Post-operative care

Based on the NHMRC Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 8th Edition, 2013 the AEC recommends that analgesia should be used routinely after every painful procedure on animals unless there is scientific justification that this will affect the results of the experiment.

Extract from the Code

  • 3.3.33 The comfort of animals must be promoted throughout the post-operative period. Attention should be given to warmth, hygiene, fluid and food intake, and control of infection. The use of analgesics and tranquillisers may be needed to minimise post-operative pain or distress. Care should be taken that animals recovering from anaesthesia do not injure themselves by uncoordinated movements, and that conditions are such that they are not disturbed, attacked or killed by other animals in the same enclosure.
  • 3.3.34 Appropriate clinical records must be kept, accessible to all involved in the postoperative care of the animal.
  • 3.3.35 Investigators must ensure that adequate monitoring, treatment and care of postoperative animals is provided. They must ensure that they are fully informed of the animals’ condition.
  • 3.3.36 The duties of all staff must be clearly defined and ways of dealing with emergencies established.
  • 3.3.37 Any post-operative animal observed to be in a state of severe pain or distress which cannot be alleviated quickly must be killed humanely without delay.
  • 3.3.38 Regular observation of surgical wounds is essential to check the progress of healing. Any problems must be attended to immediately.