Jugular vein

Please read the general principles of blood sampling page before attempting any blood sampling procedure.

Technique

Sampling from the jugular vein can be used with all strains but requires a high degree of competence to avoid harm to the rat. Its use should be limited, for instance, to studies where blood collection is required immediately after dosing (e.g. inhalation and infusion studies) or where a sampling site distal to the dosing site is required (e.g. intravenous studies). Warming of the rat is not required.

One person is required to take the blood sample and another to restrain and monitor the rat. The rat's forepaws are tied to a sloped restraint board with cotton cord tethers and the rat held in dorsal recumbency with one person holding the abdomen and legs. Alternatively, with adequate training, the animal can be restrained entirely by hand. Care needs to be taken in applying the restraint to prevent damage to the forelimbs. If necessary the person taking the blood sample can restrain the head by the use of a head cap. Blood is taken from a small triangular patch of skin just under the scapula. The head is tilted at an angle in the head cap, which makes the site of sampling prominent. If required visualisation of the sampling area can be improved by trimming the animal's fur. 

Sampling should be carried out aseptically. 0.1 - 2 ml (normally 0.1 - 0.3 ml) of blood can be collected per sample and, depending on the sample volume and scientific justification, up to eight samples in a 24-hour period. The number of needle sticks at each attempt should be a limited to three. If more samples are needed, then surgical cannulation or temporary cannulation of a different blood vessel should be considered. 

Blood flow should be stopped before the rat is returned to its cage by applying gentle pressure to the blood sampling site for thirty seconds.

Summary

Number of samples No more than eight blood samples should be taken in a 24-hour period.
Sample volume 0.1 - 2 ml (normally 0.1 - 0.3 ml)
Equipment 23G ( 1" long) needle
Staff resource Two people: one to take the blood sample and another to restrain and monitor the rat.
Adverse effects
  • Bruising
  • Infection <1%
  • Haemorrhage <1%
Other Rats are restrained in an unnatural position, which can cause stress. A high degree of competence is required to perform this technique.

Resources and references

Jugular vein sampling in other animals

Click here for information on jugular vein blood sampling in the dog

All blood sampling techniques in the rat

Click here for information on blood vessel cannulation in the ratClick here for information on tail vein blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on saphenous vein blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on retro-orbital blood sampling techniques in the ratClick here for information on using a temporary cannula for blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on abdominal/thoracic blood vessel blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on cardiac puncture blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on schedule 1 stunning followed by decapitation for blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on decapitation blood sampling techniques in the rat