Thermal threshold testing for evaluation of analgesics in New Zealand white rabbits

Linda S Barter, Anna Kwiatkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We adapted a thermal analgesiometric device developed for cats for use in unrestrained rabbits. A probe composed of an electrical element and temperature sensor was held against shaved skin by using an elasticized band placed circumferentially around the thorax. An inflated bladder located between the probe and elastic maintained constant contact between probe and skin. The probe was heated until the rabbit displayed a behavioral reaction or the safety cutoff of 55 °C was reached. Threshold temperatures in unmedicated rabbits were stable over a 5-h period provided that tests were 15 min or more apart. Careful acclimation and testing resulted in no false-negative responses, and sham testing did not produce false-positive results. When compared with baseline values, thermal thresholds were significantly increased from 30 to 240 min, but not 300 min, after the administration of morphine at 3 mg/kg. Administration of equivalent volumes of saline via the same route had no effect on thermal threshold. This device may be suitable for investigating analgesic pharmacology in rabbits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-47
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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