Refinement of oral gavage

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Oral gavage is an important drug administration technique that requires training to be performed competent. Even if performed competently and carefully, oral gavage can be stressful to laboratory animals and carries the risk of injury. There are several refinement options and alternatives to oral gavage available. The suitability of these refinements should be considered for each specific experiment carefully.

Refinement examples for rodents

  • "Sugar coating" gavage needles, e.g. using sweet solutions that support the swallowing of the gavage needle/tube
  • Habituation / training

Examples for alternatives to oral gavage (voluntary drug intake)

Some drugs or substances can be mixed with palatable food or fluids that are ingested voluntary by the animals. In many cases the voluntary oral intake of drugs resembles the situation in human patients better. There are several examples described in the literature, including the voluntary intake of analgesics via nutella (see also analgesia).