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Education in laboratory animal science

EU directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes requires that all personnel (researchers, students and animal technicians) who work with laboratory animals must have undergone adequate training.

Laboratory animal science

Education in laboratory animal science is mandatory for those that work with or conduct research involving laboratory animals at Umeå University.

Theoretical web-based course including the blocks; a) Swedish legislation and ethics and choose between b) small rodents or c) zebrafish research. You must pass the theoretical course before you can start the practical part.

The practical course for small rodents includes animal handling, procedures, and examination.

The practical parts of LAS for small rodents is held once a month during the semester, see Course dates, and is divided into two parts; animal handling and procedures.

The practical part in the zebrafish course can be booked after completion of the theoretical part.

The whole course, theoretical part and practical part, gives 3 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Web-based theoretical course

For more information and to gain access to the web-based theoretical part of the course in Laboratory Animal Science (LAS), you as a supervisor/researcher must register yourself and your employees (doctoral students, postdocs, and research staff) who need laboratory animal training. Contact the prefekt at UCCB.

After completing the theoretical part, you send an e-mail and inform the UCCB prefekt. You will be summoned to the first practical session of LASanimal handling. You must notify the University veterinary or manager if you are unable to participate on the suggested date and register for a later date, see Course dates.

The practical part of the zebrafish course is booked with the head of Umeå Zebrafish facility (UZF).

Practical Course - Laboratory Animal Science for researchers - small rodents (Mouse and Rat)

The number of participants at each course is limited to five people.

Teachers: University veterinarian and UCCB staff
Examination: University veterinarian (can be delegated to UCCB staff)
Certificate after course completion (theory and practical) is issued by UCCB prefect.

After you have completed the animal handling and procedure sessions, you are now allowed to work with laboratory animals and you can now gain access to UCCB.

After at least 1 month has passed after the animal handling and procedure sessions, you can register for the examination, to obtain a licens/certificate after completing the course. 
The examination consists of both animal handling and a written test.

It is important that you practice to handling animals during this month between the course and examination.

Course content, course objectives and acceptance criteria

Animal handling

Objective: To be able to lift, manage and hold mice and rats in a natural, relaxed and correct manner in connection with inspection, administration, injections, and blood sampling etc.

Techniques are demonstrated, where after the course participant will train to pick up the animals from the cage and practice how to hold the animals.

Assessment: To be approved, the participant must be able to calmly and safely take the animal out of the cage and hold the animal in an acceptable manner from an animal welfare point of view in at least 15 seconds.
Then the course participant must be able to demonstrate where to inject and where to do blood sampling on both mice and rats.


Subcutaneous injection

Objective: To calmly and correctly inject liquid subcutaneous in a rodent without the fluid leak out through the entrance hole or hurting the animal.

The technique is demonstrated. The course participant will train to inject at the different injection sites available (neck and flanks). The course participant will practice keeping the skin together at the injection site so that the fluid does not leak out or penetrating through the two skin layers.

Examination: To pass it is required that the participant can in a calm and safe way administer 100 µl saline solution subcutaneously on any of the proposed sites of injection without leaking fluid through the entrance hole or penetrating through the skin.

Intraperitoneal injection

Objective: To calmly and correctly inject anaesthesia intraperitoneal (ip) in mice or rats without hurting the animal.

The technique is demonstrated. The course participant should, under the supervision of the teacher, administrate anaesthesia via ip injection. The course participant will then train further on animals in full anaesthesia.

Examination: To pass it is required that the participant in a calm and safe way inject anaesthetic or other solution into a fully awake animal, under supervision of the teacher.

Intravenous injection into the tail vein and blood sampling

Objective: To calmly and correctly inject liquid intravenous (iv) in mice or rats without hurting the animals.

The technique is demonstrated. The course participant will train on sedated animals treated with analgesia. 

Examination: For an approval, the course participant must be able to inject physiological sodium chloride (50 µl for mouse and 100 µl for rat) in a calm and safe manner into the tail vein of a sedated animal. The important step is that the course participant can show that it can apply the needle into the vein, this requirement is considered to be fulfilled by "displacement" during injection and/or blood sampling from the cannula.

Blood sampling via submandibular vein (mouse) or saphenous vein (rat)

Objective: To withdraw blood from the mouse submandibular vein or rat's saphenous vein using cannula or lancet (jaw) and capillary tubes.

The techniques are demonstrated. The course participant will practice on fully sedated animals that are treated with analgesia.

Examination: To pass it is required for the course participant is able to collect about 20‐50 μL blood from the submandibular vein of a mouse and from the saphenous vein of a rat.

Euthanasia -Killing by dislocation of the cervical spine, (mouse)

Objective: Being able to perform dislocation of the cervical spine.

The technique is demonstrated. The course participant practice on dead animals. To ensure that the cervical spine is dislocated the cervical spine is palpated with the fingers.

Assessment: To pass the course the student perform the technique on a euthanized animal.

Euthanasia by carbon dioxide or overdose of the inhalation anaesthesia

Objective: To be able to kill the animal in a calm and safe manner and ensure that death has occurred.

The technique is only demonstrated, but during dialogue with the course participant. Furthermore, heart puncture is demonstrated as a technique to ensure that animals are killed.

Requirements: To pass the participant must be able to describe how the carbon dioxide box is used for euthanasia. The participant must have knowledge of how the gas is turned on and off and other possible equipment used for euthanasia. The student should also recognize the signs of when death has occurred; the change of skin color, absence of respiration and heartbeat (palpation).

Anaesthesia and analgesia

Requirements: That the course participant can practically demonstrate how  to put a mouse/rat to sleep with inhalation anaesthesia and injection anaesthesia. Furthermore, the course participant must be able to describe three different types of pain relief (analgesia) and give examples of these.

Participant should be able to describe peri- and post-operative measurements/actions that will minimize the risks/complication of anaesthesia for the animals.

The participant should be able to describe how to evaluate relevant anaesthetic depth (loss off reflexes, clinical parameters) and how to monitor anaesthesia.

Practical course - Laboratory Animal Science for researchers – Zebrafish

Instruction and examination on the practical part of the zebrafish course is led by the head of UZF.

The practical part include

  • Routines regarding animal handling, feeding and health monitoring
  • Identification of males and females

  • Practical net training

  • Sedation and culling

  • Marking of individual fish using the fin clipping method

Course dates spring 2024 - small rodents

The practical course - is divided into two parts: first a part focuses on handling of animals and then a part focuses on common procedures such as blood sampling and injections.

Animal handling

Spring term 2024: 11 January, 1 February, 7 March, 4 April, 29 May



Spring term 2024: 18 January, 8 February, 14 March, 11 April, 13 June

Gain access to animal facility

After you have completed and been approved on the different course parts within the education in laboratory animal science you can get access to UCCB. Please not that an approved ethical permit is required before you can perform animal experiments. Contact the manager to book a mandatory introduction to the animal facility, more information at our information site.

Educational resources

Swedish 3Rs Center

Swedish 3Rs Center  web site is placed at Swedish Board of Agriculture's web site, only in Swedish.

EU legislation and recommendations

EU Commission web site about animals used for scientific purposes. Legislation and recommendations for compliance.

Educational platforms

Experimental design - 3R

  • Appropriate experimental design and statistical analysis techniques are key means of minimising the use of animals in research. The British 3R centre provide a number of resources to aid researchers to improve the experimental design for LAS.

On-line courses

  • Informative resource library available at the UK's 3R Centre (NC3Rs).

  • On-line resource for experimental design (EDA).

  • This web site trains you how to monitor welfare in laboratory animals, identify endpoints and define responsibilities. You learn how to apply humane endpoints, which improves the scientific quality of your research.

  • This web site provides a series of resources to support the adoption of best practice for commonly used procedures in animal research. The focus is on rats and mice since these are the most widely used animals. Further material will be added to expand the range of techniques and species in the future.

Systematic Review meta-analysis

The on-line course will step-by-step teach you how to do a systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic review (SR) is a literature review that involves systematically locating, appraising, and synthesising evidence from scientific studies to answer a defined research question based on pre-specified criteria. In SR you generate a powerful search engine to search databases.

SR can be combined with a meta-analysis, a method of combining quantitative results from individual studies identified through the SR. Meta-analysis is an instrument to critically appraise the quality of studies.

Use the code: syrcle to be able to register and to get access to the system.

Latest update: 2024-01-18