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Sciences of Lab Animals

Code: MFC17     Acronym: CAnimLab

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Medicine

Instance: 2015/2016 - 1S Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Physiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Department
Course/CS Responsible: Master Degree Course in Cardiovascular Pathophysiology

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MFC 8 Mestrado em Fisiopatologia Cardiovascular_2013 1 - 9 81 243

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Inês Maria Falcão Sousa Pires Marques

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


The aim of this curricular unit is to acquire knowledge and training essential to the practice of animal experimentation.

Learning outcomes and competences

To provide students with basic knowledge and skills for animal experimentation, including to:

  1. Learn the biology of the main laboratory animals (mouse, rat and rabbit).

  2. Handle correctly laboratory animals.

  3. Enumerate at least five forms of environmental enrichment.

  4. Recognize signs of pain, stress and animal suffering.

  5. Explain the basic principles of colony management.

  6. Understand the main measures of disease prevention and containing.

  7. Identify safety strategies for handling infected animals.

  8. Design and conduct experiments in accordance with the policy of the 3Rs.

  9. Suggest anesthetic and analgesic methods for specific experimental conditions.

  10. Recognize the accepted methods of euthanasia.

  11. Propose alternative methods to animal use.

  12. Enunciate the policy of the 3Rs.

  13. Know the ethical and legal aspects inherent to animal testing.

  14. Discuss scientific literature on laboratory animals.

Working method



  1. Laboratory animal biology.

  2. Handling, containment and transport of laboratory animals.

  3. Drug administration.

  4. Ethology and environmental enrichment.

  5. Acclimation of laboratory animals.

  6. Zoonoses and microbiological control of laboratory animals.

  7. Laboratory animal pathology.

  8. Design of experimental protocols.

  9. Models of spontaneous disease

  10. Animal models.

  11. Anesthesia and analgesia.

  12. Surgery and sutures.

  13. Postoperative monitoring and care.

  14. Euthanasia.

  15. Anatomy and necropsy laboratory animals.

  16. The use of animals in experimental research.

  17. Alternative methods.

  18. Legal aspects of animal experimentation.

  19. Analysis of the scientific literature.

  20. Colonies management.

  21. Management of genetically modified animals.

  22. Genetic standardization.

  23. Animal nutrition.

Mandatory literature

van Zutphen LF, B. V., Beynen AC. ; Principles of Laboratory Animal Science, Revised Edition. A contribution to the humane use and care of animals and to the quality of experimental results., Elsevier, 2001
Gomes, A. C., Falcao-Pires, I., Pires, A. L., Brás-Silva, C., & Leite-Moreira, A. F. ; Rodent models of heart failure: an updated review., Heart failure reviews, 18(2), 219-249, 2013
Harkness JE, W. J. ; The Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents. , New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins., 1995
Suckow, M. A., Weisbroth, S. H., & Franklin, C. L. (Eds.). ; The laboratory rat., Academic Press, 2005

Teaching methods and learning activities

To achieve goals, students will attend lectures where essentially theoretical content will be provided (seminars taught by lecturers experts in the area) and classes with a strong practical component (theoretical-practical classes and laboratory practices) essential to contacting and handling laboratory animals such as mice, rats and rabbits. Additionally, students will have to use all the acquired knowledge by developing and presenting an experimental protocol using laboratory animals in compliance with all legislation, animal ethics and rules learn during this unit. Students will have the oportunity to visist an anial facility and a departmento of large animal and experimental surgery (O: 10 hours).

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation with final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Exame 70,00
Trabalho laboratorial 30,00
Total: 100,00

Calculation formula of final grade


  1. Minimum frequency of 75% of the total workload.
  2. Final evaluation: 70%: formal theoretical evaluation (written exam) + 30%: planning and designing an experimental protocol obeying the course contents.
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