The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Studies Using Animal Models

Richard Branson BA, RRT University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

Research involving animal models allows the investigator to control confounding variables more precisely and eliminate sources of error due to individual disease differences. Research using animals in difficult, demanding, and is not for the novice investigator. Prior to involvement in animal research the investigator should do the following:
1. Understand institutional regulations involving animal experimentation and care. Often the requirements for animal research are more stringent than those involving human volunteers. Rules and regulations for animal experimentation are published by the National Institutes of Health.
2. Collaborate with an experienced researcher. Understand the comparative anatomy of the animals you work on and the responses of individual species to drugs (particularly anesthetic agents). As an example, pigs have no collateral ventilation while dogs have 3-4 times the collateral ventilation of humans. Studying ventilatory techniques might yield conflicting results in these two animal preparations and a third result in humans.
3. Do not under-estimate the cost of animal research. Care, housing, feeding, treatment, and disposal of animals can be very expensive.
4. Understand the normal values for laboratory and physiologic parameters for each species.
5. Consult a veterinarian.
6. Animal experiments can be useful in teaching procedures and learning physiology. However, animals should only be used when other methods (simulations, models) fail to provide adequate experiences.
7. Animal research should never be done without strict protocols to prevent pain and suffering.

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