Day 6: Mice Galore!

Today’s post is brought to you by the letters M, I, C, and E. Because my entire day revolved around cute little mice, and it was great! Mice are pretty much my favorite animal (only behind lions and cheetahs, and that’s not really fair because no one can compete with big cats), so getting to spend a day learning about them was great.

For the first half of my day, I shadowed one of the animal health technicians on her rounds. The way this facility works is that the husbandry staff looks at the animals everyday, and they determine if a mouse needs a health check – basically if they look unhealthy in any way or have any type of lesion. Then they mark the cage and fill out a form that gets placed in a box at the door into the facility. The animal health technicians are assigned areas, and every morning they go to their area and check those forms. Then they go and check all of the animals marked for a health check and determine the next step – supportive care, euthanasia, veterinary intervention, etc. The technician that I shadowed today is in charge of the largest of the facility areas, and it’s all mice. So for three hours we went around and looked in on newly sick mice and mice that have been undergoing treatment/observation. Everything is entered, updated, and synced with the central system instantly via a hand held palm device – yay technology! It was actually a lot of fun! I got to see some clinical cases and how they’re managed, and saw a lot of strains of mice I’ve never seen before and of course, in the breeding rooms, got to look in on lots of baby mice. Which are, basically, the cutest things on the entire planet.

Once we were done I went to lunch, and then after lunch I got to participate in a mice handling and restraint class. When anyone new comes into the facility who is going to work with mice – including PIs, graduate students, staff, etc. – they are required to take a bunch of online classes as well as some hands-on wetlabs before they can do anything. We worked on three different methods of restraint and IP and SQ injections. I also did my first cervical dislocation, on a mouse that was already euthanized for another reason, of course. That was not a part of the normal course, they let me do it since I’m a vet student intern. At the end of class I also got to give an IV injection in one of the tail veins. I also watched a retro-orbital injection, but was not nearly confidant enough to try myself. Just FYI – for the retro-orbital injection the mouse was anesthetized and recovered without complication afterward.  It was a fantastic class, and the instructors (two animal health technicians) were obviously very caring and protective over the mice, making absolutely sure that everyone was comfortable and used correct technique. After that, I sat around with Dr. Bulldog and another staff member while they went through and took care of some business concerning some of the mouse rooms, and then I went home. It was really a great day. Tomorrow I get to shadow a different animal health technician, and I’m excited to see a different area of the facility and how cases are approached and handled with different animals. :)

And now, my wonderful husband is cooking a delicious meal of asparagus and ground sirloin stuffed with cheese and bacon – yum!! We’re gonna  eat and relax for the rest of the evening <3


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