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Injections in rubber veins

Scientists practice animal experiments on models in the new skills lab of the laboratory animal science unit

Scientific experiments on animals are subject to strict legal regulations. Relevant in Germany are the German animal protection law, the EU directive 2010/63 for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and the animal protection experimental animals regulation. The legal requirements place very high qualification requirements on people who carry out animal experiments. Scientists, doctoral students, students and technical staff who take part in animal experiments are therefore obliged to undergo animal science training beforehand. The content of the various courses must be designed according to the guidelines of the Society for Laboratory Animal Science (GV-Solas) and the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science (FELASA) and must be completed with an examination. In this way, the participants learn the basics of animal science, animal protection and animal experimentation in theoretical and practical modules.

Info point - Skills Lab

The Skills Lab, also called the simulation center, is a training facility for people who work in the (veterinary) medical field and want to train practical skills. Since various interventions can be practiced without the use of animals and at a high level, the Skills Lab is an essential contribution to animal welfare in the sense of the 3-R principle. The three R stands for replace, reduce and refine animal experiments in research. In cooperation with the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the FU Berlin, further primate-specific training models will be developed in the next few years.


FELASA-certified courses on experimental work with primates are also regularly held at the DPZ. Unlike rodents, for example, the EU directive and the German animal welfare law prohibit the use of primates in experiments for training purposes. So far, photos or videos have been used for this purpose, live demonstrations have been used or behavioral observations have been carried out. The laboratory animal science department headed by Rabea Hinkel has now found a way to significantly improve the practical learning effect through the new skills lab at the DPZ. At the heart of the newly established learning retreat are various plastic models that scientists can use to practice animal experiments. "At the moment we have a dog's and a cat's head, different skin models and a monkey's leg with vessels", explains Sabine Samolovac, veterinarian in the laboratory animal science unit and one of the six animal welfare officers at the DPZ. "We can practice intubating on the head models, give injections on the monkey leg and the different skin models simulate the texture and thickness of the skin in different regions of the body." These were also great for making different surgical cuts and practicing sutures, she adds.

"Learning on the models is very important," says Rabea Hinkel. “Many of the course participants do not come from veterinary or human medicine. For example, biologists have no practical training in this area. With the dummies, simple interventions can be practiced wonderfully and uncertainties are reduced for later work with the animals. "

The Skills Lab is located on the ground floor of the old main building next to the library and has been equipped with new workplaces. In addition to the models, there are several wall monitors in the Skills Lab on which videos with certain interventions can be shown. This allows the scientists to work on the dummies in parallel with the instructional video. By the next DPZ course in early November 2019, everything should be set up correctly. In the future, the Skills Lab will not only be used by the external course participants, but will also be available to the DPZ scientists at all times, regardless of the courses. "For this, the employees only have to contact the laboratory animal science department," says Sabine Samolovac. "Depending on how big the demand is, we also offer practical exercises for employees."

Model for blood collection

Blood sampling can be practiced on this skin model, which is provided with artificial vessels.


Model for intubation

Intubation is practiced on this model of an animal head. The training is supported by clear instructional videos.


Model for wound sutures

You can train on an artificial skin model to properly sew a "wound". The instructional video shows how to do it correctly.


Exercise cage

At this station, the handling of a cage with a movable rear wall can be practiced with soft toys. These cages are used when, for example, an animal has to be medically examined and separated from the other animals in its group for the duration of the treatment.