- Resources and references
- Blood vessel cannulation technique in other animals
- All blood sampling techniques in the mouse
Please read the general principles of blood sampling page before attempting any blood sampling procedure.
Blood vessel cannulation should be considered when repeated samples are required, as it avoids multiple needle entries at any one site. It is suitable for use in all strains of mice and can be used to take blood from the carotid artery, vena cava and femoral vein. Surgery is required and appropriate anaesthesia, analgesia and aseptic technique should be used to minimise any pain caused. Mice should be allowed to regain their pre-operative body weight before blood samples are taken.
For recovery work, the cannula may be exteriorised at the nape of the neck through a jacket and tether system. The jacket can cause swelling and skin abrasion and mice require regular and detailed observation to identify any problems. The use of a subcutaneous access port may be more appropriate because they eliminate the need for tethering during periods when the animal is not being sampled from. For terminal work, the cannula is not exteriorised.
Cannulated mice are usually housed singly. The caging, bedding and environmental enrichment need to be appropriate to prevent the tether becoming entangled and the wound contaminated. In addition, the bedding needs to be sand free.
The cannula used is small, which can promote blood clotting (larger cannulae can abrade the blood vessel wall). To prevent this, the cannula requires regular maintenance (e.g. flushing with an anticoagulant).
Using a cannula 0.01 - 0.02 ml of blood can be taken and, depending on the sample volume and scientific justification up to six samples may be taken in a 24-hour period. An aseptic technique should be used. Sterile saline with anticoagulant should be used to flush the cannula after blood sampling to prevent occlusion. A pin is then inserted into the exteriorised end of the cannula to stop the blood from flowing. A sterile locking solution can be used to lock the cannula after a series of samples have been taken, allowing flushing to be avoided for a number of days.
The following should be checked daily
- Abrasions on the skin in contact with the jacket.
- The tightness of the jacket.
- Signs of infection/bruising/swelling/haemorrhage around the wound site.
- The patency of the cannula.
- The weight of the mouse (for recovery work).
|Number of samples||Up to six samples may be taken in a 24-hour period, depending on sample volume.|
|Sample volume||0.01 - 0.02 ml|
|Staff resource||One person is required to take the blood sample. Further staff resource is required for surgery, post-operative care for up to five days after surgery, and daily animal observations post-surgery.|
|Adverse effects and incidence||
|Further considerations||Mice should be back at their pre-operative weight before blood sampling starts.|
- Kmiotek EK, Baimel C, Gill KJ (2012). Methods for intravenous self administration in a mouse model. Journal of visualized experiments: JoVE, (70)
- UC Davis (2008). Mouse Tail Vein Catherterization Procedure. UCDavis Website, (accessed July 2017)
- Gunaratna PC, Kissinger PT, Kissinger CB, Gitzen JF (2004). An automated blood sampler for simultaneous sampling of systemic blood and brain microdialysates for drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination studies. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 49(1): 57-64
- Bardelmeijer HA, Buckle T, Ouwehand M, Bejinen JH, Schellens JHM, van Tellingen O (2003). Cannulation of the jugular vein in mice: a method for serial withdrawal of blood samples. Laboratory Animals 37 (3): 181-187
- Ling S, Jamali F (2003). Effect of cannulation surgery and restraint stress on the plasma corticosterone concentration in the rat: application of an improved corticosterone HPLC assay. J Pharm Pharm Sci 6(2): 246-251
- Nolan TE, Klein HJ (2002). Methods in vascular infusion biotechnology in research with rodents. ILAR journal 43(3): 175-182.