3 identifies and discusses the general veterinary and programmatic elements that apply to many types of neuroscience and behavioral research, such as training and supervision of animal handlers, husbandry and nursing care, surgery and procedures, restraint, and food and water regulation. It also discusses the use of genetically modified animals, which have become important neuroscience models in recent years and for which performance-based approaches to care and use are developing constantly. These issues are discussed with emphasis on their application to neuroscience and behavioral research and with emphasis on situations for which the regulations and guidelines are unclear. Throughout Chapters 2 and 3, the text highlights how professional judgment and careful interpretation of the regulations and guidelines contribute to developing performance standards to ensure animal well-being and high-quality research.
Chapters 4 through 9 cover the major experimental themes in neuroscience and behavioral research: survival studies, prolonged nonsurvival studies, studies of neural injury and disease, perinatal studies, studies of agents and treatments, and behavioral studies of neural function. Each chapter highlights the common situations in neuroscience and behavioral research that can pose difficulties for researchers, veterinarians, and IACUCs. Those situations include intended and unintended pain and/or distress, multiple major survival surgeries and modified surgical settings, implantation of devices, and the stresses associated with behavioral paradigms. Recognizing that an experimental protocol can involve elements that are addressed in more than one chapter of this publication, the authoring committee has provided extensive cross-referencing to guide the reader.
Although neuroscience and behavioral research includes widely varied experimental paradigms, each with its own unique animal-welfare concerns, several general animal care and use concerns must be considered in each situation, including:
Careful monitoring to identify unintended adverse effects.
Ensuring care for animals that, because of experimental manipulation, may be unable to care for themselves adequately.
Maintaining an appropriate environment for animals.
Establishing humane endpoints in advance to avoid or minimize unintended pain and/or distress.
This publication also includes appendix materials that contain information on calculating sample sizes and estimates of the numbers of animals needed to develop and maintain colonies of genetically modified animals. It is difficult for researchers to estimate necessary animal numbers in some situations and the committee included this information to disseminate it to the neuroscience and behavioral research community.