examination and medication. Its aim is to show that the primary consideration should be for the the welfare of the animal. This video guide will show you practical animal handling for a mouse.
The techniques used to handle small mammals vary slightly with each species, however many of the general principles are the same. When handling all small mammals, a firm but gentle approach is advisable. This tutorial will outline recommended techniques for handling mice. The adoption of these techniques will help to minimize stress for the animals and help reduce the risk of bite injuries to the handler.
It is important that animals are aware of the handler's presence before attempting to restrain them, particularly if the animal is initially asleep. This will reduce stress for the animal and help to avoid bite injuries.
Handling and Restraint:
Mice are generally easy to restrain, but their small size makes them especially vulnerable to physical injury, not least by the handler inadvertently dropping them when bitten. Some mice are also very active and may attempt to jump away from the handler.
The animal should be grasped by the tail, preferably the proximal third and lifted clear of its cage. It should then be placed on a surface such as a cage top.
The scruff can be grasped between the thumb and forefinger whilst maintaining a grip on the tail. The animal is then secure and can be examined or injected safely.
Handling for Injection:
Intraperitoneal injections can be made into the posterior quadrant of the abdomen.
Subcutaneous injection can be made into the scruff of the neck. Care must be taken to direct the needle into the scruff and not into the handlers finger or thumb.
These videos were made by the AHWLA (Assessing the Health and Welfare of Laboratory Animals).