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2016 Symposium Poster Contest Winners —by David Chu

Of the nine posters submitted for consideration, eight were accepted for the poster contest. Top three posters received cash prizes. If you have a great idea then it’s never too early to start on your 2017 poster. Details will be provided in the next newsletter. Congratulations to the following top three posters:

First Place went to Genetech -

Design and implementation of exercise pens as enrichment strategy for laboratory rabbits.
Authors - Garcia-Gonzalez, R., Reich, M., Chua, E., Yamada, J., McEachin, K., Thrumston, D., Sohn, C.


A challenge in providing for the welfare of laboratory rabbits is the avoidance of abnormal or repetitive behaviors (stereotypies, such as excessive ball pushing, pacing or bar chewing.) Small cages with little-to-no stimulating enrichment tend to produce frustrated rabbits that develop these undesired behaviors, and present higher levels of glucocorticoid metabolites in their feces, an indicator of stress (2, 5, 6, 1). Increased stress levels can lead to patho-physiological issues, which can cause gastrointestinal disorders, as well as bone atrophy and social/psychological issues that can change how animals respond to various experimental factors (5).

Most of the standard enrichment seen in laboratory cages attempts to encourage rabbits’ natural behavior. However, this standard enrichment does not alleviate all of the challenges rabbits experience in captivity, such as boredom and small enclosures restricting some natural behavior.

To ameliorate the stress of a caged environment, the authors provided animals with various environmental enrichment items, and regular daily exercise in a large open area.

Second Place went to University of California at Davis -

Novel Enrichment for Sheep (Ovis aries) Used in Biomedical Research.
Authors - Monica Lowery and Peter Vertz

UC Davis

Sheep (Ovis aries) are an excellent research model, as the anatomy and physiology have been well defined. Sheep have been shown to recover quickly from general anesthesia and invasive surgery. At UCDavis we regularly house sheep that are used in biomedical research. The animal care program’s mission is to ensure humane care and use of animals in teaching and research and to assist with the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Environmental enrichment enhances animal well being by providing animals with sensory and motor stimulation. The Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching states that “validation of enrichment devices and procedures for sheep is extremely limited”. Traditional enrichment techniques for sheep include providing a “buddy” sheep to meet social needs.

While group-housing sheep and providing for age material meets most of their needs, not all sensory and motor stimulation needs may be met by just these items. Normal grooming behavior in sheep includes rubbing or scratching themselves on areas such as trees, fences, or walls. This behavior rise specially popular with sheep that shed their wool each year, such as Dorpers. Dorper crosses are the typical breed of sheep that we house and maintain here at UCDavis, but all sheep share this behavior. With this in mind, we designed a novel enrichment device that we call a “sheep scratcher. “We worked with the UCD Attending Veterinarian on this novel approach, and it was determined that IACUC approval was not necessary.”


Third place went to Stanford University -

Liposomal Bupivacaine Provides Postoperative Analgesia in an Incisional Pain Model in Rats (Rattus norvegicus).
Authors - Stacey C. Kang, Katechan Jampachaisri, Travis L. Seymour, Stephen A. Felt, Cholawat Pacharinsak

Stanford University

Bupivacaine is a local anesthetic that is valuable for perioperative analgesia, but its use in the postoperative period is limited by its short duration of action. Here, we evaluated the application of a slow-release liposomal bupivacaine for postoperative analgesia. The aim was to assess whether liposomal bupivacaine effectively attenuates postoperative mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity in an incisional pain model in rats. Rats (n=36) were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 treatment groups: saline 1 ml/ kg SC q12hr for 2 days; buprenorphine HCl 0.05 mg/kg SC every 12hr for 2 days (Bup HCl); 0.5% bupivacaine 2 mg/ kg SC local infiltration once (Bupi); liposomal bupivacaine 1 mg/kg SC local infiltration once (Exp-1); and liposomal bupivacaine 6 mg/kg SC local infiltration once (Exp-6). Mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity were evaluated daily on days -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. The saline group exhibited both hypersensitivities through all 4 evaluated postoperative days. Bup HCl attenuated mechanical hypersensitivity for 2 days and thermal hypersensitivity for 1 day. Bupi attenuated only thermal hypersensitivity for 4 days. Exp-1 attenuated both mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity for 4 days. Exp-6 attenuated mechanical hypersensitivity on day 0 and thermal hypersensitivity for 4 days. These data suggest that a single local infiltration of liposomal bupivacaine 1 mg/kg SC effectively attenuates postoperative mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity for 4 days in a rat incisional pain model.