Gebäude 21, 1. OG
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Is it possible to show differences in behaviour between rats taking part In an experiment and controls by using simple behaviour tests?Furthermore, can conclusions be drawn from these differences with regard to well-being of the experimental rats?In the following research four simple standardized behaviour tests were closely examined.The animals were taken from different experiments and consequently they had totally different experiences of life:Group 1: Chronic hypoxic living conditionsGroup 2: Surgery eight weeks before testing (stenosis of one renal artery)Group 3: Chronical consumption of alcoholGroup 4: Chronical consumption of a lipid reducing drug(Clofibrate)Group 5: Chronical consumption of alcohol plus Clofibrate Group 6 and 7: Animals kept in germfree isolatorsThe control groups of each experiment were taken as the comparison test group.The following tests were carried out: 1. Chimney-test 2. Social Interaction-test 3. Home cage emergence-test 4. Open field-testBefore testing, the animals were subjected to a clinical examination. according to which the they were classified into categories of different degrees of suffering depending on the impairment of their general conditions.The results of the four behaviour tests were compared with each other and with the outcome of the clinical examination.The data were computed In a discriminant analysis. The results can be summarized as following:All of the four tests indicated differences in behaviour between experimental groups and control groups.Differences in behaviour were most pronounced In the animals kept under sterile conditions. According to the clinical examination these animals had been classified as those whose well-being had been influenced most.The home cage emergence-test appeared to be the most sensitive test. In this test the time is measured, until the animal risks leaving its home cage. The animals which had been classified as the most suffering, took much longer to raise their head or paws above the edge of the cage than the controls.Differences in behaviour between alcohol consuming animals compared to the controls were also found. These differences were attributed to the relaxing effect of alcohol.With the exception of the chimney- test all tests were found tobe suitable to show differences in behaviour of animals classified as less emotional because of alcohol consumption. This difference in the level of emotion could not be shown by the clinical examination.Furthermore, behavioral alterations of animals after surgery were found, which could not be shown by the clinical examination.From the multitude of open, field-test parameters mentioned in literature the following parameters appeared tobe sensitive by only single test exposition:- number of crossed squares- time until leaving the protecting periphery of the open-field areaGrooming behavior, as well as defaecation rate and urination rate prooved (by single test exposition) less significant for evaluation of the non influenced emotional state of a rat.