Corte GM, Humpenöder M, Pfützner M, et al. Anatomical Evaluation of Rat and Mouse Simulators for Laboratory Animal Science Courses. Animals (Basel). 2021;11(12):3432

PMID: 34944209


According to the European Directive 63/2010/EU, education and training involving living rats and mice are classified as an animal experiment and demands the implementation of the 3Rs. Therefore, as a method of refinement, rat and mouse simulators were developed to serve as an initial training device for various techniques, prior to working on living animals. Nevertheless, little is known about the implementation, anatomical correctness, learning efficiency and practical suitability of these simulators. With this in mind, a collaborative research project called "SimulRATor" was initiated to systematically evaluate the existing rat and mouse simulators in a multi-perspective approach. The objective of the study presented here was to identify the anatomical strengths and weaknesses of the available rat and mouse simulators and to determine anatomical requirements for a new anatomically correct rat simulator, specifically adapted to the needs of Laboratory Animal Science (LAS) training courses. Consequently, experts of Veterinary Anatomy and LAS evaluated the anatomy of all currently available rat and mouse simulators. The evaluation showed that compared to the anatomy of living rats and mice, the tails were perceived as the most anatomically realistic body part, followed by the general exterior and the limbs. The heads were rated as the least favored body part.