Canadian Association for Laboratory Animal Science    Annual Meeting


Much like the Toronto Blue Jay’s performances, CALAS 2016 was a grand slam. A great venue, great colleagues, and cutting edge research all contributed to the big win for the 55th Annual Symposium held at the Fairmont Hotel in Toronto, earlier this baseball season. Now half way through the season, the Blue Jays are tied with our own Boston Red Sox and only a few games back from 1st place, and plans for the next CALAS symposium in Calgary for June 2017 are already in progress. We are all winners with such dedication to doing our best.


The enthusiastic responses from our presentation about the heart rate in mice, throughout life and death, were greatly appreciated. Thank you one and all for attending the presentation, and for the many great questions and discussion stemming from the topic. The ECGenie not only reports the ECG and all of the ECG interval durations in interesting mouse models of cardiovascular diseases, but also describes heart rate changes occurring in a wide range of disorders, including pain, Zika virus, and Rett syndrome. We have extended our patented technology to now describe how anesthetics affect the heart rate of awake animals as they succumb to anesthesia, and how pain may be reflected in changes in heart rate variability.


The excellent presentations and posters at CALAS 2016 are too many to comment on all. Near and dear to our own research and instrumentation, I was impressed with several presentations. Ovidiu Jumanca from the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal presented data to show that the sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim antibiotic combination was more efficacious when administered in a gel rather than via a water bottle. Dr. Jumanca and his colleagues hypothesized that the antibiotic diffused in MediGel [ClearH2O] would not precipitate as it does in water, thereby providing more consistent delivery. They found that after 15 days of treatment plasma levels of the drugs reached superior and protective levels in the MediGel treated animals compared to those that received the drugs via their drinking water.


Chelsea Schuster from the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Pang presented beautiful data about the benefits of external warming of laboratory rats during isoflurane anesthesia. She reported that recovery to sternal recumbency was fastest in animals that were pre-warmed prior to anesthesia. Furthermore, even limited warming of the animal after anesthesia helped maintain body temperature and accelerated recovery. These observations are of interest to our instrumentation enhancements, as our ECGenie is now able to monitor laboratory animals not only at baseline, but also during anesthesia and during recovery. We have similarly noted heart rate changes during anesthesia that are dependent on whether or not the animal is warmed during anesthesia. Moreover, the recovery of the heart rate to baseline is dependent on the presence of warmth during anesthesia.


We are further inspired by another study presented by Dr. Pang’s group, presented by Jessie Chisholm. There is a lot of discussion about euthanasia and the best methods for sacrificing laboratory animals. Jessie presented data to show the relationship between loss of consciousness and heart rate during CO2 euthanasia in rats, concluding that bradycardia occurs prior to the loss of consciousness in rats euthanized with CO2 or CO2+ O2. The ECGenie coupled with EzCG analysis software are able to discriminate ECG changes specific to the vitality of a sedated rodent maintained on anesthesia from those specific to the expiring rodent whose cardiovascular stability is capitulating to the lethality of CO2 inhalation.


Mouse Specifics, Inc. was a proud sponsor of the annual CALAS symposium, given that we share the CALAS dedication to providing high quality training and educational resources to animal care professionals across Canada, and throughout the world.