General Introduction

This section of the Procedures with Care website provides information to assist research workers to develop their skills in the administration of substances to laboratory animals. We have provided material dealing with rats and mice since they are the animals most widely used in research.

This site focuses particularly on the manual skills needed to carry out the different procedures humanely and efficiently, and on the need to handle animals carefully to reduce any distress caused by the procedure.

Administering substances to animals, for whatever reason, can have a significant impact on their welfare. If carried out incorrectly, not only can animal welfare be compromised, but the scientific goals of the study can be affected. If the administration is for a therapeutic purpose, then the incorrect administration can lead to a failure of the treatment.

The selection of a particular route of administration must balance a number of factors – for example the volume and physicochemical properties of the substance, the required speed of onset, and other factors such as the degree of tissue irritation that could be caused. These topics are discussed in more detail in guidelines from LASA (1998), BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement (2001) and Administration of Substances to Laboratory Animals: Routes of Administration and Factors to Consider.


A series of tutorials to assist research workers develop their skills in the administration of substances to laboratory animals.

The material was developed by Newcastle University with the support of the IAT and the NC3Rs.

The IAT & NC3Rs are not responsible for the content of external links. Please report any broken links via our contact page.