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What You Need for A Well-Equipped Research Lab

Posted on by Eugene Marino, Marketing Manager

When you’re working in a lab with research animals, having the right equipment is paramount. Use this helpful checklist to make sure your lab has all the equipment needed for maximum efficiency and the safety of your technicians and animals.

Anesthesia Capability

What You Need for A Well-Equipped Research LabAny lab that performs surgery on animals needs a method of administering anesthesia to safely and reversibly cause them to lose consciousness, which prevents them from perceiving painful or stressful stimuli while maintaining physiological functions as close to normal as possible.

Anesthesia can be administered via inhalant (isoflurane or sevoflurane are recommended) or injectable (including barbiturates, steroids, propofol, etc.). For small animal surgeries, inhaled anesthetic is generally safer, and increases the chance for successful outcomes.

Inhalant anesthesia has several advantages over injectable anesthetics, including ease of administration, an improved level of control over the depth and duration of anesthesia, shorter recovery time, lower incidence of death, and faster elimination from the body.

If you use inhalant anesthesia in a laboratory setting with mice or rats, make sure you have special equipment designed to accommodate the physiological characteristics of small animals. Choose a traditional wick-type vaporizer like our VetFlo  or the full SomnoSuite low-flow anesthesia delivery system, which includes an integrated electronic vaporizer that can use either compressed gas or room air.

Animal Warming Capabilities

When conducting surgery, maintaining the animal’s body temperature at appropriate levels is crucial to minimizing stress to the animal. Proper warming promotes the animal’s physiological well-being, minimizes risks from anesthesia and facilitates recovery after the surgery.

The best method for maintaining small animal body temperature in a laboratory setting is usually achieved by using a warming pad, ideally with biofeedback temperature control. Warming pads can either use circulating water that is heated then distributed through the pad via a pump, or far infrared light, which is absorbed by cells inside the body to warm the animal evenly and consistently from within.

Kent Scientific offers Far Infrared Warming Pads using FIRst (Far Infrared Stasis Technology), which enable technicians to keep animals warm for an extended period of time without needing to increase the temperature, and eliminating the possibility of hot spots.

Physiological Monitors

It is extremely important to closely monitor your animal's vital signs during surgery, both for the safety and comfort of the animal and for the most successful outcomes. There are several types of equipment designed to monitor different aspects of the animal’s physiology and functioning.

A pulse oximetry sensor specifically designed for use with small animals, such as the MouseSTAT Jr. or PhysioSuite with MouseSTAT, measures both heart rate and oxygen saturation. The PhysioSuite with MouseSTAT also measures perfusion index and comes with a free Right Temp far infrared warming module to maintain animal body temperature. 


A ventilator ensures that the animal is breathing properly in order to maintain optimum physiological functioning. Kent Scientific offers two types of volume- and pressure-controlled mouse and rat ventilators, both of which automatically set the respiratory rate and tidal volume when you enter the animal’s weight. The RoVent Jr. is a stand-alone small animal ventilator, while the RoVent is an add-on module that works with the PhysioSuite or SomnoSuite system.

Blood Pressure Monitor

Accurately measuring blood pressure in rodents and other small animals is of great clinical value in research. Kent Scientific’s CODA noninvasive blood pressure monitoring products use a tail cuff to easily and accurately measure blood pressure without surgery.

The CODA monitor measures six blood pressure parameters in either awake or anesthetized animals: systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure, heart rate, tail blood volume and blood flow.

Surgical Platform and Tools

Naturally the right surgical equipment is important for animal surgeons. A full surgery platform like the SurgiSuite gives technicians an easy to clean surfaces with integrated warming system, procedure bowl and stabilizers for the animals and anesthesia tubing.

These platforms can accommodate a variety of add-ons such as a lighting or intubation kit. Kent also offers a full range of surgical instruments, including kits, forceps, surgical tweezers, scissors, wound closure, feeding needles, and more.  

Outfitting your lab properly from the start makes the best sense. Cutting corners to set up or supply your lab will only cost you more in time and frustration, and ultimately the success of unsuccessful outcomes.

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