Streber ML, Davila T , Bautista R, Solano G, Esquivel L. The use of rat skull model for teaching learning methods for bleeding. Paper presented at: The Three Rs - Together it's possible. 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences; 2011 Aug 21-25; Montreal, Canada


It is necessary to collect blood from small rodents for different experimental or diagnostic procedures, and this requires training and the use of anesthetized animals for students to learn the various techniques of bleeding. Plastination (P) is the most important technique for preservation of biological specimens.
Our objective was to propose the use of the skull and plastinated heads for the training of students, without sacrificing animals.
The P methodology consists of slowly replacing tissue fluids and a portion of the tissue lipids with a polymer under vacuum. The results are clean, dry, odorless and durable real biological specimens. It keeps the dissected specimens from deteriorating. Waste adult rats were obtained and heads and skulls were prepared by thermal maceration and mechanical removal of soft tissues. Each skull was bleached with hydrogen peroxide. Other heads had the skin left intact and other heads were retired. They were fixed in 10% buffered formalin. After dehydration with acetone, silicone infiltration was performed.
Rat skulls were obtained with and without soft tissues to demonstrate the anatomical relationship and provide a training model for the collection of blood from the retro-orbital sinus, as well as the facial vein.
The advantages of this model is the elimination of the use of live animals, reduction of trauma induced in animals during learning, reduction in the anxiety caused to students when handling live animals. The rat head is an ideal model for education, skills development and refinement of the bleeding technique.

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Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation