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Introduction to Animal Handling - Rodents

Instructor: Michael Schunn, Matthias Nowak, Joana Almeida (et al.)





IST Animal Course aims the acquisition of competences by everyone involved in animal experimentation (staff, students and researchers) and was designed according to the latest FELASA (Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations) recommendations for the Functions A and D defined by the European directive 2010/63/EU.

The program will be focused on European and national legislation, animal welfare and 3Rs principles, relevant theory related to the biology, anatomy, physiology of the species and basic concepts of animal health.

The course also counts with a practical component, where students will learn and practice relevant techniques for the work with animals. The goal of the practical component is to allow the participants to acquire handling skills and feel confident when manipulating animals and performing technical procedures that are essential for the scope of their research projects.

The course is organized in 2 modules:

1) Ethics, Legislation and Animal welfare (4h theory and discussion);

2) Handling and Experimentation in Rodents (4h theory and 4h practical);



Students must attend ALL the classes of both the Rodent the Ethical modules.

Each module will have a small final exam (multiple choice) in which the student must achieve at least 70% of approval.

Both the attendance of the classes AND the approval in the final exams are mandatory to successfully complete the course.



1ECTS credit













Tuesday, September 26th

Module 1: Ethics and Legislation


09h00 - 10h30: Ethics in animal research and the challenges of the harm-benefit analysis

Prof. Dr. Herwig GRIMM

Head of Ethics and Human-Animal Studies
Messerli Research Institute
University of Veterinary Medicine, Medical University of Vienna and University of Vienna


10h45 - 11h45: European directive (Directive 2010/63/EU) and national Austrian law


Ref. WF/V/3b (Gentechnik und Tierversuchswesen)
Nationale Kontaktstelle für die Richtlinie 2010/63/EU 


11h45 - 12h45: More Rs to consider

Dr. phil. Akos SZAKMARY

Geschäftsstelle der Kommission für Tierversuchsangelegenheiten gemäß § 36 TVG 2012
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien


13h45 - 14h15: How to apply for the authorization of a project

Michael Schunn (Veterinarian and Manager Preclinical Facility, IST)

14h15 - 14h45: Exam: Multiple Choice Test




Thursday, September 28th

Module 2: Handling and Experimentation in RODENTS (Theory)


09h00 - 10h00: Animal welfare, relevant biology, husbandry and recognition of pain in rodents (using a score sheet)

 Joana ALMEIDA (Veterinarian, Preclinical Facility, IST)


10h15 - 11h45: Genetic and hygienic monitoring of GM rodents

Dr. Thomas KOLBE (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna)


13h00 - 14h30: Anesthesia, Analgesia, Euthanasia and good surgical practice in rodent models

Dr. Christiana WINDING (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna)


14h30 - 15h00: Exam (Multiple Choice Test)





Friday, september 29th:

Module 2: Handling and Experimentation in RODENTS (Practical part)


09h00 – 13h00:

1.       Animal Handling and Restraining

2.       Anesthesia, Pain management and Euthanasia

3.       Methods of Marking rodents and tissue sampling

4.       Administration of substances (s.c., i.p., i.v. footpad, per os)

5.       Blood collection (mandibular vein, caudal vein, cardiac puncture, femoral vein in the rat)




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