Neonate Tattoo Identification: An Alternative to Toe Clipping

Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 
Copyright 2006 
by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 

Vol 4S, No 4, July 2006, Pages 72-133 

Abstracts of Scientific Presentations 
2006 AALAS National Meeting 
Salt Lake City, Utah

Platform Sessions

PS33 Neonate Tattoo Identification: An Alternative to Toe Clipping 
E.H. Weyand, T. Weir 
Maple City Research, Inc., Hornell, NY 

The unique identification of neonate rodents has long been applied in behavioral and toxicological studies. More recently, the development of transgenic rodent strains has increased the need for adult and neonate rodent identification primarily in an effort to manage colonies and facilitate genotyping. In the case of neonate rodent identification, available techniques are limited due to pup size. Toe clipping has been a common method employed to identify neonates. However, due to concerns about the humaneness of toe clipping, alternative methods are being sought. The purpose of this qualitative study was to evaluate tattoo identification as a replacement for toe clipping. C57 and CD 1 pups were tattooed using the AIMS™ ATS-6 tattoo system and 242B black pigment. Pups were paw pad tattooed on P5 according to a 4-paw identification scheme. Groups of pups were also tattooed on the hind leg shank and tails at P5. Groups of pups were also tail tattooed on PI5. Identification markings were evaluated daily up to weaning and thereafter weekly for 6 mo. Tattooing time ranged from 3 to 6 min per litter with litter size ranging from 6 to 12 pups. No adverse health affects were noted as a result of tattooing. Paw pad tattoos were easy to see and read in both black and white mice at weaning and thereafter for 6 mo. The quality of tail tattoos were influenced by pup age and color. Tail tattoos done on PI5 performed better than those done on P5. In all cases, markings remained visible well after the weaning process and most were visible after 6 mo. This stUdy demonstrates that tattooing is a practical alternative to toe clipping for the identification of neonate rodents.

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